Article Summary: Principles of Instructional Design: Chapter 10: The Events of Instruction

Summary on the articles: Gagne R., Briggs L., Wager W. Principles of Instructional Design 4th Edition: Chapter 10:  The Events of Instruction. pp. 185 – 205.

Purpose (Why?): The purpose of this chapter is to outline and explain Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction.

Central Message (What?):  Instruction and learning work hand in hand.  Specifically, according to Gagne, instruction is supposed to “provide support to the process of learning.”  I have tried to capture the essence of these events in the following table:

Gagne’s 9 Events Definition Example:  Recognize an equilateral triangle
Gain attention Call the learners attention to what they are about to learn.  This can be done through stories, using words like, “listen, watch, and look,” etc. Show variety of computer generated triangles
Inform learners of objectives  Tell the learners what they are going to learn Pose question: “What is an equilateral triangle?”
Stimulate recall of prior learning Review anything pertinent to what the student is about to learn Review definitions of triangles
Present the content  Tell them what you were going to tell them Give definition of equilateral triangle
Provide “learning guidance”  Help the student understand what you’ve just taught them using examples, clarifying, allowing questions, etc. Show example of how to create equilateral
Elicit performance (practice) Allow students time to practice what you’ve just taught them – give them experience Ask students to create 5 different examples
Provide feedback This is perhaps the most critical piece in learning – give direction on correct and incorrect responses Check all examples as correct/incorrect
Assess performance Present a new set of concepts and instances and ask the learners to apply what they’ve learned Provide scores and remediation
Enhance retention and transfer to the job  Take the learning to a deeper level, provide more instances in various formats to show diversity.  Also have them come up with 3-5 examples on their own to show they have mastered the material. Show pictures of objects and ask students to identify
The equilateral triangle example was provided by:  http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/conditions-learning.html
An internet search provided the following image that gives a similar view as my table:
Values / Assumptions (Where?):  Gagne in this chapter asserts that learning takes effort.  In fact, this model if properly applied is a tremendously valuable to the learner.  How?  It provides a path to “how to actually learn’ – and get concepts into long-term memory.  I am a firm believer that leaning is a life long process and the sooner we learn “how to learn” we will be better off. Elder David A. Bednar in his talk “Learning to Love Learning” asserts   “Learning to love learning equips us for an ever- changing and unpredictable future. Knowing how to learn prepares us to discern and act upon opportunities that others may not readily recognize. I am confident we will pass the test of learning what to do when we do not know what to do or how to proceed.” http://www.lds.org/ensign/2010/02/learning-to-love-learning
I appreciate Gagne’s nine events because it helps me as a learner see what has to happen in order for learning to really take place.  If we are going to be able to perform in the future, we have to learn in the present and from the past.
I think what is left out of Gagne’s Nine events is the role of the Holy Ghost.  Clearly, Gagne asserts that learning is a human event.  That is true, but how would Gagne address John 14:26? “But the aComforter, which is the bHoly Ghost, whom the Father will send in my cname, he shall dteach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/14?lang=eng
So what? In a recent blog post, I mentioned how I would have almost a ritualistic data dump after my tests in undergrad.  Had I understood better what it meant to learn, I would’ve been more responsible about how I went about my learning (of course that easy to say now – reality is maybe I wouldn’t have been).  So now that I’m more aware of what needs to take place to learn, the courses I design will reflect the information.  The way I study the scriptures will be different.  The way I instruct my children will be improved.

Things to Think About: 

  1. Gagne’s nine events are great and insightful, but is there an easier way?  Is there a better way?
  2. What is the role of the Holy Ghost in learning?  Retention?  Design? Where would this “event” fall in Gagne’s 9 events?

Additional Readings:

  1. http://www.citt.ufl.edu/toolbox/toolbox_gagne9Events.php.
  2. http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/conditions-learning.html
  3. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2010/02/learning-to-love-learning