This One or That One?

In their book titled Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design, authors Larson & Lockee (2014) explain that there are literally thousands of strategies available ranging from simple questioning to complex role play for online simulations, grouping strategies, organizing & sequencing strategies, strategies that provide scaffolding for learners, and strategies designed to help learners become more self-directed and autonomous in their learning (p. 152). So how do you know which instructional strategy is right for your training session?

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Image retrieved from

Related image

When deciding on which instructional strategy to use, consider and select one that directly aligns with your learning goals and outcomes. Larson & Lockee (2014) suggest using a five step, customizable process for identifying instructional strategies(p. 152):

  1. Revisit & refine the learning context design.
  2. Identify assumptions and pedagogical approaches.
  3. Identify appropriate interactions and strategies.
  4. Select technologies to support the strategies identified.
  5. Seek review and/or approval of the treatment, aligned outcomes, assessments, strategies, and the technologies.

When trying to decide which instructional strategy is best for implementation during a training session, one may consider discovery learning or guided discovery. In discovery learning, learners are given tasks but receive little to no guidance from their teachers. The exact opposite is true for guided discovery. Teachers are very involved and guide students towards the learning objectives. Richard Mayer conducted research on the effectiveness of discovery learning and guided discovery.

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Image retrieved from

His research concluded that students learn more from guided discovery vs. discovery learning. Mayer (2004) stated that the best course for contructivist-oriented educators is to focus on techniques that guide students’ cognitive processing during learning and that focus clearly on specified educational goals(p. 17). Check out this blog post written by Winston Sieck on a discovery learning approach for teaching kids to program computers.

I have participated in training’s that utilize the guided discovery strategy. The most memorable one demonstrated a constructivist pedagogical approach. Web-based scenarios via Nearpod simulated situations we, the trainees, would encounter when implementing the program into our classrooms. The session was scaffolded with learner centered activities including discussion, construction, and collaboration. I also plan to utilize the guided discovery instructional method for an upcoming training session on Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom. When planning for your personal session, remember to consider and select the instructional strategy directly aligned with your learning goals and outcomes.


Enriquez, H. (2016, November 5). Guided discovery learning-introduction[YouTube]. Retrieved from

Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Mayer, R. (2004). Should there be a three-strikes rule against pure discovery learning? American Psychologist, 59(1), 14-19.

Sieck, W. (2018, February 9). Teaching kids to program computers. Thinker Academy. Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “This One or That One?

  1. Brandi,

    Larson and Lockee state “Instructional strategies are the very heart of an instructional design” (p.149, 2014). Choosing the correct strategy for the instruction is important to the outcome. Evaluate the type of instruction and the needed outcome to decide what type of strategy to use. The five-step process discussed by Larson and Lockee helps determine the correct strategy for the instruction (2014). Scaffolding strategies like KWL charts and think, pair, share, are valuable to assess learners’ knowledge levels. I love the infographic on instructional strategies. This is a great resource to refer to during the design process.

    Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.


  2. Brandi,
    I’m definitely pinning your first graphic- I love the way this is visually organized. I’m also a fan of using guided discover techniques with my students. I like that you mentioned the Constructivist approach and educators utilizing the goals to drive the instruction (Larson and Lockee, 2014).

    Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.


  3. Larson and Lockee also state “teaching strategies are the techniques used by an instructor or the instruction to bring about a specific learning outcome, and learning strategies are “those steps taken by the learner to….make learning more efficient and effective” (2014, p.149). Gaining an understanding of what you want your learners to know by developing outcomes using effective strategies that align with your goals.

    Larson, M.B., & Lockee, B.B. (2014). Streamlined ID, a practical guide to instructional design . New York, NY: Routledge.


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