Tag Archives: Cognitive

Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction

The University of Florida. Center for Instructional Technology & Training, ‘Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction‘ (from Robert Gagné’s 1965 book, The Conditions of Learning)

This is a useful list of the nine events of instruction, based on the ‘information processing model’.  It is described on our Moodle page as ‘a behaviourist model which also draws from the cognitive approach.’  It seems very logical, though perhaps less interactive than other approaches I’ve been reading about.  In my own context, I have difficulty with some of the nine events – not a theoretical difficulty, but a difficulty in their application, as I shall explore herewith.

I would instinctively begin by telling a class what I was going to be talking about with them.  In a library context, this would tend to be along the lines of, “help you to use the catalogue more effectively so you can find the materials you need for your studies”; “give you an oversight of the many electronic resources available to you here in RCS, and help you decide which might be most useful to you”; or – for my postgraduate researchers, “help you to work out an effective strategy to keep on top of your citations and bibliography,” in the context of the bundle of useful transferable skills that a doctoral student can be expected to acquire.  There’s a very useful website called Vitae (realising the potential of researchers), from which I use their Vitae Researcher Development Framework as the broad context for my work.

Stimulating recall of prior learning is not quite so easy when you’re giving one-off classes.  The best one can do is to prompt contributions from individual students about how they themselves have, for example, kept on top of their bibliographical references – or relate my cautionary tale of the girl who had a great quotation, with no idea where it came from, and see if anyone else has any other ‘dissertation nightmares’ that they’re brave enough to share.

As I’ve mentioned earlier today, I am hoping to invite students to come ready to share with their peers any ‘good practice’ of their own, so although I’ll obviously be presenting content (step 4), I am hoping not to stand delivering a monologue.  ‘Learning guidance’ (5) in this context will entail demonstrating some key tools.  In an hour, I hadn’t envisaged offering hands-on experience (6), which couldn’t be done in much depth.  I plan for the session to be more one of shared experience, than a computer-based workshop.

As a consequence, Gagne’s events 7 and 8 are not quite applicable to my purposes.  Instead of providing feedback and assessing performance, I would prefer to initiate a discussion, summing up some of the conclusions we’d reached, and encouraging students to come and see me individually if they wanted to explore any particular aspect or technique in greater depth.  I would then follow up a day or two later with an email asking if the session had been helpful; if there were any points I could clarify or expand upon; or any suggestions for future sessions.  This would be how I interpret event 9, since ‘enhance retention and transfer to the job’, whilst desirable, is something I have little control over.

Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction

  1. Gain attention

  2. Inform learners of objectives

  3. Stimulate recall of prior learning

  4. Present the content

  5. Provide “learning guidance”

  6. Elicit performance (practice).

  7. Provide feedback

  8. Assess performance

  9. Enhance retention and transfer to the job

More Reading – Bloom’s Taxonomy

Chapman, Alan – bloom’s taxonomy – learning domains

http://www.businessballs.com/bloomstaxonomyoflearningdomains.htm (‘Benjamin Bloom’s and others original concepts as stated in material; Alan Chapman contextual material, review, code, design 2006-2009‘)

The key points to take from this reading are that the ‘taxonomy’ is a classification of learning types.  Near the start of the article, its author explains the classification of learning into three types:- Cognitive, Emotive, and Psychomotor, ie intellectual, feelings, and manual or physical skills:-

Bloom’s Taxonomy model is in three parts, or ‘overlapping domains’. Again, Bloom used rather academic language, but the meanings are simple to understand:

  1.  Cognitive domain (intellectual capability, ie., knowledge, or ‘think’)
  2. Affective domain (feelings, emotions and behaviour, ie., attitude, or ‘feel’)
  3. Psychomotor domain (manual and physical skills, ie., skills, or ‘do’)

We progress through different levels (capabilities) in each domain as we acquire any new learning.  A number of tables follow, along with expansion upon Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy, and some discussion of how his successors developed the theories.

Another, shorter piece of writing on the subject can be found in a document, ‘Writing Learning Objectives at UKCLE‘, which practically addresses which verbs, objects and conditions to use when framing learning objectives.

The key question is, how could I use this analysis in my role as teaching artist?  My initial reaction is that, in my forthcoming lesson on research and bibliographic skills, I almost need to engage the students’ affective domain before anything else.  It’s very difficult making bibliographic skills seem appealing!  By way of a parallel, I remember classes on Dewey Classification at library school.  It was such a tedious topic that our lecturer’s lilting Welsh accent was just about the highlight of each lesson.  We didn’t blame him, or consider him boring – it was just a very hard topic to get enthusiastic about.  And keeping accurate records for your bibliography is a similarly dry subject.

Therefore, If I can get research students to recognise that they need to acquire these skills, then I hope they’ll be more willing to engage with the subject.  So, as I see it, the emotive or affective element is recognising the need to learn.

The cognitive learning element is understanding HOW to keep an accurate bibliography and redeploy it into subsequent writings.

The author of the article admits that Bloom spent less time on the psychomotor learning.  In truth, how do you separate out learning how to create a bibliographic reference, into its cognitive and psychomotor components?  Keeping your grasp on a mountain of paperwork and physically filing it away logically does have a psychomotor element, I suppose, but I’m more concerned with digital applications than with filing papers!

At the moment my lesson plan is in my head.  I may well have an opening powerpoint image of a pile of books and papers, messed up and apparently in no order (plenty of examples upstairs in my house!), so that I can make the point that there’s a fine line between ‘organised chaos’ (a euphemism if ever there was one), and total confusion. I am  hoping to begin the session by encouraging the research students to discuss their own record-keeping and note-taking practices, so I can find out what they already know, and get them to share ‘best practice’ before I wade in with a bunch of good suggestions of my own.

I am intending to email them – and maybe use our Whittaker Live blog and Twitter, before the session with the dual purpose of reminding them to turn up, and getting them to start thinking about the topic before they arrive.