Teaching Tips

There are a variety of principles, methods, and strategies that relate to education, teaching, and training.

This section will allow you to explore said topics and act as a resource to help improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

Learning Outcomes


Intellectual Skills Level

Higher Order Rule Using (HORUS): Always requires the person to solve a new (novel) problem by inventing a new rule.

Rule Using: A rule is made up of 2 concepts, which when combined, produce a predictable result. A critical attribute of rule using is recognizing the situation (or cues) that prompt the rule and applying the rule to some concrete instances. New, the input is a situation and there is a new result that is not a situation (problem). You have to resolve it, not just classify it.

Defined Concept: Classifying things that are abstract. Classifying a definition of a concept by using examples per the definition.

Concrete Concept: Classifying objects that are concrete. Things you can touch. Identify a new thing you have not seen before and categorize it.

Discrimination: Identifying whether or not the new sample is the same as or different from a known sample. Has to be new. Are they the same or different?

Information Level

Body of Knowledge: Stating something, paraphrasing. General ideas are stated.
Fact: Statement made either orally or in writing, paraphrasing. Stating a relationship between 2 or more named objects or events.

Miscellaneous Cognitive Items

Label: Learning the name of an object but not the meaning.
Verbal Chain: Repeating sounds or words without knowing their meanings.
Stimulus>Response (S>R): Responding to a stimulus, usually automatically, often without significant cognitive processing.


Attitude: Personal actions, showing positive-to-negative tendencies toward some objects, events, or persons.

Cognitive Strategy Level: The learner manages his/her own thinking process. It is the object of the skill which differentiates a cognitive strategy from other intellectual skills. Cognitive strategy has an affective component; you have to want to do something.


Executive Routine: It is the cognitive part of a motor skill that chooses and sequences the separate actions that make up the total motor skill. Invisible to the observer.

Gross Motor Skills: A motor skill that does not require a high degree of precision. In general, strength & speed (when fully exerted) are gross motor skills.

Fine Motor Skills: A motor skill that does require a high degree of precision.

Instructional Design/Technology

Before defining Instructional Design/Technology, first break down the phrase and consider definitions within it.

Instruction: the act or practice of teaching or informing.

Technology: applying knowledge through a process or method used to supply a solution for a specific need using tools.

The Instructional Technology is a systematic technique to designing instruction using the most appropriate learning principles, techniques and tools to improve performance according to a specific skill or knowledge deficiency.
Instructional Design Process:

  1. Analyze
  2. Develop non-training
  3. Design Phase
  4. Development Phase
  5. Pilot Implementation
  6. Implementation
  7. Evaluation

Writing Instructionally Sound Objectives

Objectives are objectives despite the name preceding them.

The three most popular names are:

  • Instructional Objectives
  • Performance Objectives
  • Behavioral Objectives

The following information is based on Robert F. Mager's writings.

Definition: A collection of words and/or pictures and diagrams intended to let others know what you expect your students to achieve. A description of what a student will be able to do when competent.

It is related to intended outcomes, rather than the process for achieving those outcomes.
It is specific & measurable, rather than broad & intangible.
It is concerned with students, not teachers.

Not to be confused with Goals. Goals are broad, generalized statements of what will be learned.

Why use objectives? Objectives are the key to developing effective instruction. Without objectives, one will never be able to create an instructionally sound course or lesson.

Your course content, materials, media, and instructional strategies will be derived from the objectives you have written. Classifying your objectives by learning outcomes will help you choose the proper media and instructional strategies.

  • Your evaluation\test should correlate 1:1 with the objectives.
  • Students will have a clear understanding of what is expected of them by reading the objectives.

There are 3 main characteristics of an objective:

  1. Performance/Behavior: An objective always states that a learner is expected to be able to do and/or produce to be considered competent. This is written as an action or as an observable performance.
  2. Conditions: An objective describes the important conditions or circumstances (if any) under which the performance is to occur. In other words, what the student is allowed & needs in order to accomplish the objective such as, materials, tools, and equipment.
  3. Criterion: An objective describes the criteria of acceptable performance; that is, it says how well someone would have to perform to be considered competent. The criterion is set by standards, rules, laws, guidelines, accuracy or other things a student needs to meet before being considered proficient.

A well stated objective will describe:
(1) the action (main intent) to be performed,
(2) where it's necessary to clarify your intent, the conditions, necessary materials/tools or “givens” under which the action is to take place, and
(3) the criteria by which to judge successful performance.

Writing Objectives in their proper format:

When writing an objective it is usually standard to start by stating the conditions, materials, tools, or other items necessary to achieve the performance/behavior. Then state who the audience is followed by what they are expected to be able to do and/or produces to be considered competent. This is usually written as an action or as an observable performance. The last thing you must state is the criterion, meaning the standards that are to be met in order to be considered competent.

Given {Under What Circumstances/Conditions?}, {Who?} will be able to {Verb/Performance?} {What?} within {Criterion?}.

Verb List (General)
Verb List by Subject

Example 1:

Conditions: Given protective clothing appropriate for your job,
Performance/Behavior: put on the clothing,
Criterion: without damaging the clothing.

Example 2:

Conditions: Given a patient with complaints of not seeing well, the necessary tools, and a pair of spectacles made exactly to the Rx, but is not properly adjusted,
Performance/Behavior: opticians will be able to adjust the frames,
Criterion: to correct the vision problem.

More Examples
What's wrong with these examples?

Example 1: Students will be able to match vocabulary words with their definitions.

Example 2: Given several math equations and several math problems, students will be able to solve each problem.

General Problems & Solutions

Problem: The objective is too broad, complicated or is actually more than one objective.
Solution: Simplify/break apart.

Problem: The objective does not list the correct behavior, condition, and/or criterion or they are missing.
Solution: Be more specific, make sure the behavior, condition, and criterion is included.

Problem: Givens describes instruction, not conditions.
Solution: Check to make sure you are describing the conditions, what is needed, not the instructions.

Problem: No true overt, observable performance listed.
Solution: Describe a behavior that is observable