## Which Came First?

“The transformation of students into autonomous, self-directed learners is not the inevitable outcome of educational experiences, even learner-centered ones.” Maryellen Weimer

The ability to choose and to use effective instructional strategies for the class population is a hallmark of a truly professional educator. While chosen instructional strategies are highly dependent on the course objectives, *effective* strategies are implicitly dependent on the class population.

In planning for instruction, consideration of materials and instructional strategies is completed **after** objectives and assessment are determined and sequence is laid out. This is done to assure students will reach the level of mastery set for them. But how can you determine the level of mastery you expect your students to attain if you don’t know where they are in the learning process to begin with? Should you match instructional strategies to the OBJECTIVE or to the LEARNER? Which comes first?

Instructional strategy planning includes choices like these for the instructor – should I:

Tell students

Let students discover

Discuss

Show them how to do

Encourage them to try

Have them work alone

Have them work together

Answer questions

Encourage others to respond

Correct mistakes

Let student find own mistake

Review verbally

Use handouts

Create visuals as part of instruction

Use prepared visuals

Rely on my own expertise

Seek outside sources

Do you choose to accomplish the objective? Do you choose to meet the learner’s needs? Are these mutually exclusive?

If the transformation of students into autonomous, self-directed learners is not the ** inevitable** outcome of educational experiences, as Weimer says, can it at least be a

**one? Choosing effective instructional strategies that meet both the object and the learner’s needs may make it so.**

*probable*
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