Today’s students thrive on interaction and immediate feedback. They desire to connect with others, whether across the room or around the world, because these connections represent access to information and expertise. Much of traditional classroom learning is no longer optimized for today’s students.
How can teachers engage students in ways that capitalize on their ability to gather information, use it to fuel inquiry, and produce growth and solutions for today’s world?
It all depends on learning. When we understand how learning occurs, we can develop instruction that equips students to learn well (know what), respond wisely (know how), and contribute meaningfully (think critically and creatively).
This kind of instruction requires a tested, rubber-meets-the-road strategy; something that is solidly researched, accessible for any educator, and proven reliable. We call it the Architecture of Learning.
The Architecture of Learning Instructional Design Model
Years of researching neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology convinced us the key to designing effective teaching is understanding how people learn. So, we developed the Architecture of Learning instructional design model. Simply stated, it’s a blueprint that incorporates the core processes of learning and patterns instruction accordingly: Experience provides us with new information. As we organize that new information, we gain new knowledge. As we recognize patterns in that new information and compare them with our reference points of past experiences, we construct new understanding. When we see the usefulness of this new understanding through practice, we can apply new learning in contexts beyond the classroom.
Instructional integrity results when teachers use blueprints to strategically plan learning based on the type of material being taught. This is instruction that engages today’s students—students “get” the value of the new material because the point of reference is relevant; they grasp new information because they recognize patterns from previous experiences; they respond to modeled examples of its use in a “safe” environment and begin to understand its importance and implications; and eventually they can flourish in a world where they create applications of new learning.
About the Author
Kevin D. Washburn, (Ed.D.), is Executive Director of Clerestory Learning, Cofounder/Co-owner of Make Way for Books, author of the Architecture of Learning instructional design model and its training program, the Writer’s Stylus instructional writing program, and co-author of an instructional reading program used by schools across the country. He is the author of The Architecture of Learning: Designing Instruction for the Learning Brain, and is a member of the International Mind, Brain & Education Society, and the Learning & the Brain Society.
Dr. Washburn specializes in instruction and curriculum. His experience as a teacher in elementary through college level classrooms combines with his penchant for reading and research in educational and scientific areas to uncover important implications for learning. Whether speaking in the classroom or convention setting, writing, or blogging, he conveys a passion for quality teaching and authentic learning.
His other interests include running, cycling, architecture, music, bookstores, and live theater. He also enjoys a good cup of chai, spending time with his lovely wife Julia, and provoking an occasional melodic outburst from their miniature dachshund Ernest. He lives and works in Pelham, AL.