Authentic learning produces understanding and enables transfer. Effective instruction moves learners from knowing the details of content or skills to understanding how they fit together so that intentional application can be made.

However, not all learning involves the same cognitive processes. The identification of what is being taught impacts the choice of instructional methods.

Architecture of Learning enables teachers to identify the type of subject matter they are teaching (content, skill, combination), identify the underlying patterns that support that subject matter, develop instruction that engages mental processes appropriate for developing understanding, identify the form and content of appropriate assessments and develop those assessments, and teach with an emphasis on understanding, utility, and integration.