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Instructional Materials

Instructional Materials

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Published by: vricxzs on Sep 04, 2009
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Instructional aids
are devices that assist an instructor in the teaching-learning process.Instructional aids are not self-supporting; they are supplementary training devices. The keyfactor is that instructional aids support, supplement, or reinforce.While instructors may become involved in the selection and preparation of instructional aids,usually they are already in place. Instructors simply need to learn how to effectively usethem.
Instructional Aid Theory
For many years, educators have theorized about how the human brain and the memoryfunction during the communicative process. There is general agreement about certaintheoretical factors that seem pertinent to understanding the use of instructional aids.
1.
During the communicative process, the sensory register of the memoryacts as a filter.
As stimuli are received, the individual's sensory register worksto sort out the important bits of information from the routine or less significantbits. Within seconds, what is perceived as the most important information ispassed to the working or short-term memory where it is processed for possiblestorage in the long-term memory. This complex process is enhanced by the useof appropriate instructional aids that highlight and emphasize the main points orconcepts.
2.
The working or short-term memory functions are limited by both timeand capacity.
Therefore, it is essential that the information be arranged inuseful bits or chunks for effective coding, rehearsal, or recording. Theeffectiveness of the instructional aid is critical for this process. Carefully selectedcharts, graphs, pictures, or other well-organized visual aids are examples of items that help the student understand, as well as retain, essential information.
3.
Ideally, instructional aids should be designed to cover the key pointsand concepts.
In addition, the coverage should be straightforward and factualso it is easy for students to remember and recall. Generally, instructional aidsthat are relatively simple are best suited for this purpose.
Reasons for Use of Instructional Aids
1.
It helps the students remember important information.2.When properly used, they help gain and hold the attention of students.
3.
 Audio or visual aids can be very useful in supporting a topic, and the combination of both audio and visual stimuli is particularly effective since the two most important senses are involved.
Instructors should keep in mind that they often are salesmen of ideas, and many of the best sales techniques that attract the attention of potentialclients are well worth considering. One caution-the instructional aid should keepstudent attention on the subject; it should not be a distracting gimmick.
4.
Good instructional aids also can help solve certain language barrier problems.
Consider the continued expansion of technical terminology in everyday usage. This,coupled with culturally diverse backgrounds of today's students, makes it necessaryfor instructors to be precise in their choice of terminology. Words or terms used in aninstructional aid should be carefully selected to convey the same meaning for thestudent as they do for the instructor. They should provide an accurate visual imageand make learning easier for the student.
5.
 Another use for instructional aids is to clarify the relationships between material objects and concepts.
When relationships are presented visually, they often are mucheasier to understand. For example, the subsystems within a physical unit are
 
relatively easy to relate to each other through the use of schematics or diagrams.Symbols, graphs, and diagrams can also show relationships of location, size, time,frequency, and value. By symbolizing the factors involved, it is even possible tovisualize abstract relationships.Clearly, a major goal of all instruction is for thestudent to be able toretain as muchknowledge of the subjectas possible, especiallythe key points.Numerous studies haveattempted to determinehow well instructionalaids serve this purpose.Indications from thestudies vary greatly-from modest results,which show a 10 to 15percent increase inretention, to moreoptimistic results inwhich retention isincreased by as much as80 percent.
6.
Good instructional aids also can help solve certain language barrier problems.
Consider the continued expansion of technical terminology in everyday usage. This,coupled with culturally diverse backgrounds of today's students, makes it necessaryfor instructors to be precise in their choice of terminology. Words or terms used in aninstructional aid should be carefully selected to convey the same meaning for thestudent as they do for the instructor. They should provide an accurate visual imageand make learning easier for the student.
7.
 Another use for instructional aids is to clarify the relationships between material objects and concepts.
When relationships are presented visually, they often are mucheasier to understand. For example, the subsystems within a physical unit arerelatively easy to relate to each other through the use of schematics or diagrams.Symbols, graphs, and diagrams can also show relationships of location, size, time,frequency, and value. By symbolizing the factors involved, it is even possible tovisualize abstract relationships.Instructors are frequently asked to teach more and more in a smaller time frame.Instructional aids can help them do this. For example, instead of using many words todescribe a sound, object, or function, the instructor plays a recording of the sound, shows apicture of the object, or presents a diagram of the function. Consequently, the studentlearns faster and more accurately, and the instructor saves time in the process.
Guidelines for Use of Instructional Aids
The use of any instructional aid must be planned, based on its ability to support a specificpoint in a lesson. A simple process can be used to determine if and where instructional aidsare necessary.
 
Clearly establish the lesson objective. Be certain of what is to be communicated.Gather the necessary data by researching for support material.Organize the material into an outline or a lesson plan. The plan should include allkey points that need to be covered. This may include important safetyconsiderations.Select the ideas to be supported with instructional aids. The aids should beconcentrated on the key points. Aids are often appropriate when long segments of technical description are necessary, when a point is complex and difficult to put intowords, when instructors find themselves forming visual images, or when students arepuzzled by an explanation or description.Aids should be simple and compatible with the learning outcomes to be achieved. Obviously,an explanation of elaborate equipment may require detailed schematics or mockups, butless complex equipment may lend itself to only basic shapes or figures. Since aids arenormally used in conjunction with a verbal presentation, words on the aid should be kept toa minimum. In many cases, visual symbols and slogans can replace extended use of verbiage. The instructor should avoid the temptation to use the aids as a crutch. Thetendency toward unnecessarily distracting artwork also should be avoided.Instructional aids should appeal to the student and be based on sound principles of instructional design. When practical, they should encourage student participation. They alsoshould be meaningful to the student, lead to the desired behavioral or learning objectives,and provide appropriate reinforcement. Aids that involve learning a physical skill shouldguide students toward mastery of the skill or task specified in the lesson objective.

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