HOW TO INDIVIDUALIZE INSTRUCTIONAL EFFORTS
Now it is time to get down to some of the nitty-gritty aspects foundational to the individualizing process. In Part One we discussed several instructional elements that are important in deciding to utilize individualizing approaches. Assuming you have now made the decision to adapt the process or some aspects of it for your own instructional or training needs, Part Two provides some fundamental information about how we individualize our instructional efforts.
Chapter Six describes the individualizing process. It focuses on the question of how can the individualizing of instruction be established? This is an important chapter to read and understand, because it describes how the basic individualizing process works for us in a formal classroom or training setting. Each step in the six-step model is presented and corresponding activities or functions described.
These include the activities typically required prior to meeting your learners for the first time, how to create a positive learning environment, what is required in developing the instructional plan, how to identify various learning activities, and what kinds of institutional support is needed. A chart is provided to help you analyze any physical environment in which you find your instructional or training efforts taking place.
In Chapter Seven, we provide information pertaining to the assessment of learners' needs and describe the importance of such information in subsequent design and planning efforts. It speaks to the question of how can what the learner knows and needs to know be determined within the individualizing process. We describe what we like to use for both individual and group needs assessment activities. We also describe some of the on-going needs assessment activities that should be employed. A needs diagnostic tool is provided for your review, adoption, or adaptation.
Chapter Eight focuses on the question of how learning contracts can be used as a tool to enhance the individualizing process and describes the various ways we have employed them. A sample learning contract form is included. We also tell about several related issues, such as some alternative approaches in contracting, how to deal with initial learner hesitancy or confusion regarding contracts, how contracts can be linked to grades, and whether or not contracts make a difference in the individualizing process.
The final chapter in Part Two discusses methods of evaluating individualized instruction and learning. It describes how evaluation of the learners, the instructional process, and yourself as instructor is crucial to the overall success you and your learners or trainees will experience. Such topics as grading or testing, learner assessment techniques, and how to evaluate your courses are explored. We include a model of a formative evaluation tool that we use midway through our courses.
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