THEORY OF INSTRUCTION
My own belief is that a good learning experience is constructive, authentic, and fun. A constructive experience is one where you are building your own understanding of material, and I believe that is best done through a process where you engage actively with the subject at hand. A task is authentic when it reflects (in whole or in part) what you would do in the real world. And lastly, the activity should be challenging and enjoyable.
This theory of instruction come from reading broadly about education, as well as my own experiences teaching in a variety of situations at Indiana University Bloomington, the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, and at the newly founded Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. These principles will continue to evolve and change throughout my career.
In 1987, Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson published an article titled “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” in the American Association for Higher Education Bulletin.
Principles for good practice are part of a theory of instruction: they help guide what you should do when in a variety of instructional settings. I do not believe I can come up with a better list at this time than Chickering and Gamson did. I quote:
Good practice in undergraduate education:
You can find the full article (it’s short) where these principles are introduced online.