Learning theory strongly suggests that we take on a constructivist or social construcitivst approach most of the time when facilitating our classes. There is, however, a need to take on a more instructor-centric approach every now and then.
Let's find out when this approach, commonly known as "spoon-feeding," can be more effective for our learners.
Think of a situation wherein you need to teach a learner how to operate a delicate machine. A wrong press of a button can destroy the equipment or have serious consequences. If this is the case, instructor intervention and management is crucial to ensure that the learner gets to grasp the basics. By adopting a "spoon-feeding" approach, learners can start of with the basic knowledge imparted by the instructor and can use that as a foundation and build from there.
2. When the subject matter is writ in stone.
Straight-forward topics, especially laws, rules, and generally accepted theories do not leave much room for interpretation. They are what they are - black or white, do or do not, yes or no. If the subject matter is like this, it is best to have an expert discuss it - and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
3. When speed to competency is critical.
Speed to competency is the reason behind why every project has a timeline. Speed to competency entails that the learning objectives have been met within the session and the expected performance has been attained within the allotted time. When it comes to comes to clients, they want their return of investment as soon as possible - and time is usually very scarce for their learners (employees). So, in this light, the best approach to take would be to have an instructor guide the learners; though a blended learning approach can also be applied; of course, depending on the time frame.
4. When the topic is complex.
Take note of the difference between complicated and complex. Complicated topics can still be discussed through a self-discovery approach (or an inductive approach). Complex topics are different though. Complexity includes a lot of inter-dependencies, intricacies, and lots of "moving parts;" thus, an inductive approach might lead to confusion or misinterpretation when left to the learners. The discussion of complex topics are best facilitated by a subject matter expert who can guide the learners in the process from end-to-end.
5. When the expected learning outcome is inherent.
Same thing as number 2, when the expected learning outcome is non-negotiable or black-or-white, it is always best to have an instructor facilitate the session. What we don't want are misinterpretations or wrong assumptions on the subject matter.
There you go! Those are the 5 situations when utilizing an instructor-centric approach is best. If you know any other situations, please let us and the community know through the comments field below. Cheers!