How to Teach Concepts?

How to Teach Concepts?

How to Teach Concepts?

Concepts are the mental representations or prototypes of objects or ideas. They make our language and mental representation efficient. For example, if you have hundreds of chairs, how can you know which kind of chair you really need? You would need to know the kind of chair you want.

There are two features of concepts: Critical features and irrelevant features. Critical features are associated with concepts, for example, the critical features of a chair can refer to its seat for one person, or its supports. Irrelevant features are associated with the concepts of a chair such as its colors, shapes and forms.

Also, there are two types of concepts: Concrete and Abstract. Through concrete concepts, you can identify or label the parts of a chair and through abstract concepts; you can define its object integrity, goal and deposit.

During technical training, it is very important to identify the concepts of an object, especially the technical terms. For this, first identify the concept you have to explain before you explain the procedure. Not only is this important but also very challenging, because you as an expert are thoroughly conversant with the object’s content, its learning objectives and outline. However, anyone new to this domain may find this difficult to understand. So, it is very important to identify the technical concepts of an object. The suggested way of doing this is to see the procedure and then go for those terms which the learners are unfamiliar with.

Concepts can be learned at the Remember level by memorizing its definition or critical features. The Remember and Application level stages of Concepts allow for other forms of information besides facts to be applied. At the Remember level, the learner can recall the definition or summarize the critical features and at Application level, he should be able to identify or discriminate the concept by picking a valid example from non-examples.

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  • Teaching concepts adresses more than cognition and memory. the concepts of life often have similar understandings but for each individual shades of color…ie Love..Fear, hate, jealousy until there is agreement that there is no common definition there is no conversation. With an understanding of a willness to reach a common definition and experiential understanding of the concept, visualization exercises combined with sharing within the course bring alignment to the definitions, experience and understandings associated with concepts. The more difficult the concept or the more painful, the more resistent to the experience students can be.

  • In brief, teach concepts using as many different ways to engage the senses and interests of the learner. Concepts need to be mentally tactile.

  • One of my approaches is developing a framework and taking metrics on results. For example.

    1Strategy before tactics. “Why” before “How”
    2)Identify concepts and map relationships
    3)Assessment of learner base concepts and common language.
    4)Explain concept and “Make it sticky”
    5)Indicate relationship to other concepts
    6)Be very clear on learner outcomes to assess effectiveness.

    My goal generally is to change a behaviour, not teach things.

    A simple example. Student Goal: Lose weight, not learn about calories.
    As a teacher I may teach about calories in relation to the outcome, Once they understand calories I may use this to deliver other concepts. I am also aware, through concept

  • Continued from above:

    I am also aware, through concept mapping, that is not necessary to understand calories to achieve this goal.

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    For in-depth understanding and strategies for teaching or training, check out the book, Teaching Concepts: An Instructional Design Guide by Merrill & Tennyson, who have done the lion’s share of research on concept acquisition.