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IDEA Objective 1

IDEA Objective 1: Gaining a Basic Understanding of the Subject

What is this objective?

  • This objective is based on the lower levels of understanding and knowledge in Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy and deals with the acquisition of the elementary understanding of the course/lab upon which more advanced learning relies.
  • Traditional teaching practices of lecturing and reading can only ‘deliver’ the information to the learners, but without the actual involvement of the learners there is no guarantee that they learn, understand and retain the information.
  • When students understand the relevance and usefulness of the course content, when their curiosity is piqued, when they see the information presented to them as important, they tend to put in more efforts to stay engaged and as a results perform better. From the IDEA surveys point of view, these parameters highly correlate with the student ratings of the course and the teaching.

How can one teach this objective?

  • Focus on the learner by involving them in the learning process. Instead of starting the class by simply stating the principle, ask a question. Let their curiosity and interest pique. Let them come up with the relevance of the principle to the real life.
  • Allow room for motivational teaching strategies in your teaching. Provide students with opportunities to work on different problems or questions and let them come up with their own interpretations. There is no bigger motivation than when a student can say “I did it myself”.
  • Revisit the previously learned topics and tie it to the new material. This reinforces the idea of retaining knowledge and the importance of building upon it.
  • Allow opportunities for practice. Incorporating core principles into activities, enhances learning and understanding immensely.
  • Provide effective and constructive feedback. As a teacher you have to tell them i) what their current understanding is, ii) how far are they from the course/lab goal, and iii) how would they reach the goal.   
  • Encourage team-based learning. Peer learning can encourage conceptual understanding and can help student learn better.

How can one assess this objective?

  • Use knowledge surveys to assess the progress of the students. The responses are to the questions are contrasted with correct responses and students can assess what they know and what they need to work on to perform better.
  • Use ‘clickers’. These can be used to immediately asses the student attention and understanding and you can also follow up on the questions. The follow-ups can be opened to the class as discussions about the correct answer or even interpretations of their choice for an answer.


Reference and resource:


Author:                             Praveena KanchupatiPhD. Candidate & GTA Consultant

                                          Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning


Contact:                            Kevin Sackreiter, Ed.D., Director

                                          Center for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning


Contributions:                   Shelly Bayer, Ed.D.