The Goal of Instruction
Whether in the classroom or on the field, the major goal of instruction is, or at least should be, to equip learners with knowledge or skills that are both durable and flexible. We want knowledge and skills to be durable in the sense of remaining accessible across periods of disuse and to be flexible in the sense of being accessible in the various contexts in which they are relevant, not simply in contexts that match those experienced during instruction.
In other words, instruction should endeavor to facilitate learning, which refers to the relatively permanent changes in behavior or knowledge that support longterm retention and transfer. Paradoxically, however, such learning needs to be distinguished from performance, which refers to the temporary fluctuations in behavior or knowledge that can be observed and measured during or immediately after the acquisition process.
The distinction between learning and performance is crucial because there now exists overwhelming empirical evidence showing that considerable learning can occur in the absence of any performance gains and, conversely, that substantial changes in performance often fail to translate into corresponding changes in learning.
Complete the form to download the full article.