Online versus. Traditional Classes teaching


Direct instruction is a teaching model that is central to the teaching process and cannot be divorced from it. It hinges on the learning theory of behaviorism and employs a lot of teacher-student interaction. It involves the teacher lecturing, guiding the students through the steps of discussing and problem solving and finally giving the students problems to solve on their own.       There are Courses that require intensive teacher guidance, Math and other technical subjects are the best examples that come to mind. They require that the teacher monitors the progress of the lesson that may last more than 35 minutes and responds to the needs of individual students focusing on specific areas that they may have difficulties or may require elaboration. Situations like this call for the instructor to directly help the student tackle the problem. In such a case, use of direct instruction is appropriate and enhances quality of the learning process through techniques such as verbal questions and answers and putting the learners in groups and assigning each group a set of problems to solve (Hemmings, 2006). This is a stark difference to the online learning process where questions are mainly posted on discussion boards and would not be as effective in these subjects where Student-lecturer interaction is key for the student to learn. It allows for student to probe further and acquire better understanding

Where the mode of teaching is sign language as is the case for non-auditory learners or where students have special disabilities that facilitate the need for the physical presence of the teacher, direct instruction is the most viable method of teaching. Visual learning can only be possible through sight where the learner is deprived of auditory senses (Burns, 2004). It enables the learners to participate in the activities of the learning process as well as would any other student without that predicament. Without this method, learning would be virtually impossible for such special learners.

Laboratory sessions use direct instruction. Students get to learn how to use laboratory equipment through demonstrations by the teacher as it is the most appropriate way to teach lab techniques. Safety measures are also learnt best through drills where the instructor actually leads the learners through the practice. It also provides an effective way by which the teacher can evaluate response: after giving out instructions, he lets them carry out the activities on their own, from which he can evaluate whether the content of the lesson was understood adequately (Bybee, 2010).

In Distance Education settings, direct instruction can best be applied though real time interactive video conferencing technology. Transmission of audio and video ensures that the teaching and learning process resembles the experience of a real classroom or lecture hall. A workable model already in use is the use of ‘video halls’ at distant learning centers where learners share the facilities and get taught through interaction with the instructor in real time. The use of this technology makes it possible for the implementation of direct instruction in distance learning when all the variables involved are commensurate with each other (Hemmings, 2006). Studies that have assessed the effectiveness of this system looked at the implementation of course material, the instructor and the student, the teaching and learning process and found it a method as practical and as effective as conventional DI in the classroom (Bybee, 2010).

The usefulness of direct instruction in the learning society cannot be understated; it is the method of teaching through which learners are introduced to the venture of knowledge acquisition through Education. Because the teacher has control of the learning process, he is able to provide guidance in the early stages when a student is in the process of acquainting himself with the content of his preferred course. It is one of the benchmarks by which the effectiveness of newer teaching methods is evaluated.


Burns, E. (2004). The Special Education Consultant Teacher. Springfield: Charles C Thomas Publisher.

Bybee, R. W. (2010). The Teaching of Science: 21st Century Perspectives. Arlington: NSTA Press.

Hemmings, A. B. (2006). Classroom Authority: Theory, Research And Practice. London: Routledge.


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