Instructional design/Cognitive behaviors/Teaching Procedures, page 2

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What Is a Procedural Task?Edit

A procedural task involves performing a procedure, which is a sequence of activities to achieve a goal. Synonyms include method, technique, skill, and rule (sometimes). A procedure can be either of two types:

  • A physical procedure, which entails the execution of physical movements, like performing a serve in tennis.
  • A mental procedure, which entails the execution of mental operations, like adding two numbers in your head.

Actually, most procedures are a combination of physical and mental activities. However, usually only one of the two kinds of activities needs to be taught—the other has already been mastered. A case in point is the procedure for writing an essay; we assume that the physical activity of writing has already been mastered.

Why Are Procedural Tasks Important?Edit

In almost everything we do, we do it at least partially by using a procedure (following steps), from reading, writing, and arithmetic, to flying airplanes, doing our jobs, using our cars, cooking our meals, and getting dressed. We even use procedures to classify concepts. Often we invent appropriate procedures based on our understanding of relevant principles. In essence, procedures are the form of almost everything we do. Given the importance of procedural skills in our professional and personal lives, it is essential that instructional developers and instructors know how to teach them well.

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