So what is it?
Exposition is the delivery of information from teacher or subject expert to learner. It’s as simple as that.
Exposition is essentially a one-way process, although it may include some modest Q&A or discussion. The strategy is top-down and teacher-centred because it is the person designing and/or delivering who determines what information is to be delivered and how (and sometimes also where and when).
How about some examples?
Exposition can take place in the context of an event, such as a lecture, a seminar or a presentation, face-to-face or online. It can also take the form of content, using text, images, animation, audio or video. Historically content like this was delivered using books, tapes, CDs and DVDs, although it is more likely these days to be consumed online or downloaded for delivery on portable platforms such as iPods and e-book readers.
When should I use it?
For exposition to work as a strategy, the student must be a relatively independent learner, with a good awareness of what they do and do not know about the subject in question. This is likely to include senior professionals, such as hospital consultants, lawyers, accountants, executives, academics, etc. They will be able to determine what is most relevant and therefore most important to focus on and process further, whereas the dependent or novice learner could easily be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of undifferentiated information.
Because of the absence of interaction, exposition requires less design than, say, highly-participative face-to-face workshops and self-paced tutorials. However, careful planning is still going to be a great help to the reader, listener or viewer:
- making clear what is the most important information and what is just nice to know;
- using story-telling and anecdotes to bring abstract concepts to life;
- making the most appropriate use of media elements – text, images, animation, audio and video;
- paring down the volume of content to reduce wasted time and minimise the risk of overload;
- modularising the content so it can be easily random-accessed and reviewed.
Choose exposition as a strategy when you need to control what information is delivered and to whom, and when you feel confident that the target audience will happily be able to work with this information without a great deal of support. If you judge the situation right, then you’ll save an awful lot of money not having to run workshops or create interactive online materials.
Move on to the next strategy: instruction
You’ve read them all. So what now?