Every learning solution, formal or informal, employs one or more of the following four basic strategies, whether or not this is a conscious decision:
Exposition is the simple delivery of information from subject expert to learner, typically as part of a formal syllabus. Examples include lectures, presentations and prescribed reading. The driver for this strategy is very definitely the subject expert, who may or may not have any knowledge of or interest in the process of learning.
Because exposition is relatively unstructured and unsupported, it is best suited to learners with higher levels of prior knowledge, who are quite capable of sorting out the wheat from the chaff and who are unlikely to get overwhelmed.
Instruction is a much more systematic process which typically starts with the formulation of specific learning objectives and culminates in some form of assessment. Along the way, a variety of approaches may be used to convey information and all sorts of practical exercises used to help the learner develop the required knowledge and skills.
Instruction can take place in the classroom, through interactive, self-study materials or on the job. The driver for this strategy is the instructor or, in the case of self-study materials, the instructional designer. Instruction is ideally suited to the teaching of routine, rule-based tasks, as well as providing the relative novice with the structure and support that they require.
Next up: Four strategies for learning II