6 Direct Instruction

Direct instruction involves an instructor presenting information to learners in a structured and straightforward manner, usually through speaking, writing, and demonstrations.

All instructional approaches require some components of direct instruction, if only to confirm that students understand the goals, instructions, and key points of the learning exercise. When used effectively, direct instruction works well for presenting basic facts, rules, and action sequences. It also facilitates clear explanations and descriptions when the information is not readily available from other sources at an optimal depth or in the right context.

Direct instruction is appropriate for all disciplines, student levels, and course formats, including online, blended, and traditional classroom settings.

Direct instruction can be integrated into active learning designs in many ways. The following example, adapted from Lumen Planning and Teaching Strategies, integrates direct instruction into the introduction, development, and closure stages of a module:

  • Introduction: Set the stage for learning.
  • Development: Model the expected learning outcomes by providing clear explanations and examples.
  • Guided practice: Monitor and engage learners with learning tasks.
  • Closure: Review what was learned.
  • Independent practice: Learners practice without assistance.
  • Evaluation: Assess student performance.

Practice examples

Select the link to read more about direct instruction, as described by the following educators:

• TeachThought: Four teaching tips for more effective direct instruction


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