3 Ways to Use Gagne’s Theory of Instruction for Better Teaching

Leaders are teachers. Teaching is how leaders equip their team and prepare them for the work that needs to be done.

3 Ways to Use Gagne's Theory of Instruction for Better Teaching

Flickr Photo Credit: mcholdnicki

However, teaching most be done often and it must be done correctly. While reading the book, Psychology of Learning for Instruction, I learned about Gagne’s Theory for Instruction. It has three lessons leaders can learn for better teaching.

1. Informing the Learner of the Objective
Informing the Learner of the Objective helps the learner to anticipate what is about to be learned. This is important because if the leader does not create the objective of what is about to be taught, the learner will create her own.

When I hear someone give a talk, I often want to hear the main point of the talk because when I know the main point of the talk, I am able to filter all other information around that main point. In future talks I give I plan to inform learners of my objective early in my talk so they know where I am going and can follow along.

2. Eliciting Performance
Eliciting Performance is the act which allows learners to show what they have learned to students, instructors, and others. This is important because the measure that learning has occurred is a change in behavior or performance. This is an interesting event in instruction because students are always told information but frequently not allowed to practice it.

Most learners are like myself; they need to practice things as a way to learn the information. Eliciting Performance is a great way to help learners retain and practice using what they learned in a hands-on way. When I did a teaching in March about how to lead volunteers, I elicited some performance from the audience by giving time at the end of my talk for the learners to discuss what action steps they planned to do with the information they had learned.

3. Modeling as a Condition for Learning Attitudes
Modeling as a Condition for Learning Attitudes is something that I knew about but never realized how much of an impact it has on a learner. I also did not realize that the difference in age between learner and the model has very little impact on the learner.

Modeling is something I have benefited from as a result of my mentor, Steve, who has been a model in my life for the past four years. During that time, Steve has had a positive influence on my life even though he is 40 years older than I am. In my life I must remember that what I say instructs others, but what I do also has a tremendous opportunity to positively impact others simply by allowing them to imitate my behaviors and attitude.

Question: What other ways can leaders teach the people they lead?

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at