Back to
Vol. 4, No. 8      August 20, 2008    

Great Reasons to have DSA Develop Your Training
With 26 years of experience at designing and developing great learning experiences. DSA's development teams are focused on creating more cohesive, integrated learning experiences using the latest design methodologies and instructional strategies. DSA works with a wide range of Fortune 500 companies spanning different industries and different content areas, including technical training, management training, legal and regulatory training and sales related training. DSA provides a full range of instructional design consulting services ...Check out our 10 Great Reasons to Have DSA Develop Your Training, then give us a call at 800-650-7465 or email

DSA Workshops
Many of you have been asking about the fall schedule for DSA workshops. The short answer is: we are focusing on our in-company and co-sponsored events, like The Instructional Developer Workshop, Dec. 3-5 in Orlando, sponsored by Training Magazine. You can sign up at the Training events website.

The alternative is a good one: The Course Developer Workshop Online, with Dr. Paul Swan as your personal coach/facilitator. You work on your own project with expert feedback on your lessons. During the online workshops, you will be creating a design document for your own project. Learn at your own pace 24/7.

If you have a group and might be interested in organizing an in-company workshop, call me for details at 800-650-7465.


A Hot Tip for OD Practioners, Project Managers, Change Executives and Consultants
Be sure to check out Results from Change, a free email newsletter from Being First, Inc. that provides proven tips, strategies and tools for leading and consulting to transformational change.


Games, workshops, stories, freebies at


Today's Tip
Teaching Concepts: Combining Science and Creativity

Dr. Darryl SinkIn our last tips newsletter we discussed how to analyze concepts.

Concepts are facts, objects, ideas or events that have common features and are assigned a single name. There are concrete concepts and abstract concepts. We do a concept analysis to come up with the raw material to teach a concept. We need the critical and variable attributes, clear examples, close-in non-examples, and divergent examples that come from a concept analysis. In this DSA Tips Newsletter we will see how to teach a concept.

So what is the scientific way to teach a concept and how can we combine that knowledge with creative instructional strategies that not only get the concept across but also make it memorable and interesting to the learner?

Scientific Procedure:
How to scientifically teach a concept so it can be learned is well researched and documented. Here it is in a nut shell:

Provide a definition of the concept.
Present the learner with simple examples of the concept. In each example, point out the critical and variable attributes of the concept.
When the learner is able to identify clear examples of the concept, present the close-in non-examples. Point out the attributes that are missing in the close-in non-examples.
After the learner is able to distinguish between examples and close-in non-examples of the concept, present divergent examples. Again, in each divergent example, point out the critical and variable attributes of the concept.

To evaluate the learner's mastery of the learning objective, present clear and divergent examples and non-examples of the concept. Ask the learner to identify ones that are examples of the concept.

OK, that should do it… right? Well yes and no. Yes, your learners can learn the concept in this expository way. But what about gaining the learners attention, and making it memorable and interesting so they will want to use the concept in all appropriate situations.  In short, how can we get a little creative?

Making It Interesting:
Could you start off with an experiential activity to gain their attention and capture their emotional energy? Could you draw some of the content from the learners themselves?

Example 1
One of our outstanding designers, Peter C. Honebein, Ph.D, demonstrated how you might gain attention when teaching a concept like trust in a recent workshop he and I presented to trainers at Fort Leonard Wood Army Base, Missouri. Peter did a blindfold activity to gain attention and have the learners experience the feelings associated with the concept trust. Half the audience was blindfolded and the other half led them around the area out side the classroom returning them eventually to the classroom. After the activity he debriefed the activity by asking the leaders and the followers (those that were blindfolded) to give one word that described their experience. He then continues with the approach by asking the audience for examples and non-examples of trust pointing out the characteristics (attributes) of trust.

Example 2
In the last tips newsletter I gave an example of how we did a concept analysis of the concept physical aggression in educational environment (school). Click here to see the analysis. If you would like to see how that lesson turned out using a Socratic Instructional Strategy (teaching by guided questioning), send me an email and I will send you the full lesson design.

If you have designed or experienced a creative instructional strategy used to teach a concept and can share it please send it to me. I will pick one of the ideas sent in to share with your permission in a future tips newsletter and send you a prize if yours is chosen.

I am looking forward to your creative ideas for teaching concepts.

'Til next time.


Article © 2008 Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.

Learning and Performance Tips

Welcome to Learning and Performance Tips
, a DSA newsletter for Instructional Designers and Performance Consultants. Each issue will include at least one proven tip to help you get the most out of your development and consulting efforts.

Did you miss out on a past issue? For access to all tips newsletters, send your top "Tip" to


Stay Competitive on the Job Market...
Get DSA Certified!
Earn University Credit with DSA Certification.
Get Credit For The Workshops You've Attended...


Be a Hero! Send This Tip To Someone Who Needs It!

Send this tip to a Friend or Co-worker. It's fast and easy...and you may just become someone's Hero! To send this tip, click on the "Forward to a Friend" link at the very bottom of your email newsletter.
If you received this tip from a friend and would like to continue receiving our newsletter...

Don't Miss a Single Tip...Sign Up Now!

Copyright, Darryl L. Sink & Associates, Inc.
Monterey, California


You received this email because you subscribed to this newsletter,you attended one of our workshops or you showed interest in our products. If you no longer wish to receive emails from us, please unsubscribe at: We apologize for any inconvenience this email has caused you.