Interactive Teaching - Methodology

Posted by @NatasaBrouwer on March 9, 2014, 9:46 p.m.
Aliases: OIEAR

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OIEAR methodology

Effective teaching is a balanced system in which all components support each other (Biggs,
2003). It can be compared to an eco system where the components are also aligned to each other. The components which are relevant for teaching are the learning objectives, learning processes and the assessment. If these are not in alignment the learning outcomes will not be achieved.Different models describe the relationship of the components which need to be aligned for successful teaching such as the Model of Teaching Analysis by Dutchman Van Gelder (prior knowledge of the learner, learning objectives, learning process and assessment and evaluation, the 3P model (Presage (student factors, teaching context), Process (teaching focused activities) and Product (learning outcomes) by Biggs (Biggs, 2003) or TPCK model (Mishra&Koeler, 2006) which takes into account that in order to achieve learning outcomes in designing teaching it is necessary that the lecturer handles the technological (T), pedagogical (P) and content (C) knowledge aspects. As a conclusion we can state that the organization of learning process by the lecturer is an important and complex task which needs to be in alignment with other teaching components such as teaching goals and assessment. In order to achieve intended learning outcomes1 at higher cognitive levels - like applying given knowledge in new contexts, or finding hidden assumptions in a given argument - it is necessary that students become active learners. To achieve deep learning most of the students in higher education still need to get an organized learning process to some extend. They need to do the learning activities which promote deep learning, and which activate and motivate then for studying. This gives students the basis for free knowledge exploration in their personal study process. It has been found that certain teaching methods promote active learning and that classical lecturing is not one of the most efficient methods to do this. Structuring teaching process in several teaching phases can help that the most of the students will achieve the desired learning outcomes.
Describing the teaching process in interactive teaching several functional phases can be
distinguished. Every phase has a specific goal. This methodology is called also OIEAR.

  1. Orientation
  2. The goal of this phase is to set the stage for learning. The starting situation of students (preknowledge) will be checked in this phase to connect the new concepts to it. The new topic will be introduced to students to motivate and trigger them for learning. The students get in this phase an orientation about what they will learn and why it is important.
  3. Information giving
  4. The goal of this phase is explaining new concepts, rules, or procedures. Any lecturing, but also a demonstration in a lab setting belongs to this phase. The lecturer checks regularly whether the given information is understood and stimulates interaction. As soon as such
    interaction gets really lively it is likely that already the elements of the elaboration phase are present.

  5. Elaboration
  6. The goal of this phase is scaffolding students to develop understanding of the concepts. Students start playing around with the ideas handed over to them. For example: they try to
    use new idea’s (concept) in some easy cases. This can be done in the form of a discussion. Students formulate in their own words what has been taught or explain it to their neighbors.
    They try to find a hidden assumption in what the lecturer just said (prompted by the teacher!). This is the kind of playing around that can take place during the interactive parts of a lecture, e.g. with the help of a voting system ("clickers").

  7. Application
  8. The goal of this phase is to apply concepts which are presented/introduced in the information phase in more complex cases and situations. These tasks don't fit into a few seconds or quick decisions. In higher education this phase is often part of tutorial or lab sessions and in integrated teaching approaches (such as studio course). Homework is often used to support this phase.

  9. Reflection
    The goal of this phase is to reflect on the learning process. Students summarize what they have learned, thereby putting it in a form that is easily remembered. Also they evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses in relation to the subject that is now finished. This is very important also in project and lab sessions. A bit of reflection needs to be organized at the end of coherent pieces of content like the end of a chapter, and certainly also at the end of the course. Typical help offered by study books are summaries, self-test questions. Typical help offered by teachers are example exams (from previous years). Summarizing activities can naturally give rise to new questions, thereby giving occasion to start the orientation phase for the next unit of content.
    These phases often occur roughly in the order shown above but this is not necessary. A lecturer can be very creative in structuring the lecture. More than one set of phases can take place in one lecture and the length of the phases can be varied. In order to achieve deep learning and stimulate students to achieve higher cognitive levels it is considered beneficial if all the phases play their role.
    Nothing is said above on how long the phases should be. Phases 2 and 4 together usually take up the majority of the time. Phases 1, 3 and 5 tend to be smaller, but they are therefore not less important. The Information giving phase is often the most teacher-centered however this is not strictly a rule. When lecturer-centered it is important to keep this phase short enough (20 minutes).
    Nothing is said in the above phases about the possible use of ICT. In all the phases ICT can be used and to do so it is necessary to take into account that the use of it is in constructive alignment with other components in teaching.


  • Biggs, J. (2003) Teaching For Quality Learning At University, Open University Press.
  • Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J. (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge, Teachers College Record 108(6), 1017–1054.

Contribution: Wolter Kaper, Natasa Brouwer and Peter Dekker

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