Guide information processing, visualization and manipulation

Successful transformation of information into useable knowledge often requires the application of mental strategies and skills for “processing” information. These cognitive, or meta-cognitive, strategies involve the selection and manipulation of information so that it can be better summarized, categorized, prioritized, contextualized and remembered. While some learners in any classroom may have a full repertoire of these strategies, along with the knowledge of when to apply them, most learners do not. Well-designed materials can provide customized and embedded models, scaffolds, and feedback to assist learners who have very diverse abilities in using those strategies effectively.

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  • Give explicit prompts for each step in a sequential process
  • Provide options for organizational methods and approaches (tables and algorithms for processing mathematical operations)
  • Provide interactive models that guide exploration and new understandings
  • Introduce graduated scaffolds that support information processing strategies
  • Provide multiple entry points to a lesson and optional pathways through content (e.g., exploring big ideas through dramatic works, arts and literature, film and media)
  • “Chunk” information into smaller elements
  • Progressively release information (e.g., sequential highlighting)
  • Remove unnecessary distractions unless they are essential to the instructional goal