Expository Approaches to Instruction

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  • 1:57 Characteristics of a…
  • 3:46 Advance Organizers
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erin Long-Crowell

Erin has an M.Ed in adult education and a BS in psychology and a BS in management systems.

Good expository instruction goes beyond just giving information to students. In this lesson, we describe effective expository instruction and how it is used to structure lessons in a way that optimizes learning.

Definition of Expository Instruction

Think about all of the videos you've watched here on Study.com. The purpose of these videos is to provide an interesting way to learn the information you need to pass your exam. They are designed to be engaging, easy to follow, and bite-sized in order to optimize your learning. All of the videos are examples of expository instruction. We discussed expository instruction briefly in another lesson and defined it as the use of an expert to explain a concept or give information to the student. The expert could be an instructor, a textbook, or an educational video, just to name a few. On Study.com, the videos themselves could be considered experts, and the instructors that create the lessons are also experts. In these videos and in any expository instructional scenario, there is one-way communication as the expert provides instruction with little to no interaction with the students.

However, expository instruction goes beyond just presenting students with the facts. It involves presenting clear and concise information in a purposeful way that allows students to easily make connections from one concept to the next. The structure of an expository lesson helps students to stay focused on the topic at hand. Often times, when students are discovering information on their own, they can get distracted and confused by unnecessary information and have difficulty determining what's important. This is why expository instruction is one of the most common instructional strategies. Most educators believe students learn new concepts and ideas better if all of the information they need to know is laid out before them.

Educational videos and their instructors serve as experts
Expository Instruction Video

Characteristics of a Good Expository Approach

Think again about experts, such as teachers, textbooks, and educational videos. They could all be considered an expert source, but they also have something else in common. The instruction you receive from all three is typically organized so that all the information is laid out in a way that it is easily followed. For example, think again about all of the videos you've watched here on Study.com. You receive information from content experts. Most of the lessons provide an introduction and overview before delving into specific information. Transitions are provided to keep you focused and lead you through the lesson. It's common for instructors to point out relationships between the new material and information you may already know. Once all of the new information has been presented, a summary provides a quick review and points out the most important facts to remember.

Clearly, these videos are great examples of expository instruction! They have all of the features of great expository instruction: an expert, an introduction, a connection to previously learned information, an order that is easy to follow, and a summary. Let's look closer at some of these features.

First, most videos begin with an introduction and overview of the topic before providing more specific information and detail. This expository strategy sets up the lesson and prepares the students for what's to come. By moving from the general to the specific, it allows students to understand the increasingly detailed explanations of the information and link those explanations to information that was presented previously as part of the general overview.

The bouncing ball and radar analogy is an advance organizer
Advance Organizer Example

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