Term Paper: Instructional Plan Income Statement

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[. . .] Several cognitivist techniques will be used in teaching declarative knowledge about the preparation of an income statement to the student. These instructional methods will be incorporated in teaching definitions, examples, and concepts, and will include the specific technique and attention directing. A number of techniques that fall under the behaviorist umbrella will be used in this lesson to teach both examples and definitions. Behaviorist techniques methods that will be incorporated in teaching include positive reinforcement, punishment, and feedback.

Definitions of specific words and concepts related to the income statement will be introduced in order to give the student background knowledge about the subject. Key terms to be learned will include: income statement, expense, income, profit, loss, balance, and balance sheet.

These definitions will be introduced in several ways throughout the course of the instructional paper. First, a simple definition will be provided, and the student will be asked to remember this simple definition, and assessed using a quiz. The quiz will be repeated until the student successfully knows the definition. This method of teaching incorporates the specific behaviorist techniques of feedback, positive reinforcement, and punishment (in having to retake the quiz).

Attention-directing will be used in directing the student to consider specific examples of components of an income statement, and concepts related to the income statement. Anecdotes about the importance of the income statement in small business will be given to direct the student's attention to the subject, and underline the importance of learning how to complete an income statement.

Procedural Knowledge

Several components of procedural knowledge will be incorporated in this paper. Procedural models are concerned with practice and examples, and focus on the "how" of completing a task. Students often learn to do specific tasks, including processing and relationships that exist between specific things, and creating new connections. Practice, examples and specific illustrations are useful in developing specific procedural knowledge (Instructional Technology Services).

Given that the purpose of the instruction is to teach the shoe store owner how to prepare an income statement, the owner will be given practical experience in completing a sample income statement. The sample income statement used in the instructional paper will have a simple structure, in order to reflect both the needs of my client and the needs of the business. Specifically, the sample income statement will be designed to allow the client to determine how the shoe store performed financially in the past year.

Basic instruction will also be given in how to use the software program Microsoft Excel, as this will be the core software program that the client uses in the preparation of the income statement.

The conditional knowledge important in completing this procedure will include when to know when the income statement is complete, and when to incorporate specific types of information. This can include knowing when to include items of depreciation, and specific expenses.

Scaffolding for Procedural Knowledge

Both theories of cognitivism and behaviorism can be incorporated successfully into the procedural knowledge learned in this paper. Behavioral approaches will be successful in teaching tasks that require a low degree of processing (such as what categories to include in an income statement). In contrast, cognitive approaches may be used to teach tasks that require strategies that involve reasoning and problems solving (such as deciding what specific expenses to include in an income statement) (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

A number of specific instructional methods will be used in order to teach the procedure of completing a balance sheet. These will include demonstrating, modeling, practice, and feedback.

Demonstrating and modeling how to compete an income statement will give the learner specific procedural knowledge. It will tell the learner the specific steps in completing an income statement, as well as the order in which these steps should be completed.

Practice in completing an income statement will 'cement' the processes and techniques learned in the demonstrating and modeling approach. This practice will help the learner to apply specific knowledge to their individual situation and needs.

Feedback will take place in the form of requiring the reader to compare their practice income statement to an income statement that is correctly completed. This will allow the learner to correct their mistakes, and further, through a process of repetition, increase rote memorization of skills.

Feedback will help to fulfill some strategies of the behaviorist school. According to the behavioral objectives movement, the learning objective should be a quantifiable and specific behavior, and involve the breaking down the objective into specific and measurable tasks. Successes in learning are measured by tests (Mergel).

One potential problem with using behaviorism as an approach to instructional design is the potential that the learner will not be able to apply knowledge to different situations. For example, the learner may "find themselves in a situation where the stimulus for the correct response does not occur, therefore the learner cannot respond" (Mergel). For example, the learner may be conditioned to stop after completing the income section of the statement, and not know how to proceed if an unexpected event occurs. Given the relative simplicity of the subject matter, and the advanced problem-solving abilities of the student, this is unlikely to be a drawback in using behaviorism to teach in this instance.

The student will also use the specific instructional methods of demonstration, modeling, practice, and feedback in creating a using Microsoft Excel to complete a spreadsheet. This approach will include cognitivist approaches like learning the schematic organization of the spreadsheet.

One potential problem with using cognitivism as an approach to instructional design is the student may learn a specific way to accomplish a certain task, but that it may not be the best way for a specific situation or learner (Mergel). For example, the learner may understand how to use features in Microsoft Excel 2002, but not be able to use those features in an earlier version of the software.

However, cognitivism also has the advantage of allowing the learner to do the same task with consistency (Mergel). Being consistent in preparing a balance sheet from year to year will be absolutely crucial to making effective comparisons with earlier and later years.

Feedback

Feedback will be given to the student about their performance in the lesson apart from the specific practice feedback given during the acquisition of declarative and procedural knowledge. At the end of the instructional paper, the student will be required to complete a final income statement for the current year for their shoe retail business. As such, the accuracy and completeness of this income statement will provide a real-life opportunity for the objectives to be assessed. Feedback will be given orally, and corrections and suggestions for improvement will also be given.

Media

Given its ease of use, widespread accessibility, and the ability to create fill-in-forms, Microsoft Word will be used to create the instructional materials. Forms are simply documents that have fill-in fields that the student can compete. For example, these can be used to assess student learning of declarative knowledge by requiring them to write the definition of an income statement in the fill-in field. If the client wishes, the instructional materials can be printed in a hard-copy form for use away from the computer.

Microsoft Excel will be used to create the sample spreadsheet. This technology will be used specifically because the student in question uses Microsoft Excel to record current expenses and income. As noted previously, feedback will be given in person.

Works Cited

Dalstead, Norm and Sharp, Rod. Preparing an income statement. Risk and Resilience in Agriculture. 01 April 2004. http://agecon.uwyo.edu/RnRinAg/RnR%20Section%204/Preparing%20an%20Income%20Statement.pdf

Ertmer, P.A., Newby, T.J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6 (4), 50-70.

Instructional Technology Services (ITS). Components of Instructional Design. 01 April 2004. http://itsinfo.tamu.edu/workshops/handouts/html_handouts/components_id.htm

Mergel, B. 1998. The History of Behaviorism, Cognitivism and constructivism in Instructional Design. Instructional Design & Learning Theory. http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/mergel/brenda.htm#Behaviorism [END OF PREVIEW]

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