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Instructional Strategies Indicator

The Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida has published an online database known as the Instructional Strategies Indicator (ISI). The ISI contains 150 instructional strategies, indexed by when and where instruction occurs, the evidence for instructional efficacy, the size of the group being instructed, the expertise of the learner, and the type of knowledge being taught. The ISI represents an effort to organize the known instructional strategies into a comprehensive framework, allowing for the optimal selection of an instructional strategy in a given instructional setting. Educational strategies most relevant to K-12 and higher education are emphasized.

Here is from its website:

Instructional Strategies Indicator (ISI) was conceived by the United States Marine Corps and the Office of Naval Research as a resource to provide recommendations for instructional strategies that could be used by instructors and training developers to enhance their training. This system offers access to a database of theorized, empirically supported, and practice-based instructional strategies taken from an extension review of current literature. It is designed to increase instructor awareness of research-based instructional strategies and provide a user friendly, web interface for selecting relevant strategies that match learning situations and objectives which meet the needs of Marine students.


The ISI was designed as a resource to provide recommendations for instructional strategies that could be used in training. This web-based system enables instructors to explore and utilize well established training tactics to plan their courses and training. The goal of the ISI is to expose instructors to a wide variety of instructional tactics, as well as more advanced methods of instruction.


An extensive search of the literature was conducted using three databases: PsychInfo, Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC), and Google Scholar reviewing over 1800 articles. All databases were mined using the key terms “instructional simulations”, “instructional strategies”, and “learning strategies”.


Training tactics/strategies are categorized into those modes of instruction found useful for Lecture, Demonstration, Practice, and Application. Each tactic/strategy is further classified for the type(s) of knowledge it may help to train. The knowledge types include Declarative knowledge, Conceptual knowledge, Procedural knowledge, and Strategic knowledge. It is important to note that each tactic may support one or more categories of training and knowledge types.


The ISI was designed to help Marine Instructors and Training Developers, primarily assigned to TECOM Schools. In order to facilitate this, RAPTER Lab personnel visited several Marine Corps Schools at Camp Lejeune and interviewed instructors and training developers to better understand their needs and to interactively demonstrate the ISI prototype. From their comments the current ISI web interface was designed.

image from ISI website

image from ISI website

According to Andrew M. Olney and Whitney L. Cade, University of Memphis, rating on the strategies had also been given.

Strategies were ranked on a 0–9 scale based on multiple criteria of evidence, including empirical results and quality of study, with judges’ ratings being checked for inter-rater reliability (Vogel-Walcutt, Malone & Fiorella, 2012). This process yielded 150 different instructional strategies that were included in the ISI. However, only 13 of these strategies were given the highest rating of 7–9, which was reserved for strategies backed by multiple randomized experiments with moderate to large effect sizes (d ≥ 0.5; Cohen, 1992).

top 13 instructional strategies

The ISI operates on the notion that any instructional strategy has advantages and disadvantages, and the utilization of appropriate strategies requires some preliminary preparation. Effective teachers not only have a solid understanding of the subject matter, but they also know which instructional strategies are effective, when to apply the strategies, and how to implement them. Research has found that the most effective teachers use a wide variety of instructional strategies (Orlich, Harder, Callahan, Trevisan & Brown, 2009).

A evaluation report on the usability of ISI website is here:

Evaluation of a Web-based Instructional Strategy Selection Tool to Improve Instructor Education & Utilization of Instructional Techniques


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