Decision-based Learning


Decision-based learning is a teaching method that organizes instruction around the conditional knowledge required for experts to make decisions in a given domain. An expert breaks down their decision-making process into a series of questions and possible responses, creating an expert decision model (EDM) that can be represented visually. The EDM focuses on a single learning outcome and includes a range of problem types that share common characteristics but also have distinct characteristics. Students navigate a series of stepwise decision points, receiving just-in-time instruction on how to identify the defining conditions in a given problem. With sufficient repetition, students develop the ability to distinguish between defining and cosmetic conditions. DBL includes frequent, interleaved assessments without the aid of the EDM to prompt students to internalize their learning and develop a functional schema of the domain. As they practice, students begin to conceptualize real-world situations as instances of problem types and generate a functional schema allowing them to independently apply their learning in real-world situations. Through this framework, students also gain an understanding of the boundaries and application of underlying theories, principles, and concepts of the domain.