Selecting Teaching Strategies

Once you have decided on the learning goals, student learning objectives, selected content and determined assessment strategies and activities, the next step would be to determine the teaching strategies you will be using to engage students with the material, interact with them and meet your instructional objectives. These are strategic decisions which are tailored to your course and strategies can be implemented during class, in lab or studio or as homework assignments.

Guiding Questions

“What do I know about my students that will affect my teaching strategies?”

“How will the level of the course objectives influence my teaching strategies?”

“Which kinds of strategies will work the best for my content?”

“How do I motivate students to learn and keep engaged with the content?”

 Aligning Teaching Strategies with Learning Objectives

Teaching strategies when designed to align with the level of your objectives can facilitate student learning towards meeting those objectives.

In an introductory course, for example, you may wish for students to master the names and descriptions of certain topics. At this lower level of learning you would choose strategies which involve recognition, repetition, and giving examples.

In a more advanced course, you may wish for students to analyze problems related to introductory concepts introduced in earlier courses. In this case you would use strategies like case studies, modeling expert behavior, and have students in groups evaluating effectiveness of possible derived solutions.

Guiding Question

“Are my teaching strategies for this unit a fit with my desired student learning objectives?”

Example 1

Course context: You have 20 students in a 200 level general education course. Your assigned classroom seats 25 students with movable desks. Field trips to community gardens are pre-arranged. Classroom has white boards, and computer and projector.

Goal: Students will design a garden 

Objective: Given a site and theme for a garden, students will be able to develop a plan for a garden that is appropriate to the location and climatic conditions. 

Blooms Outcome Level: (Higher-Level) Analysis, Synthesis 

Example Course Topics: 

  • Steps of the planning process
  • Climate zones and influences on local gardening
  • Types of plants, shrubs and trees
  • How to select plants for a garden

Example Teaching Strategy: Group work

  • Students will be working in small groups. Each small group will find background information on one of these key components of planning a garden: planting zones, NC climate, types of plants which grow locally, etc. 
  • Students will share information gathered. Information will be shared on basis of a planning template.
  • Each small group of students will develop a garden plan, as well as a plan implementation process, using the information gathered.

Further Resources

Identify Appropriate Instructional Strategies: Resource on aligning instructional strategies with objectives from Carnegie Mellon

Examples of Teaching Strategies


Active Learning

Death by Powerpoint by Rich Felder and Rebecca Brent, NC State

Any Questions? by Rich Felder: A guide to structuring and asking questions in the classroom

Active Learning

Active Learning Strategies: Explanations, research, and strategies from Rich Felder and Rebecca Brent

Does Active Learning Work: A Review of the Research: A study looking at the evidence for active learning by M. Prince. (2004

Inquiry-Guided Learning

Inquiry-Guided Learning in Sociology by Maxine Atkinson and Andrea Hunt, NC State: Exemplary strategies for courses across the curriculum

Group Work

Group Discussion: Planning class discussion considering not only cognitive issues, but also social and emotional factors from Carnegie Mellon

Group Projects : Ideas from Carnegie Mellon about how to structure and assess student groups in your class

Collaborative Learning: Group Work and Study Teams by B. Davis from Tools for Teaching, UC Berkeley.

Online Learning

Learning Technology: Extensive resources for the NC State Campus from DELTA including accessibility tools, digital media tools, templates, and more.

Online Instructional Strategies: Instructional Strategies for Online Courses from the Illinois Online network

Blended Learning. A blended learning approach combines face to face classroom methods with online activities to form an integrated instructional approach.