Literacy 7-12

Systems Change
Literacy 7-12 > Strategies > Brief Instruction Steps

Brief Instruction Steps


Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory and ensure students are directing their Attention to the relevant information. Simple, sequential verbal instructions can be complemented with visual cues to further support Working Memory. This is particularly helpful for students as they face more complex tasks as they progress through middle and high school.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how these teachers give clear, concise directions. Combining these strategies of using brief instruction steps, providing visual cues, and verbally checking students' understanding provides multiple supports for Attention and Working Memory.

  • Breaking up instructions into short, concrete steps allows learners to pay Attention to and remember one instruction at a time. When there are multiple steps, providing written or visual instructions for learners to refer back to is helpful in supporting their Inhibition and Speed of Processing. Teachers can have students work in groups to complete sequential tasks and regroup together to discuss as each step is completed.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • For developers, it is important to provide concise steps for learners to follow. Online tasks, such as webquests, break down student responsibilities and help them stay on task while also helping them to navigate new digital tools. Combining audio and visual instructions can facilitate the use of both the visual and auditory channels of Working Memory to increase the likelihood of learners carrying out all the instructions.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy