What Is the Importance of Instructional Materials?

Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Instructional materials support learning content, allow students to engage in the application of concepts and provide an opportunity for evaluation. They are developed to facilitate learner understanding.

Provides Facts and Information These materials provide a wealth of knowledge in all topics, offering in-depth information based on facts. It also gives learners background on the topics as well as how the topics relate to other pertinent information on the subject. Materials offer a jumping off point to start learning new information.

Engages and Teaches Learners Instructional materials allow the instructor to engage learners by supporting concepts through the use of multimedia, including sound clips, video, images, hands-on experience and interactive games. Because there are different types of learners like auditory and visual learners, these materials vary in presentation to help reach all students.

Teaching Concepts Materials offer learners the opportunity to practice concepts and develop a product that demonstrates their level of understanding. When learning something new, it’s important to hear examples and apply knowledge directly. Instructional materials provide sample questions and answers as well as providing a variety of examples to help cement new information in the learner’s mind.

Evaluates Knowledge Consequently, those products are then used to evaluate learners’ knowledge. Instructional materials allow the instructor to support learners with varying levels of ability and foundational skills by providing additional support. These materials include quizzes and tests.

Importance of Traditional Instructional Materials The longstanding and traditional source of instructional materials is textbooks. These textbooks are published by big companies, which offer a peer-reviewed and teacher-approved set of information and a guideline for learning certain topics.

Importance of Modern Instructional Materials In addition to traditional textbooks, there is increasingly greater demand and consumption of electronic textbooks. Also, major publications including professional journals offer electronic access to their studies and research papers. These electronic materials are updated easily and offer greater ease of access for students.

Effectively Using Instructional Materials For instructors, choosing the right instructional materials is paramount to the success of the course. While textbooks are useful, it’s necessary to supplement the information with other relevant materials. Also, not all instructional materials are created equal. Some are clearer than others whereas others move at different paces. Choose one that best suits the level of the course.

For students, using the instructional materials effectively means having a good understanding of how to read and review information. The best way to use these materials is to preview them to prepare for class and review them afterward alongside the notes. Also, if any of the concepts are unclear, ask the instructor for supplemental sources of information or seek them out yourself.

Disadvantages to Instructional Materials Instructional materials are important to help provide a guide and reference to learning new topics. However, it alone cannot be enough to teach learners effectively. It must be coupled with a good teacher who can elaborate on the materials. As well, it’s necessary to view the materials with a critical eye. All written materials are created from a specific point of view, so questioning the information and doing your own supplemental research is the best way to understand new topics.