Strategy-based instruction: Lessons learned in teaching the effective and efficient use of computer applications

Suresh K. Bhavnani, Frederick A. Peck, Frederick Reif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have shown that many users do not acquire the knowledge necessary for the effective and efficient use of computer applications such as spreadsheets and Web-authoring tools. While many cognitive, cultural, and social reasons have been offered to explain this phenomenon, there have been few systematic attempts to address it. This article describes how we identified a framework to organize effective and efficient strategies to use computer applications and used an approach called strategy-based instruction to teach those strategies over five years to almost 400 students. Controlled experiments demonstrated that the instructional approach (1) enables students to learn strategies without harming command knowledge, (2) benefits students from technical and nontechnical majors, and (3) is robust across different instructional contexts and new applications. Real-world classroom experience of teaching strategy-based instruction over several instantiations has enabled the approach to be disseminated to other universities. The lessons learned throughout the process of design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination should allow teaching a large number of users in many organizations to rapidly acquire the strategic knowledge to make more effective and efficient use of computer applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Strategies
  • Strategy-based instruction
  • Teaching
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction


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