I'm aware this is a bit of a general question & subjectively broad. It's that way on purpose. It felt like cogsci was the best place for this question and I couldn't find anything really like it anywhere on stackexchange.

I want to know in general, if I need to teach someone a concept and I really want them to understand it...what method, techniques, strategies are there out there which appear to have the biggest impact on the success of a teacher teaching the student a concept?

What other factors should one possibly consider when teaching something to someone else? (Bias, attention span...how do I deal with these?)

Research for backing up anything you suggest would be ideal, but I don't want that requirement to preclude someone from posting something that could potentially be very effective but just isn't cited somewhere for some reason...maybe they experienced it with a teacher they had. There can be value in those gems too.

I'd actually like for this post to be one that has universal teaching ideas/strategy in it and not just those applicable to my context below...as sometimes the only thing precluding the use of a teaching strategy in a different or more universal domain from where it came from is the ingenuity of the teacher.

Also, I tried finding a post on stackexchange anywhere containing this question in it's general sense with answers and couldn't....there is stuff on how to teach programming, but that's just programming....some of its ideas are partially applicable universally, but not all of them.

Here is my specific context, although I don't want answers to get too wrapped up in it.

I am teaching via Youtube video and already have planned out 1) Me drawing on a digital screen things while I'm talking 2) Using easy to relate to analogies 3) Obviously any other visuals 4) Pausing to quiz their knowledge on a previous section before they can move ahead 5) Wrapping this up in a hopefully entertaining package

To provide some context and the format/audience...what I'll practically be using this information for:

I am releasing a special documentary style video with the goal making users completely understand the entire path some special research recently published takes, its reasoning for every choice it makes, and the logic for it's sequencing and timing of element.

Thus, instead of me reciting a conclusion from some research paper, I take them through the journey so they understand it. It's a bit of an intense topic with a profound conclusion...one that most people would also brush off immediately without fully attempting to comprehend first.

It's also extremely technical and includes some involving several tricky concepts from many different domains all at the same time that must be put together all in synchronicity: overarching ideas within biology & evolution, micro & cellular biology, genetics, astronomy, astrobiology, space ethics, the nature of language, information theory & entropy, symbiotics (study of symbols), markings of culture, probabilities & combinations, and...statistics.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


Your question is extremely broad so all I can do is give you an extremely broad answer. More specifically, I'll provide you a study done by John Hattie (2008), who meta-analyzed 800(!!) meta-analyses on effective teaching methods, used in primary education among others.

The linked document shows a "brief" overview of the different methods rated and sorted by their effect sizes. Some of the intervention may be more relevant to you compared to others. Providing feedback, for instance, is more difficult in indirect communications such as video's.

Hattie has also written much about providing feedback and how that affects students' learning ability (e.g. Hattie, 2007)

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of educational research, 77(1), 81-112.

Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Routledge.


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