What is Structured Overview?

Structured Overview is verbal, visual or written summary or outline of a topic. It can occur at the beginning of a unit, module or new concept, or it may be used to help relate a learned idea to the big picture. A Structured Overview distills difficult or complex idea into simple definitions or explanation, and then shows how all the information relates. It is the process of “organizing and arranging topics” to make them more meaningful.

What is its purpose?

The purpose of a Structured Overview is to help students place new ideas in context. Because ideas are simplified, it is easier for students to see “the big picture”. In addition, connecting new ideas to information students already understand makes it easier to retain.

How can I do it?

There are three main ways in which Structured overview can be used. One is verbal summary at the start of a new concept. The teacher starts by highlighting the new ideas to be learned in a few simple sentences. Then the relationship between these ideas and the ones the students already know is discussed. The structured overview takes the role of an advanced organizer. Another type of Structured Overview is a written summary. The approach is the same as the verbal summary, but students have a written record of the ideas. Generally a combination of verbal and written Structured Overview is more effective than either type alone. The final method is a visual Structured Overview. Venn diagrams of concepts, semantic maps, semantic organizers, webs, and charts are all methods visual Structured Overview. When accompanied by explanation, visual overviews are often very effective at helping student connect ideas.

How can I adapt it?

A Visual Structured Overview can be a very strong tool for students who are struggling with the content of a subject. While it is used at the beginning or end of a group of lessons with most students, it can be used more frequently if necessary. Students who refer to a structured overview more frequently are better able to articulate higher levels of learning than students who do not. When students struggle with a subject, the repeated use of a visual Structured Overview can have a strong positive effect on learning outcomes.

Teacher Resources

 


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