This accredited course provides participants with a comprehensive introduction to the use of the Systematic Instruction teaching strategy in disability services. It will equip you with the knowledge, skills and abilities to understand how:

  • People learn
  • To facilitate people with a disability to learn and develop new knowledge and skills
  • This course ensures that practitioners have the tools to provide explicit instruction that supports the person to move towards their vision of a desirable future.

Who Is This Course For?

The course is aimed at front-line staff who have extensive experience providing instruction to people using their service but who do not possess formal qualifications in the area. These include Care Workers, Healthcare Assistants, Family and Home Support Workers, Personal Assistants, Job Coaches and Community Care Workers.

At a Glance

  • Audience First line staff who provide instruction to people using their service
  • FormatBlended
  • Duration6 weeks
  • Award Name:Certificate in Facilitating Learning
  • Award Type QQI/HET Level 5
  • Credits15
  • Fees€225
  • Start DateAutumn 2018

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Introduction to Systematic Instruction graduate
Introduction to Systematic Instruction graduate
Introduction to Systematic Instruction graduate

Course Details

Learning Objectives

After successfully completing the course you should be able to:

  • Outline what learning is
  • Discuss the most popular theories that have been developed to explain it
  • Identify the difficulties in learning experienced by people with a disability
  • Define meaningful training
  • Explain how practitioners can work with people to achieve a sense of wellbeing and improved quality of life by supporting and facilitating positive learning experiences
  • Describe the key teaching strategies that promote effective learning for people with an intellectual disability
  • Identify and describe the key tools used in effective instruction, including task analysis, prompting, reinforcement, error correction and fading
  • Better understand your role in supporting learning for the people who use their service
  • Discuss Marc Gold’s strategy and explain the value of the strategy in supporting people with disability to acquire meaningful skills


Topics covered include:

  • Defining learning
  • 3 theories of learning: conditioning, operant conditioning & observational learning
  • Issues faced by people with intellectual disability when learning
  • Medical and social model perspectives
  • Why does learning matter? Increasing independence, enhancing quality of life and extending options
  • Marc Gold’s ‘Try Another Way’ – video and discussion
  • How you can use Systematic Instruction to help people learn
  • What do organisations do to support learning?
Introduction to Systematic Instruction


Successful completion of the course is dependent on completing an assessment. This will involve:

  • Writing a short assignment
  • Demonstrating your skills to facilitate learning using systematic instruction
  • Providing a short document outlining what you feel are the connections between what you’ve learnt and your role as a learning facilitator

Throughout you will have the support of a group of people who are either expect in the field or fellow practitioners who are facing the exact same challenges/opportunities as you.

Taking the Course

The course uses a ‘blended’ approach which combines online learning, virtual tutorials and face-to face workshops.

Our online learning materials are designed to accommodate the pressures that come with trying to balance work, life and learning. They make it possible to build study time around your work schedule. These are accessible through our learning centre which provides a platform for you to study, collaborate and communicate with your fellow learners. Regular online tutorials will expand your knowledge of the topic and answer any questions you have as you study.

Each workshop focuses on extending your understanding of the subject matter and helping you apply it in your working practice. The one-day session will be led by a subject matter expert who also has extensive experience in providing coaching/training to people working in the human services and non-profit sector.
Discussion, collaboration and the sharing of experiences are actively encouraged in order for the workshop to achieve one of its primary goals:

  • Facilitating the application of knowledge and skills acquired during the course to address real world challenges in a practical and effective manner.

Underpinning all of this is our learning community. This is made up of tutors who have extensive first-line experience, learning support staff who understand the human challenges people can face when attending college and our learners who are defined by their commitment to supporting each other.

We believe this creates a learning experience that is unique to the Open Training College, one that meets the specific requirements of people working in our sector and improves the quality of service our users receive. This is known as the Supported Open Learning Model. You can read more about it here.

The Learning Experience

The Tutor’s View – Claire Hopkins

How do you think people benefit from the course?

Introduction to Systematic Instruction Claire Hopkins

There are human services challenges that are beyond the scope of the practitioner’s role. But, by the end of the training people will have more confidence in being an instructor having reflected on core skills and been provided with tools and strategies and ways of thinking that will support them in their role. This introductory course will ensure that they start with a strong value base and will develop their skills as instructors.

Service users experience positive learning experiences and become less reliant on staff in everyday tasks.

What motivated you to become a tutor in the first place?

I’m passionate about providing positive and worthwhile learning experiences. The College’s ethos ensures that we are constantly evaluating our training to maintain our excellent standards.


The course is certified by the QQI as a Level 5 Award. Successful participants will receive a component certificate:

  • Facilitating Learning (5N1753) (15 credits)

These sit on the Major Level 5 Award: Certificate in Intellectual Disability Practice (5M3782). This component certificate provides credits towards one component of the eight that need to be undertaken to achieve this Level 5 Major Award.

Next Steps

Dates & Duration

The next course starts in Autumn 2018. It runs for 6 weeks.


The course costs €225 to attend.

Booking a Place

Visit the Online Application Centre.

How Can We Help?

Contact us if you want to know more about the course.

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