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Archive for the ‘Adult Learning Principles’ Category

Social Media – How we Learn – Two “hot” graphics links

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

In order to take a look at an intriguing graphic – Bloom’s Taxonomy for IPads – paste into your browser the following URL:

Once you close that graphic window you will be on a page with more links for Bloom Taxonomy (print out the Action Verbs chart if you don’t already have one by your work area). This page is available via Worldlanguagestech. You will have an opportunity to join their wiki entitled 21st Century Tools to Teach, Learn, Collaborate and Advocate for Learning.

The second link to look at: Gary’s Social Media Counts:

Focus on Absorb

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

I recently attending a conference called SIDLIT: Summer Institute of Distance Learning & Instructional Technology.

One of the sessions I attended focused on choosing online activities that support learning objectives. The session talked about integrating the absorb, do, and connect approach; an idea put forth by William Horton, an eLearning guru.

Absorb activities impart facts. A learner may read an article, listen to an audio explanation, or watch a short video, etc. to access and acquire the information. This is sometimes seen as a passive learning activity, but our brain is most likely not in a passive mode as we process the new information and try to make it fit into our existing knowledge framework.

One way to make a seemingly passive learning activity more active is to augment the activity. The University of Arizona Library uses a system called Guide on the Side to augment their library instruction. Watch their tutorial about how to find articles using JSTOR.

Online courses and learner-led chats

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

When your course includes online chats it may be beneficial to establish whether or not the online participants have the skills to conduct chats efficiently, integrate the information and ultimately resolve and report on the issues discussed.
It might prove beneficial to provide coaching and feedback before and outside the online course. This coaching would include reviewing the roles and expectations of  Moderator, Recorder and Participants. David S. Stein and Constance E. Wanstreet, two faculty members from The Ohio State University, presented their findings at the 28th Annual Distance Learning and Teaching Conference. Their 2012 preliminary results found that a coached group demonstrated five times more evidence of high-order thinking that the un-coached group.

Communicating with the Millennial Generation

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Do you teach classes with participants from the “millennial generation” (those born between 1982-2000)?  If so, you may want to learn about millennial generation traits and consider adjusting teaching techniques to best communicate with students.  Suzanne Minor, M.D., from Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, has published the PowerPoint slides from her presentation at the AAMC Regional Conference on the Southern Group on Educational Affairs on April 21, 2012.  The presentation is entitled, “Communicating Effectively with the Millennial Generation Medical Student.”  It summarizes the research in this area and gives communication suggestions based on the research.  It also gives references for further reading of the research.

Join Us for An Online Class: “Teaching with Technology”

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Join us for an online class taught from July 23 – August 27, 2012: “Teaching with Technology: Tips, Techniques and Tools”!

In this class, you will learn about using technology tools for teaching distance learning courses. We will discuss options and best practices for asynchronous and synchronous distance classes, as well as “blended” classes that offer both in-person and online options. Adult learning principles will be reviewed. We will examine and discuss examples of software and website tools in teaching.

The class is taught “asynchronously” using the Moodle course management system, so you can complete the classwork at a time convenient for you. Allow approximately 2 hours per week for independent classwork. There are 4 weeks of assignments, readings, and discussions, with the 5th week saved for a “catch-up” week. Upon completion of the class you will receive 8 MLA CE credits.

The class is free and open to residents of the U.S. Class enrollment is limited, so we do ask that you check your schedule to be sure you have time to complete the class.

To register:

Practicing? Or am I just talking to myself?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

It’s official. All this talking that I do to myself is good for me. When I drive to a new place, I talk to myself; when I buy a new gadget and try to figure out what all the buttons do, I talk to myself (sometimes out loud). I also talk to myself, out loud, when I practice my presentations.

Researchers are finding (see links below for two recent Time magazine articles) that talking to ourselves, known as self-talk or instructional self-talk in the literature, helps us focus on the task at hand so we can learn and use the new skill again without having to rely on talking to ourselves every time.

Speaking for myself (I think that might be a pun), when I practice out loud, I can almost feel the new pathways being forged in my brain. It’s sort of like acting. You have to learn the lines. Practicing helps you know what you are going to do and say.

So, whatever you call it, practicing your speech or presentation or instructional material out loud, helps the synapses in our brains to make connections between what we think and do.

Read more about the subject:

Time Magazine April 25, 2012

Time Magazine May 23, 2012

Ugly Learning. Now that caught my eye!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

A blog post written by Brian Bennett, a biology teacher in the public school system, talks about flipping a classroom for the first time; Flipping, as we have written about in the NTC blog, assigns the cognitively heavy portion of coursework for students to work on outside of the classroom, and then when they meet with the teacher again, students work on problems or homework with the teacher present. Mr. Bennett says to be prepared to see some less than wonderful evaluations from the students as they are introduced to the new format.

Read his blog post at:

Quiet Time

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Another suggestion from the Bob Pike webinar I attended recently:  give your students some “quiet time” to read or reflect.  As instructors, we often feel like we have to fill every minute with talking or interactive activities, especially during online classes.

During the webinar, the leader gave participants a few minutes to quietly read a particular section of the workbook.  When he asked if the participants appreciated that time, most said yes.  He suggested that we consider adding “quiet time” to our own training sessions.

Adult Learner Persistence and Feedback

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Recently I was interested in investigating two particular aspects of adult learning.

First of all I am interested in what keeps people coming back to a learning experience that involves more than just a single session.

It turns out there is something called adult learner persistence according to the New England Learner Persistence Findings from the New England Literary Resource Center (NELRC).  The following, from their website, lists six “drivers” that fulfill affective needs:

  1. Sense of belonging and community
  2. Agency
  3. Relevancy
  4. Clarity of purpose
  5. Competence
  6. Stability

Please view the NELRC short but effective summary at

Secondly since I hear the word “feedback” so often I wanted guidelines to define and flesh out my simple understanding. ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) has a chapter from, How to give effective feedback to Your students by Susan M. Brookhart at the link below

In summary the feedback should be about the:

  • Task
  • Processing of the task
  • Self-regulation
  • Self as a person

The emphasis should be on the strengths and weaknesses of the performance, to help create strategies that will help improve performance, to help the student connect their work with their intention, and to help position the student as the one who did and will do the work.

The breakdown of these principles of effective feedback seems quite straightforward. Imagine instructing someone on how to properly eat a whole lobster. Even when sitting on your hands and shutting your mouth while the learner figures out how to do it, it is so hard to be an encouraging cheerleader while giving effective prompts.  It is hard to resist taking the lobster apart yourself.  Giving good feedback is hard to do.

Talk to the Elephant

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Jonathan Haidt (pronounced ‘height’) is a Professor in the Social Psychology area of the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia []. He studies morality and emotion, and how the two ideas vary across cultures. In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt describes two parts of the brain. One part is rational and in charge, which he refers to as the rider, and the other part, the impulsive part, he refers to as the elephant. Dr. Haidt provides a free chapter from his book the Happiness Hypothesis where he talks about the parts of the brain in more detail []

Enter Julie Dirksen []. Julie holds a master’s degree in Instructional Systems Technology. In a recent post to the PeachPit blog (PeachPit Press is a publisher), Julie referred to Haidt’s ideas and suggested that we attribute too much power to the rider, in terms of how well the rider can control the elephant. Dirksen goes on to  apply Dr. Haidt’s views of the rider, the elephant and the human brain and came up with Nine Ways to Get and Keep Your Audience’s Attention. Julie writes about “talking to the elephant”.  Visit this URL to read Julie’s insightful and challenging suggestions for creating an engaging presentation [].

For more interesting talk about the brain, watch this TED Talk: