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Archive for the ‘In-Person Classes’ Category

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

top-100-tools-for-learning-2015-1-638NTC staff follow a number of blogs, online forums, listservs, and Twitter feeds related to learning and instruction. Jane Hart is a well-regarded international speaker and writer on modern approaches to workplace learning. Jane is the also the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), one of the world’s most visited learning sites on the Web, where she also compiles the very popular annual Top 100 Tools for Learning list from the votes of learning professionals worldwide.  Her blog, Learning in the Social Workplace, was recently rated top of the 50 most socially shared Learning and Development blogs.

Recently, the blog published the Top 100 Tools for Learning for 2015. For the seventh year running Twitter is the Number 1 tool on the list, although this year it is very closely followed by YouTube, and, once again, the list is dominated by free online tools and services. Jane observes, “I can also see some interesting new trends in the tools that are being used for both personal learning and for creating learning content and experiences for others.”

Some “Big Movers” on the 2015 list – moved up sixteen or more places – including Skype, OneNote, SharePoint, and Kahoot. To read the full blog post, including the complete presentation of the 2015 list, visit:Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015.

Back to the past with Plickers

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I recently attended a conference called the Summer Institute of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology (SIDLIT…pronounced Side Light). In years gone by I have been a fan of using clickers in the classroom as a way to engage and assess students, but you have to have the devices and they cost money.  Enter Plickers or paper clickers. Plickers work with a free app on your iPhone or Android smart phone. Print the cards, hand them out to students and then display your question to the class. Students hold up the paper card with the letter of their answer on top. I was student #18 and I answered C in the image below. Then, the instructor walks around the class scanning the cards. This works best with a small group and goes quite fast. Real-time results are displayed to the class.

Find more information here:


Paper Clickers AKA Plickers

PubMed for Trainers Coming to a Town Near You

Monday, June 1st, 2015

The NTC and NLM will be offering PubMed for Trainers 10 times between now and April 30, 2016.

PubMed for Trainers is a 4-part series of classes; 3 online plus 1 in-person class. The class is worth 13 MLA CE credits.

Click here for a complete description of PubMed for Trainers

Boston, MA August 5-25, 2015 (Registration Closed)

New York, NY August 5-27, 2015 (Registration closed)

Chicago, IL September 3-25, 2015 (Waiting List Only)

Seattle, WA October 22-November 10, 2015 (5 seats available as of 9/8/15)

Bethesda, MD October 20-29, 2015 (3 seats available as of 9/8/15)

Miami, FL January 7-28, 2016

Bethesda, MD February 2-9, 2016

Davis, CA February 4-25, 2016

Dallas, TX March 3-24, 2016 (Waiting List Only)

St. Louis, MO April 4 – 14, 2016 (1 seat available as of 9/8/15)

PubMed for Trainers offers an in-depth, behind the scenes look at PubMed. You will:

  • Fill gaps in general knowledge you might have about MEDLINE and PubMed.
  • Enhance your knowledge of the MEDLINE database
  • Discover what the National Library of Medicine considers good background information.
  • Improve your PubMed search technique.
  • Improve your ability to analyze and implement Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Click here to view the complete schedule of classes.

We hope to see you there!!

Why Tell Stories

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Chalkboard with What's Your Story

Take a minute and think of a story that inspired you. Maybe it changed your mind about something, spurred you to action, or just made you think. Don’t you hope your classes do the same for students?

We often hear about the importance of using stories to in classes to engage students and improve understanding, but let’s take a look at a few reasons why stories work.

Stories help us connect emotionally with our students, and when we do that, our students are primed to believe us.
Stories sharpen our curiosity. If you’re reading a good story, you want to continue reading and find out what happens next. The same is true for learners. A student trying to predict the next event is more engaged in learning.
Stories give relevance and context to the lessons, which helps students identify what’s in it for them.
Stories make complex concepts easier to understand by demonstrating what learners should do.
Stories are easier to process. Since you learned to read you’ve been making sense of stories, but you’ve had to learn to process graphs and charts.

To learn more about why stories work, check out this publication from SHIFT elearning.


Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Housekeeping details at the beginning of a class can seem a bit boring, but covering them is an important step in making your audience comfortable, especially if the training is more than an hour. So what should you include to make sure the basics are covered?

1. The Schedule: When does the training begin and end? When are the breaks? Is there a lunch break? How long is it? Knowing the schedule allows students to concentrate on the class. They’ll know when is the best time to get coffee, make a call, or attend to personal needs and may be less likely to step out of the classroom and miss an important concept.

2. Restrooms: Always include the location of the nearest restrooms, especially if participants are not familiar with the location.

3. Questions: Encourage your students to ask questions along the way. This gives you the opportunity to clear up misconceptions or fill in gaps right away, and allows the learner to move forward in the class.

For more ideas on what to include in your housekeeping details, visit the Langevin Learning blog.

Sticky Teaching

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

How do you take advantage of the way the brain works to make what you’re teaching stick? Check out this short SlideShare from Chris Lema on The ABC’s of Sticky Teaching.

Engaging the Unengaged: Part 1

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Metal ladder against red barn wall
I recently picked up a free e-book from Shift eLearning, called Engage the Unengaged: How to Create More Engaging eLearning Courses. You can download your own copy, too, if you’d like. I’ll share a few of their ideas in blog posts this week and next week. The focus of the e-book is on eLearning, but there are lessons here for the face-to-face classroom as well.

What is engagement? Shift eLearning uses “the level of participation and intrinsic motivation student displays in a learning environment” as their definition. It includes both behaviors (such as attention or effort) and attitudes (motivation or interest). An engaged learner is active and collaborative, seeks out help, and exerts his or her best effort in response to a challenge. Disengaged learners may do only the minimum work, delay completion of tasks, avoid challenges and may not participate. I’m sure you’ve met both in your classes.

There are a few things you can do to increase engagement, and even convert the disengaged to engaged. Here are a few strategies to try:

1. Acknowledge the prior knowledge of your students, and show them how the class will build on it.

2. Tell them what’s in it for them right away – don’t assume that they’ll know why the class is important. Why does this information matter and how is it relevant to their work or life?

3. Build in some immediate rewards. I don’t mean candy (though that works for some audiences). Can you reward them with affirmation or encouragement? Can you demonstrate to them how they are already doing something better or faster or more easily as a result of the class? Again, don’t just assume they’ll notice – point it out.

4. Take time for reflection. We’re often tempted to use every possible minute for dispensing information, but allowing time for reflective processing can help students to better retain the content. Ask students to stop, think, and apply what they have just learned or take a minute to consider how what they heard relates to their work.

5. Use good design and quality images. While this probably can’t sustain engagement, it may help to initiate it. In next week’s post, we’ll look at a few principles of attractive design.


In Case You Missed It

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Our blog is just one way we like to connect with you! We also have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Here are some of our most popular posts from the past few months:

Library Entrance at OHSU

Tips for Class Discussions

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Thinking of incorporating discussion into your next class? Here are a few tips to consider as you develop your lesson plan.

two men and two women seated in a discussion

  • Target the discussion. You should have a well-defined topic or outcome for the discussion. Do you want them to come to a consensus about something? Produce a list of advantages and disadvantages? Whatever the purpose, having a clear focus will help keep the learners on track during the conversation.
  • Put a time limit on the discussion. A timeframe communicates to learners how long they have to discuss their ideas and may help avoid having one or two folks monopolize the discourse. Be sure to set the time expectation at the beginning, and if warranted, you can post a timer or have someone in the group be the timekeeper.
  • Consider the environment. What is the seating arrangement? Does it allow for easy exchange of ideas in small or large groups? Will everyone be able to hear? Do groups need space to discuss privately?
  • Consider the group size. Are you having a whole class discussion? Or will the learners be broken into smaller groups? Sharing ideas in a small group first can be less intimidating and help the salient points to be shared in a larger discussion. Groups of 3 or 4 tend to allow for all voices to be heard.
  • Develop learning materials. Depending on the discussion, your groups may or may not need any supporting materials. You might use a picture or slide to generate discussion, have a recording sheet, or supply data for the group to discuss. Make sure the materials are easily accessible for all in the group.

Training Materials for PubMed, MeSH, My NCBI, and LinkOut

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Do you teach others about PubMed? Did you know that the National Library of Medicine has a resource page of PubMed instructional materials? The next time you’re building a class or helping a user, instead of reinventing the wheel (or the tutorial), check to see if one already exists. The resources on this page include pamphlets, handouts, slides, and videos and can be reused and adapted for your own training.

Screen capture table of MeSH materials on linked PubMed Instructional materials page

Have an idea for a different topic or format? You can contact NLM (see the link on the above website) or the NTC.