Skip all navigation and go to page content
NN/LM Home About NTC | Contact NTC | NTC Feedback |NTC Sitemap | Help | Bookmark and Share

Archive for the ‘In-Person Classes’ Category

People, Stories, and Surprises – Training Tips

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Recently, the Shift eLearning Blog had a post entitled “Understanding People is the Most Important Thing in eLearning Design.”

I think that many of their tips can be applied to both online and face-to-face environments. Below are a few of my take-aways, but the full post is linked above if you’d like to click over to it.

Their first principle is: people like people. They suggest that in designing e-learning, you should incorporate images or videos of people to make the lesson more engaging. I think whenever possible, we should go further and try to provide opportunities for people to interact with each other. When I think about the last class or conference I attended, one of my favorites aspects is talking with others about new techniques or ways to solve problems. You might add discussion or polls to your classes to take advantage of this principle.

Secondly, people like stories. This is probably not a surprise if you reflect on presenters you’ve seen – it always seems more memorable if they’ve used a story to illustrate an important idea. Can you create a realistic scenario or recall a story to make the message stick in your classes? Maybe you have a story about a time research changed a diagnosis or treatment decision? Consider adding stories like these to your classes to make the content of the class easier to understand or recall.

Shift also states that people like both organization and surprises. At first, this might seem a bit contradictory. The overall course should have a clear and logical flow, but an occasional surprise can be fun and really help information to stick. Like a plot twist in a great novel, a surprise can re-engage the learner and show a novel way to look at the information, especially if it’s something they may have encountered previously. Thinking about something you often teach, how can you incorporate something unexpected?

Ice Breakers Can Be Meaningful

Monday, July 29th, 2013

You may have attended a training session that started with an ice breaker (sometimes called an Opener) such as: If you were a candy bar, what kind would you be? OR Tell two truths and one lie about yourself (and then the group tries to figure out the lie). Ice breakers, as the name implies, are meant to break the ice between workshop attendees. Wouldn’t it be nice if the ice breaker was relevant to the content of the training?

Here are a couple of ideas that you can try…

For online training, where you want everyone to talk using either their microphone or a telephone, ask a simple question (ex. In what state were you born?). This will require everyone to test their equipment (microphone or telephone) so they’re ready to participate later.

For in-person training, hang large sheets of paper on the wall (they make poster sized post-it notes), break people into groups and have them think of words that are related to the course content. Group members will meet each other before class officially starts and they’ll remain on task while doing it. If you were teaching a class about PubMed for example, B stands for Boolean Operators.

Ideas for Training the “Gaming Generation”

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

How can we adapt training for the “gaming generation”?  Becky Pike discusses a few ideas for incorporating games into training, whether in-person or online, high tech or low tech.  Ideas include a matching game, simulations, quizzes with “points” awarded, or having students blog questions and answers.  If the games are tied directly to the content being presented, even those not part of the “gaming generation” may find game activities fun and rewarding.

Fun Opening Activity: “A-Z” Word Game

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Ideally, an opening class activity should allow class participants to get acquainted with one another and to remove pre-class distractions. It’s always challenging to design an opener that is related to the content of the class.

The “A-Z” word game is one possibility for a group activity: divide the class into groups of 3-4. Using large post-it notes on the wall, ask each group to come up with a word for each letter of alphabet that relates to the class content. Give each group 3-5 minutes and instruct them to work as fast as possible.

Can you think of words related to PubMed for each letter of the alphabet (not including PubMed, MEDLINE, or specific search terms)? “Z” can be difficult, but a recent group in one of our classes came up with an answer (see the photo).

a-zpic_enhanced

I’ve Got a Question…20 of them

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Teaching and Learning has created a page dedicated to using games in the classroom. Below is one example that can be used in-person or online as an ice breaker or a review.

http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/tutorials/powerpoint/games/index.html#twenty

FlashClass

Friday, December 14th, 2012

The University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System is trying a new approach to offering library instruction classes called FlashClass. FlashClass is based on the growing daily deal phenomenon of Groupon, Deal of the Day, CrowdSaving, Living Social, etc.

Read about it at: http://info.hsls.pitt.edu/updatereport/?p=5977

Boredom Busters

Friday, December 7th, 2012

The title of the article I’ve linked to here is 5 Great eLearning Boredom Busters, however, I think the suggestions work for in-person presentations as well. I’ve listed the 5 suggestions below. Follow the link to read more and about each item and solutions.

http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/248676/5-great-elearning-boredom-busters

  • Avoid content-centered design
  • When talking about content…make it “sticky”
  • Show, don’t tell!
  • Spell out the famous WIFM (What’s in it for me)
  • Avoid “busy work” interactivity
  • Training “Killers” and How to Avoid Them

    Friday, June 29th, 2012

    You’ve carefully prepared for and rehearsed your content for a class and you’re ready to go… but what are some training errors that can “kill” the training regardless of how much you’ve prepared?  In a recent blog post Bob Pike lists four training killers:  1) slow start; 2) a late ending; 3) asking “are there any questions?” and 4) using illegible graphics (the infamous, “you probably can’t see this, but…”).

    Read more about those training killers and ways to avoid them:  “Some Training Room Errors are Excusable…“, by Bob Pike, published on May 4, 2012.

    Sit Back and Let your App do the Work

    Thursday, May 24th, 2012

    SaveMeeting is an app that records meetings on iPhone and Android devices. The app allows you to record the audio of your meetings, transcribe the audio, and share the recordings and transcriptions with others. Free (1000 minutes of audio) and paid versions are available. Works with a PC as well. Coming soon: SaveMeeting for iPad and Blackberry.

    Join Us in Chicago on April 4 for TOXNET® and Beyond In-Person Class!

    Friday, March 2nd, 2012

    There is still time to register for the TOXNET® and Beyond in-person class to be held in Chicago, IL on April 4, 2012.  This is a free class and comes with 6 MLA CE credits.

    This course is designed to convey the basics of searching the NLM’s TOXNET, a Web-based system of databases in the areas of toxicology, environmental health, and related fields. The course will also teach students how to utilize NLM’s environmental health and toxicology portal which provides resources beyond the TOXNET databases. Participants will learn the content and structure of files covering toxicology data, toxicology literature, toxic releases, and chemical nomenclature. Among the databases highlighted will be TOXLINE, the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), and ChemIDplus. The course will be conducted in a computer lab and includes lectures, online demonstrations, and hands-on exercises.

    Register today!