As the National Library of Medicine Training Center, we think a lot about things like: how can we make this presentation better; are we really reaching our audience; are we teaching or training; and other similar topics. In fact, every time we get ready to teach another session of a class we’ve taught multiple times before, we make revisions and tweaks to (hopefully) keep making it better.
This week, I came across a blog post by two writers who have been guest experts for Twitter chats sponsored by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development entitled, “The Cycle of Reflective Teaching.” This first sentence jumped out at me: “The more reflective you are, the more effective you are.” If this is true, and self-reflection is a skill that can and should be developed, how do we do that? While authors Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral target primarily those who teach in K-12 settings, there might be something here for all of us who do any type of training or teaching.
Here’s a summary of their key points:
1.) Stop. “We’re doing without really thinking about what we’re doing.”
2.) Practice. “Thinking about your work, as an act unto itself, will not singlehandedly make you a more reflective and effective educator.” Hall and Simeral outline the four steps of the Reflective Cycle.
3. ) Collaborate. “This work is far too complex, and far too important, to go it alone.”
If this topic piques your interest, read more in the full blog post or check out their book titled, Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom.”
For me, I think I’ll keep thinking about my next class when I take my walk today.
NTC 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.
If you are interested in the trends accelerating technology adoption in academic and research libraries, challenges impeding technology adoption in academic and research libraries, and important developments in technology for academic and research libraries, check out the 2015 Library edition of the Horizon Report.
The report seeks to answer questions such as: What is on the five-year horizon for academic and research libraries worldwide? Which trends and technologies will drive change? What are the challenges that we consider as solvable or difficult to overcome, and how can we strategize effective solutions? These questions and similar inquiries regarding technology adoption and transforming teaching and learning steered the collaborative research and discussions of a body of 53 experts to produce the NMC [New Media Consortium] Horizon Report: 2015 Library Edition.
Read about what the experts consider to be the long-term trends and challenges that will likely impact changes in libraries around the world for the next five years.
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.
One section of the guide addresses writing audio scripts, and I thought I’d share a few of Malamed’s tips here, and use them to evaluate an audio script that I recently wrote for a short tutorial.
Tip 1: Write like you speak. This means using short sentences, everyday words, and contractions.
Tip 2: Keep it brief. Consider how much your audience can process at once and avoid overloading them.
Tip 3: Repeat key points. Use emphasis or new wording to help the learner understand.
Tip 4: Notate silence. A pause give learners processing time and keeps you from rushing.
So how does my script measure up?
I think my script sounds pretty close to my natural language. I’ve used contractions, such as “let’s” and “don’t”, my sentences are relatively short and straightforward. I have incorporated a few words of jargon, so I’ll review to make sure that they make sense to my intended audience. The script is brief (about 2 minutes) because I narrowed the topic ahead of time. I was tempted to explain a much larger concept, but decided to keep it tightly focused. However, I did not use any of my time to repeat key points. As I revise, I’ll consider adding a sentence that summarizes the take-home message. Finally, notating silence. I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s a great tip because I often find myself speaking more quickly than I would with a face-to-face audience. I seem to forget to pause and breathe, so I think putting the breaks in the script will help me find a more relaxed rhythm.
Check out the full version of the guide for more great tips!
In the 1960s, educational psychologist Robert Gagne described what he termed the Nine Events of Instruction. These events are focused on what the teacher or trainer does to facilitate learning. Which of these do you do? Are there any you could add that would improve your class?
1. Gain attention! Hook the learners in with an interesting question or scenario, a video, or something unexpected.
2. Describe the goal. Show students what they’ll gain from the session and what to expect.
3. Stimulate recall of prior knowledge. Show how this new information is connected to something students already know or can do. You can connect to prior knowledge in the same field, or even something from popular culture.
4. Present the material. This is where the bulk of the content is presented. Use questions, interactions, stories, or multimedia to liven it up.
5. Provide guidance for learning. Use leading questions or provide discussion opportunities.
6. Elicit performance. Give the students a chance to apply what they’ve learned and practice the new skills or knowledge.
7. Provide feedback. Allow the learner to evaluate their own performance, give or receive peer feedback, or evaluate their practice.
8. Assess performance. Determine if the goal has been met by evaluating a formal assessment (such as a quiz) or an informal assessment (by observation).
9. Enhance retention and transfer. Have students teach others, provide more opportunities for practice, or transfer knowledge to a new situation.