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Archive for the ‘Instructional Design’ Category

What We’re Reading: December Edition

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Here are a few things we’ve been reading lately:

Did you find any of these particularly useful? Read anything lately that we should add to our “To Read” stack?

 

Writing for the Ear

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Recently, I downloaded a copy of No More Spilled Ink: Writing for Instructional Design by Connie Malamed. I recommend the free resource as a great guide if you’re writing content for any kind of online learning.

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!

Do You Like it Chunky? OR How to Chunk

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Basics of Content Chunking from Fareeza Marican

You can read more about chunking here: http://ow.ly/APZOD

Nine Events of Instruction

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

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.

Bloom’s Taxonomy in a Tree

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

In our PubMed for Trainers class, we encourage participants to write measurable objectives for a class they might teach. One way to make sure your objectives are measurable is to start with an action verb. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a familiar tool for finding the right verb to match what you want the students to be able to do. Bloom’s Taxonomy has been presented in several ways, including wheels, pyramids, and charts. Here’s new way to look at it – a tree – presented in a fun and colorful graphic. This image comes from Mia MacMeekin at An Ethical Island blog and you can click on the small image below for a larger one.

blooms taxonomy tree

What I’m Reading

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Man with laptop drinking coffee in a cafe

It can be such a challenge to keep up with the literature, blogs, books, and other sources that help you to stay updated in your field. Here’s a short list of what I’ve been reading lately that you might also be interested in.

  • The Accidental Instructional Designer: Learning Design for the Digital Age, by Cammy Bean. I attended a presentation by Ms. Bean at the American Society for Training & Development TechKnowledge conference in January. (You can read a post about her presentation here). Her new book has great tips for both the novice and experienced designer of instruction, with a focus on e-learning. You can read a chapter of the book for free here.
  • Database Resources of the National Center for Biotechnology Information . This 2014 article by the NCBI Resource Coordinators provides updates on the suite of NCBI resources as well as a bit of background on the resources.
  • Fatal Victorian Fashion and the Allure of the Poison Garment,” by Allison Meier on the Hyperallergic blog. Interesting read on the dangers of style for both the wearers and the makers. And you can learn more about the toxicity of substances mentioned in the new TOXNET interface.
  • Getting Started with File Naming Conventions,” by Jake Carlson on the e-Science Community Blog. Very useful advice for someone like me who has been guilty of using “final” in a file name.

What interesting things are you reading lately? Let me know on Twitter @nnlmntc or Facebook!

Teaching the Google Generation

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

A few months ago, TeachThought had a blog post entitled 10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust to the Google Generation. While their posts are often geared toward K-12 educators, it can be helpful to think about the students soon coming to your schools or hospitals — or those who are already there.

TeachThought suggests that you make the work Google-proof, that is, it should be something in which a few searches and clicks can’t locate a single answer. Instead, think of questions that require the synthesis of multiple sources, ideas, or media. Secondly, they recommend using questions that have no real answers. These first two recommendations go hand-in-hand. Using a complex case or scenario can spark engagement and interest, give a context to the lesson, and provide an opportunity to teach about databases and search skills. You can use a real reference question or work with a clinician to develop a few realistic scenarios appropriate for the audience.

Their fourth point is to focus on learning strategies rather than specific content that may be fluid. We all know with changing interface designs, new databases, and advances in technology students and faculty will have to adjust to changes over the course of their time as clinicians or researchers. By resisting the urge to “cover” everything and focusing on how to wade through the information deluge, they’ll take with them skills for their entire careers.

 

Break It Down: 5 Benefits of Chunked Learning

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Bite-sized learning, coffee-break webinar, lunch and learn, chunked learning. Whatever you call it, many people want their training options short (chunks) and on demand. Here are 5 thoughts on how smaller can be better.

  1. Fights boredom. No frills, to the point.
  2. Promotes a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Our energy comes and goes throughout the day. Our interests come and go throughout the day. Providing to-the-point training opportunities allows an individual to fit training into their inner productivity clock.
  4. Bite-size chunks of information are easier to process and transfer to long term memory.
  5. Makes the learner feel that their time constraints are understood and respected.

Teach Back

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Two women discussing

What do you do when you have a difficult concept to teach your students? Do you give the best possible explanation and then ask if there are any questions? If you’ve tried that method, chances are you’ve been met with a few blank stares.

One strategy we like and use is the teach-back method. The teach-back method is often used in the healthcare setting to check in with patients that they have clearly understood the healthcare professional’s instructions. It’s not used as a test or a quiz, but rather to gauge if the teacher’s explanation was effective and if there are any points that need to be clarified or reemphasized.

You can use this tool in your classes by partnering students in groups of two or three to have them explain or recap any material you have introduced. You might say, “Turn to the person next to you and take turns explaining what we just talked about.”

A few examples:

  • When would you use X instead of Y for your search?
  • What’s the difference between Database X and Database Y?
  • How do you get the full-text of an article?

While students are teaching each other, you can circulate to listen for misconceptions. At the end, you can ask the class for any points of confusion that came up during their discussion, for volunteers to relate their explanations, or for students to then apply the concept to an example.

Personal Motivation and Online Course Design

Monday, April 14th, 2014

From SHIFT’s eLearning blog: Designing for Motivation: Three Theories eLearning Designers Can Use 

1) Self-Determination Theory

This theory operates on the premise that learners are motivated by an inner belief that learning, in and of itself, is important. In this theory, learners tend to want some degree of control over their learning experience.

Applied to course design: Provide choices, opportunities to succeed and interaction options.

2) Flow Theory

Student motivation is intrinsic and drives learner behavior.

Applied to course design: Consistent and user-friendly course format; state clear objectives so learner can feel sense of achievement, reduce confusion so students can focus on the essentials.

3) Path-Goal Theory

In this theory, the teacher develops a user-friendly course that provides a path to success. The teacher provides student support and creates opportunities for the student to participate with meaningful content that encourages the student to persevere.

Applied to course design: Provide clear instructions; create a blueprint for students to follow to achieve success.

Read the full article here:  http://ow.ly/vyDs5