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Archive for the ‘Instructional Design’ Category

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

Bloom’s Taxonomy Tool

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

When designing a class, it’s important to have learning objectives that indicate to the student what they will be expected to learn and how you will assess their achievement. Bloom’s taxonomy is one of the most commonly used methods for writing clear learning objectives and the NTC often refers to it when writing objectives for our own classes.

Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School has designed an interactive online tool based on the updated version of Bloom’s taxonomy to help you choose outcome verbs and match instructional to assessment questions for each level of the pyramid.

Take a minute to explore Bloom’s Taxonomy in Action, and I think you’ll find it useful the next time you are preparing a class.

Bloom's Taxonomy in Action

Bloom’s Taxonomy in Action

 

And many thanks to a student in one of our classes for alerting us to this great tool!

4 Ways to Add Interactivity

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Man interacting with a large touchscreen.

In January, I attended a presentation called Making Interactivity Count by Cammy Bean, Vice President of Learning Design at Kineo. You can find her slide deck on Slideshare and I recommend looking at her other presentations as well. Here are a few of my takeaways from her talk. Though her points were geared to the elearning environment, they are highly applicable to the face-to-face classroom as well.

When designing instruction, we try to incorporate interactivity. But what is interactivity? Interactivity occurs on a spectrum and can be human-to-human, or human-to-thing. Even thinking meaningfully can be interactive. Her four strategies for incorporating interactivity are:

1. Get them reflecting! Have your students practice integrating the content into their own mental schema. Ask a question to get them to stop, think, and apply what they have just learned. For example, what are you going to start doing, stop doing, or continue doing with this new knowledge?

2. Get them feeling! Make your stories or examples about real people or put the learner in the story. Ask them questions about the story or why it matters.

3. Get them acting! Build in worksheets or have students assess what’s going right or wrong with a scenario. For example, if you demonstrate a search that returns zero results, have your students determine why and how to fix it. Ask students what they would do in a given situation.

4. Get them connecting! Have your students talk to each other. Use a survey and share the results.

A few other words of caution from Cammy Bean:

  • Don’t add interactivity just for the sake of interactivity (or as Cammy put it, Beware the clicky clicky, bling bling!)
  • Be sure that the interactive elements have context
  • Don’t allow the interactivity to overwhelm the content

What are some new ways you might add interactivity to your classes?

 

Get Their Attention with These 3 Steps

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Group of students paying attention

Don’t you wish that any time you taught, your students were completely captivated by what you had to say?

As teachers and trainers, you know it’s important to grab the audience’s attention right away. Whether you teach busy clinicians, exhausted students, or distracted researchers, getting and keeping the audience’s attention can be a real challenge. So how do you do it?

A recent post over at CopyBlogger describes three steps that you can apply to capture the attention of your students. Their post really addresses blog writing, but I think they can be applied to the classroom as well. By applying these steps, you just might find that you have gained ground in the competition for your audience’s attention.

Step 1: Empathize with your student’s struggle. Show them that you understand their needs and the accompanying challenges. For example, you might indicate that you know how important it is to have the most recent literature for their research, but how difficult it can be to make sure you have the best sources.

Step 2: Promise your students a benefit. Let them know right away how they will be rewarded for their attention and why they should pay attention. Will it take them less time to find what they need? Will they impress their attendings with their ability to find the best evidence?

Step 3: Provide reassurance. Let them know it’s not going to be too hard because you’re going to let them in on a few secrets or a simple trick that will elevate their skill. This really doesn’t have to take long, but by using these steps to slightly revamp your introduction, you may find that you have a more attentive class.

Did you notice any of these steps at work in this post?

 

 

 

Flipping the Flipped Classroom

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The flipped classroom has been all over education news for the past few years, but a recent study presents a new finding on flipping the classroom.

In the current model of a flipped classroom, students read or watch videos about a topic and then apply what they learned to solve problems or complete projects. A new study from the Stanford Graduate School of Education says that we might just have that backwards. In this study of graduate and undergraduate students, half the students first read about the neuroscience of vision, while the other half first used a simulation tool to manipulate and explore neural networks. Then, each group of students did the other task. At the end, the students took a test and researchers found at 25-percent increase in performance in those who had the opportunity for exploration first. 

Paulo Blikstein, one of the study authors, says, “”We are showing that exploration, inquiry and problem solving are not just ‘nice to have’ things in classrooms. They are powerful learning mechanisms that increase performance by every measure we have.”

What do you think? Have you ever considered starting a class with some open-ended exploration? How did it work?

Look at Me!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

In lieu of demanding that people look at your online course, here are a few things to consider when you’re trying to create an attention getting online course.

1.Our brain likes shiny and new. Display content in a new way or use off-beat examples that are more likely to be remembered.

2.People make snap judgments. Think of your online course as your living room. Arrange the components in an appealing way so people want to stay.

3. I’ve mentioned it before in this blog. People read a computer screen differently than they read a book. People tend to scan the screen from top left to bottom right; they also tend not to read an entire article online. When designing a course page, place important elements in the upper left of a page and arrange the text in small bite-sized chunks.

4.The brain remembers better when items are placed in contrast to other items. So, a larger font or an important piece of information can be bolded or in a different color. If I gave you a list of terms, which do you think you might remember later? car, bus, hybrid car, electric car.

Read the original article at: http://goo.gl/BIwuzJ