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Archive for the ‘Online Classes’ Category

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.

 

Poll: How do you offer training?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Tell us how you offer training or teach classes with this short poll.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Seattle: PubMed® for Trainers

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) is offering the 4 session PubMed for Trainers class at the University of Washington Health Sciences Library.

The series of four classes runs from Thursday, March 6, 2014 – March 27, 2014.

Online Session One: March 6, 2014, 10 am – 12 pm PT

Online Session Two: March 13, 2014 10 am – 12 pm PT

Online Session Three: March 20, 2014 10 am – 12 pm PT

In-person Session Four in Seattle, Washington: March 27, 2014, 9 am – 4:30 pm PT

Click here to view the class description.

What if the annoyances of conference calls happened in real-life meetings.

Friday, January 24th, 2014

If you have ever attended an online meeting or class, let’s say PubMed for Trainers, then this video may ring true to you. Enjoy!

Don’t Make Learners Think!

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

It sounds counter-intuitive, “Don’t Make Learners Think!”, but that is what Karla Gutierrez of Shift!’s eLearning blog wrote. It isn’t what you might be thinking though. Karla’s statement “don’t make learners think” refers to navigating through an online course. Learners shouldn’t have to spend their time figuring out how to get from one section to the next.

Here are the 7 principles of the Don’t Make Them Think approach to design and a short comment about each principle.

1) Use Visual Cues: Think breadcrumbs. Create a trail so people can easily get where they want to go.

2) Make It Too Obvious: Use standard conventions for icons and buttons.

3) Minimize Your Design: Use white space to give learners room to find what they are looking for. In other words, don’t crowd the page.

4) Reduce Cognitive Load: Cut out unnecessary words. Edit, edit, edit.

5) Be Consistent: Need I say more?

6) Follow Real World Conventions: Use the vocabulary/jargon of the group you are training. When in Rome…

7) Usable Navigation: When a user gets to the end of a section, they shouldn’t have to guess where to go next and how to get there.

To read the entire post by Gutierrez, go to: http://goo.gl/pJXgQY 

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?

Technical Training Techniques to Try

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Last month I attended an online training from The Bob Pike Group, called  No More Boring Technical Training. In just an hour, the instructor led an interactive session with several ideas for enlivening training that could be highly technical. Here are few examples of techniques you could try.

  • If you’re using scenario-based training, make the scenarios realistic and offer multiple choices of scenarios. Presenting the learner with a choice, gives them control and leads to better engagement.
  • If what you’re teaching is abstract or complex, use metaphors, analogies, or images to aid in your explanation.
  • Use a find-and-fix. Show students an example in which something (or several things) is incorrect. Ask them to identify the problems and suggest solutions.
  • In computer-based training, try guided exploration. If they can’t break it, what neat shortcuts or functions can they find? (For an example, type “tilt” or “do a barrel roll” into the Google search box).

Have you tried any of these techniques? Which one would best fit in to the classes you are currently teaching?

Join the NLM Training Center for a New Online TOXNET Class

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Would you like to learn more about the environmental health resources available from the National Library of Medicine?  Join the NLM Training Center (NTC) from October 21 – November 5, 2013 for Module 1 a new online class, called “Discovering TOXNET:  From Paracelsus to Nanotechnology.”

TOXNET is a web-based system of databases covering hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. Module 1 covers three TOXNET databases (ChemIDPlus, LactMed, and TOXLINE) as well as three emergency response tools (CHEMM, REMM, and WISER).  Module 2 covers the risk assessment databases and will be offered at a later date.  You’ll learn about the resources through videos, guided tutorials, discovery exercises, and solving real-life reference questions.

Who should take the class?
Health sciences librarians and health sciences professionals interested in unlocking the information in the following TOXNET and emergency response tools:  ChemIDPlus, LactMed, TOXLINE, CHEMM, REMM, and WISER.

How much time?
3 hours of work on your own time followed by a 1 hour synchronous session using Adobe Connect.  Participants who complete the class requirements are eligible for 4 MLA Continuing Education credits.

When?
Asynchronous work on your own (allow 3 hours):  October 21 – 31, 2013
Synchronous Adobe Connect session:  November 5, 2013, 1 pm ET (12 pm CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT)

How to Register?
Enrollment is limited, so register soon!  Visit:  http://nnlm.gov/ntcc/classes/schedule.html

Questions?
Contact ntc@utah.edu.

5 Novice Mistakes to Avoid During Webinars

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Becky Pluth from the Bob Pike Group has an interesting blog post titled, “Webinars: 5 Novice Mistakes to Avoid.” I was surprised by the advice to provide a handout; most webinars I’ve attended did not include a handout (except for the webinars offered by the Bob Pike Group!) This may be something to consider for the future. Becky also recommends having an interaction every four minutes (a poll, giving a thumbs up, etc.); providing visuals (I believe this is critical during a webinar, where participants must have something to look at while you are talking); having back-up plans in the case of technical difficulties; and conducting a “dress rehearsal” to be sure of timing, etc.

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.