Archive for the ‘Online Classes’ Category
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
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?
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Join us for the free online class “PubMed for Librarians.” Classes in April, June, and September 2013 are now open for registration.
The PubMed for Librarians class is divided into five segments (90 minutes each). Each segment is a synchronous online session that includes hands-on exercises and is worth 1.5 hours of MLA CE credit. Participants can choose any or all of the 5 segments that interest them.
For details, see the NLM Tech Bull. 2013 Mar-Apr;(391):e2.
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.
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
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google, gave a TED talk about redefining education when he and a colleague offered a freely available online class to the world. 160,000 people signed up and 20,000 completed the class (That’s actually a pretty good completion rate for this type of offering). However, his re-definition actually created “a classroom much more like a traditional class”. Watch the 6 minute video at: http://youtu.be/tYclUdcsdeo
Thursday, September 13th, 2012
In a recent presentation I attended there was a discussion was about about two groups of students, one undergraduate, the other graduate, who were asked to name the 10 most important qualities of behavior of the teacher during an online course. The top two qualities named they named?
Number one: Communication (that we understand)
Number two: Instructor disposition (we might need help with that)
Teacher disposition can be defined as having empathy, positive view of self, positive view of others, honesty, genuineness, meaningful purpose and vision.
Teacher disposition may lead to better student success with increased learning outcomes.
How do we make sure we are demonstrating the desired disposition during an online course?
Some key qualities:
• Be very present from the start.
• Personalize to each student.
• When a question is asked respond as quickly as possible, if possible immediately.
• Use the person’s name when communicating and if possible write a personal note.
• Provide positive feedback.
• Your tone can and will be detected. Present with positive, high-energy.