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Archive for the ‘Training Tips’ Category

5 Reasons We Forget Presentations

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Carmen Simon is an executive coach at Rexi Media, a company that teaches presentation skills to professionals. I heard her speak several years ago at the Presentation Summit; an annual conference devoted to better PowerPoint presentations.

In a presentation posted on SlideShare.net, Simon identified 5 reasons why we forget the content of a presentation. See the reasons below and you can also view all of the accompanying PowerPoint slides.

Reason #1: We don’t pay attention to content in the first place.
Reason #2: Some information is too similar to other information.
Reason #3: Content is not processed deeply enough.
Reason #4: Too many presentations are factual and non-participatory.
Reason #5: The list of items presented is too long.

Fight or Flight?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

What type of presenter are you? Does your heart start to beat fast? Does your mouth get dry? If so, you are not alone. These are common effects from the fight or flight response that developed in humans to protect us from danger. Being familiar with the signs of fear can help you prepare for it. Let us know how you feel about presenting. After you take the survey, you can review the SlideShare presentation below for a few tips on how to keep fear from taking over. If you decide to try the suggestion on slide 45, take a picture and send it to the NTC.
 

View the presentation below for some tips on taming stage fright. from Jerson James

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.

 

A True Story

Monday, May 5th, 2014

I recently had to complete some online training. I put it off as long as I could and now it had to be done. There were 4 modules and a test after each. Things were moving along pretty well; I was making progress. Then, I started module 3. OMG! Noooo! It was all text. Not a picture in sight. Not a “try this” button to click on. I groaned. Yes, out loud. I advanced to the next slide. I groaned again. I felt like a kid in grade school who didn’t want to do their homework. Mom, do I have to?

So, what gives? Why was I able to make my way through the first two modules without too much whining, only to feel like I had hit a brick wall when I got to #3? I’ll tell you why…no interactivity. The first 2 modules asked me questions and gave me the opportunity to test myself as I went along. I was also presented with some matching and I had to move some items around the screen to answer questions. All of which held my interest and kept me engaged. Module 3 on the other hand was long, text heavy, hard to pay attention to and easy to become distracted from.

While it may not always possible to create interactive training modules, I have been to the other side and back and am here to say: please try. Here are some tools that can help:

 

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.

Teach Like the Brain Learns

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A recent post from the blog Teacher Thought wrote about using what we know about how the brain thinks to create a more productive learning environment. Here are just a few of the ideas from the post.

1) Learning doesn’t happen in a bubble.

 “Learning only occurs when the student can connect new information to old information. Teaching someone how a car works is pointless if they don’t know what a car is.”

From the NTC: This comes out in many of the PubMed core competency discussions we have during PubMed for Trainers. Trainers often include a What is PubMed section in their classes. It’s one thing to know how to use PubMed, but knowing why and when to use PubMed can help students choose the best database to start their research.

2) Create a friendly learning environment

Neuroscience: The brain feels before it thinks. The amygdala (think fight/flight) receives stimuli 40 milliseconds before the cortex (thinking).
Usable classroom translation: stress impedes learning. Try to connect with your students when they come into your class by making eye contact, greetings, and taking a moment to chat before diving into the lesson.”

From the NTC: If you teach online, there are a few things you can try to create a comfortable environment. 1) Create a discussion forum where students introduce themselves. 2) If you teach a live/synchronous online class, consider using a web cam and use people’s names when they enter the online classroom.

3) Teaching for mastery

“Neuroscience behind it: In order for information to be retained it must make its way from short-term to long-term memory.
Usable classroom translation: Use the arts as a tool to enhance and reinforce learning.”

From the NTC: One trainer recently sang a song in class to help students see the difference between two concepts. Later we overheard a student refer to the song as a way to remember the new concepts.

Read the full post at: http://ow.ly/vdK2g

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?

 

Like a Sherpa; Only Different

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Information overload. When presented with lots of new information in a short period of time (during a webinar or in-person training session), how are we to know what’s most important in the presentation?

A Sherpa is a person of Nepalese descent and is known for serving as a guide to mountain climbers, notably for Mount Everest. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Sherpa (a guide) to help us focus on the most important components of a presentation? Enter guided note taking.

Guided notes (as opposed to complete notes provided to students) are a teacher-prepared handout used to help students focus on the key elements of a presentation. If you want to help students understand a new concept, include the description in a prepared handout, but leave a blank so the students have to fill in a missing piece of information. This approach engages students and helps them focus on the key points. The National Library of Medicine Training Center uses this approach in some of their classes.

While a 2006 article published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis didn’t find “consistent differences between the two note formats on students’ mean quiz scores.” The researchers did see more correct answers on quizzes where students had used guided notes.

My suggestion…try it, you might like it.

Click here to read the freely available full-text article at PubMed Central.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Factors

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Technology; most of us have a love/hate relationship with it.  But wouldn’t it be great if we had a love/love relationship with technology? Specifically, love for an online course we might take or even develop. Karla Gutierrez of SHIFT’s eLearning Blog recently posted an article titled: Bridging the Gap Between Human Learners and eLearning Technology. Gutierrez pointed to 4 “human factors” to consider when designing an online class. Also, as students, we intrinsically want these factors to be present.

I’ve pulled some excerpts from Gutierrez’s article. Just reading about human centered design made me feel more at ease.

1) The human brain prefers to recognize, not recall. Learners should not have to spend more time trying to remember how to navigate from one page to another, than they do engaging in learning the material.

2) The human brain likes chunking by seven. Requiring learners to grasp too many concepts at one time can cause them to “drop” that information.

3) The human brain likes to organize information.The proper placement of information can help learners recall knowledge when they need it.

4) The human brain likes patterns.  Use consistent screen design.

The U.S. government has a website about user experience design principles called: http://www.usability.gov

Here is a link to a section called User Experience Basics:  http://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/user-experience.html 

Read the entire article herehttp://goo.gl/MVvsLt