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Archive for the ‘Training Tips’ Category

Raise a Flag

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Olivia Mitchell, of Speaking about Presenting, suggests that you let your audience know (with a flag) what you are about to say in order to help them focus on the information.

Here are her 3 suggestions (or flags):

  1. Here’s the most important thing I want you to get.
  2. There are three reasons why we should do this.
  3. Here’s a question to think about.

This technique can be used when you provide a class handout with fill-in-the-blanks. Let people know when you are about to answer one of the questions on the handout.

Both Sides

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I have wanted to use the fast-forward button to skip to a certain part of a presentation and I imagine that some people have wanted to use the fast-forward button on me. What am I talking about? Keep reading!

In a recent post by Tony Burns on the Speaking about Presenting blog [www.speakingaboutpresenting.com], Tony asks the question: “Does your audience want to fast forward you?” Do people want you to skip to the good stuff, the meat of the information and leave out the rest?

Here are 3 suggestions so people don’t want to press the fast-forward button on your presentation:

  1. Don’t give too much background in the beginning.
  2. Not everything is rocket science. Don’t spend a lot of time on the easy stuff.
  3. People know the problem. They want solutions. Try to give them what they want.

Read the full post at: www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/content/audience-fast-forward/

The Right Time to Ask

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Are there any questions? I’ve said it. You’ve probably said it. As I near the end of a presentation, one of the things on my to do list is to ask the audience if they have any questions. Often, there is silence from the group (hopefully, I’ve already answered their questions), which can leave me feeling a little awkward.

Olivia Mitchell, of the Speaking About Presenting blog, suggests that you ask for questions (one last time) before your final summary. This way, if there are no questions, you don’t end on a flat note. After you address questions, you can do your final summary and wrap-up.

Ice Breakers Can Be Meaningful

Monday, July 29th, 2013

You may have attended a training session that started with an ice breaker (sometimes called an Opener) such as: If you were a candy bar, what kind would you be? OR Tell two truths and one lie about yourself (and then the group tries to figure out the lie). Ice breakers, as the name implies, are meant to break the ice between workshop attendees. Wouldn’t it be nice if the ice breaker was relevant to the content of the training?

Here are a couple of ideas that you can try…

For online training, where you want everyone to talk using either their microphone or a telephone, ask a simple question (ex. In what state were you born?). This will require everyone to test their equipment (microphone or telephone) so they’re ready to participate later.

For in-person training, hang large sheets of paper on the wall (they make poster sized post-it notes), break people into groups and have them think of words that are related to the course content. Group members will meet each other before class officially starts and they’ll remain on task while doing it. If you were teaching a class about PubMed for example, B stands for Boolean Operators.

Exploration Before Studying

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

A recent study done at Stanford University looked at the impact of providing students with the opportunity for open-ended exploration before delving into the reading material on a particular subject. The study found that students who had used an interactive tool to explore the subject prior to reading about it tested higher than those students who read text on the subject first.

Read the complete story at: http://goo.gl/xIxREY

Answer These Three Questions

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

From Speaking About Presenting by Olivia Mitchell

1. What’s the topic of your presentation?
Give a one-sentence overview of what you’re talking about.

2. Why should your audience be interested?
What’s in it for them? Give them a reason to listen.

3. Why are you talking about it?
What are your qualifications or experience which gives you the credibility to be talking about this subject?

Answering these questions for yourself will help you be more prepared for your presentation.

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.

Fun Opening Activity: “A-Z” Word Game

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Ideally, an opening class activity should allow class participants to get acquainted with one another and to remove pre-class distractions. It’s always challenging to design an opener that is related to the content of the class.

The “A-Z” word game is one possibility for a group activity: divide the class into groups of 3-4. Using large post-it notes on the wall, ask each group to come up with a word for each letter of alphabet that relates to the class content. Give each group 3-5 minutes and instruct them to work as fast as possible.

Can you think of words related to PubMed for each letter of the alphabet (not including PubMed, MEDLINE, or specific search terms)? “Z” can be difficult, but a recent group in one of our classes came up with an answer (see the photo).

a-zpic_enhanced

I’ve Got a Question…20 of them

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Teaching and Learning has created a page dedicated to using games in the classroom. Below is one example that can be used in-person or online as an ice breaker or a review.

http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/tutorials/powerpoint/games/index.html#twenty

Work with Working Memory

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

From Connie Malamed’s Blog:

“People can typically hold around 4 or 5 pieces of information in working memory at one time. As you design interactions, limit the number of elements, instructions or moving parts that the learner will need to simultaneously keep in mind. In addition, limit the number of choices. It’s easier for people to make decisions when there are fewer choices compared to many choices.”