A recent CNBC blog post told of the lack luster coverage of Twitter’s IPO (first sale of stock by a company to the public) announcement. According to CNBC, on the day Twitter announced the price range for its recent public offering, the story didn’t make the top 10 on CNBC that day. CNBC featured the story on their website as well, but interest in the story dropped to number 15 within the hour.
Maybe you’re not surprised because you don’t care about Twitter, but maybe this will surprise you. On the day Twitter announced it was going public, more people were interested in Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg’s real estate problems (Don’t ask me what they are, I’m not following the story :-)). Compare that to interest in Facebook’s IPO, which was in CNBC’s top 10 on the day of the announcement.
Possibly, about right now, you’re saying I don’t care about Twitter AND I don’t care about Facebook either. I understand completely, but listen to these numbers. Twitter has approximately 218 million* users and Facebook has 1.15 billion users.** Millions and billions. Those are some big numbers! There must be something useful to come out of all the effort made by millions and billions of people, but I think that’s another blog post.
If you care to read more, the whole story can be found at: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-no-one-cares-about-twitter-2013-10
On November 4, 1988 Congress established the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to develop new information technologies to aid in the understanding of the molecular processes that control health and disease. Since then, the number of tools and databases at NCBI has grown enormously. It can be difficult to keep track of which database does what, so NCBI provides a handy overview of selected NCBI databases. You can download the printable factsheet with short descriptions of each resource or database.
If you’d like to learn more about NCBI resources, check out their Educational Resources page and YouTube videos. They have a wealth of resources, but you don’t have to learn them all at once! Maybe you’d like to challenge yourself to take 30 minutes a week to discover and explore one of their resources. You can learn a lot in just a few minutes. For example, the short video below describes how to locate all of the genetic sequences of an organism.
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
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The NTC blog focuses on PubMed, training and presentation tips, adult learning principles and more. This blog entry is going to tell you to forget all about that…for just a little while. I recently received an email with the heading: HATE HAPPINESS? THEN KEEP EATING LUNCH AT YOUR DESK. Well, that caught my eye. A recent article in Fast Company talks about the personal and work benefits of not only breaking for lunch, but moving away from your desk (completely away, not just away from your computer screen).
Sometimes I think we take more care in recharging our phones than ourselves. It’s a fact of life. We must eat to charge our body. Chris Cunningham an organizational psychologist at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that where, how, and who we eat with is as important as what you eat.
The gist is…our work can drain us emotionally and drain us of our energy. Unplugging during lunch (a walk, lunch with a friend, a personal phone call) can help recharge us and keep us productive for the rest of the day. We may not be able to take a full hour, but every little bit helps!
Recently the NTC has been trying out a new tool for creating tutorials, called Guide on the Side.
Guide on the Side was developed at the University of Arizona, and it received the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award and an award from the American Library Association for cutting-edge technology. Guide on the Side is free tool that allows you to create tutorials with an interactive instruction panel on the left side and a live website on the right side. In the instruction panel you can give directions for interacting with the website, embed quiz questions, and link to additional resources. The content can be divided into chapters to make it easy to return to a particular point in the tutorial. The two panel tutorial makes it easy try out what you’re learning right away and avoids the inconvenience of flipping between instructions and a website. Creating the tutorials is simple — it uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.
Those who have tested the NTC Guide on the Side tutorials have indicated that it’s a fun and easy way to learn about a database.
You can view a sample tutorial from the University of Arizona Libraries, or the ChemIDplus tutorial from the NTC.
For more information on how to install Guide on the Side or the technical requirements, visit the Guide on the Side site.
OMG! I sat down to write this post, but first I did a search of the NTC blog to see when I had last written about mind mapping tools. OMG again! The date was October 20, 2011. Almost exactly 2 years ago today.
Mind mapping tools help you visually organize a topic using boxes and circles and connecting arrows…oh my! Click here to see some very elaborate examples. With mind mapping tools you can include content (text, files and links) so you can build the topic as you go along. Mapping tools often save your work in a proprietary format which may not retain formatting when you export into Word, for example.
Fast forward 2 years and now let’s talk about outliners (not as pretty as mind mappers). As of last week, I had never heard of this type of program. Outliners are similar to mind mappers, but with outliners there is more emphasis on the text or content you are developing. From the Outliners of Giants site: “Outliners combine the functionality of a word processor with the ability to give a tangible structure to interrelated blocks of information.” The outlining tool is almost like a puzzle waiting to be assembled.
I read the article linked below and I tried the free version of The Outliner of Giants. I was preparing for a meeting and I thought the tool would be a good way to capture some of my thoughts and then use the outline as a collaboration tool during the meeting. You don’t need to create an account, Outliner of Giants connects to your Google Drive account (Use your regular Google login). You can export to Google Drive and continue to edit the document or you can export to Word from Google Drive and continue working on the document.
Follow this link to read about 5 outliner tools:
View of PubMed as of October 17, 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?