Did you attend MLA 2016 in Toronto? Did you hear Dr. Ben Goldacre give the McGovern Lecture? One of the things he spoke about was representing statistics in charts and that pesky Y axis. The YouTube video below does not contradict Goldacre, but shows how sometimes zero can get in the way.
The month of March means “spring break” for many academic institutions. And that may mean a break from instruction, but we wanted to give you a short “reading list” in case you are looking for something to occupy any extra time you might have!Here are three titles which the NTC staff have been reading and using in our training recently. In fact, if you’ve been in PubMed for Trainers within the past several months, you may have heard us mention at least one of them.
The Accidental Instructional Designer: Learning Design for the Digital Age by Cammy Bean. Here’s a blurb from the back cover: “We’ve all been taught to think that training is always the solution and that just about anyone can figure out how to do it. And as technology-based learning continues to slip into the mainstream, managers will continue to tap heads to turn regular people, who know the content or show some talent at creating a PowerPoint deck, into instructional designers and trainers. This means that we’ll see accidents – in the form of accidental instructional designers – happening more and more.”
Telling Ain’t Training by Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps. Here’s a brief summary from amazon.com: This book is an entertaining and practical guide for every trainer and performance improvement professional as it tackles the three universal and persistent questions of the profession―how do learners learn, why do learners learn, and how do you ensure that learning sticks. Playful illustrations demonstrate the solid research that back up the authors’ contentions and help readers separate learning myth from fact to dispel beliefs and practices that often harm the instructional process.
The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training by Karl M. Kapp. Here’s what one reviewer said: “Kapp argues convincingly that gamification is not just about adding points, levels and badges to an eLearning program, but about fundamentally rethinking learning design. He has put together a brilliant primer for learning professionals on how to gamify learning, packed with useful advice and examples (Anders Gronstedt, president, Gronstedt Group via amazon.com).
Hope there is something here that sparks your interest. Happy reading!
Because we’re all about training, we try to keep up with what professionals in the areas of learning, training, and technologies are saying. This week,in the Learning Technologies Blog from ATD (Association for Talent Development), Karl M. Kapp identified “a list of five trends learning professionals should consider when mapping out strategies for the next five of years.”
According to Kapp, “When mapping out learning strategies for your organization, you need to carefully consider the elements of technology, learning science, and societal influences to ensure that you have a strategy that is on target, scalable, and meets the needs of your learners to help them achieve organizational goals and objectives.” Here’s a brief look at the top five he identifies:
Microlearning: delivering content to learners in small, specific bursts over time or just when needed.
Gamification: the goal is engagement of learners, not just trying to make things “fun.”
Social Learning: critical for exchanging ideas and getting questions answered from people you’ve never met.
Adaptive Learning: instruction that adapts and changes based on individual learner inputs and actions.
Immersive Learning: different facets of the same concept which make learning more immersive.
As the National Library of Medicine Training Center, we think a lot about things like: how can we make this presentation better; are we really reaching our audience; are we teaching or training; and other similar topics. In fact, every time we get ready to teach another session of a class we’ve taught multiple times before, we make revisions and tweaks to (hopefully) keep making it better.
This week, I came across a blog post by two writers who have been guest experts for Twitter chats sponsored by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development entitled, “The Cycle of Reflective Teaching.” This first sentence jumped out at me: “The more reflective you are, the more effective you are.” If this is true, and self-reflection is a skill that can and should be developed, how do we do that? While authors Pete Hall and Alisa Simeral target primarily those who teach in K-12 settings, there might be something here for all of us who do any type of training or teaching.
Here’s a summary of their key points:
1.) Stop. “We’re doing without really thinking about what we’re doing.”
2.) Practice. “Thinking about your work, as an act unto itself, will not singlehandedly make you a more reflective and effective educator.” Hall and Simeral outline the four steps of the Reflective Cycle.
3. ) Collaborate. “This work is far too complex, and far too important, to go it alone.”
If this topic piques your interest, read more in the full blog post or check out their book titled, Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom.”
For me, I think I’ll keep thinking about my next class when I take my walk today.
Last week I gave a few tips for engaging your learners, based on this e-book from Shift eLearning. The final tip was to use good course design. But what does that mean?
According to Shift eLearning, “Well-designed courses help your learners to understand what they are seeing. When every element on screen has a deliberate function, and is in the right place, everything seems more clear.” While this is focused on the online learning environment, I think it’s true for traditional classes as well. Here are six key principles for good design.
1. Don’t unnecessarily complicate things. Keep the course simple with usable navigation and readable fonts. Focus on communicating with the user and making it easy to accomplish what they want to do.
2. Allow for inquiry and exploration. Isn’t it more engaging when you discover information on your own? Giving choices or trying scenarios can bring curiosity to the content.
3. Keep the content to a minimum. Focus on what they truly need to know and avoid extra information that can clutter the experience and get in the way of the main goals.
4. Pay attention to the visual elements. Check that your typography, color, texture, icons, symbols, pictures and animations or videos add to the experience and do not detract from it.
5. Less is more. This is a variation of keeping it simple. Make sure that it can load quickly and takes as few steps as possible to get to the content they should learn.
6. Mix it up. A variety of activities or formats can challenge the learners to think in new ways. Will a case study, game, or animation best help the students to learn?
Find several other tips for engaging your learners in the downloadable e-book!
Have you heard of Universal Design for Learning? At the Annual Conference for Distance Teaching and Learning, I attended a few session with a focus on this principle. Here’s a primer video on Universal Design for Learning that will help you become acquainted. If you want to learn more, check out cast.org
Developed resources reported in this site are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012344 with the University of Utah Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.