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Archive for the ‘Instructional Design’ Category

5 Gorgeous Depictions of Bloom’s Taxonomy

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
(Diagram 1.1, Wilson, Leslie O. 2001)

Image from

Bloom’s taxonomy is a way of classifying levels of expertise in order to create measurable instructional outcomes. Created by a group of educators  in 1956, the taxonomy consists of 6 levels ranging from basic knowledge to master evaluation. The taxonomy was revised in 2001 by a group of educational psychologists led by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl, in order to reflect different types and levels of knowledge and take into consideration criticisms of the original taxonomy. The development of Bloom’s Taxonomy is quite long and populated with cognitive psychologists. Here’s a good backstory.

The bottom line for library-educators: Bloom’s offers a myriad of useful action verbs and prompts for which to create learning objectives. Pretty pictures and action words after the jump. (more…)

Gagné’s nine events of instruction as demonstrated by cats

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Robert Gagné is an educational scholar noted for his work on the nine events of instruction that are necessary for successful learning to occur. It is designed as a framework to be used to design a class. Gagné’s book, Principles of Instructional Design (1992) (1), outlined these nine instructional events on a theoretical and practical level. Today, we will explore these nine events through something to which most librarians can relate: cats. We will also give concrete examples of how these nine events can apply to teaching a PubMed class. Perhaps we will even discover a serendipitous intersection of cats, PubMed, and instructional design theory. Nine lives, nine instructional events, how could this ever go wrong?

Cat acting the fool

Image source:

Click through for Gagne’s nine events and more cats!



Monday, May 9th, 2016

Anyone who has done teaching or taken classes in teaching methods has likely heard the term “pedagogy.” This term is most widely used currently to mean “the art and science … of teaching,” although the original meaning was actually more specific to teaching children. As librarians, we strive to create instructional materials that are appropriate for the learning needs of our students. For this reason, andragogy may be a better alternative and approach, especially for adult and online learners.

Andragogy as a methodology has its roots as far back as 1833 with a German teacher named Alexander Kapp, although its current usage is attributed to Malcolm Knowles, who adopted the word to describe the differences in the ways individuals – especially adults – learn.

Pedagogy and andragogy are very different teaching models. For example, pedagogy is considered a content model, whereas andragogy is a process model. The process model aims to provide the skills and resources needed to acquire information, rather than simply presenting information. Andragogy encourages the teacher as facilitator, where the emphasis in on enabling the student to learn. For adult learners and online students, andragogy may provide a more suitable teaching model. And, with the increasing tendency toward online classes, students are increasingly self-directed.

This table illustrates key differences between pedagogical and andragogical design.

Pedagogy vs Andragogy
It should be noted that these two methods are not mutually exclusive. It is always up to the the teacher or facilitator to determine the best approach for his or her students.

For more information, please see the full article, “Keeping Up With … Andragogy”

What We’re Reading – Instructional Design

Monday, March 21st, 2016

book pileThe 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.

    1. 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.”
    2. Telling Ain’t Training by Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps. Here’s a brief summary from 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.
    3.  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

Hope there is something here that sparks your interest. Happy reading!

Photo credit:

5 Learning Tech Trends to Watch in the Next 5 Years

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

LittleTWTBecause 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:

  1. Microlearning: delivering content to learners in small, specific bursts over time or just when needed.
  2. Gamification: the goal is engagement of learners, not just trying to make things “fun.”
  3. Social Learning: critical for exchanging ideas and getting questions answered from people you’ve never met.
  4. Adaptive Learning: instruction that adapts and changes based on individual learner inputs and actions.
  5. Immersive Learning: different facets of the same concept which make learning more immersive.

To read the full article, go to:

The Cycle of Reflective Teaching

Friday, October 30th, 2015

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.

Using Padlet as an Engagement Tool – Write on my Wall

Monday, October 5th, 2015

I have posted about Padlet before, but I wanted to revisit the tool because…I like it! Here’s a video to get you started:

You can write on my wall (it’s anonymous). Here’s a Padlet I made to crowd source a question. Double click to contribute now.

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
top-100-tools-for-learning-2015-1-638NTC staff follow a number of blogs, online forums, listservs, and Twitter feeds related to learning and instruction. Jane Hart is a well-regarded international speaker and writer on modern approaches to workplace learning. Jane is the also the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), one of the world’s most visited learning sites on the Web, where she also compiles the very popular annual Top 100 Tools for Learning list from the votes of learning professionals worldwide.  Her blog, Learning in the Social Workplace, was recently rated top of the 50 most socially shared Learning and Development blogs.

Recently, the blog published the Top 100 Tools for Learning for 2015. For the seventh year running Twitter is the Number 1 tool on the list, although this year it is very closely followed by YouTube, and, once again, the list is dominated by free online tools and services. Jane observes, “I can also see some interesting new trends in the tools that are being used for both personal learning and for creating learning content and experiences for others.”

Some “Big Movers” on the 2015 list – moved up sixteen or more places – including Skype, OneNote, SharePoint, and Kahoot. To read the full blog post, including the complete presentation of the 2015 list, visit:Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015.

2015 Horizon Report – Library Edition

Friday, September 4th, 2015

If you are interested in the trends accelerating technology adoption in academic and research libraries, challenges impeding technology adoption in academic and research libraries, and important developments in technology for academic and research libraries, check out the 2015 Library edition of the Horizon Report.

The report seeks to answer questions such as: What is on the five-year horizon for academic and research libraries worldwide? Which trends and technologies will drive change? What are the challenges that we consider as solvable or difficult to overcome, and how can we strategize effective solutions? These questions and similar inquiries regarding technology adoption and transforming teaching and learning steered the collaborative research and discussions of a body of 53 experts to produce the NMC [New Media Consortium] Horizon Report: 2015 Library Edition.
Read about what the experts consider to be the long-term trends and challenges that will likely impact changes in libraries around the world for the next five years.

Why Tell Stories

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Chalkboard with What's Your Story

Take a minute and think of a story that inspired you. Maybe it changed your mind about something, spurred you to action, or just made you think. Don’t you hope your classes do the same for students?

We often hear about the importance of using stories to in classes to engage students and improve understanding, but let’s take a look at a few reasons why stories work.

Stories help us connect emotionally with our students, and when we do that, our students are primed to believe us.
Stories sharpen our curiosity. If you’re reading a good story, you want to continue reading and find out what happens next. The same is true for learners. A student trying to predict the next event is more engaged in learning.
Stories give relevance and context to the lessons, which helps students identify what’s in it for them.
Stories make complex concepts easier to understand by demonstrating what learners should do.
Stories are easier to process. Since you learned to read you’ve been making sense of stories, but you’ve had to learn to process graphs and charts.

To learn more about why stories work, check out this publication from SHIFT elearning.