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Archive for the ‘Instructional Design’ Category

Things I learned at SXSWedu

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
SXSWedu 2017 photo collage

SXSWedu 2017 photo collage

Last week I attended SXSWedu, an education-centric pre-conference to South by Southwest Interactive. I came home with 13 pages of handwritten notes and an information hangover.  South by Southwest Interactive is the now seemingly ubiquitous conference of music, culture, tech and hipsterdom held annually in Austin, Texas. SXSWedu is a smaller gathering which occurs the week before the big event, attracting thousands of teachers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and students. It packs a hyperbolic amount of content about teaching and learning into three days, but many sessions are available now to watch for free.

Here’s a list of items of interest to me, a long time librarian in higher education:

Ed tech


  • Future ready librarians: K-12 education uses the term “future ready” to describe goal of bringing districts, schools, and libraries into the 21st century and give kids the skills and opportunities they need to succeed in a fast-changing world. What does it mean to be a ‘future ready librarian’? This infographic explains.  This panel had great online handouts.
  • Library & out of time meet up – This session gathered librarians from higher ed, K-12 and public libraries, as well as vendors, museum curators, and random library fans together for informal conversations & shared brainstorming. It was an introvert’s nightmare, though I did meet the folks behind Mobile Citizen, a mobile hotspot vendor aiming to make wireless access affordable to everyone. They want to work with library systems  to provide mobile hot spots for checkout.
  • Open Educational Resources: At the “Ed Surge Lightening Talks” I heard a university provost describe how librarians and instructional designers at her school located & tagged open educational resources with learning outcomes to develop an OER Commons for their faculty. Here’s their LibGuide.



  • Enterprise embracing the MOOC – Salesforce Trailhead embodies the classic features of a MOOC (badges, online, asynchronous, massive & free) to train up skills for their sales software
  • “Digital Education is the oil of the knowledge economy” – just a neat quote
  • Ed Tech moving into the East & South markets (China & Africa)
  • New tools: DigiExam (digital exam platform), Zzish (mobile learning apps), Open Campus (“campus” (as opposed to course) management system), Practice (video platform designed to empower interactive, individualized learning for mobile, active learners, anywhere, anytime, and on any device – prototyped with surgery residents at UCSF)

Would I attend SXSWedu again? Maybe. It is close to where I live and professional development funding is available. But for the average health sciences librarian, SXSWedu might be one of those ‘bucket list’ conferences. Good for a one time visit, likely not a return customer.

Need More?

The SXSWedu YouTube account includes keynote speakers and spotlights, while the SXSWedu Twitter feed aggregates content from everywhere.

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

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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!

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