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Archive for the ‘Training Tips’ Category

Teaching topics: Openers and Closers

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Did you miss NTO’s free webinar “Teaching Topics: Open and Close with Impact” last Thursday? If you weren’t a part of the 80-strong attendees, have no fear, for a recorded edition is being sliced and diced for our YouTube channel right now.  In the meantime, this post will review several classroom activities & concepts discussed in our webinar. (But not everything! For that you’ll have to wait for the video and/or our next scheduled webinar.)

First off, what is an opener and a closer? These are classroom activities that frame an instruction session.  A popular misconception in instructional metaphor is to think of a class like a sandwich – the opener and closer are the bread, while the content – what you really want folks to learn – is the meat.

This is wrong.

Why? Serial position effect.

Serial position effect is defined as “a tendency for the items near the beginning and end of the series to be recalled best, and those in the middle worst” (1). Serial position effect was coined in the 1910s by Hermann Ebbinghaus, a psychologist who also invented the learning curve. The implications of serial position effect for instruction is that the opening and closing portions of the class are just as important as the meat of your content.

So toss out that learning sandwich, and consider the churro.

Multitud_de_churros

The churro is a sugary fried donut item. It is delicious from first bite to last. Churros are long and cylindrical. Towards the middle of your eating experience it may be easy to lapse into a sucrose-sprinkled complacency and forget to appreciate the churro, but once down to the last bite, the churro will live on as a tasty memory. So let’s consider instruction a churro, and openers and closers as your first and last bite. Fresh examples after the jump.

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Word Clouds as Discussion Starters

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

I like word clouds. They help us see what’s important or most prevalent in a block of text. When the NTO was the NTC, we used word clouds to help facilitate a discussion in our PubMed for Trainers class about the core competencies of PubMed.

We asked students: Is there a set of core competencies that all users need to search PubMed effectively? Students posted their answers in a Discussion Board and then we took the text (after we cleaned it up a bit) and put it into the word cloud generator. During class, we displayed the word cloud and used it as a tool to stimulate a class discussion.

We liked this technique because we (the instructors) already knew what the students thought (as displayed by the word cloud), the rest of the class could see if their set of core competencies matched what others thought and we could ask people to elaborate or ask if there were any surprises.

Word Cloud

Three word cloud generator tools:

  1. http://www.wordclouds.com/
  2. http://www.wordle.net/
  3. Google Docs has a word cloud Add-in.

Here’s a short video by Richard Byrne about using the Google Doc Word Cloud add-in. Note, the add-in mentioned in the video has been renamed Tag Cloud.

Try the new Q&A Feature in Google Slides for Engagement

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Have you tried Google Slides? I don’t use it on a regular basis, but I just learned about a new feature called Q & A. Q&A is designed to let audience members ask questions during a presentation (anonymously, if they prefer).

What’s so novel about that you ask? Students use their smartphone or other smart device to submit questions to the instructor at any point. OK, but what else can Q & A do? As questions are submitted via a shared URL, students “like” questions that they what to know the answer to. The instructor sees, in real-time, which questions are most important to the audience.

What are some ways to use the Q & A feature in Google Slides?

  • Can be used for in-person and online sessions
  • Fosters inclusion for remote participants
  • Students can ask questions when they come to mind
  • Gauge knowledge; Who knows what in the “room”?
  • Use instead of traditional chat box as a way to moderate chat
  • Meets users where they are, their smart-devices
  • Audience size doesn’t inhibit participation

Here’s a short video by Richard Byrne on how to use the tool. 

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 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.
    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 amazon.com).

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

Photo credit: torchalum.wordpress.com

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: http://ow.ly/XWKvc