My newsletter, The Learning Curve, is aptly named and here’s why:
The initial moment of learning — of encoding — is incredibly mysterious and complex.
This is from John Medina’s Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Medina goes on to say,
..the little we do know suggests that when information enters our head, our brain acts like a blender left running with the lid off. The information is chopped into discrete pieces and splattered all over the insides of our mind. This happens instantly.
Talk about painting a vivid picture! No doubt I’ll remember how encoding works, and am even more curious to learn how the brain “cleans up” this incredible mess! In Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning, authors Agarwal and Bain describe encoding as a process by which we “absorb knowledge like a sponge.” To improve the effectiveness of encoding however, Medina tells us,
...there is no question that multiple cues, dished up via different senses, enhance learning. They speed up responses, increase accuracy, improve stimulation detection, and enrich encoding at the moment of learning.
Agarwal and Bain, on the other hand, are proponents of retrieval practice.
Part I of this series on virtual audience engagement describes engagement and the “YOU” factors that contribute to participant or student engagement in virtual presentation, professional development workshops, webinars, or online courses.
Moving past the personal factors, what is an online teacher or presenter to do to keep our audiences engaged?
The good news is there is a lot we can do.
The bad news is there is a lot we can do.
The trick is selecting the right strategies and applying them with intention and purpose.
Are you teaching or giving presentations online these days? Aren’t we all! Higher ed courses, professional development courses, conference presentations, or even facilitating online meetings – we’re even attending online happy hours, graduation parties, and weddings!
And we’re getting tired. Tired of connecting in a virtual world, tired of worrying about how our faces and backgrounds look in our webcams, and just plain tired of sitting in our spaces staring at our screens.
So, we go online and search for strategies. We ask colleagues for activities, in search of that magic protocol or brilliant new tech tool that will wow our audiences and get them excited about screen time. But the truth is, if you step back a moment and consider your own mindset about audience engagement and the purpose of focusing on engagement, you’ll find there’s a lot more to it. Let’s give it a try, shall we?
Happy New Year! Each year, just like many of you, I make… and usually break… the same resolutions, with the exception of one: I learn.
In 2018, I learned how to create and launch my new website. That year, I also learned more about educational equity and culturally responsive education, communication, and leadership. In 2019, I studied negotiation skills, learned more about the science of learning, and added to my Excel, PowerPoint, and data visualization skills. All of this “professional learning” informs my work on various projects and helps improve my professional practice.
To learn all of this, here’s what I did (along with a few example favorites):
I‘m pleased to publish this guest post by my evaluator colleagues in the Idaho State Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations. Working in a governmental context gives them a unique perspective on education evaluation, as their work encompasses numerous fields and they experience evaluation in many different contexts. I’ve also long been a fan of their evaluation reports which exemplify a modern approach to reporting and dissemination: the report formats are visually appealing, and therefore easy to navigate, read, and comprehend, and they use well-designed visualizations to communicate key data points. (more…)
Who hasn’t answered the question, “What did you learn?” after attending a professional development session? As a PD facilitator and evaluator, I’ve certainly used feedback forms with this very question. After all, measuring participant learning is fundamental to PD evaluation.
In this post, I’ll share examples of actual data from PD evaluation in which we asked the direct question, “What did you learn?” I’ll then explain why this is a difficult question for PD participants to answer, resulting in unhelpful data. Next, I’ll offer a potential solution in the form of a different set of questions for PD evaluators to use in exploring the construct of participant learning. Finally, I’ll show where participant learning fits into the bigger picture of PD evaluation. (more…)
I love PowerPoint! I especially love well-designed slides, and I have fun putting into practice what I’ve learned about slide design.
Once you have visually appealing slides that encourage your audience to focus attention on you and support your content…AND you have appropriate content that is important, interesting, or imperative to your audience, how will you deliver it in an engaging way? (more…)
There’s really not much good on television anymore. So, I enjoy some down time outside of work and entertain myself by designing slide decks. I just uploaded my second to SlideShare. While it’s all fun, there’s a purpose here too, and for me, it’s to practice what I’ve been learning about data visualization, information design, and presentations. There’s certainly no paucity of engaging, compelling source material available out there. I’m so excited that just as I finished this project, the newest issue of New Directions for Evaluation (a publication of the American Evaluation Association (AEA)) – a Special Issue on Data Visualization – was released online and features the work of some of my favorite evaluators, data visualization experts, and information designers. You can read all of the abstracts here. (more…)
Poor education field. Why is it we always seem to be the last to know? As a career educator, I get excited hearing about new ways of thinking, knowing, or doing. Often I’m disappointed to find out that in fact, that what is new to us has been used in business or other fields for years. Such as it is with data visualization. Journalists and evaluators (among many others) have ridden the dataviz bandwagon for years now. (more…)
Just last week, one of my favorite evaluation blogs, Emery Evaluation, featured a guest post that got me thinking. Exploring the Non-Profit Paradox – Evaluation and Non-Profits [Guest post by Jamie Clearfield] reminded me that I’ve long thought there exists a dearth of program evaluation in public schools. As Jamie indicates for the world of non-profits and community-based organizations (CBOs), I too believe there is a lack of understanding of evaluation and its role in public education. How do I know this? (more…)