Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Help your audience stay awake

You tell 'em!
If you stand in front of your audiences and drone on about whatever it is you do, you're in good company.

The "sage onstage" model in education is as old as universities, which got going around 1050, and this approach has generally been in use as long one person thought he knew more than another one and got up to try to prove it.

So that would take in some of your old guys like, say, Aristotle.

However, it's not always the best way. Biologist Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle, analyzed 225 studies of undergraduate STEM teaching methods.
The meta-analysis concluded that teaching approaches that turned students into active participants rather than passive listeners reduced failure rates and boosted scores on exams by almost one-half a standard deviation. “The change in the failure rates is whopping,” Freeman says. And the exam improvement -- about 6% -- could, for example, “bump a student’s grades from a B– to a B.”
I don't see why this wouldn't apply to a business environment. 
Although there is no single definition of active learning approaches, they include asking students to answer questions by using handheld clickers, calling on individuals or groups randomly, or having students clarify concepts to each other and reach a consensus on an issue.
Freeman says he’s started using such techniques even in large classes. “My introductory biology course has gotten up to 700 students,” he says. “For the ultimate class session -- I don’t say lecture -- I’m showing PowerPoint slides, but everything is a question and I use clickers and random calling."

Fine, but can you skip the PowerPoint.

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