Monday, 20 April 2015

Training: Train the Trainers

Train the Trainers was a morning workshop run by the Educational Excellence Centre at work, aimed at the subject liaison librarians, who are in the same team as me. SLLs do more teaching than I do, but I still found the hints and tips I picked up through the morning useful for the teaching that I do - mainly training staff, students and other users in how to handle material, introducing groups to Special Collections, and running sessions, such as Using Special Collections in your dissertation.

Me, during a workshop for a community group visiting Special Collections for the first time
We discussed what the difference is between training and teaching. The trainer can only provide the opportunity and environment for learning, it is the individual's responsibility to take their own learning from there. We then moved on to talk about the process of learning and teaching. Apparently the average attention span these days is only 11 minutes (I'm sure it was 20 minutes when I was a student!), so, in an hour's session, you should make sure you change activity 3 or 4 times per session to keep their attention.

We moved on to talk about the key components of the learning and teaching process:
Aims - Goals - Objectives - Methods - Assessment - Evaluation - and back round to Aims again. So a training cycle would look like:
Identification of training needs - Plan & design course - Deliver course - Evaluation of course
Learning objectives are essential, as without them you don't have a clear direction for the students to go in. Objectives should be expressed using action verbs and be specific, so "understand" isn't one as it isn't specific enough. 

We touched on learning theory, Kolb's Learning Cycle (basically, what you learn as a child, when you touch a hot radiator, discover it's too hot to be comfortable, and then don't repeat that behaviour) and Honey and Mumford's Learning Styles, which led to us each doing a questionnaire about which learning style suited each of us best. I am a mixture of three of them! These need to be borne in mind when planning teaching.

Then we looked at deep learning versus surface learning, as it is important for students to develop deep learning: learning for life, which encourages critical analysis of ideas, how to apply them and use them for problem solving. And then how to design teaching for deep learning.

Finally we looked at facilitating a learning and teaching session.

I found the session a useful way of learning more about teaching and learning. Hopefully I will get a chance to apply some of what I've learnt in Special Collections.

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