Welcome to the second in the innovation in learning blog series. In our previous article, we discussed a few innovative practices that are going to be key in future nurse aide training. We will continue that discussion now with a few additional innovative learning principles: flipping the classroom and storytelling.
The Flipped Classroom
Flipping the classroom means that students are exposed to new material on their own first. We know that sounds counter-intuitive, but this has been proven to be a solid teaching strategy. Khan Academy, a popular online resource for math and science, helped this teaching methodology get it its wings.
Your students can learn before you actively teach them in a variety of ways. It can be through video instruction, reading assignments, observation activities — whatever tools you have that can expose your students to the material before you even say a word. The key is that they have the material before they meet you. If they don’t understand it, that’s ok! Trying to figure things out cold helps to form brain patterns that lead to long-term learning. It also gives your learners time to digest the material and formulate questions for when you go over the material in class.
Compare this to a standard classroom model where learners are trying to keep up in real-time with topic after topic, and they can’t digest, apply or formulate solid questions to help cement their learning.
Use your precious (and expensive) instructor-led time to debrief questions, assimilate knowledge, and work on application — such as problem-solving exercises, discussions, and debates. This usage of time is much better for students and more fun for teachers! Here are a couple of flipped classroom tips:
- Consider some type of incentive for students to prepare for class
- Students will probably be new to this method. In the beginning and especially with students new to the model, associate the various pre-work tasks with points. Assignments can be online quizzes, worksheets, or short writing assignments, but in each case the task should be rewarded with points. You could grade for simple completion or on content but make the pre-work is fun and engaging.
- Provide a mechanism to asses student understanding
- Use the results of the pre-work to help the instructor understand where the class may be struggling. This tailors the learning to the class and helps the instructor realize where they could have been clearer in the instruction.
- Provide in-class activities that focus on higher-level thinking
- If the students gained basic knowledge outside of class, then they will need to spend class time on deeper-level learning. Students may spend time in class engaged in debates, data analysis, or synthesis activities. For example, in a compliance-related course, learning about how infections manifest themselves in a facility (rather than just a general example) may be an effective to teach infection control in a group of nurse aide students. You’ll also want to discuss interventions that are in place to improve this metric, means for dealing with an outbreak should that occur, etc. The key is that students are using class time to deepen their understanding of the material and to increase their skill sets — rather than use class time to expose them to materials for the first time
At Straightaway, we are passionate about the Power of Story. Storytelling is a powerful device to use in teaching. Most of the time, we don’t provide the context of the material we ask our learners to learn. Without context, we are setting up our new hires up for failure when the world we taught isn’t the same as the world they get when they leave class. If you anchor your teaching in a story, you get many benefits. You won’t effectively engage their head until you engage their heart — stories are a perfect way to do that. The goals is to provide context so learners can see the reasoning behind the teaching principles. A quick example is including the impact of negligent infection control principles to the learners’ home and family via a story. They’ll understand c.diff so much better when they realize they may be taking it home to their family if they aren’t careful — head and heart.
Here are some storytelling tips:
- Stories are the emotional glue that connects the audience to the message.
- Much of what people remember from a learning experience are the feelings of the underlying message rather than a multitude of small facts (which are better reserved for job aids).
- Stores reshape knowledge into something meaningful.
- For centuries, people have used stories to pass on knowledge. According to the presenter of this session, new research shows that 70% of what we learn is consumed through storytelling.
- Stories are more likely to be shared.
- Because we are so attuned to stories, people love to share them. They are like hooks that draw people in as they are passed from one person to the next. Do you need to spread the word about something? Put it in a story and see if it gets shared.
- Stories give meaning to data.
- Many people perceive data as meaningless numbers. This happens when the data is disconnected to anything important in their experience. But when the data is placed in the context of a story, it comes alive.
Straightaway Health is incorporating many of these innovations listed in this article in their nurse manager curriculum, as part of SUPPORT. Context, storytelling, empathy, and micro learning are just a few of the techniques you’ll find in our work.
If you are analyzing how well your training programs are working, and need our help with any of these ideas, contact us. We can help you reinvigorate your results.