The PLC (Professional Learning Community) will be providing the teaching tip of the week throughout the academic year in support of their goal of interdisciplinary collegiality.
In the learning process, there is no substitution for real life experience. Recently, my son had to do a persuasive essay that discussed learning- the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Although he found many differences between both concepts, there was one consistent theme. Wisdom involved the “experience” phenomenon, while knowledge was just the acquisition of information. I believe that is true at all levels. Practical application of knowledge gained can lead to permanent learning. I teach in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, in which the clinical experience (time spent in the hospital, hands on) is an integral part of the learning process. This creates memorable moments. Students remember true life examples, and can relate them to the didactic content. Recall of those experiences increases students’ ability to critically think and perform in clutch situations. The same is true for all students, no matter the discipline. Once students have a “picture” of what the information looks like, they imprint that and can recall that information.
Real life examples should be memorable, dramatic, and entertaining. I received a text message from an instructor last week, sharing how she engages her students: “I tell them all crazy stories-told them I will teach them contextually because it’s easier to picture a situation and understand what’s going on and remember it.” That is a true statement.
There are numerous technological adjuncts you can use to create your own memorable moments: videotaping simulated scenarios, cartoon portrayal of various situations (Powtoon is a great tool for cartooning), bringing still photos to “life” (using Thinglink or another photo annotating program), or YouTube videos which illustrate examples of the content. Each option provides a visual reference and is entertaining and user-friendly. Providing these “memorable moments” for your students will increase engagement, improve retention, and provide a way to turn knowledge into wisdom.
~Jennifer Roye, email@example.com, Program Manager of Undergraduate Clinical Facilities Coordination, College of Nursing