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An example of improving learning under the guidance of instructors

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3 ways to improve learning in a hybrid classroom

A few years ago, I was asked to teach lawyers how to make effective presentations using PowerPoint. My client didn’t want the usual three-hour presentation on good speech techniques. Instead, he wanted something short, precise, and immediately applicable to the work of lawyers. He also wanted the training to be fun and interactive because “his people were a tough audience”.

Reorganizing learning into microlearning

I have been doing presentation training for several years using the three-hour “Sage on Stage” approach with large slides. Something new was needed, and quickly, because my client wanted to be trained in a month. Luckily, I graduated microlearning and recently read Sharon Bowman’s book “Training from the Back of the Room” (2008).

I created four 20-minute sessions consisting of microlearning elements:

    1. Selected public videos lasting three to five minutes each.
    2. Two-minute lectures using PowerPoint slides, each containing large graphics and small text. These lectures included no more than five or six slides devoted to one item – and only one.
    3. “Better or worse”: I suggested examples of a bad slide and a good slide or a good presentation and a bad presentation. Participants voted for what was bad and what was good, and the selected participants had to defend their vote.
    4. Share in pairs: a classic training exercise in which participants sum up each other’s learning outcomes.

Adding workshop: 4 Cs

Continuing to refine the 20-minute sessions, I added other sessions. In response to participants ’requests, I added a 30-minute“ presentation simulation ”in which we worked with participants in a group to make a PowerPoint presentation more effective.

Each 20-minute session was independent and matched Sharon Bowmans ’“ 4 Cs ”framework: connections, content, specific experiences, and findings. I started the session with a quick icebreaker to connect the students with the content. I then presented the first piece of content lasting three to five minutes and then conducted a quick exercise. I continued this cycle of content and specific experiences three or four more times.

Towards the end of the course, I handed out a work guide that summarized the key points of the training, and asked selected participants to share the most important lesson they had learned, or on which topic they would like more explanations. This final phase was the fourth C (conclusions), and it is estimated that it helped to improve transfer of learning.

Why 20 minutes? Because of the lawyer’s busy schedule, I planned the sessions as part of a lunch with a brown bag. However, when I was asked to hold longer sessions, I was able to easily comply with this request by combining two or three sessions with seminars to convert presentations between sessions. (Yes, these classes are easily translated online if you have a lot of activities in the session.)

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