Tag Archives: Flipped Classroom

Lecture: It’s not Dead Yet

LectureNotDeadFellow simulationists, let’s get real. We should not be the enemy of lecture. Lecture is a very valuable form of education. What we should be campaigning against are bad lectures, and the use of lecture when it isn’t the best tool for the associated attempt at education.

We have all listened to lectures that were horrific and/or lectures presented by speakers who have/had horrific public speaking or presenting skills. But in essence a good lecture can be an incredibly efficient transfer of information. The one to many configuration that is in inherent in the format of lecture can lead to an amazing amount of materials covered, interpreted and/or organized by the presenter to raise the level of knowledge or understanding of the people in attendance.

Like anything else in education we need to stratify the needs of what we are trying to teach and create solutions by which to teach them. With regard to lecture as a tool, we need to find ways to engage the audience into active participation to enhance the comprehension, learning and attention of the participants. There are many tools available for this, some involving technology, some not. The onus is on the presenter to seek out techniques as well as technologies or creative ways to engage people in the audience into an active learning process.

I don’t think of simulation as an alternative, or better way to teach, then lecture. I view lecture and simulation as two different tools available to the educational design process to affect good learning. Much the same way that I would not say a screwdriver is a better tool than a pair of pliers.

Too many times at simulation meetings and in discussions with simulation enthusiasts I hear empirical lecture-bashings if it is old school, out-moded or something lacking value. During these conversations it becomes readily apparent that the person speaking doesn’t have full command of the fact that the main goal is education, not simulation, and that there are many ways to create effective learning environments.

Now lecture can get a bad rap deservedly. Go to a meeting and listen to a boring monotonous speaker drone on and read from their powerpoint slides while not even recognizing that there is an audience in front of them. Unfortunately that is still more common than not at many physician and nursing meetings. Or worse yet, in the new age of converting to flipped classrooms and on-line learning, people are taking the easy way out and moving videos of lectures and plopping them on-line and calling it on-line learning. How pitiful. How painful. The only thing I can imagine worse than a bad lecture in person, is a bad lecture on web based learning that I would have to suffer through.

So I still teach and lead workshops on helping people enhance their lecturing and presentation skills. In part because I continue to recognize that not only will lecture be around for a long time, it should be around for a long time because it CAN be incredibly powerful with the right preparation and in the right hands. Also I continue to recognize the value of seeing modern healthcare education efforts being carefully thought out to understand which tool is best for which phase of learning after careful evaluation of the intended learner group and the topic at hand.

We need to end the silo-like thinking of simulation is better than lecture and convert to a more outcomes oriented thought process that evaluates and implements the appropriate educational tool for the intended educational accomplishments.

So let’s commit to each other to never do a simulation that could be just effective as an engaging lecture, AND lets all agree to never do a lecture that sucks.

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Simulation Can Be the Model Flipped Classroom

FlippedClassroomSimulation can be utilized in a manner that is consistent with the current recognition of the gains and benefits of “The Flipped Classroom”. Essentially the flipped classroom that many educators are talking so much about is an engagement of the students that is different than traditional models. Historically learner show up to lectures to learn about a new topic and then are assigned homework to reinforce the concepts. In the model of the flipped classroom, the students are provided with tools such as lectures, video examples, resources, reading lists that introduce the topic and allow a cognitive exploration BEFORE coming to class. Then they show up to the face-to-face activity and instead of hearing a lecture from the professor are engaged in higher levels of cognitive processing regarding the topic. These higher levels could be conducting experiments, experiential learning, exploration, group discussions debating a topic, or perhaps engaging in scholarly debate on the merits.

Imagine education surrounding a topic that involves pre-learning such as web-based education, video reviews, or other activities that either introduce a new topic or perhaps refresh the cognitive underpinnings of the subject matter. Then have the learners come together in a face-to-face environment and engage in experiential learning through simulation of various sorts that may include mannequin based simulation, partial task training workshops or content review discussions. It seems like the ultimate combination.

Interestingly, as I have been reading more about the Flipped Classroom I realize that we have been utilizing these concepts for many years in Simulation in particular with our programs aimed at training residents and practicing professionals. At my center (WISER) many of our courses are created with just that type of overall education strategy. Our Simulation Information Management System (SIMS) houses over 125 courses many which have extensive online materials for subject matter review prior to the actual simulation day. Subject materials may be pre-recorded lectures, PowerPoints, screen based simulations, videos demonstrating correct performance for example. Some courses even perform pre-tests before the actual simulation encounter to ensure that the cognitive preparation has been completed.

Intuitively it is easy to understand the advantages. The face-to-face time that students spend together in conjunction with faculty members is generally the most expensive time of the education. So it seems that we should be creating activities that maximize the effectiveness of the precious face-to-face time. Now the technology is no longer a barrier for the dissemination of information we can appeal to various learner types and styles, as well as keep the face-to-face time for much higher-levels of engagement. Thinking about it from a Kirkpatrick model we can move the reaction and learning levels to a more efficient off-site, self-paced exploration and learning, and then maximize the time the face-to-face environment with faculty to achieve higher levels of knowledge acquisition and expertise such as behaviors and results.

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Kirkpatrick Model of Training Evaluation

During the learning and reaction phases the learners can obtain the materials at their own pace and perhaps have a choice of methods by which to achieve the cognitive learning objectives. This increases the efficiency as learners who are mastering the material more quickly can move along to more advanced topics, and those who need a little more time, or need to review several times over have the ability to do so.

During the face to face sessions simulations scenarios can provide a deeply immersive learning environment for learners, and then this can be augmented by rich interactive discussion with faculty members as well as peers as continual mastery of the materials are recognized. The experiential learning offered by simulation can help to demonstrate the student’s mastery of the material from a cognitive perspective as well as demonstrate the ability to apply to real-world or near real world settings and circumstances.

This combination of cognitive priming or preparation with the experiential immersive process seems right to apply to the healthcare education environment. Recognizing that simulation, mannequin based simulation in particular, can be an expensive time-consuming endeavor; we need to ensure that we are maximizing the overall outcome of the educational experience.

Thus I argue simulation can be the Model Flipped Classroom and provide significant return on investment for topics that are appropriately bundled in the fashion described.

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