Dr. Todd Zakrajsek and associates travel to college and university campuses across the country and around the world presenting on effective teaching and student learning. He regularly presents to faculty, students, and administrators. Contact us for more information on scheduling a workshop at your campus.
Engaging Students in Online Courses
This workshop focuses on strategies to engage students in online synchronous courses. Breakout rooms are one of the easiest ways to engage learners, yet many find these small group online discussions to be awkward and unproductive. In this workshop we will look at specific strategies to make breakout rooms more enjoyable and productive. We will also look at several easy to use (and free) educational technologies that can be used to enliven any course. The primary overarching focus of the workshop is that educational technologies used to engage students should also enhance learning. Using cognitive psychology as a framework, we will develop a plan that may be used in any course so that the educational technology chosen results in student learning.
Active Learning Vs. Lecture: A New Evidence-Based Perspective on an Old Debate
To me, the common debate of “Active Learning versus Lecture” is addressing the wrong issue. There is a long list of research studies showing that including active and engaged techniques to the classroom is beneficial to student learning. This does not mean that lectures are ineffective or that one should never lecture. In the debate of active learning versus the lecture we rarely hear of the many types of lectures or the hundreds of types of active learning. The statement “active learning is more effective than lecturing” does not effectively follow the science on human learning. We should instead be asking, "in what ways active and engaged learning be used with lectures to created effective educational environments for our students." In this session we will discuss the common types of lectures, components of any good lecture, what does make lectures ineffective at times, and most importantly, demonstrate how adding effective engaged learning techniques almost always enhances learning for students.
Note: I think a grave error has been made in higher education with respect to effective teaching. I don’t think we ever need to hate on lectures as a whole. This session is designed to increase active and engaged learning strategies that work in conjunction with the lecture, along with some tips regarding how to lecture effectively when a lecture strategy is used. This session differs from a common approach of demonizing the lecture method with suggestions that it be replaced with engaged learning strategies. We will end up in the same place of building a bigger toolbox of effective strategies for teaching, but along a much more positive path. Faculty get the message that lecturing all the time is not acceptable, but it is ok to do it some of the time. Faculty have been VERY receptive to this approach
Dynamic Lecturing: Tips to Enhance Student Learning....Including Easy Ways to Infusing Active Learning Strategies
Although lecturing has been demonized over the past several years, it continues to be one of the most frequently used strategies in higher education. Faculty may well be denied promotion, not granted tenure, or even dismissed for using this “tainted approach.” In comparing active learning to lecturing, flaws in the current literature have resulted in misconceptions about the value of lecturing. In this session we will critique foundational studies, examine components of the effective lecture, and integrate lectures with other educational strategies to create meaningful experiences for our students.
Teaching So Everyone Learns: Concepts and Tips of More Inclusive Classrooms
Many classrooms environments are built for extroverts who are risk takers. Faculty typically wait only seconds after a question is asked before tension begins to build. The concept of wait time, or waiting quietly for students to respond will work, but is also anxiety provoking for faculty as much as it is for students. Additionally, students are more and more willing to outwait the faculty who is waiting for them. In this session we will first look at the wide variety of learners that comprise classrooms these days and then work through teaching strategies that help a wide variety of individuals to be academically successful.
Understanding The New Science of Learning: Study Less….Learn More
Where did you learn how to learn and how to study? It is an odd question, as you have been doing it for a very long time, and since you’re in college, you’re clearly pretty good at it. That said, what if the strategies you use to study are not the most effective ways to learn? This
session is not about spending more time studying, but rather how to study and learn better. The overall goal of this session is for you to better understand how your brain works when processing information and specific strategies you can employ to become a more effective learner.
Note: I typically do this session for student groups that have ranged in size from 12 to approximately 500. These groups have been comprised of students from community colleges through professional schools (including med schools). Students have reported that the session was very valuable.
Teaching: Joys and Challenges of the Greatest Profession
Teaching in higher education is in many ways a gift. Having the opportunity to mold future generations is an amazing opportunity….and responsibility. That said, this profession also comes with a multitude of challenges. In this session we will explore teaching as a “profession,” looking both at why teaching is exceptionally important to everyone and how research on teaching can help all of us to be better at educating others. This session is designed to encourage attendees to think about education, assessment, the role of the teacher, and the role of the student in new and fundamentally different ways.
Motivating and Engaging Your Students: Strategies for Teaching
From the Psychology of Learning
What can instructors do to facilitate learning when they encounter students who seem uninterested and even apathetic toward course content and assignments? Part of the responsibility for learning belongs to students, but as faculty, we can find new ways to motivate, inspire, and maybe even cajole students to learn. In this workshop we will explore how instructors can make classroom learning, perhaps one of the most artificial learning settings, a more meaningful experience for students. The workshop facilitator will use theories of learning and motivation as a basis for creating strategies to increase student engagement in course content and class sessions.
Teaching on the Fly: Clinical Teaching Strategies that Can Be Done in 5 Minutes or Less
Clinical teaching is particularly challenging as the clinical educator must attend to the needs of the patient, the needs of the learner, and maximize educational opportunities, all while keeping an eye on the clock so as to not fall behind an already packed schedule. In this session we will look at three areas that are prime opportunities for teaching in a short amount of time: variations on one-minute precepting, very short presentations/talks, and growth-minded feedback. That may sound like a lot to do in a relatively short amount of time, but then again, that is kind of the point.
The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony With Your Brain
Many educators continue to struggle with how best to proceed from delivering lectures to creating truly effective learning environments. In addition, students struggle to understand the best way to learn in our classrooms. The result can be class sessions that are difficult and frustrating to teach with students who appear apathetic and indifferent toward learning. In this session, through active learning, we will discover how effective evidence-based teaching practices can be aligned with effective evidence-based learning strategies to create classrooms where students enthusiastically participate, are interested in course content, and effectively contribute to their own learning.
What We Know (and Think We Know) about Teaching and Learning: The Myths and the Evidence
With so much information being published about teaching and learning, it is imperative that we rely on credible sources to inform us as to how best to teach. The more degrees of separation from the source, the more easily it becomes misunderstood or misinterpreted. As a result, in the application of new educational trends, many of us have spent time and energy developing strategies that are inconsistent with sound educational principles. The focus of this session will NOT be on merely challenging commonly held positions, but rather identifying a few fundamental learning principles that consistently demonstrate a better way to teach and for students to learn.
Critical Challenges in Teaching and Learning: What All Teachers Will Likely Face and How to Meet those Challenges Head On
University faculty can expect to face serious challenges in educating students in the coming years. How will we integrate learning technologies? How will brain-based learning affect our practice? What will be the impact of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning? What do we know about how undergraduates interact with the world and the impact it will have on education? We simply can’t continue to teach the same way teaching has been done, even though it has been done in a very specific way for a LONG time. This session will focus on some of the most serious challenges we will be facing, and also some directions we can take to address those challenges.
Learning-Centered Teaching: Coordinating Evidence-Based Teaching With Evidence-Based Learning*
Many educators continue to struggle with how best to proceed from delivering lectures to creating truly effective learning environments. In addition, students struggle at times to understand the best way to learn in our classrooms. In this session, through active learning, we will discover how effective evidence-based teaching practices can be aligned with effective evidence-based learning strategies to create classrooms where students enthusiastically participate, are interested in course content, and effectively contribute to their own learning.
*Non-Medical School Version
Learning-Centered Teaching: Coordinating Evidence-Based Teaching
With Evidence-based Learning**
Most faculty members understand that lecturing is not as effective as active/engaged learning. However, many clinician educators continue to struggle with how best to proceed from delivering lectures to creating truly innovative and engaging learning environments. In addition, although medical students are bright individuals, little attention has been paid to better understanding effective learning strategies and then passing that information on to our students. In this session, active and engaged learning will be used to demonstrate how effective evidence-based teaching practices can be aligned with effective evidence-based learning strategies to create situations where students enthusiastically participate, are interested in the material to be learned, and effectively contribute to their own learning. Participants will learn, through participation, how to incorporate these practices into their own teaching.
**Medical School Version
Teaching for Student Learning
There is a proliferation of misinformation pertaining to how students learn and how best to teach. Students themselves often do not fully understand their own cognitive processes, typically relying on implicit assumptions and trial-and-error to learn new material. The good news is that research provides clear evidence pertaining to what works best in the classroom with respect to human motivation and learning. This session is designed to provide you with evidence about how students learn, show you methods to get students more involved in the content, and demonstrate relevant applications from pedagogical research that can be used in just about any class. You will even have the opportunity to try out a few classroom strategies designed to increase student engagement.