Last week we participated in one-shot workshops with our colleagues. I delighted to see how our colleagues effectively provided interesting information to participants. I learned the following from my colleagues’ workshops.
First, open-ended presentations are more effective in dealing with serious issues. Two groups of our team dealt with sensitive issues of library world: getting rid of dewey classification and owning e-books. Instead of lecturing on the issues, presenters introduced them briefly and then asked us to discuss them. When participants are familiar with and have serious interests on issues, open-ended questions and free discussion can help participants better express and discuss a variety of opinions on them.
In addition, preparing handouts containing detailed information on issues gives participants a chance to explore them on their own. Some cognitive psychologists point out (for example, deWinstablye and Bjok, 2002) that divided attention by provision of multiple visual and verbal stimulus may leave students with a subsequent sense of familiarity, or feeling of knowing, or perceptual facilitation for the presented material but without the concomitant ability to recall or recognize the material on a direct test of memory. As a result, students tend to overestimate what they know and how much they learn. More importantly, people misjudge what they need to learn further. In this sense, handouts can be a pivotal tools for effective learning because they will refresh participants’ memories on the contents of the workshop and also provide an instruction on how and where they find more information on the topic.
In our workshop, we showed that joining ALA can be a good tool in developing participants’ professor career. When developed the workshop, we decided to focus on the information about ALA that new participants would be most interested in. So I researched all of 19 roundtables in ALA but covered only three roundtables in our workshop due to time limit. It seems many students were satisfied with our presentation in the workshop, but some told me what ALA roundtables are wasn’t still clear to them (e.g. Are roundtables part of official events of ALA or unofficial gathering of librarians?) and wanted to know more about regional roundtables. So if I have another opportunity to teach a workshop, I would conduct a quick indoor survey about which roundtables seem most interesting to SI students before a workshop and focus on just several workshops that students find most useful. That way we would be able to provide more detailed and helpful information on ALA workshops.
deWinstanley, Patricia and Bjork, Robert (2002). Successful Lecturing:presenting Information in Ways That Engage Effective Processing, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no.89,Spring 2002 , pp.19-30.