Glossary of Learning Strategies

Brainstorming- Used to generate ideas; encourages a group of people to think creatively about a topic. Innovative, unique, or untried ideas as well as traditional ideas are equally considered. Pick any topic or aspect of a topic for exploration.

Buzz Groups – Small clusters of learners who are temporarily grouped together for a short period to address a topic presented by a facilitator. The groups can discuss various aspects of a scenario and then compare viewpoints.

Case Study – An analysis of an actual event or situation. Case studies present “real” pictures of situations with facts, objective information, or data. Learners analyze the case study to interpret, predict, and resolve issues associated with the case study.

Concept Models – Give handouts that ask a series of leading questions, students work in small groups to figure out how something works or build a conceptual model. They make their own diagrams and record observations. Participants can create their own simulations by linking concepts and drafting new models or procedures, operations, or strategies.

Construction Spiral – Pose problem in a three-step learning cycle-1) each individual writes down their thoughts, 2) all share in small groups, and 3) compile the answer on the board in front of the whole class avoiding any evaluation or changes to what the class offers. Let the group correct itself. If weaknesses appear or more sophisticated understanding is needed, pose a second problem in the same manner. First questions usually begin at a reflex level to engage the students. Used to construct understandings and concepts.

Discovery/Info Search – Participants are given access to manuals, publications, charts, books, the Internet, and other tools in order to find information or answer questions.

Discussion – Participants can discuss the material more in-depth, share insights and experiences, and answer questions. Participants can reflect on the lecture topic before, during, or after the presentation.

Elaboration – Students are given only a portion of a scenario and asked to elaborate on what they think actually happened. Students are supposed to “fill in” the missing pieces by elaborating on the information they are given.

Forecasting – Participants are presented a scenario, simulation, or situation and then asked what should happen next, what would they do next? The participants are expected to “predict” the future by explaining what will develop.

Forum – A strategy that gives each participant a chance to express his or her views. Use a “roundtable” format to have participants respond to a particular topic. Consider imposing a time limitation or having a different participant express an idea after each module.

Jigsaw Technique – Break the information to be mastered into three to five parts. Give each learner one of the parts. Learners with the same learning task gather in the expert groups to master the content. Heterogeneous groups are then assembled to teach each other. Whole group performs the final task.

Listening Team – Members of the team are selected to represent expertise in the various areas that will be covered in the presentation. After carefully listening to a lecture, the team’s task is to make the presenter’s comments more applicable to the local situation or to raise questions ignored in the original presentation. The participants can be “queued” before the presentation to extrapolate certain information or they can listen “freely”.

Live-Link – Use satellite/telecommunications to link with a real-time activity realted to the presentation. Communicate with people “on-line” in the field.

Nominal Group Technique – Participants are asked to respond to a question or statement by generating a list of responses. The group facilitator asks each member to contribute an idea from their list in a round-robin approach. The group is given the opportunity to discuss and clarify any of the ideas that have been selected. The group members rank or rate each item. Voting may then take place to reach consensus.

Panel – Several experts sit around a table and discuss a topic, they may field questions from an audience. Learners may prepare questions in advance for panelists. Each learner can submit one question anonymously or ask “e;on-the-spot”e.

Peer Teaching – Each learner reads a different selection and then teaches the essence of the material to his or her randomly assigned partner. Have participants share material that reflects their experience and occupation.

Problem-Solving – Learners start a topic by solving a problem that incorporates the concepts of the module. Have participants work in teams to solve a scenario. Begin the presentation with the problem-solving exercise and then debrief the exercise by highlighting important points in the presentation.

Reflection/Evaluation – Participants ponder a presentation and then discuss or list points they agreed or disagreed with. They may also discuss pros and cons of a proposal or methodology. Ask participants to write down a viewpoint or evaluative summary on an index card during a break (could be anonymous). The facilitator addresses the comments in a summarizing and synthesizing manner–not judging or criticizing the viewpoints.

Relation to current events – Relate the presentation to current world news or events impacting the organization. Use news articles, the Internet, magazines, tapes of broadcasts, or audio/video conferencing to bring outside updates on the latest policies, technology, and news makers affecting the topic of discussion.

Role Playing – Learners assume the role or identity of a particular character, organization, professional occupation, etc. Participants can assume organizational roles for any job.

Round – Each person has a 2 or 3 minute opportunity to express his or her point of view on a given topic, or passes, while others listen. Used to elicit a range of viewpoints and build a sense of safe participation.

Simulation – Create a realistic model of an actual situation or environment. Use a computer modeling program incorporating multiple dimensions and perspectives to illustrate complex scenarios.

Storytelling – Facitators and students share personal, humorous stories to liven or highlight a concept.

Surveys – Handout a mini-survey at the beginning of a presentation that asks for opinions and knowledge concerning the subject material. A facilitator can use the survey results to make a point, illustrate concepts, and incorporate in the presentation.

Video Analysis – Show a video or a video clip without any introduction or elaboration. the participants “present” their analysis of the video to each other in small groups. Use an interesting video that will stimulate dialogue and interpretation. Handout questions that relate the video to other modules in the seminar.


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