Join Chris Mattia for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating authentic tasks, part of Training Tips Weekly.
- Welcome to Training Tips Weekly. I'm Chris Mettia and I'm here to help you enhance the design, creation and delivery of your instructional materials. This week, we're going to focus on designing authentic tasks for your learners. We've all had to suffer through that lesson where the instructor drones on and on, presenting slide after slide of information making you a passive collector of information rather than an active, engaged learner. A better approach is to engage your learners in an experience where they use the tools and apply the concepts to solve a real world problem that's meaningful to them, an activity that will hook into their existing knowledge frameworks and either strengthen them or build upon them.
For a simplified example of this, let's say you want to improve your learners' collaboration skills. You could, of course, present examples of why collaboration is important and then test their comprehension of those ideas. Or, you could create an authentic task where they could experience collaboration in a new way, such as brainstorming ideas together for your next big project using a cloud service such as a shared Google Doc. To set this activity up, log into your Google account, navigate to your Google Drive, and then click new and select new folder.
Then, inside of that folder, click new and create a new Google Doc. Click into the documents name field and enter Team 1. Then, enter a description of the problem that you want the teams to work on. I'll paste in some text I have copied to my clipboard. Then, close this tab. Your Team 1 document is automatically saved to your folder. Click the Team 1 document to select it and then click the more actions button and select make a copy.
Then, right or control click on the new copy and select rename, then call this one Team 2. Repeat this process for as many teams as you need. These documents will be used by your teams to brainstorm their ideas together and allow your learners to experience collaboration firsthand with a small group. Let's click on new again, and this time, select Google Slides. We'll name this document Report Back, and then add a title to the first slide, and add a new slide for each group.
After your groups have had time to collect their ideas together, they'll then report their ideas back to the class by creating a shared presentation and experience collaboration on a broader scale. The last step in our setup is to share this entire folder to our learners. To do that, we'll navigate back to your Google Drive and go up a directory level. Click on the shared folder and click the sharing icon, then click on advanced.
Enter the email addresses of each of your learners then click send, then click done. This will allow everyone in your class to access all of the documents in the folder. Okay, you're all set. Now, when you present this activity to your learners they can log into their Google Drive and under the shared with me folder, they should find your shared class folder. They can then open their team's document and instantly experience real-time collaboration on this document.
If you're presenting this activity in a face-to-face or synchronous class session, then the learners should be begin seeing each other adding text, links and media to their team documents. Since all of the team documents are all shared equally, the teams should be free to look into each other's team documents to see how they are collaborating. This will drive the entire class forward. If your class meets online asynchronously then your learners will need to check back to see the content added by their peers or arrange for their group to meet at a designated time to increase collaboration.
You may find that all the learners figure out how to use other real-time conferencing tools such as Google Hangouts, Zoom or some other tool to see and talk to each other face-to-face as they work together. After a designated time, encourage your learners to fill in the report back slide deck with their group's findings. In a synchronous session, you could then bring the slide deck up on the main screen and each group can present their findings without the need to switch technologies connected to the main display.
In an asynchronous setting, all of your learners have the presentation that they can review on their own, or you can set up a time for everyone to meet in a Google Hangout and present the materials online. Getting students actively working on an authentic task will leave the learners with a lasting memory of the activity and the information. That's all for this week. If you have a topic that you'd like me to cover, reach out to me on Twitter at @csmattia or here on LinkedIn.
Then, be sure to tune into next week's episode of Training Tips Weekly, where we'll look at another way to enhance the design, creation and delivery of your instructional materials.
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