Tag Archives: Self-Directed Learning

Effects of music on learning

1147531654The Mozart Effect isn’t a new theory.  The phrase was coined in 1991 and the idea is that music (specifically, listening to Mozart) somehow improves the brain.

In our PIDP 3240 discussion forum however, a colleague revealed that she prefers to listen to classical Indian music while studying.  Interestingly, this was not related to her cultural background.  I had never considered that other forms of “classical” music may also have some positive effect on learning.  I did a little searching, and it turns out that there are actually 5 recommended types of music to enhance learning.

Check them out here: http://www.trade-schools.net/articles/music-for-studying.asp


Judging by the multi-million views on Youtube videos of “Study Music”, many people subscribe to this theory.  It doesn’t work for everyone, and it won’t work for all learning tasks, but perhaps it’s worth a try…


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Nursing: High-tech/Low-tech

home-image-1With all this discussion of bringing technology into nursing, it’s important to remember that there are some essential nursing skills that are very low-tech.  I kind of alluded to this in my post on Virtual Reality…these are the skills that can’t be taught with technology alone.  I’m talking about:

  • intercultural skills
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • caring qualities (kindness, warmth, compassion)
  • etc.

Don’t get me wrong…we need technology to help us learn and advance, but we cannot be nurses without these low-tech skills.  As the American Sentinel University states so clearly, technology may be fine for nurses, but “technology can only work for patients when it’s combined with highly competent, relationship-based care. And this is why nurses must embrace their low-tech skills, as well as develop new high-tech competencies.”

To read more of this article: http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2012/05/30/nursing-skills-high-tech-vs-low-tech/

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Virtual reality

Virtual reality = very cool!  This would be a great in nursing education.  Not only for patient simulations, practicing emergency situations, etc., but I also found this article about a virtual reality that includes Non-Player-Characters (e.g. family members, colleagues, visitors).  In this particular article, it was about dealing with the behaviors of a patient with dementia – a tricky task.  The VR allows the nursing students to practice their responses in a safe learning environment prior to testing out their techniques in the real world.small

One interesting point this article makes, is that VR may replace traditional Simulation Based Training, as it is much more cost-effective than purchasing and maintaining mannequins, employment of simulation specialists, etc.  Having gone to a nursing school that had SBT mannequins that no instructor knew how to use, I believe the addition of VR to nursing education would be very advantageous.  But I do think there would need to be a balance of VR and practicing on real people.  Nursing is a ‘people/caring’ profession – and that can’t fully be learned in a virtual setting.

What do you think?

Article Reference: http://vsgames2016.com/proceedings/papers/pid1178378.pdf

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No letter grades here!

Here is a little further reading to my last post.  Apparently there are colleges that don’t give letter grades…not many, and none that I found in Canada.  But here’s a look at some colleges in the States that have innovative grading systems.


Check out this article for more information on how they score their students: http://www.bestcollegereviews.org/colleges-without-letter-grades/

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Patient Power

Smartphones are just that – smart!  There are new apps being developed to help patient’s take control of their own health.  Apps typically are used to help patient’s track or monitor disease processes that are already in place (e.g. tracking blood pressure readings, glucose phone_b_health_check_2011readings for diabetics, etc.) – but there is a new app that can even diagnose a particular medical condition.  The smartphone is used along with a handheld wireless heart monitor.  The device tracks the heart for 30sec and sends the information to the smartphone app.  The device tracked cases of Atrial Fibrillation that had previously been undetected.  From this result, the doctor was able to follow-up and prescribe the appropriate treatment.  Amazing!

The Patient Power aspect draws into the fact that the general public has access to smartphones and these health-related apps.  Though there will be issues with people inaccurately self-diagnosing, this may be an effective way to help people be well informed and motivated to take charge of their health.

Check out the CBC article and RSS feed here

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Cdn Healthcare

So…I knew my class was going to be a snoozer.  The topic was the Canadian Healthcare System, and included the 5 key principles of the Canada Health Act.  Not really riveting information.  Content that I know my students will promptly forget as soon as the last exam is written.  In an attempt to make it a little more appealing (at least visually), I turned the highlights from the class into an infographic for my PIDP course.  Voila!


And the accompanying Podcast: https://learntoteach.podbean.com/mf/web/3ykcqw/Infographic_Podcast.m4a

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Free Info!


Faculty Focus is a free email newsletter that provides subscribers with various articles and information about aspects of teaching in higher education. (Link to their webpage from my blog!).

If you’re interested in the use of technology in the classroom, they have created a special report entitled Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning.  In their report, they include articles on 13 different topics that contain practical information and links to useful resources.  For those who are wanting some guidance on how to use technology in the classroom (be it online or face-to-face), this may be a useful report (and it’s free)!

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Self-Directed Learning – An Instructor’s Easy Way Out? Think Again!

To me, self-directed learning is two-fold: it is a process of instruction as well as a characteristic of the adult learner.

From my experience, self-directed learning from an instructor point-of-view can be either very exciting or challenging. An instructors job shifts from the “deliverer of information” to the “provider of opportunities and exploration”. Depending on the maturity of the adults being taught, self-directed learning in mature adults can be very successful and rewarding, or, in less-mature adults, can be frustrating and fruitless. My experience in clinical teaching to first year nursing students proved to me that self-directed learners must initially be guided. The students wanted to know what was going to be tested, and where to find the answers. They were not interested in self-exploration, bridging past or new knowledge, or searching out resources in their environment. I also feel that some adult learners are simply not motivated to enhance their own learning, or perhaps they lack the confidence to do so. As their instructor, I needed to achieve the learning outcomes, but strived to provide opportunities whereby the students came to their own personal achievement of the outcomes. It’s difficult to lead students to self-direction without actually handing them all the information. Helpful learning activities for this were group discussion, case studies, and the use of mind maps (or concept maps). By simply adding guiding questions to these activities, I found that I was able to spur on the learning in a way that encouraged students to go and seek out additional information.

I found a neat mind map that summarizes Self-Directed Learning. Check it out with this link: http://www.teachthought.com/trending/what-you-need-to-know-about-self-directed-learning/

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