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Where to Begin?

You’ve been introduced to a great deal of material in this chapter. You’ll find it all summarized in table 8-3, which can serve as a convenient reference for you as you plan to facilitate various learning events.

Table 8-3. Tips for using media to support learning.
Media TypeWhen to UseTipsPluses and Minuses
Flipcharts and Easels
  • Informal learning events

  • To generate materials/items on the spot

  • When you need to keep the lights on

  • Make your writing legible and large (six lines per page, letters 2 inches high).

  • Keep a record of progress throughout the learning event.

  • Use headings on media to keep your talk organized.

  • Vary colors: Blue and black lettering are most easily seen; green and red can mean “pro” and “con” or “do” and “don’t”; color-blind learners can’t differentiate green and red.

  • Leave blank pages in between so the text of the next page can’t be seen.

  • If right-handed, stand to left of chart; if left-handed, stand to right.

  • Write notes to yourself in light pencil on the pages.

  • Make tabs out of Post-it notes or tape, so you can flip easily to the desired page.

  • “Touch, turn, talk”: Write on the chart (and don’t talk to the chart while writing), turn, then speak.

+ Informality creates comfortable environment

+ Good for smallish rooms

+ Learners can make their own for activities/presentations

– Don’t work well in large rooms; can’t be seen by learners who are more than 30 feet away

– Must have legible handwriting

– Not good for more formal groups or groups who expect a presentation supported by technology
Overhead Transparencies
  • Informal learning events

  • Generate material/items on the spot on blank ones

  • Multiple sites

  • Moderate-sized room

  • If writing on media on the fly, be legible

  • Multiple colors; same cautions as with flipcharts

  • Use large fonts and graphics

  • Clean the glass before using

  • Focus the projector without revealing your transparencies by placing a coin with ridged edges on the glass

  • Talk to learners, not to the glass in front of you or screen behind you

  • Point out items on the transparency on the glass, not on the screen behind you

  • Turn off projector when finished with the content on that transparency and you want to direct attention elsewhere and when changing transparencies to avoid glare

  • Revelation technique: Place a piece of paper under the transparency and slide it slowly to reveal one item at a time

+ Learners can make their own for activities or presentations

+ Useful for learning events you facilitate multiple times

+ Can carry with you easily to multiple sites

– Need fairly low room light

– Machine could break down or bulb can fail

– “Keystone” effect of projection screen

– Can trip over cords

– If you have too many transparencies, the setup creates a physical barrier for too long a time because you must stand at the projector
Whiteboards
  • Informal learning events

  • Generate material or brainstorm items on the spot

  • Use when you need to keep the lights on.

  • Keep a record of progress throughout the learning event, if you have enough boards.

  • Make your writing legible and large (six lines per page, letters 2 inches high).

  • Use headings on it to keep your talk organized.

  • Can use it to jot notes during a discussion.

  • Vary colors: blue and black are most easily seen; green and red can mean “pro” and “con” or “do” and “don’t”; color-blind learners can’t differentiate green and red.

  • “Touch, turn, talk”: Write on the board (and don’t talk to the board while writing), turn, then speak.

  • Use dry-erase markers.

+ Learners can use for activities/presentations

+ Good for smallish rooms

– Can’t move the board around the room

– Don’t work well in large rooms; can’t be seen by learners who are more than 30 feet away
PowerPoint Slides, Digital Presentations, or Photographic Slides
  • Good for formal learning events

  • Useful for learning events you facilitate multiple times

  • Multiple colors; same cautions as with flipcharts

  • Use large, sans serif fonts

  • Use graphics

  • Point out items on the screen, not on the screen behind you

  • Use the revelation technique: Animate and build the content item by item on the screen

  • Talk to learners, not the screen behind you

  • Don’t use these media too often or too much

+ Can be eye-catching and very visual

+ Works in large room with large groups

+ Easily transportable on a laptop or on floppy disk, CD, or memory chip where a computer and LCD projector are available already

+ Content is easily modified

– Technology can break down

– Challenging to add items on the fly during the learning event

– Need low room light

– Learners may be weary of too many PowerPoint presentations
Videos and DVDs
  • Use for behavioral modeling (watch someone doing right/wrong)

  • Use for situational/case analysis

  • Make sure there are enough monitors for all to see.

  • Stop to discuss after a maximum of 15 minutes; then start up again.

  • Be sure settings and clothing in film are not too dated; could be distracting.

+ Excellent as a way to provide media variety

+ Works well for content that doesn’t evolve or fluctuate

+ Works well to examine skills; can show either “do” or “don’t”

– Passive medium

– Can be used for too long (“the electronic babysitter”)
Written Materials
  • When you want learners to have references

  • When learners must work alone

  • Use colors and graphics as discussed above.

  • Provide white space for note taking.

  • Leave blanks for structured note taking.

  • Give out as they are needed so learners don’t read ahead.

  • Can make hard copies of PowerPoint and digital presentations for later reference.

+ Gives more detailed information for later reference

+ Great for visual learners

– Doesn’t resonate with auditory learners
Props and Objects
  • When you want to make a point especially memorable

  • Use your imagination.

  • Be creative.

  • Use props that are natural and comfortable for you.

  • Take advantage of your own special talents.

  • Make sure the illustration or analogy is accurate and easily understood.

+ Memorable

+ Fun

– Not very portable
Wallboards
  • When you want learners to be able to refer to a graphically produced visual

  • As a content organization tool for complex material

  • Laminate them so they can be written on

  • Use color to delineate content relationships

  • Better in a moderate-sized room

  • Use as a map to manage content, focus, and transitions

  • Have them professionally prepared

  • Learners can post comments and questions by content area

+ Maintains content continuity

+ Meets needs of visual and kinesthetic learners

+ Useful for global thinkers

– Not effective for auditory learners

– Does not work with large groups or rooms

– Difficult to modify in real time
Reprinted with permission from Deb Tobey LLC, 2003.



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