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Teaching Tips: How to engage students. Five easy ways to activate your lessons using Lt.

10 Sep 2018

Hi! I’m Liam Farley, and I’m based at ADInstruments’ New Zealand office.

I'm one of the Lt customer success managers - or CSMs. In a nutshell, that means I join forces with our education customers to make sure that they get the most value out of Lt!

So, to get you started, here are some easy tips for using Lt to make your lessons more active, more engaging, and easier for students to access.

 

Tips for creating engaging lessons using Lt:

Tip 1: Keep it simple

The first tip I want to point out is to keep it simple. I really want to emphasize the need to prune down lessons as much as possible.

I'm sure you've all seen lessons that are just filled with walls of text. It’s very difficult for students looking at lists and lists of information to gauge what they are supposed to take from the lesson.

Simplification is inherent in Lt.  In Lt, there are a refined set of buttons and features which streamlines the authoring process by removing unnecessary options and reduces the number of decisions you need to make when authoring. Educators are time poor, so we only offer the best of the best: the most user-friendly and useful features. Essentially, this gives you better quality options, with fewer decisions to make, when you are authoring - ensuring that you have a high-quality lesson.

It is really simple to create a new page in Lt. You can simply drag and drop your lesson objectives or any written text into Lt from another document, like Word. You don't even have to worry about copying and pasting – just drag it over and drop it. Easy.Once the text is in Lt, you can change the format. You’ve got different fonts and can add elements like dividing lines really easily.

Easy Authoring - How Lt helps you create modern, engaging lessons

Tip 2: Break things up

Often in lessons, you'll see text that looks very uniform. But again, walls of text can be off-putting to students.

When content is broken up it is much easier to see and consume the content within a lesson. This makes the lesson content much more engaging for students - they can see definite and discrete chunks of information.

Breaking up content also saves time and makes life easier for you as teachers. Separate and distinct areas of content are easier to identify which means that you can update, remove, share, or move those particular parts as you need. This helps when you go back to a lesson at the end of the year to revise it, customize it, or when you want to share certain sections of it within your departmental teaching team.
 
In Lt, everything is already nice and discrete in terms of panels and it's nicely aligned to create white space and to make things easy to view. 

Case Study: Authoring Lessons in Lt - University of Sydney

Tip 3: Make it visual

The third simple tip is to make it visual - but trying to do this with thought - not just dumping random images which can often be distracting. Try to make sure that the images you are putting into a lesson are actually useful, and actually relate to the text.  I won't get into the pedagogy behind it. Use images but use them wisely.
In Lt, images can be dragged and dropped in and easily resized to the size and shape you need. Also in Lt it is simple to rearrange images on the page. 
I think a useful piece of visual information to include is an idea of how long each lesson should take. 

Five Tips for Teachers: How to Activate your Lessons!

Tip 4: Ask questions

Ask questions! Ask questions all the time within your lessons.

Importantly, those questions don't have to be high stake questions - they could just be simple, easy, low stake questions. You don't want students to be stressed out, you want them to be familiar with the questions and to see that it's two sides of the same coin with learning – that questions aren't simply for exams, they actually help you learn a lot more. 

In Lt, it is really simple to insert different question types. There is a drop down in the menu that gives you a range of question types to select from. Lt allows you to easily reuse questions from other lessons, by simply copying and pasting into your lesson. 

You have the option to give instant feedback in Lt. You can insert model A+ answers that students can instantly check against, after submitting their own answer. 

How to write Multiple-Choice Questions

Tip 5: Reflect and Connect

Try and get students to connect with, and reflect on, what they are doing in your lessons and labs.  This is so that they don’t just go through the course material mindlessly without associating it with things they already know.  In effect, you want them to be appending their existing knowledge.

You also want them to think about how they're learning. This is something that our Lt education content design team does often: In the lessons we create, we try to get students to look at themselves and think about how they are progressing through a lesson. We want to make sure that they're aware of why they're learning something, and what it's relevant to. There are many ways you can do this in Lt. 

In Lt, we’ve tried to build in ways that will help you to get the students to relate to something, sometimes something that is more emotive. To do this, you can easily introduce video or audio - so you can hear the first-hand experience from someone, and you can insert an associated image as well. Students can be taking notes at the same time, which is very handy in the clinical setting. There are always questions associated with the audio and video, where we really want students to reflect back over the entire lesson. You can copy and paste these types of pages anywhere you need to in your Lt lesson.

A really handy and effective page to include is a completion page. This pulls all the questions and information the students have seen throughout the lesson into one summary page.  This lets students quickly check that they’ve answered everything, and they can make any changes that they see fit. They can even download this as a PDF. 

[Free Download] The Most Excellent Course Design Tool Ever - in association with HAPS


That's all from me, for now. I hope you find these easy tips useful for creating active lessons in Lt that are engaging for your students!
- Liam


More:

Case Study: Authoring Lessons in Lt - University of Sydney

Easy Authoring - How Lt helps you create modern, engaging lessons

Five Tips for Teachers: How to Activate your Lessons!

How to write Multiple-Choice Questions

De-clutter your lab: Introducing our new education hardware kits

[Free Download] The Most Excellent Course Design Tool Ever - in association with HAPS

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