Instructional Strategy Themes


I’ve noticed some themes that repeat throughout the discussion topics in the PIDP 3250 Forum…


Adult learners ( like most learners) require relevance. It is difficult to be motivated if the topic or content is not relatable. The relevance and objectives of the material need to be clearly defined by the instructor, so the learner can identify with it, and own it. It is in this primary step of instruction that the first scaffold is created – the realization of existing knowledge, and how it relates to the topic or content.

The strategies we use in instructing are extremely relevant as well. In Hattie’s Visible Learning it is widely accepted that some strategies work better than others to produce active learning. In choosing our strategies, we are also choosing our impact on learning.


As instructors, we set the environment and the strategies. This includes but is not limited to a positive classroom environment, whether in-class or on-line, that promotes order, empathy, safety and respect. It is within these managed parameters that the students feel more comfortable and motivated to take risks and explore. Mistakes will be acknowledged and encouraged, for it is the recognition and exploration of our mistakes that leads to deeper learning and understanding.


Teachers ask questions all the time. It is my responsibility as an instructor to ensure they are ‘good’ questions. As a lesson is progressing, I will check in with simple questions to ensure we are getting it, and moving in the right direction. But value is added by asking questions that produce other questions. Questions that inspire thinking are open-ended – that inspire research and reflection during the process of sense-making, are crucial to developing meta-cognitive skills. And throughout the learning there are way-finding questions for both the instructor and student that assess and guide the learning: ‘Where am I? Where am I going? How do I get there?’ It is in answering these questions that the learning becomes visible.


Social cognitive learning theory supports the notion that much of human learning occurs in social environments. This is a practice that has developed and conditioned us for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Learning occurs readily, and more deeply, in environments where the student can collaborate and connect with their instructor and peers. An intensive learning environment will foster and encourage collaboration. This can be a challenge in on-line courses, where participants may never see each other. A way to overcome this challenge is to use discussion forums and video-conferencing. Our PIDP 3250 course has been a flipped on-line classroom that encourages, even requires, collaboration. We as students, researched and explored the topics separately, but came together to collaborate within the forums.


The name of this course is instructional strategies. The strategies we have explored in the discussion forums, and those found in Barkley’s Student Engagement Techniques, are all tools for us to use. In addition to these strategies are the tools of technology. We explored digital technologies that can be used within a classroom, and those that can open up the classroom to the on-line world. The trend to adopt and utilize technological tools is gaining acceptance as innovation makes these tools ubiquitous and user-friendly. I plan to become knowledgeable and current in these modern tools of the trade, and utilize them wherever possible to further my development as an instructor, and to further learning opportunities for my students.


Barkley, E. (2010), Student Engagement Techniques. Jossey Bass San Francisco

Hattie, J. (2008) Visible Learning retrieved from: http://visible-learning.org/


The Equation of Student Engagement

Engagement = Motivation + Active Learning

At the beginning of this course on instructional strategies, I posted comments about student engagement and motivation. This post follows up to complete the equation, and discusses active learning.

In Student Engagement Techniques (2010), Barkley’s description of active learning is

‘where students make information or a concept their own by connecting it to their existing knowledge and experience’ p.17,

and that along with motivation, it is one of the two inter-woven components for student engagement. Active learning is an umbrella term that applies to several groups of instructional strategies, including:

  • Co-operative and collaborative learning
  • Discovery learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Problem-based learning
  • Inquiry-based learning

In these groups of instructional strategies, over 50 years of research has shown that engagement is enhanced when teachers encourage students to reflect on and monitor both the process and result of their learning.

For me the impact of our teaching is seen in the visibility of the learning in our students, and always relates back to Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD). It is described as the zone that lies between what the students already know and can achieve without intervention, compared to what they can achieve with help and guidance from their teacher.

As I worked through each of the discussion forums within this course on instructional strategies, the relevance of each topic to motivation, active learning, and engagement became clear. Listed in the >PIDP 3250 menu >Forums tab at the top of this page are each of the discussion topics, with summaries of key points and references.

Reflecting on these topics, I see the opportunity and necessity to teach with instructional strategies that promote active learning. I’ve also noticed some themes that repeat throughout the topics… coming up next!

Barkley, E. (2010), Student Engagement Techniques. Jossey Bass San Francisco

Zone of Proximal Development http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development



From a post by Tyler Offer (Feb 2015) in Digital Learning Instruction Techniques Forum:

‘Can we agree that education is changing…rapidly and that the learners that are graduating high school this year will be radically different than those who graduated ten, twenty, thirty years ago? The job markets will look very different in ten, twenty, thirty years from now. The field of education needs to change and adapt but we need a plan for that change. Expecting instructors to do that without a plan is expecting a lot…I daresay it’s expecting too much.’


Tyler’s observation has led to three questions for me:

  1. How is education changing?
  2. How is the future job market different?
  3. Does education have a plan?

I will highlight how the future job market is changing, but the focus of this journal will be on exploring the first and last questions: how is education changing? and does education have a plan?

The Future Job Market

Merriam and Bierema in Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice (2014), recommend a video about major trends in the future of work. In the video, the future of work is fuelled by technology, innovation is necessary, knowledge is transparent, commuting is replaced by communication, and collaboration is everywhere. Employers have access to a global workforce, and careers are replaced by contracts. In this environment, the future employee needs to stand out. As described in 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times (2009), knowledge is important, but critical thinking, innovation and collaboration, among other skills, make up the 21st century skillset. In the modern world of globalization and technological advances, the value of the employee is not in what is known, but in what they do with it.

So how do we, as instructors, promote and develop these 21st century skills in our students? Education is changing, but is there a plan? Yojana Sharma in University World News writes:

‘Can university leaders ensure that their institutions keep up with rapid changes in technology and shifts in local and global economies? The International Association of University Presidents, or IAUP, session at the WISE (2013) conference in Doha sparked considerable debate on whether universities can survive to serve ‘emerging generations’.

At the WISE conference, 84 % of delegates agreed that universities were in drastic need of change in order to survive. Sharma also reports that ‘ensuring that the university stays relevant often means a closer relationship with the employment market. Some delegates described how they have to forge really close relationships and are forced to keep up with the employers of their graduates.  Dr Gerald Reisinger, president of the Applied Sciences University of Upper Austria, explained that its curriculum had to be reviewed completely at least every five years with input from the business sector, students and faculty. If the university does not keep up to date, students do not have jobs, he said.’

It is clear that the administrations of higher learning institutions are very aware of the importance of staying relevant. To not only keep up with the changing needs of the student, but to be pro-active in assessing those needs, with the collaboration of faculty, students, and business. In the trade occupations in British Columbia, there is a liaison between business and education through the Industry Training Authority. In the case of landscape horticulture, we also have HortEd BC, a liaison group that closely monitors that education is in tune with field requirements. It is paramount that as an instructor, I collaborate with industry so I am aware of the relevant needs of the graduate so they are truly prepared for employment.

Where are we at? How is education changing?

Two current major forces that are driving change in education are Digital Technology and Life-long Learning. I won’t go too deep into technology, as I think we are mostly aware that it is all around us, and increasingly affects our daily lives.

Digital Technology. Excerpts adapted from in the 2014 Horizon Report are:

Social media plays an ever-increasing role in student’s lives. As faculty, we are beginning to embrace social media, but privacy concerns must be addressed.

Online Hybrid Collaborative Learning has amplified the potential for student engagement through the blended use of traditional deliveries of instruction, and digital technology. Hybrid courses, where the student has both in-class time and digital collaborative time outside of class, are being used more often. Collaborative learning promotes group problem-solving and communication skills, while advancing knowledge of the subject matter.

Online Learning: As online learning garners increasing interest among learners, higher education institutions are developing more online courses to both replace and supplement existing courses. According to a study by the Babson Survey Research Group published at the beginning of 2013, more than 6.7 million students, or 32% of total higher education enrollment in the United States, took at least one online course in Fall 2011 — an increase of more than half a million students from the prior year. As such, the design of these online experiences has become paramount.

Gamification and Virtual Reality are both finding their way into education. Several institutions have developed virtual activities wherein the students can experience a task or procedure to practice mastery.

In education, technology is influencing our delivery of instruction, whether it is within a class, or on-line. In researching education’s current level of digital technology, it is obvious to me that there is a clear, but slow, trend of acceptance, experimentation, and utilization.

Learning to Learn – Education 2.0.

As Gerstein, J. (2013) compares the Web to Education, she describes that in the development of the Web there have been at least three stages. The first was Web 1.0, in which it was there, you could look up information, but little else. She compares this to Education 1.0, the historic pedagogical approach in which the student is there, receiving information, and little else.

Then came Web 2.0, in which users can interact with the content, and each other. This relates to Education 2.0, an androgogical, constructivist approach, in which we promote interaction with, and between, our students to develop their 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. Education 2.0 is slowly growing and spreading throughout the educative landscape, but has a way to go yet. As Gerstein notes: ‘Many educators are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning and implementing Education 3.0.’

Web 3.0 is today’s web, in which content is individualized to the user. In Education 3.0, the same will likely occur. The 2014 Horizon Report contains a section on Assessment Analytics, in which data from students’ digital input is collected and analyzed, to shape the digital delivery of content to each individual.

Education itself, as a service and an industry, is learning within its own zone of proximal development. With exhaustive studies we know very clearly where we have been, we know where we are. But do we know where we are going? Do we know how to get there? What coaching and guidance does education receive to help it get to the next level? What is the next level?

I think the coaching and guidance comes from the front line, from the student. The instructor or teacher is the conduit through which the students’ acquisition of learning is visibly formed, until the students can do it on their own, and can master learning how to learn. Until all teachers, courses, and institutions practice this visible learning, I think Education 2.0 is going to be a long level. This is not to say that strides into Education 3.0 are not being made. There are currently many instances of institutions and instructors who are pushing ahead; who creatively guide learning to help students become masters of their own learning.

Does education have a plan?

No. But it does have a direction. The plan is to go in that direction, where and whenever possible. In learning how to learn, we as instructors must be always know our impact, and nurture a growth mindset in our students. We must hold these strategies sacred, and bring them into every event of instruction, whether in-class, face-to-face, digitally or on-line.

In planning the future of education, the 2014 Horizon Report predicts that within a year policy-makers in higher education will have guidelines in place for social media in classrooms, for both students and teachers. The main concern is privacy, as they want classrooms to be perceived as safe spaces for open discussion and to preserve the integrity of student submissions.

Also contained in the 2014 Horizon report are many examples of institutions experimenting and succeeding with digital technologies. Here are just a few:

  • ‘The Ohio State University, for instance, is experimenting with a combination of technologies to create a “HyFlex” model of learning that incorporates online interactive polling, lecture recording, and a backchannel for synchronous communication. According to the instructors, this exploratory endeavor has succeeded in creating a model that suits the interests and desires of students, who are able to choose how they attend lecture — from the comfort of their home, or face-to-face with their teachers. Additionally, findings from the formal study show that students felt the instructional technology made the subject more interesting, and increased their understanding, as well as encouraged their participation via the backchannel.
  • Stanford University makes extremely effective use of iTunes U, where it publishes professional videos and other learning materials, produced by experts. This model aims to equalize access to education, and teach complex concepts through multimedia. While individual instructors may not be able to replicate the quality of content published to Stanford’s collections, there is an increasing expectation that universities and colleges be leaders in online learning, and thus equip their faculty and staff with the tools and training needed to create top-quality resources.
  • A study at George Mason University showed students who collaborated with others outside of the classroom for online components of a management course reported enjoying it more and learning more.
  • The University of Texas launched an initiative in 2013 to incorporate new technologies in lower-division history, calculus, statistics, government, and classics courses, with the aim of establishing a hybrid model to improve undergraduate engagement. Based on increases in persistence rates among freshmen in the past three years, as well as marked improvements in grades, attendance, and passing rates, three-year $50,000 grants will be given to each department to support the development of online content, such as video modules and tools that promote in-class discussion.
  • Online Courses: Part of engaging students in deep learning across online environments is personalizing the experience. In the summer of 2013, Pearson took their partnership with big data technology-provider Knewton to the next level by offering more than 400,000 college students enrolled in first-year science and business courses access to adaptive tutorial services.’



Like any learning, the evolution of higher education is not without some challenges. The primary challenge is the digital fluency of faculty. But this is also being addressed. As shown in the 2014 Horizon Report, for example, the University of California, Irvine has created a Faculty Institute for Online Learning, where faculty can learn to create effective online courses. Another example is the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation granted $800,000 to Davidson College to support the faculty’s development of digital skills. Other challenges exist, such as funding and competition from outside sources (MOOCs and private institutions).

Although most institutions are planning and progressing individually, it is through collaboration with each other, and analysis of what has already been tried, that they are collectively reinforcing the movement toward digital enhancement of courses and curriculums. Institutions are creating vice-provost offices and centers of excellence in which learning and digital technologies are studied and applied on and off campus.


The Global Up-Side

As learning institutions evolve with instructional strategies and delivery methods, the effect is felt globally. With portable infrastructure and online learning becoming more available, especially in tandem with programs like One Laptop per Child, the access to digital materials and instruction reaches populations that have never had an equal opportunity to learn. To go to the Horizon Report one more time, ‘the World Bank estimates a 25% increase in global higher education attendance from 200 to 250 million. In Africa alone, the continent would need to build four universities with capacities of 30,000 people every week just to accommodate the students reaching enrollment age by 2025.’


In response to the quotation at the beginning of my journal, I think there is good cause for Tyler to be concerned about teaching in this changing environment without a plan. It is with this same concern that institutions have begun moving out of Education 1.0 into Education 2.0, and even 3.0. The plan is to move. I think the motivation to move is to stay relevant, and it comes from the students and the businesses and organizations that eventually employ them. It is a focused movement that has many variables, and invites experimentation and mistakes, just like learning.

In my research of where education is, and where it is going, in relation to the two major forces of digital technology and learning to learn, I have confidence the direction is mapped out. Factors that inhibit the speed in which education moves in that direction such as digital fluency, funding and effectiveness are recognized. Evidence of the movement and the hurdles are apparent. Education is visibly learning.


Fadel, C., Trilling, B. (2009). 21st Century Skills: Learning For Life In Our Times. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Jossey-Bass, San Francisco

Gerstein, J. (2013) Experiences in Self-Determined Learning: Moving from Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0. Retrieved from: User Generated Education Blog at https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/tag/heutagogy/

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

oDesk (2009). The Future of Work. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8Yt4wxSblc

Offer, T. (2015). Faculty Slow to Adopt, Digital Learning Instruction Techniques discussion forum, moderated by Garima Kamboj, PIDP3250, Vancouver Community College. Retrieved from: http://moodle.vcc.ca/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=130583

Yojana, S. (2013). University World News: WISE – Can Universities Keep Up With The Future? Retrieved from: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20131101092922654

Thoughts on Self-Motivation

Swiped this from my post to the PIDP 3250 Forum on Motivation (Feb 2015), moderated by Audra Spielman and Donna Reynolds:

Stephen Howie: Factors in Student Motivation

Hi Audra and Donna,

Howey (2008) provides a lot of definitions and identifies the difficulty in assessing levels of motivation.

  • ‘In a study of academically prepared and under-prepared freshmen orientation students, Howey (1999) found clear motivational differences between academically prepared and under-prepared community college freshmen orientation students.’

He notes that ‘early intervention is critical to improving the success rate and retention of at-risk students.’ The article goes on to address the importance of the involvement of an advisor to orient new students through one-on-one meetings and a customized and targeted freshman seminar course.

Howey writes that the advisor relationship is likely not enough, and that strategies relevant to self-regulated learning should be employed.

This is where the instructor takes over. Can we teach self-motivation? I don’t think so. Can we activate self-motivation? Yes. We can do this every-day in our classroom by using the instructional strategies we are currently learning in 3250:

  • As instructors, we set the environment and the strategies. I will create a positive, safe, learning environment with clear objectives and goals that encourage risk and exploration.
  • The learners will know that the process of their learning is equally (if not more so) important than the retention of subject matter.
  • I will promote learner autonomy. Characteristics of an autonomous learner include (EduTech):
    • Critical reflection and thinking
    • Self-awareness
    • Taking responsibility for own learning
    • Working creatively with complex situations
    • The ability to create own meanings and challenge ideas/theories.
  • I will design instruction to engage these characteristics. PIDP3250 has moved me from an extrinsic motivation (I don’t want to work outdoors in the rain anymore, so I’m going to go teach) to the intrinsic motivation of wanting to learn, explore, understand, and truly embrace my potential role as an instructor.
  • I will exercise empathy, caring and monitoring. The learner needs our attention, our feedback and assessment. I will design instruction and assessment so that we both see the learning. I will teach to the next scaffold, and remove supports as the students master each step.
  • I will be clear that we are a learning community. We are each there for different reasons, but we are all there to learn.

We of course want all our students to be self-motivated. I suspect most will be. But for the ones that need some help we can be the activator, through our instructional strategies.


EduTech (2010) Learner Autonomy. Retrieved from EduTech Wikihttp://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Learner_autonomy#sthash.Q63yIP6f.dpuf

Howey, S.C. (2008). Factors in student motivation. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site:

I Can’t Hear Myself Think

On viewing ‘The Power of Introverts’ Ted Talk by Susan Cain

Objective – what did I learn?

I learned according to Susan Cain, that a ‘quiet and introverted style of being’ requiring less external stimulation, is less accepted in society, and from an early age she felt pressure to be more extraverted. She felt she had to prove herself by being bold and assertive, which were reflexive, self-negating choices that she made without even being aware of them. She explains that making these choices is what many introverts do, to the detriment of themselves, relationships, and society.

The pressure to be more extraverted is a bias that is prevalent in our western society. An introvert ‘internalizes’ this bias ‘from a very early age’. Our social institutions of school and workplace are designed mostly for extraverts, encouraging lots of stimulation. In this design, group work is a common theme. The introvert would more often rather work on their own, but must play into the bias, often quieter and seemingly less involved than their extravert companions.

An introvert is defined as a person who prefers internal stimulation, an extravert prefers external stimulation, and an ambivert is someone who falls in the middle. There is no one who is purely introverted, nor extraverted. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum between the two, and ‘recognize ourselves as one type or the other’. Because society is geared toward extraverts, we ‘culturally need a much better balance’.

Reflective – my personal reactions, internal responses, associations

            Personally, Susan Cain is preaching to the choir. I identify with her angst growing up in an extravert-centered world. I have felt the disconnection and bias in certain settings. Several times, especially when I was in the corporate world, it came up that I needed assertiveness training, and why couldn’t I be more like a salesman.

Further in her talk, Cain mentions the group dynamic, in which we instinctively mimic another’s opinions. I have caught myself doing this. In that moment, I was contributing to the progression of the conversation by simply agreeing, rather than having the time to formulate and express my thoughts and ideas. I’m fairly wise to this trait now, and watch myself, so I don’t readily agree without some reflection.

I identify myself as a mild introvert, and I can move to extravert as required. Like Cain, I will do public speaking, but not without some fear and anxiety. I actually enjoy giving thoughtful toasts, and mentoring / instructing. I don’t prefer to spend all my time alone, and I do enjoy groups and parties. But I notice that in a group or party setting, I prefer to have longer conversations with fewer people, rather than a lot of mingling and small talk.

Interpretive – Meaning, value, significance – why?

Introversion is not bad, it is not less than, it is just different. I agree it is the charismatic salesmen of our society who seem to be the ones we notice, keep an eye on, and follow, but we notice and follow quieter change-makers, too. The change-makers in our society are the people who bring their ideas forth and act on them. These people can easily be either introverts or extraverts. Cain gave a few examples of introversive change-makers, and there are definitely many whom are extraverted. Both types can be creative.

The overall theme of Cain’s talk is that introverted people are culturally oppressed, therefore operating in a culture that favors extraverted people. Cain states in an interview with Scientific American, ‘Many introverts feel there’s something wrong with them, and try to pass as extroverts. But whenever you try to pass as something you’re not, you lose a part of yourself along the way.’ How can anyone attain self-actualization if they operate with restriction?

Extraverts are more visible, so we think there are more of them. But as was reported in Psychology Today (Sept.2010): ‘According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test administered to two randomized national samples, introverts make up 50 percent of the U.S. population.’  Introverts can get self-sidelined in the noise and confusion of our immediacy-based society. As stated by Laurie Helgoe, PhD, in Psychology Today: ‘It’s not just that we overestimate the numbers of extraverts in our midst because they’re more salient. The bias of individuals is reinforced in the media, which emphasize the visual, the talkative, and the sound bite— immediacy over reflection.’  We want people who can answer and act immediately. No time to think about it. Helgoe also points out:

‘Introverts are collectors of thoughts, and solitude is where the collection is curated and rearranged to make sense of the present and future. Introverts can tolerate—and enjoy—projects that require long stretches of solitary activity. Extraverts often have to discipline themselves for bouts of solitary work, and then they prefer frequent social breaks.’

In her article, Helgoe references research results that show dopamine levels in extraverts rise in situations of external stimulus. They truly enjoy the environment. Introverts, on the other hand, all had ‘higher levels of electrical activity—indicating greater cortical arousal—‘ and, ‘given their higher level of brain activity and reactivity, introverts limit input from the environment in order to maintain an optimal level of arousal. Solitude, quite literally, allows introverts to hear themselves think.’

In groups, whether in learning, socially, or in the workplace, all participants – not only the introverts – are discouraged from creativity because as Cain states:

‘This is no surprise, though, if you look at the insights of contemporary psychology. It turns out that we can’t even be in a group of people without instinctively mirroring, mimicking their opinions.’


‘ …  groups famously follow the opinions of the most dominant or charismatic person in the room, even though there’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas — I mean zero.’


Decisional – resolution to make a decision about the future.

The clear message in Cain’s talk is that introverts operate differently from extraverts. Introverts will ideally have some time and space to assemble their thoughts in a cohesive and meaningful way. This is a situational challenge in the extravert-oriented culture we have created, especially in group environments.

Being sensitive and aware of these polar traits can help me to be a better instructor. Do I dare have a session in which we explore our ‘verts’, as suggested in Cain’s Teacher’s Guide to her book The Power of Introverts. I think respectfully done, a ‘vert’-exploring session would be enlightening for all participants. It could be done privately on-line, such as the Myers-Briggs personality test, with a follow up in-class to explain the introvert / extravert dynamic, and assure the students that wherever they land in the spectrum is equally okay.

I will encourage all learners in their learning and be aware of the need for quiet thinking during a lesson. I will coach them out of their comfort zones, if only for a short time, nurturing self-monitoring as described in chapter 9 of Cain’s teacher’s guide: ‘Individuals who are adept at self-monitoring are able to change their persona to fit the demands of a given situation, even if it means going against their natural tendencies.’ Self-monitoring moves the introvert temporarily to an extravert persona, and vice-versa. It should only be practiced in situations that reflect the individual’s core beliefs.

I’m unsure about group work. I don’t think group work should be abolished, but between its mediocre ranking in John Hattie’s study Visible Learning and the evident negative effects on possibly half the class (introverts), it is low on my list of instructional strategies. I can still use it, but approach it in a modified way, especially when the group work requires creative input. I think adding a simple step to the beginning of the activity, in which the learners have time to write down their thoughts and ideas before forming into groups would help.

In summary, the teacher and learners will benefit from both the exploration of the introvert / extravert personas, and making adaptive tweaks to instruction to accommodate both types.

  • Appendix 1: Crossed Signals “X” and “I” in dialogue
  • Appendix 2: What Not to Say to an Introvert


Cain, S. The Power of Introverts Ted Talk (Feb. 2012) retrieved from:


Cook, G. The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance. Scientific American

(Jan. 2012) retrieved from:


Helgoe, L. PhD., Hutson, M. Revenge of the Introvert. Psychology Today (Sept. 2010)

retrieved from:


Treadway, C., PhD., Treadway, D. PhD. (2011). Teacher’s Guide to The Power of

            Introverts, by Susan Cain. Retrieved from:



Appendix 1: Crossed Signals “X” and “I” in dialogue

Conversation between an introvert and an extravert can involve a series of misunderstandings. As the introvert struggles to follow multiple conversational threads and sort out his own thoughts, he remains quiet and appears to be just listening. The extravert reads that as engagement, a cue to keep talking. The introvert struggles with the continuing flow of input and soon starts to shut out the extravert, while nodding or smiling, or even trying to stop the exchange.

Even a simple opener of “Hello, how are you? Hey, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about X,” from anyone can challenge an introvert. Rather than bypassing the first question or interrupting the flow to answer it, the introvert holds onto the question: Hmm, how am I? (An internal dialogue begins, in which the introvert “hears” herself talking internally as the other person speaks.)

Even if the introvert responds, “I’m good,” she’s probably still reflecting on how she is: Good? That’s not quite right. I really have had a pretty crummy day, but there isn’t a quick way to explain that. She wants to first work out privately her thoughts and judgment about the day. She also may evaluate the question itself: I hate that we so often just say ‘good’ because that’s the convention. The other person doesn’t really want to know. She may even activate memories of how the question has struck her in the past.

While the introvert is evaluating the question on at least two levels (how she is feeling and what she thinks about the question, perhaps also what this says about our society), the speaker is already moving on to sharing something about his day. The introvert must take the incoming message from the speaker and tuck it into working memory until she can get to it, while more information keeps flowing in that demands tracking, sorting, searching, and critical analysis.

The cognitive load becomes increasingly difficult to manage, as the internal talk competes with the external conversation. Moreover, while trying to keep the conversation going, introverts may miss social cues, which can make them appear socially inept. The conversation is also anxiety-provoking, because the introvert feels she has too little time to share a complete thought. She hungers to pull away and give time to the thoughts her brain has generated.

—Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D. in Psychology Today (Sept.2010)


Appendix 2: What Not to Say to an Introvert

 Introverts, those quiet creatures that walk among you, are not as mild-mannered as made out to be. They seethe and even will lash out at those who encroach upon or malign their personal comfort zones. Here are a few emotional buttons to avoid with your introverted companions.

“‘Why don’t you like parties? Don’t you like people?’ is a common remark introverts hear,” says Marti Laney, a psychologist and the author of The Introvert Advantage. “Usually we like people fine,” she insists. “We just like them in small doses.” Cocktail parties can be deadly. “We’re social but it’s a different type of socializing.”

“Surprise, we’ve decided to bring the family and stay with you for the weekend.” Anyone anywhere on the -vert spectrum could find such a declaration objectionable, but it’s more likely to bring an introvert to a boil, according to Nancy Ancowitz. Introverts count on their downtime to rejuvenate their resources; an extended presence in their homes robs them of that respite.

Don’t demand immediate feedback from an introvert. “Extraverts think we have answers but just aren’t giving them,” Laney says. “They don’t understand we need time to formulate them” and often won’t talk until a thought is suitably polished.

Don’t ask introverts why they’re not contributing in meetings. If you’re holding a brainstorming session, let the introvert prepare, or encourage him to follow up with his contributions afterward.

Don’t interrupt if an introvert does get to talking. Listen closely. “Being overlooked is a really big issue for introverts,” Laney says. Introverts are unlikely to repeat themselves; they will not risk making the same mistake twice.

Above all, “we hate people telling us how we can be more extraverted, as if that’s the desired state,” says Beth Buelow, a life and leadership coach for introverts. Many introverts are happy with the way they are. And if you’re not, that’s your problem.

Matthew Hutson in Psychology Today (Sept.2010)

Moderating – Day 4

Moderating a Forum

This week I am moderating a discussion forum on Visible Learning, for my PIDP 3250 Instructional Strategies class.

As moderator, I think it is my role to encourage participants to engage in the discussion, so that they are compelled to research the topic to discover meaning. I also think it is my role to seek answers to their questions, while learning about the topic myself.

I know nothing about visible learning, and never heard of it until this forum was assigned. This may be the reason I chose the topic, because I had no history with it, and I have the opportunity to connect my existing knowledge to something entirely new.

Researching visible learning, I found little of value other than short definitions of the concept, and many references to work done by a research team headed by John Hattie, resulting in a book titled Visible Learning. Other books have followed.

I took the bait, and bought the book Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, by John Hattie.

I’ve gone through the book, some skimming, some focused reading, stopping on passages and content that rings true to what I’m learning in PIDP, and to my recently acquired basic knowledge of visible learning.

I think the message is simple. As teachers, we must know our impact on learning. Although it took 20 years of research to empirically classify data, resulting in a table of influences on learning, the book could have been written without it.

Where the data is helpful to the discussion forum is in the tangents we can explore. A few prickly points have already come up:

  • Class size – small influence on learning
  • Teacher knowledge of subject matter – small influence
  • Evaluation and Assessment – big influence

On day three I started a new thread on teacher subject matter, and will create another on assessment.

The first two days of the discussion were particularly stressful. As I described to our instructor, I had launched my boat into the water, put out some lines with different baits, but I had not yet hooked any participants, or even found the current. He advised, that like fishing, I may have to change spots, change bait, and overall, be patient.

Now it is day four. There have been some nibbles and strikes. I feel anxious, my task is to help the participants learn, and when the discussion is over, to retain some value. I am keenly aware I am a novice as a moderator. I will support participant aha’s with feedback and quotes from the book mentioned above, seek and share other resources, provide open-ended questions in new threads, and overall, try to keep my boat in the current.

The Video Experience – The Creation Process

When I was in Saskatchewan for the month of January, I helped my 12 yo niece put together a short video assignment on humor for her English class. It was at that time I reviewed the several available formats, and chose PowToon – which seemed more like an enhanced slideshow than a video. The appeal of this format was the straightforward interaction tools, and the tutorials. So we bought PowToon’s education subscription for $1 a month, which opened up a few extra bells and whistles. Actually, I didn’t get to help other than showing her how to get into PowToon, she took over from there. Kids these days and their open ease with technology.

I looked at the example of Connected Communities in Student Engagement Techniques, then went off exploring for supporting resources. As I researched, it became apparent to me there was much more to connected communities, and that technology in this realm is highly influential.

I chose to feature learning communities, and connected learning. PowToon suggested I write a 250 word script, then time it, to judge the overall length of the video. So away I went. My first script came in at eleven minutes (almost 500 words) … lots of editing … making points more concise … discarding embellishment. As others have posted, it was a challenge to keep my script within the 5 minutes, and still deliver the content in a clear progression.

By this time I’m about 12 hours into the task. I’m nervous about spending too much time on the script, leaving me less time for production. Yet I feel motivated, and have a sense of accomplishment, that I’ve really nailed the script – that it clearly reflects what I hope to feature in the video. And that in the worst case scenario, I don’t have enough production time, and I simply video myself, or do a quick power point.

I want to soldier on with the video, for a few reasons. First, I like detail, and I feel accomplishment when I get things ‘just right’. Second, I know I’ve under-performed in supporting others in the forum, and in posting to my blog, so I need this project to be my best work. I see my classmates posting extremely good work, repeatedly. I need to show myself I can do it. I want it to be a hinge-point to pull me off the shoulder and back onto the road.

When I watch a presentation, I like to see points emphasized with either a related graphic, or the presenter’s words repeated on the screen. To me this reinforces what is being said. If the words on the screen are different than the presenter’s words, my mind goes in two directions – I’m trying to listen to a spoken sentence, while attempting to read a different one. Instant confusion – I wind up missing both sentences.

So as I began assembling the production, I focused on emphasizing the points in my script. It actually came together fairly easy, although each step required several mini-steps: finding graphics and documenting credits, choosing how the graphics and text are placed on the screen and in the timeline of the script. Many adjustments to get the timing right. About six hours later (a minute and a half into the video), I could see I was making more productive decisions.

Aaaaaah. There is hope. I feel I’m getting it. Putting together the remaining 210 seconds takes the same amount of time as the first 90 seconds. So in all, 24 hours to write, edit, and produce a 5 minute production. Likely no Hollywood record. But I’ve learned a valuable process and skills that will help me in future presentations.

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