Monday, March 16, 2009

Class Review: Public Health

As an instructional design/training professional, I revel in continuous learning. I feel that it is critical for trainers and instructors to frequently play the role of student for a myriad of reasons: remember what it is like to know absolutely nothing about a topic, learn from other instructor's best practices (and unfortunately, learn what not to do). Since I value learning so highly, I constantly take new classes in a variety of topics: gardening, guitar playing, song writing, pottery, harmony singing, presentation skills, improvisation, project management, MS Project, human performance technology, and Portuguese are just a few topics I've learned about through classes or trainings in the last few years. I will post what I have learned about teaching by attending these classes from time to time. 

My partner and I recently attended a class offered by our health care provider as a mandatory prerequisite for being admitted to a clinic. 

Here's what I learned:
  • Practice with technology prior to the session. There is no excuse for being flustered by PowerPoint!
  • State your objectives clearly at the beginning of the session. What will we learn? What will we be expected to do at the end of the session?
  • Provide clear, effective handouts. They did give us one, but it was terrible (complicated diagrams were printed out PPTs in "notes" version-- too tiny to see).
  • There were action steps that were required for us to complete after the class before being seen by a doctor: point these out clearly, and give people a checklist.
  • Be careful of gender/sexual orientation discrimination. This class was primarily for couples. Probably ninety percent of the couples attending this class are heterosexual, but this clinic treats couples of all sexual orientations. Instead of constantly referring to husbands and wives, please consider mentioning partners instead.
  • Participants will vary in how much sensitive information they will freely reveal (e.g. a participant who was maybe 25 shared with the class that she had been recently diagnosed with menopause). This class did not include a mandatory sharing portion; this came out in the Q&A portion. I was a bit shocked that someone would reveal so much, but I suppose she felt safe in this environment, for which I have to give kudos to the instructor!