Educational Development

Greet, Get, Give, Gauge & Go: a Framework for Student Consultations

As an instructor, it might be tempting to measure the success of student visits by how quickly you can provide a correct answer—but excelling at this particular metric might come at the cost of a student building their own ability to answer similar questions in the future. The 5G framework ((The 5G framework draws its inspiration from a framework outlined on page 53 in Nyquist, J. D., & Wulff, D. H. (1996). Working effectively with graduate assistants. Thousands Oaks: Sage Publications. It was my colleague, Dr. Natasha Kenny, who made me aware of Nyquist & Wulff’s work, so a tip-of-the-hat to her as well.)) for student consultations not only offers a structure for answering a variety of student questions, but is a tool that can be used to build a student’s future success as well as providing a way to measure the outcomes of consultations. It consists of the five following steps:

  1. Greet
  2. Get
  3. Give
  4. Gauge
  5. Go
Educational Development

April Fools, Comic Sans and Learning

Helvetica - Part 03
Creative Commons License photo credit: eanur0

With Comic Sans (a font, for those not in typographic know) taking centre stage in many of today‘s web-related April Fools jokes, it’s worth highlighting some research that might have you re-thinking your derision of the font.

Earlier this year, researchers published finding that suggest that “information in hard-to-read fonts was better remembered than easier to read information in a controlled laboratory setting”. Of course (if you see where I’m going with this) one such “hard-to-read” font used in this work was Comis Sans. While there was no significant difference found in retention between the use of the hard-to-read fonts, the study suggests that learning (information retention & recall) is improved when students are forced into the added challenge that Comic Sans (and other crappy fonts) provides.

So the only logical conclusion to this is:

Format all your teaching material in Comic Sans!

Source: Diemand-Yauman, C., et al. Fortune favors the BOLD (and the italicized): Effects of disfluency on educational outcomes. Cognition (2010), doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2010.09.012


Future Directions in Educational Development

As you may or may not know, I’m in the middle of looking for a job. One of those positions is an Educational Developer at the University of Guelph. In preparation for the interview, I was asked to prepare a 15 minute talk on “The Future of Educational Development in Higher Education” (a topic that was initially overwhelming given its breadth). I’m delivering this presentation in person at the University this morning. Through the power of scheduled posts, you can follow along below (minus my narration).