Have fun with medical trivia contests and more
Bring your health care classroom to life.Picture this: a room full of eager, intelligent health care students. Their eyes are turned expectantly toward you as the instructor. The subject of today's lesson is complex, but it's essential to their success. You begin your lecture, sharing your carefully crafted lecture notes.
But instead of seeing the students absorbed in the new information, you see eyes glazing over, barely concealed yawns, doodling instead of note-taking. A woman in the second row is cleaning out her purse, reading through old receipts and checking expiration dates on chewing gum packs. A man near the back is starts snoring.
So where did you go wrong? Your notes were accurate, meticulously organized – and boring.
Study after study has shown that students learn best when they participate in the learning process. For most students, just listening is a poor way to acquire information. Instead of talking at your health care students, use creative tools to facilitate learning, including:
Medical trivia contests – Get students into the spirit of learning with fast paced medical trivia contests. Transform the key points into small pieces of information, then offer awards or incentives for the student or group who accurately completes the contest first.
Simulated applications – Teaching about the steps involved in sterile technique? Create a role play in which an emergency arises and following the certain steps either saves or loses the patient. Seeing exactly where the theory applies in real life helps students internalize the concepts in greater detail. For more advanced theories where role play is not feasible, consider using one of the computer simulations now available to help students grasp the concepts.
Small group case study – Break the class into small groups and give each a real or fictional case study in which the key concepts you're teaching play a pivotal role. Have them analyze the role of each step in the diagnosis and treatment, locating correct or incorrect decisions made. Seeing the choices and outcomes helps students understand the real life implications of medical procedures.
Physical learning – Sometimes the concepts being taught are too detailed or diverse for simulations, or too complex for a medical trivia contest. Get students excited and involved by tossing a small toy the student chosen to answer the question or offer some observation. If they get it right, they keep the prize. If not, the toy goes to the next person selected to try. Or consider one of the methods popular as meeting ice breakers -- use a toy, stuffed animal, small ball or other fun-to-toss object as the way to identify who gets to talk. Only the student with the toy gets to speak…the others have to wait until it's in their hands to give their ideas. Either way, the physical involvement spurs greater mental involvement.
Whether you choose contests, games or simulations, taking the information out of your lecture notes and into something students can experience will increase enthusiasm and enhance learning in your health care studies classroom.