Talk:Training/For trainers

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A few extras[edit source]

A few thoughts that might provoke some discussion. These are purely my own opinion, so take all this with the pinch of proverbial salt.

  • What makes a perfect session? For a teacher, a perfect session concludes with the teacher aware of exactly how much each student has learned during the session. This never happens, of course, even in a one-to-one because the teacher's ability to assess 'on the fly' is always imperfect. Nevertheless, the better the teacher can determine how well the student is learning, the better they can adapt the session to the learner's needs.
  • Why is it difficult to teach certain students? A teacher cannot teach; they can only provide an environment in which a learner can learn. "Adduce the equine quadruped to element aquatic. Ingurgitation, it is said, is seldom automatic." - found on a toilet wall in the Cavendish Laboratory. Each student is different and there is no 'one size fits all' pedagogy. Even the best prepared presentation can flounder if a student simply can't grasp it, so you must be prepared to adapt and modify what you are presenting to ensure that everyone is getting the benefit of the session.

More to follow ... --RexxS 23:08, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Really good stuff: keep it coming. When it's not night-time, I'll think about how to incorporate it in the page. MartinPoulter 23:57, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Another couple that occurred to me:

  • What's the limit? The human brain is not like a bucket, to be filled (with knowledge) until it's full. A student can always learn more, but what impedes progress is dwindling motivation. The teacher changes tack to help the learner grasp concepts, and similarly can move away to a different topic for a while to re-kindle interest. The key is to engage students' interest as much as possible. Smaller groups allow more individual adaptation, and a group can be so large that a single teacher cannot monitor and adapt quickly enough. Team teaching is a wonderful resource when the teachers are comfortable with each other.
  • What is retained? Every experience that a student has is lodged somewhere in their memory, but long-term memory requires a 'cue' to help extract the information. It seems that the cue is created more powerfully via some methods than others. It is sometimes said that "I hear but I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand." Visual cues are stronger than auditory ones, and the experience of actually performing something imprints even more strongly. "Keep it practical" is a good maxim.

I'll think of other things later ... --RexxS 16:16, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

An opinion of someone who has done a fair bit of basic training now. I really like all the practical advice here, but perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that you really need to think about (or try and learn in advance) the motivation of the people attending the session and adjust both the experience for them, and your expectations, accordingly. As engaged and enthused Wikimedians, trainers tend to anticipate that their students will "see the light" and leave the session totally sold on the project, ready to become a highly active contributor. The reality is that it rarely works that way. Most people who will become very active contributors find their own way to (and around) Wikimedia and, thus are unlikely to attend such training sessions. Often more realistic outcomes are:
  • People leave with better understanding what Wikimedia is (and is not), have a more positive image of it and consequently begin to use it more often.
  • People leave with the skills, understanding and confidence to fix a typo if they see it (often anonymously), but contribute little new content.
  • People use they skills they have learned to edit one or a few articles on their subject of primary interest and then edit only intermittently afterwards.
Its easy to become disheartened with these outcomes and consider your session a failure. But I think it is really important for potential trainers to realize that even these are a huge win for the project, and they represent steps along a path to further engagement. In other words, as a trainer you should not try, or expect, to build Rome in a day. Instead celebrate moving people in the right direction, no matter how small that step might be. Once you embrace this way of thinking, its much easier to be flexible with your training. I realize this is more philosophical that practical, but it might be worth documenting somewhere. Rockpocket 20:17, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree, but I think part of the issue is that we need to think about following people up after the training session, as well as on the day of the session itself. The Land 17:48, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Darren: agree, that's why I've deliberately left a lot out that relates to inspiring an audience and customising the training to their interests. I say these two things are desirable and I give some pointers to the Foundation's outreach stuff, but it's hard to set down in general documents for trainers a way to do this. We have to rely on trainers' judgement and personal/professional experience, e.g. you as a scientist presenting to other scientists. I think the aims are worth stating and aiming at. My training sessions are more like what you describe, but then Wikipedia training is a new thing and I think (or anybody) I could be better as we evolve training.
Chris: I agree that this is good practice. We're not getting a high percentage of long-term editors out of all the training we're doing. Then again, I learnt basic wiki skills in 2005 and didn't start serious article improvement until three years later when I found an article that really caught my interest. So based on my experience alone(!), I see someone who's got over the "hump" and is no longer intimidated by wiki editing as still potentially of huge value, even if they haven't done a lot with it a few months after training. MartinPoulter 21:14, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, these are all good points. I think you have covered most of the bases here. What would be amazing, actually, would be some sort of small conference for Wiki-trainers where we could all learn from each other, share resources and develop best practice. Could be worth considering as an adjunct to Wikimania. Rockpocket 23:52, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I've tried to summarise your point above into a "pitfall". I thought about adding more, but I think for now it's best to leave it here in the exact words you've put it. As for a training event, I'm keen to have multiple "train the trainer" events and there's a budget for it. MartinPoulter 20:41, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Notes[edit source]

More booklets to be linked: en:User:ClemRutter/training. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 17:13, 16 August 2017 (BST)