November 10, 2020
Series: Better Childbirth Education By Design - Development: Strategies, Activities and Materials
By: Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE | 0 Comments
Today, please enjoy the fifth post in the series: Better Childbirth Education By Design, a special Connecting the Dots series written by skilled educator LCCE Andrea Lythgoe. Andrea has been a frequent contributor to Connecting the Dots over the years with some very popular and informative posts. Instruction design is a field that applies systematic approaches to planning education. Lots has been written about its use in a wide variety of fields, from K-12 education to higher education, corporate training and even the US military. In this series - Better Childbirth Education by Design, Andrea introduces readers to a very common model of instructional design, called ADDIE, and demonstrate how childbirth educators can use this process to create and refine your childbirth classes. Today, Andrea discusses creating the "chunks" of time and planned activities that make up your time together with your families. To find the entire Better Childbirth Education By Design series, follow this link. - Sharon Muza, Connecting the Dots Community Manager.
So you know what your learners want and need, you know what you want to do with your class, and you’re ready to start pulling together a curriculum and planning how you’re going to teach. Start thinking about your strategies for teaching and plan a variety of activities and materials to support your objectives.
Strategies are the high-level approach for how to teach the class. Things like the overall structure of your class. You might choose a weeknight series, a weekend class, or maybe an online course where everyone meets together or an independent study online course.
The sequence that you teach the material is also another strategy. Some teachers choose to teach physiology, variations, and interventions simultaneously, and some choose to cover the entire physiologic process before teaching variations and interventions. Your sequence should be a logical one that builds on previous knowledge as you move through the class.
Chunking is a strategy that involves breaking up the information you teach into small learning chunks of about 10-20 minutes each. Passive activities, like listening to a lecture or watching a video, should be no more than 10 minutes, while highly interactive activities can last a bit longer before the learner gets fatigued and loses interest.
Motivational strategies also go across everything you teach. One way of thinking about motivating your students is to remember the ARC of motivation: Get their Attention, show them how the information is Relevant, and give them the chance to build Confidence in their ability to use new skills and knowledge.
Activities are the heart and soul of planning your classes. Look at the objectives you planned, and start brainstorming ideas for activities that would help your learners reach those objectives. When I planned my classes, I wrote each objective on an index card, and listed possible activities on the back as I spent a few weeks brainstorming and planning. This approach also has made it possible for me to swap out activities as I try new ones or adapt to the needs of a particular class. More on that in a future article.
Most activities fall into three categories:
Absorb Activities - just ask the learners to absorb information. This might be a lecture, a video, or a reading assignment.
Do Activities - ask the learners to do something active. This would include most of the hands-on practice of massage, breathing and positions for labor that happen in most childbirth classes.
Connect Activities - challenge the learners to draw conclusions or connections between ideas or apply information they have learned to a situation. Role plays, labor scenarios, and class discussions can all fit into this category.
Look at the BABE series here on Connecting the Dots for specific ideas, and if you have one you love, submit it to be added to the series.
Materials: should be chosen carefully and screened to ensure that the material in them aligns with what you teach in your classes and supports your objectives. This would include any audio-visual materials like videos, posters, slide decks, images, and any music or audio files you use. If you share books, handouts, or links with your students, they should also be carefully examined to make sure they fit well.
Some important things to remember as you plan your class activities:
Make sure you do not overwhelm your students with information. It is better to teach a smaller amount of information effectively than it is to teach a large amount of information that no one remembers.
Your courses are not a Christmas tree. Sometimes it is tempting to just keep hanging things onto your course because they sound fun, or you think it might be useful to someone. Keep your overall objectives in mind, and always ask yourself if this new and fun idea aligns with those core objectives.
While my overall and enabling objectives have not changed much over the decades I’ve been teaching, I do experiment with various strategies, activities and materials fairly often. Do you have a strategy or activity you love? Share it in the comments!
About Andrea Lythgoe
Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE is a childbirth educator and doula with over 20 years of experience helping families as they move through pregnancy and birth. She is also the author of UnderstandingResearch.com, the place for birth professionals to learn how to find and read research. Recently, she has gone back to school to study instructional design and strengthen her skills. You can find Andrea at andrealythgoe.com
TagsChildbirth education Andrea Lythgoe Series: Better Childbirth Education by Design