“There is almost no long-term retention of cognitive concepts without rehearsal.” – Neuroscience educational expert, David Sousa

Opportunities for practice and rehearsal facilitates learning that sticks. These types of activities are best facilitated in a low-stakes, low-stress environment while the skills are being developed over time in ways that allows students to see progress.

STRATEGIES FROM GSC FACULTY

Mini Case Studies & Problem-Solving Scenarios

Gina Abudi, who teaches graduate courses at GSC, creates mini case studies and problem-solving scenarios that are based on real-life situations to help students with practice and rehearsal:

I create mini case studies and problem solving scenarios that are based on real life situations – usually from client initiatives/personal experiences. In cases where mini cases studies or problem solving scenarios are provided in the text, I will use them. I find that these situations enable students to develop and apply a variety of skills, such as:

•    Problem solving
•    Decision making
•    Critical thinking
•    Strategic thinking

There is not often a right answer (though certainly some answers are better than others). I look for the student’s ability to think through a situation, apply what they are reading or viewing (videos) plus their own experiences to develop a workable solution to the situation. For the example below, I have the students read a white paper on The Essential Role of Communications.  

Example:
Too often as project managers we focus our communications on the technical aspects of a project – cost, schedule, resources, etc. However, executives focus on the bottom line. While the technical aspects of the project are important – such as whether it is on time and within budget; also important is the impact of the project on the business overall. Other stakeholders – such as line managers and individual contributors – have different communication needs.

Your project is to implement a Customer Relationship Management System. Your stakeholders consistent of:

•    Executives/Senior leadership
•    Department heads: Sales, Marketing, Operations, HR, Finance
•    Individual contributors (those individuals who work for the departments listed above)
•    Your own team

Sales and Marketing are very eager for this project to be completed.

This project is one project within a program that includes a variety of other technology projects including: upgrades to the servers, software upgrades and website upgrades. This project is a high priority. You need to communicate to each of these stakeholders.


•    How will you communicate to the stakeholders? Be specific and give details.
•    What is likely important to each of these “groups” given the project – implementation of a Customer Relationship Management System?
•    Is one stakeholder group more important than another? Explain your answer.

Experiential Research & Sharing

Patricia Rienzo, who teaches undergraduate courses at GSC, uses a variety of techniques in her course on healthcare policy to create experiential, real-world lessons to engage students and help them practice and share with one another:

I teach Healthcare Policy, which lends itself very well to experiential learning in the real world. In the first on-line module, students are asked to keep track for 24 hours of every time they encounter a health policy. They are amazed at their own results. Each week students are required to present a current event topic for discussion by their classmates. Many comment that they have gone from oblivious to news hounds. Weekly discussion topics include opportunities to post comments on the Federal Register and to explore CMS and ACA websites. Since these skills are immediately applicable to their lives (most of my students work in health care), the lessons stick.

Professional Interview Assignments

Paula Lombardi, who teaches in the School of Education, uses clinical interview assignments to help students practice with concepts and connect with real-world expertise:

The School of Education students are involved in clinical work in nearly all of their courses. I would like to share the method of interviewing as a means of getting students involved in the content and the professionals in the field.

  • For example, in one class the students interview a school psychologist to learn about assessments and procedures for identifying a student with an IDEA qualified disability.
  • Another assignment is to interview either a student or adult who uses assistive technology.
  • Another assignment is to interview a special education case manager or transition coordinator to review the school’s transition process and rate it against a best practices matrix. Student’s seem to enjoy and learn a lot through these interviews. The interview helps to connect them to key people in their schools, often for the first time, and engage in professional dialogue.

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