Tips from BESD: Teaching strategies to improve communication

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, July 9, 2010

Communication skills can be taught in a variety of ways. Distance learning is an efficient, practical option; however, the ability to analyze communication using real-life examples, combined with the opportunity for immediate feedback and discussion, are assets that can be most effectively provided in a classroom setting.

Let's look at some options for teaching communication skills. Distance learning options include:

  • Computer-based learning (CBL): Interactive CBL allows learners to actively participate in simulation communication exercises. Learners can choose when and where learning takes place. There are limits to the types of exercises that are available and no options for immediate feedback and group discussion.
  • Case studies offered as self-learning modules: Learners can analyze real-life examples of communication at times and places convenient to them, but do not have immediate opportunities for group analysis and feedback. Such analysis can occur later in a group setting, making this a blended learning strategy.
  • DVDs: Training films offer didactic information and present scenarios. This option is convenient but does not allow for learner interaction unless a group views the DVD together or meets later for discussion.
  • Electronic communication: The use of e-mail and chat rooms allow for short bursts of information and some electronic interaction. These options are convenient for learners and are good options when teaching about non-verbal communication. 

Editor's note: Subscribers to Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development can read the rest of this article in the July 2010 issue. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development.

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