Best Practices, Education, Learning and Development

Strategies for SQ3R

SQ3R is a strategy to facilitate reading depth. Survey. Question. Read. Recite. Review.

How do you get learners to participate in the five steps? It’s easier just to read the material and hope you remember enough to get the learning coordinator to stop asking you questions.  Let’s look at a step by step approach that may have your audience participating in all five steps without realizing what you are achieving.


Scan the reading. Looking at headings, sub-heading, pictures, captions, intros and summaries.

Before your audience has the opportunity to jump right in, ask what the reading is about. Then conduct a brief discussion of what is already known.  Ask questions about charts, graphics, basics of the reading content.

For younger learners:

My students love a word search. I feel there is value in this as they learn to look at the big picture and improve their scanning skills.  When we have a reading that I want to focus on, students will begin by performing a word search. They have to highlight specific words that I have chosen and will only have a limited time to perform this task.

We then discuss each word and I ask them to predict the content and purpose of the reading. Discussing what they already know and how the topic relates to previous discussions.


The audience should then take time to read the work. Ask them to focus on questions previously discussed. Remind them to read captions, titles, and subheadings.  Give time for this and don’t talk through it!  Most people cannot focus in there is chaos and conversation around them. If it is important enough to have your audience read, then give them the quiet time needed to absorb the information.

For younger learners:

Depending on the reading ability of your students, you can have them read silently or read aloud.  Sometimes I will read to my students, and sometimes we will popcorn read. I will call on people to take over at various pause points in the reading. Everyone is responsible for reading along, and knows at some point it may be their time to read.

Reading to your students models good reading. Students prior to high school can absorb more difficult content when it is read aloud to them. Reading aloud helps to foster literacy and reading appreciation.  It lets students know that reading doesn’t have to be boring.  Here are few good articles for the benefits of read aloud:

Reading Aloud: Is it worth it?

Reading Aloud to Build Comprehension

Read Aloud: What are the benefits?



Note the text. Highlight key points. Make notes in the margins. Write questions that the text raised. Challenge the text. Take this a step further and discuss what was read, raising questions and challenges. Make connections. The more senses that can be used in this step the better.


The review stage is an ongoing process and depends on the purpose of the reading.  For a step off of the learning topic, it may be simply referring back to the reading during the time frame. For classroom instruction it may be making the connections to learned content and new content.  Is this a resource to be studied later?  If so, more notes about the work and writing answers to the recite stage questions may be necessary.

SQ3R does not have to be a long drawn out process. Each step can be condensed and adjusted for learner needs and presenter purpose.  It is easily adaptable for individual needs.

Education, Learning and Development

Smile File Affirmation

Face it, in the professional world affirmations are few and far between.  There are many who will not hesitate to tell you what you are doing wrong or what they are unhappy with. Sharing a thank you or great job is not something that everyone will take the  time to do.

Years ago someone told me to start a smile file.  This is great advice for anyone, not just teachers.  A smile file is where you keep words of encouragement received from clients or co-workers, affirmations of a job well done, or just something from your work environment that makes you laugh and smile.  When you really need to remember why you do what you do, take a look through the file.

I received an addition for my smile file today.  The parents shared that the student said I was:

“very good at explaining and making kids feel comfortable about letting you know when they are confused. ‘She tells us to start telling her what we know and then to say when we get to the part we don’t understand.'”

In the past I have had students express that this technique is intimidating.  It would take more than a semester for me to get students comfortable with Socratic questioning. “I don’t know” is not an acceptable response in my classroom.  You know something so let’s see if we can get you thinking in the direction needed.  For this student to share, unsolicited, with a parent is validating.

With all the frustration of this year, something must be going right.

Education, Instructional Design, Learning and Development

Academia vs Corporate Learning

I recently read an article that was almost condemning of one in academia attempting to transition to corporate learning and development. As someone who would love to step out of the classroom I was perplexed. Is this going to be possible for me? Do I have anything to offer corporate instructional needs? Rather than embracing the initial defensive response, I chose to delve deeper. It is the 21st Century, learning is at your fingertips and it seems everyone has an opinion. Since I am part of everyone, and this is my spot on the web, I will explore my opinion.

Is there really a difference in corporate learning and academia? Yes…and no. I choose the focus on the following three categories: purpose, audience, and method of instruction.

Nikos Andriotis posted an article on TalentLMS that explores this topic. The key difference is stated simply:

Instead of paying attention to facts, details, and knowledge, corporate eLearning plays up skills and how they’re applied in the workplace.

Academia focuses on learning objectives. Corporate learning focuses on performance. In both you are restricted to the objectives of the course. Whether it is the department of instruction for a state or the CEO of a company, someone is deciding what the trainer should present. In academia the trainer is typically well versed in the subject being taught. In corporate, subject matter experts provide the content and the trainer facilitates the instruction.

The audience needs also differ. Primary, secondary, and post-secondary academic settings are for preparing students to function in society. Learning is broad. Learning is broken down into steps and each new academic year builds on the foundational learning skills of the previous. Knowledge is measured by regular assessments of knowledge and understanding of content. In the corporate setting, it is assumed that the learner already possesses the basic skills for the job at hand. It is also assumed that the learner knows how to learn. The performance improving goal is stated and over time success is measured based on periodic performance indicators. Very specific business skills are measured.

In academia the learning time frames are broken into quarters, semesters or trimesters, and academic years. The time frames for corporate learning are much more compact. As the market changes, demands and needs change, therefore learning opportunities/requirements are quickly revamped to meet those needs. To simplify it, academia is about learning, content, and theory. The corporate world is about training.

Are instructional experiences transferable between academia and corporate? It depends on who you ask. If you ask someone who lacks knowledge beyond their own personal attendance of a school, then no and academic simply cannot successfully transition to instructional design, and corporate learning and development. If you ask someone who is not so short sighted and does not buy into the vilification of teachers, then yes the instructional skills are transferrable. One should not make any career transition without careful consideration and research. There are frustrations in every job. Skill sets are transferrable. Both academia and corporate learning require the ability to communicate. Both require time management and the ability to meet deadlines. Both require patience with clients who are not always eager to learn. Both require creativity. Finally, both require a dedication to success.

Does this over simplify the comparison? Probably, but that does not make it any less real.