Tips for Trainers

Tips for trainers: principles of teaching and learning 

In this section we highlight some principles about teaching and learning.   The aim is to help you make the most of the South Yorkshire Dysphagia Toolkit, to cascade the knowledge and skills in effective ways, whether with colleagues, patients or their families. 

The Toolkit contains lots of information about dysphagia.  We hope these resources will be used during training sessions and more importantly, whilst working with people with swallowing problems. 

This is why we recommend learning together with your colleagues, drawing on your experience and doing the practical activities.  Conversations about, and reflections on your work will help you put your learning into practice. 

What is the difference between teaching and learning?

There are many differences, but this one is relevant to trainers. 

“Teaching is the creation of 'learning opportunities' … the concept of 'learning opportunities' accounts for the way in which different learners learn different things from the same learning-teaching event”  Ivanicˇ & Tseng 2005, see here.

As a dysphagia trainer, you need to take account of these individual differences, especially what people know and want to know; and then use this insight to create opportunities for learning, whether during a formal training session or when working alongside colleagues caring for patients.

Principles of teaching and learning used in the Toolkit

In the Toolkit, we applied eight of the ten Teaching and Learning Research Programme principles, particularly:

·         Engage with valued forms of knowledge: we did this by promoting dignity at mealtimes; and by reinforcing nutrition and hydration as crucial aspects of health care. 

·         Recognise the importance of prior experience and learning: by valuing what people know and want to know to help them enhance patient safety.


Principles of teaching and learning used in the Toolkit (cont'd)

·     Provide a scaffold to support and secure the new learning: by using activities, e-learning programmes and by encouraging peer support and practice to consolidate new knowledge and skills.    

·         Promote the active engagement of the learner: by blending instruction, discussion, information, feedback, sharing stories, experience and practical skills.

·         Foster individual and social processes and outcomes: by consulting trainees about their learning needs, providing collaborative learning opportunities and accessing multi-professional resources to support safety and self-care.

·         Recognise the significance of informal learning: by emphasising learning by doing and sharing in the workplace, particularly from patients as experts by experience and by making the most of ‘on-the-spot’ learning opportunities.

·         Trainers need to continue their learning: by recommending additional e-learning resources, higher level training and through networking with multi-professional colleagues.

·         Consistent policy framework with support of learning: by using the five levels of the Dysphagia Inter-Professional Framework as a coherent and credible approach to the development of the whole workforce.

For further information about the Teaching and Learning Research Programme principles, see here

On-line resources

The inclusive learning and teaching handbook (2010) by Rodriguez-Falcon et al, published by the University of Sheffield, is available here

Wikepedia has information about learning, for example:see link

Best practice principles for e-learning, see link.

Editorials by Micheal Eraut about work-based learning, published in Learning in Health and Social Care between 2002-2006 are available here.

Practical Points

Also take a look at our Tips for trainers: practical points resource sheet.