Category Archives: Self-Directed Learning

How to Blog your Next Genealogy Seminar or Conference


Precis writing, the process of reducing written or spoken information to a readable brief form is a skill taught in British schools. I used it teaching English language in Saudi Arabia. Its a good way to present succinctly thecore contents of a lecture. It lends itself nicely as an idea for bloggers at genealogy seminars and conference, AND its a great self-directed learning activity. Think about this idea then check out this link.

Will you be blogging your next seminar?

Podcast from a Major Archives: An Interesting Educational Idea


A recent media release from The National Archives (UK) makes me wonder if other archives or libraries are exploring the idea of educating their clients using podcasts. It seems efficient: A lecture by a subject specialist is recorded and made accessible through the website WHEN THE CLIENT NEEDS IT. I expect that major genealogy collections will include podcast lectures teaching clients what is in the collection and how to access and use it. Interested in this example? Read on.

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A Tale of Two Experts


Long ago and far away in Hawaii I was a struggling student of applied lingustics looking at a peculiar method of measuring language skills. My profs were unhelpful, and the literature was contradictory. Scholars in teaching reading said one thing, and scholars in language testing another . So I decided to approach the most qualified exponents in each camp and ask them about their views on the other position. These scholars were in slightly different fields and definitely had never communicated. Here’s what happened.

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Learning from the “Lists”

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Self-Directed Learning is an important part of being a serious genealogist. Many genealogists subscribe to on-line forums or lists and receive email messages daily, even hourly from others with similar interests. Often long threads are generated as the topic is explored from various angles. Just as often these threads carrying a common subject, wander off on tangents and ar so off topic as to be meaningless. Other times responses the thread carries too many “me too” messages. How does the self -directed learner make the most of these lists?

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1. Reading, Transcribing and Abstracting: Resources for Learning.

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There he sits, the determined genealogist at the microfilm reader pondering marks in a page with a microfilm that states photocopies, even for personal use, cannot be made. The Genealogist obviously needs some skills to handle this situation.

Where can he turn?

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Self-directed Learning: A Confession to Tom Jones

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Dear Tom,

There are very few people in Saskatchewan interested in advanced genealogy so the only classes in the community seem to be geared to beginners or intermediate genealogists and focus on records. Sounds just like the situation in Oklahoma,Shropshire, Montana, Midlothian and Manitoba and . Might even be a universal problem. But I digress.

I needed a class. There was nothing suitable, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was reviewing my collection of NGS and FGS conference syllabuses and found in the 2002 NGS Conference Syllabus the material for your lecture, “Proved? Five Ways to Prove Who Your Ancestor Was (Some Reliable and others Not Reliable)” I remember it as a very impressive lecture, but you know I am a fan.

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Self Directed Learning: Personal Library Building


Recently I mentioned Joy Reisinger and her chapter, "The Essential Library" which was published in Elizabeth Shown Mills (Editor), Professional Genealogy, A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians (Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001)on pages 62-82. I'd like to refer you back to her chapter again for those teaching themselves. I am a great believer in using the public, college and university libraries, but nothing replaces that shelff of books behind my desk for tools I use daily. So you need a purchasing plan to to build that library.

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A Practical Exercise in Self-directed Learning


My shelf of reference books has disappeared. I guess I hoped it would follow me home when I retired from the library last month. It did not. Some other genealogy librarian will be intrigued by my choices. I need to rebuild the collection so I turned to Joy Reisinger for help. Her advice was right at hand, waiting. Here's what I learned from Joy.

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Thoughts on Self-Directed Learning #5


When I was a young man my Sunday School teacher taught me an interesting concept in self directed learning. Her message was that I could read the Scriptures linearly, page by page like you read a book or I could use read a few verses, then look up key concepts in a concordence or topical guide, find all the related references and read them. So how does that relate to the education of the genealogy educator?

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Thoughts on Self-directed Learning #4

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When I was a teacher of English back in the olden days when we first came off the ark, there was a reading for comprehension strategy called SQ3R. In recent years its benefitted from inflation and is known as PSQ5R

Much of how we learn in self directed learning will be dependent on our reading skills. Here is one strategy for reading to comprehend that may be useful to you.

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