Jones & Bartlett Learning Health Blog

    Award Winning Biostatistics Educator Lisa Sullivan Explores the Best Strategies for Getting Students Engaged in Learning

    Posted by Sophie Teague on Mar 30, 2017 3:42:02 PM

    Studies reveal that learners retain only 5% of what they learn from a lecture. That number jumps to 50% when a student is engaged in a group discussion. If the student is teaching someone else, the learning retention ratemushrooms to a whopping 90%.

    In this informative webinar, recorded on March 23, award winning educator and author Lisa Sullivan (Essentials of Biostatistics in Public Health) explores these data as well as faculty challenges and how to overcome them in order to make Biostatistics fun and engaging for students.

    Students expect a lot from a course, Sullivan explains. They want:

    • Solid knowledge base and real-world applications
    • Clear and organized presentation of material
    • To be stimulated, active and participatory
    • To know why (how does this activity, reading connect to my future career?)
    • Faculty to be enthusiastic, helpful and engaged
    • “Customer service”
    • Face-to-face contact but accept boundaries

    She advises faculty to accept differences among students and between students and faculty and to engage students in setting goals and expectations. Be flexible, creative and try not to be surprised by anything that happens in the classroom.

    Sullivan also recommends focusing on student-centered learning. For example: substitute active learning projects and experiences for lectures. Assign open-ended questions and problems. Use simulations and role-playing. Try self-paced or cooperative (team) learning. For each topic, pose provocative questions and provide timely, relevant, interesting examples to pique students’ interest. Encourage discussion and allow students to work through the issues.

    Authentic assessments are key, she says. She recommends using real data where possible. Let students ask important, interesting questions and bring ethical, legal, economic, social issues into analysis.

    In this 1-hour webinar, Sullivan goes on to give many specific examples that Biostatistics educators can apply in the classroom.

    Lisa Sullivan, PhD, is the author of Essentials of Biostatistics in Public Health which just published earlier this month in a new third edition. Instructors who would like to consider the text for course use can request a complimentary review copy here.

    Sullivan is also a biostatistician on the Framingham Heart Study, working primarily on developing and disseminating cardiovascular risk functions. Much of the Framingham Hearth Study data are used throughout her book.

    Dr. Sullivan is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the Boston University School of Public Health. She is also the Associate Dean for Education. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the Norman A. Scotch Award and the prestigious Metcalf Award, both for excellence in teaching at Boston University. She is the 2008 recipient of the Associations for Schools of Public Health/Pfizer Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2011 recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Statistical Association’s Section on Teaching Statistics in the Health Sciences. In 2013 she won the Mostellar Statistician of the Year Award, presented by the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association.

    Topics: Author, Webinar, teaching, biostatistics

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