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August 20, 2002

Thiagi Speaks

From elearningpost: Hard talk with Thiagi is an interview with Sivisailam Thiagarajan, probably the most delightfully unpronounceable educational technologists ever. Of course, everyone calls him tee-ah'-ggee.

"In designing training courses, I frequently begin by creating activities first and then loading them with content. I use suitable frames or shells to work with different existing sources of content.

Here are some examples:

  • I use textra games to enhance text materials from books, reference manuals, reprints, handouts, and job aids. In a textra game called QUESTION CARDS, participants independently read a handout and work in teams to create a large number of cards with questions on one side and answers on the other. I collect these question cards, add some of my own, mix the pile, and conduct a quiz activity using the questions and answers.

  • I use infohunt games when the content is available on the Web. In a typical infohunt, participants search for different pieces of information from the Web and analyze,

  • I use activities called video vitamins with videotaped documentaries, case studies, dramatizations, interviews, and talking-head presentations. These activities encourage participants to review, reflect, and apply new values, concepts, and skills presented in the video. RASHOMON is a typical video vitamin used with case studies and dramas. At the beginning of the activity, I assign key roles from the storyline to different participants. At the conclusion of the video presentation, I assemble participants into same-role teams and have them

  • I use lecture games when the content is so novel that it resides only in the mind of an expert. In a lecture game called PUZZLING PRESENTATION, I use a crossword puzzle as a test of mastery of the content. I distribute copies of the crossword puzzle at the beginning of the lecture and encourage mutual learning by asking participants to work in pairs. I ask the expert to give a lecture presentation and stop the presentation from time to time to provide puzzle-solving interludes.
    I use different structured sharing activities when I want to elicit content from participantsí own experience and expertise. Many of the activities involve brainstorming, generating bits of content, and organizing the content."


A very creative teacher and designer. He's high on my list of people I wish I could learn from more directly.