Concept Maps for skills-based activities


I am reading a book about training (Training from the BACK of the Room) and in the section on "Concrete Practice" the author gives an interesting exercise: "Make a Concept Map of the skills-based activities that you use".

This exercise was interesting because I never really though about the types of activities that I assign while training. I wanted to share my Concept Map for this, as see what other types of activities people do.

Obviously I can't draw circles and lines in this forum, but here's the plaintext version of my Concept Map:

Code / Type Answer: These are exercises where people actually type into their computer. In my experience, these are the most important types of activities.

  • Enter this code, and make sure you get the same result as me. At the start of a lesson, help people acclimate to unfamiliar syntax, give people confidence, and make sure that they have libraries etc installed. E.g. "Type ggplot(df, aes(x,y)) + geom_line()"
  • How would you get this result? As an example, show people a graph and ask them to recreate it. I normally do this at the end of a lesson.

Critique Code. In the middle of a lesson, I might show show code on the screen and ask people to think critically about it. This is useful when introducing small variations. Examples are:

  • What do you think that this code would do? E.g. When introducing a new geom in ggplot.

Understand the relationship between Base R, Packages and Commands. I frequently teach R to Excel users with little to know programming experience. My students often struggle to understand the concept of packages. I only have one activity for this.

  • Learn what you can about this package in 5 minutes. For example, at the start of a ggplot lecture, I will say "Spend 5 minutes learning all you can about ggplot, and then share your results with your neighbor."

I am interested in knowing if other people do other types of activities to give students Concrete Practice during training sessions.

For example, looking through @garrett 's slides for Training the Tidyverse I see that he does two other types of (what I am calling) "Code Critique" exercises

  • What is wrong with this code? E.g. maybe an aesthetic is set instead of mapped in ggplot
  • Fill in the blank. E.g. Maybe in a long dplyr chain you need to say what verb to use.

I am curious to hear what other types of activities people do while training.