Nidhi Sachdeva

Nidhi Sachdeva

Nidhi Sachdeva

2023 3MT Finalist

Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a mother of three, a multilingual researcher and a passionate educator. I grew up in India but I have made Toronto my home since 2007. I love traveling, hiking, doing yoga and spending time with my family as I watch my kids grow and do great things. In my spare time (if I have any!), I enjoy making soaps – such a rewarding experience, and it leaves the space smelling great too.

I love connecting with people and identifying synergies – it brings me such joy and excitement to be able to turn ideas into real, meaningful journeys that lead to beneficial outcomes for everyone around me. I apply this ideology to my parenting as well as my teaching. My favourite quote is by Sufi poet Rumi: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

What are you researching?

I care deeply about learning. My research focus is on microlearning and the cognitive science of learning within formal higher education. I am exploring ways to integrate microlearning within our existing traditional forms of instruction (both face-to-face and online learning) to see if and how we can enhance learner interaction with the content and make learning stick. My work hopes to integrate evidence-informed practices in our instruction – especially within formal higher education – that can inspire people to learn and retain what they learn.

What impact do you hope to have on your field and / or your community?

In terms of immediate impact, my goal is to support course design of online courses being taught at our university wherein students extensively interact with the content, with each other and with the instructor. I want to design online courses where our students feel a strong sense of belonging, where they feel welcome and heard, not isolated or left alone to figure out the learning on their own from the buffet of content being served. Instead, I hope to build a guided learning experience that considers students’ background knowledge and their gaps and potential challenges. It’s vital that we design learning that reduces educational disparities instead of widening them further.

For long-term impact, I want to bring in more evidence-informed instructional practices to our course design. It is a well-known fact that there is a significant gap between research in education and our instructional practices. Experts of domain-specific knowledge may or may not know the ways to design instruction. I would like to address this potential gap and build a bridge between expertise and instructional practices by means of what the evidence tells us. In other words, I want to find ways to get the best-quality education (content) to our students in the most effective ways supported by evidence.

How has the 3MT helped you with your professional development?

The 3MT has offered me a podium to share my passion for learning with others. It has been a great challenge for me to find ways to convey my research in a simple yet impactful manner to those outside of the inner circle. This journey has provided me with many interesting techniques to hone my communication skills.

In addition, when I watch my colleagues give their presentations, I learn a tremendous amount about research in fields that I can only dream of understanding! It’s simply fascinating. It makes me so proud as a student and as a researcher at U of T to see the value we all add as a community to the wider world we share together.