Converting to a Distance Learning Environment

December 20, 2010 tinkisamy

 A scenario was given in my online distance learning course about a training manager who wanted to convert some training sessions into a blended learning format. This involves face-to-face instruction and online learning. 

Below are some questions that he needs to think about.  I provided some strategies and ideas for each one. These are some best practice guidelines.

What are some of the pre-planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before converting his program?

When planning for an online course it is important to remember the needs of the learners that will be involved. Online learners are usually students who are working full or part time and have many other obligations. There are some key concepts identified by the textbook Teaching and Learning at a Distance, which discusses structuring the course (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009).  There needs to be a clear organization and structure to the course. The training manager needs to be very clear with the use of format. The manager needs to prepare a syllabus. The syllabus would include the structure of the course, the course expectations, the assignments, and the assessments (Simonson, et al., 2009). Another key pre planning strategy is to look into all of the instruction materials the trainers and trainees would need. The manager also needs to be as familiar with these materials as they can to better assist their trainers and trainees.

When choosing an online communication tool there are a few options. This is a  retrieved from West Virginia University. It shows the commonly used technologies for communication, “synchronous (same time) or asynchronous (time delayed) and for one-to-many or one-to-one communications.” (West Virginia University, 2008)                   

What can be enhanced from the original program and how will his role change?

The best part of this scenario is that there are training modules already in place. The modules can be converted into a power point or even a Prezi presentation. For an example of a Prezi presentation visit, http://prezi.com/4pv_qzvggrxb/best-practices-guide/.  This presentation was created to show how ideas can be incorporated to create engaging learning. These types of presentations can be viewed as many times as needed and can be uploaded to various Course Management Systems (CMS). From what I can gather from the scenario the trainers also are already familiar with the modules and training. This would be  the perfect time to ask for some thoughts on what they would like to see done to update or add to the modules. The use of a CMS will allow for communication through discussions. These discussions are important for extending thinking, prior knowledge, and for individual research.

The role of the training manager will change as he changes the direction and instruction of the modules. He will not longer be just the training manager but also will be more of a subject Matter Expert (SME). This means that the trainers will be coming to him to ask questions and to help solve issues that might come up.

What steps should the trainer take to encourage the trainees to communicate online?

The manager needs to make sure that the trainers are all aware of how to use the CMS that is going to be implemented. He also needs to create a way of communicating with the trainers and allow for them to ask each other questions as well. The best way to do this is to create a group Wiki. A good place to start with this is http://www.wikispaces.com/. A wiki can be opened for the group of trainers and each would have access to what is going on. The manager also could put up some of the changes that he wants to make in the module so that the trainers are aware of what is going to be happening. Again, this would be a great way for the manager to ask the trainers what they feel is working and what isn’t working so effective changes can be made. This is also a good time to discuss with the trainers the use of blogs. The manager could create a company blog where trainees can go to get information, post comments, or ask questions.  A good resource for creating a blog is www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com.

Along with providing wikispaces for trainers and blogs for the trainees to look at, there needs to be accessibility to the course. There will be some trainees that might not have computer access or limited access. The manager needs to make sure that there are computers available for the trainees to utilize. This also includes the software that is going to be used. If there is software needed for certain modules then that needs to be provided to the trainers and the trainees (Simonson et al., 2009).

Some ideas and tips to remember

As you begin this process of exploring online learning is important to remember to stay open to new ideas and technology. There are lots of tips for teaching online this website provides some great tips http://oit.wvu.edu/itrc/faculty/tips/. This website gives advantages and disadvantages of online learning, tips from online instructors, and effective online communication. With all of the many resources and tools that are right at your fingertips, the best tip I can give is to take one step at a time and remember that you will learn more as you progress. It is important to get feedback from your trainers and trainees. This will enable you to alter and improve the modules. Good luck and remember to have fun learning!

Here is a link my complete Best Practices Guide for this scenario

A7McClainA

Resources

Blog. Create a blog retrieve December 18, 2010 from www.blogger.com or

www.wordpress.com

McClain, A. Prezi Presentation: Best Practices Guide.

http://prezi.com/4pv_qzvggrxb/best-practices-guide/

Muneeza, E. Moving from Face-to-Face to Online Teaching. Retrieved December 19,

2010 from  http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3890/is_201007/ai_n56229368/pg_2/?tag=content;col1

Prezi Presentations retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://prezi.com/

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning

at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

West Virginia Univeristy. Best Practices and tips for teaching online. Retrieved

December 19, 2010 from

http://oit.wvu.edu/itrc/files/faculty/teachingonlinetips.pdf

Wiki. Wikispaces retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://www.wikispaces.com/

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One Comment Add your own

  • 1. oscommerce developers  |  December 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Hi there mates, fastidious piece of writing and nice urging
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