Sunday, August 19, 2012

Distance Learning Course Reflection

               Distance learning has changed dramatically over the last two decades.  In 2001, when I began my first online class as an undergrad student with the University of Phoenix, very few universities offered online courses, which made the UoP very unique in that it offered entire programs online.  While distance learning may have been a fairly new concept in 2001, in 2012, distance learning has taken on a whole new meaning that has expanded beyond universities.  As corporations have also begun to develop training programs using online education, instructional designers have had to adapt to new learning pedagogies, which in turn, required a change in how learning modules were developed and implemented.  Moller, Foshay, & Huett (2008) provided sound advice when they expressed a need for corporations to evaluate quality, a return on investment and the need for better instructional systems design among other concerns for the evolution of the field of the instructional designer.

          This course allowed me to explore a number of different elements that instructional designers need to know to develop distance learning modules and explore the differences between learning in a traditional face-to-face classroom environment and in an online environment.  These past few weeks have given me new insight to course development and distance learning.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Converting to a Distance Learning Format

Consider the following scenario: A training manager has been frustrated with the quality of communication among trainees in his face-to-face training sessions and wants to try something new. With his supervisor’s permission, the trainer plans to convert all current training modules to a blended learning format, which would provide trainees and trainers the opportunity to interact with each other and learn the material in both a face-to-face and online environment. In addition, he is considering putting all of his training materials on a server so that the trainees have access to resources and assignments at all times.  This is my "Pre-planning Strategy Guide" for converting to a distance/hybrid learning environment.

Specific Issues
Pre-Planning Strategies
 Follow-up Action
·         Students may not have online experience (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012)
·         Student apprehensive about change in program
·   Make the requirements clear (Simonson, et al.,  2012)
·   Consider needs of students based on background (Simonson, et al.,  2012) 

·   Keep students informed and provide constant feedback (Simonson, et., al.,  2012)
·   Have students participate in surveys and focus groups
Course Development
·         Time consuming
·         Requires multi-stage process
1. Create a storyboard
2. Create a site map
3. Identify course assets (e. g. graphics, videos, documents, etc.)
4. Identify potential course software (such as a CMS, LMS, Wiki, or HTML)
5. Identify the potential sections
6. Plan for testing
(Laureate, Inc, Producera)
·   Instructor should work with ID to ensure course development stays on track

·         Technology may not be available (Laureate, Inc. , Producerb)
·         Students may not know how to use it/may not have access to the technology
·   Review course requirements against tech requirements
·   Develop technology training instructions
·   Identify tech support (who will provide, who to call, etc.)
·   Train students to use the course website  (Simonson, et., al.,  2012)
·   Technology should be tested before implementation