Monday, May 25, 2015

Exploring Distance Learning Solutions

In this post, I am tasked with selecting internet technologies to address skill gaps associated with the following hypothetical brief:
A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration.
            Known Elements                                                       Unknown Elements
Venue: Six Separate Offices
Target Population Size?
Asynchronous Delivery Requirements
Allotted Development Time?
Asynchronous Collaboration Requirements
Existing LMS in Service?
Novelty of Target Software?
Prerequisite Knowledge Requirements?
Available Vendor Resources?
Multi-Media Computer Availability?
Availability of A/V Equipment?

            Since a comprehensive front-end analysis would determine the information required to make an informed decision on how to address identified skill gaps; recommendations on how to proceed are predicated on the following assumptions:
Target Population Size…………………..40-50 persons per office
Target Population KSA’s………………..Intermediate to Advanced Computer Skills
Company LMS…………………………. SCORM compliant with sufficient licenses available
Allotted Development Time……………..Six-months until scheduled rollout
Vendor Resources………………………..Contracted for two eight hour train the trainer sessions
Computer A/V Capabilities……………...All T-Pop terminals have full A/V capability
            The asynchronous learning requirements limit available options to either a recorded “training session” or a series of modules populated and tracked on the existing LMS. Since there is sufficient development time, a customized curriculum populated on the LMS would be the best option, as good LMS’s provides a convenient means of assessing and tracking student completion and achievement rates. Additionally, creating a customized CBT (rather than podcasting) allows greater flexibility in active student-centered learning and timely course revision.
            The stipulation requiring file sharing and collaboration can be accomplished using several means. I have selected a Wiki populated on the company LMS. According to (Simonson, Smaldino & Zvack 2015) Wikis allow groups of persons to create and edit a specific page(s). Course designers could (for example) stipulate collaborative teams and create a format and posting structure. A carefully constructed Wiki shell would require each student to actively engage in the learning process.
According to (Lang n.d.) there are several business and training advantages to using an “in house” Wiki, including: Discussion areas for posting and sharing content, increased learner-centric focus encourages participation for less vocal team-members and asymmetric viewing and capabilities. Since the project brief did not address the possibility of a pre-existing LMS; an LMS, sufficient lead time and a sizable target population were built into the assumptions. These elements (combined with the asymmetric learning requirement, tipped the scales in favor of creating a customized learning solution for population on the company LMS.
Lang, M. (n.d.). Using wikis for business Continuity. Retrieved May 23, 2015, from
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education

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