Archive | January, 2013

Asynchronous Training Technologies – Example 3

26 Jan

Asynchronous Training Technologies – Example 3

Let’s say a company needs a series of safety training videos to illustrate best practices for equipment usage and a method to demonstrate trainee learning after completion of the online course.  As an instructional designer, which technology tools would be best used to solve the issue?

There are many options to choose that would help solve this problem.  If you break the question apart, there are two distinct issues at hand.  Distributing step-by-step process instructions for a complex piece of machinery to different shifts will require streaming video to be most effective.  Streaming video has many benefits.  According to Greenberg and Zanetis (2012), the three key concepts that streaming videos impact are interactivity with content, engagement, and knowledge transfer and memory.  Engagement and the student’s apparent value placed on the course are thought to be essential to a student’s retention of material and their positive learning experience (Harrington & Floyd, 2012).  Interactivity occurs when the student is able to relate the video content seen to when they apply the concept.  Video combines multiple input methods in combination to promote learning and knowledge transfer.  By merging pictures, movement, text, animation, graphics and sound together, the student has more control of the learning (Greenberg & Zanetis, 2012).  For example, the Darla Moore School at the University of South Carolina incorporated various video technologies into the organization design class to allow students to interact with experts from NBC facilities in New York. (Greenberg & Zantis, 2012).  Students were able to present their projects to professionals and ask for recommendations for improvement.  Streaming video eliminated the physical distance between the students and the subject matter experts located hundreds of miles away.

The second question involves supervisors ensuring that the employees are both engaged and can demonstrate their learning.  Creating an online assessment or survey can be easily developed to determine the effectiveness of the training.  According to Pellegrino (2009), assessment, in a transformative perspective, can break down the obstacles between competency and proficiency, similar to the role played by educational technology (as cited in Learner Assessment, n.d.).  Websites like SurveyMonkey and KwikSurveys allow anyone to easily create online assessments that can be customized to a particular course or training session ( and Assessments results are automatically collected and tabulated for analysis.  For example, Kaplan University used post-class assessments to get an idea on how their students enjoyed the class as well as their knowledge retention. Surveys showed that many felt bored through the class as they already knew much of the material.  Kaplan instituted a credit for work or life experience, military training and other certifications where undergraduates can create and submit a portfolio for credit considerations (Kaplan University, n.d.).

Streaming video can hold the attention of the student, fit various learning styles and can act as reinforcement to learning (Cofield, 2002).  Greenberg & Zanetis (2012) echoed this reinforcement principle: “Students today are increasingly visual-spatial learners, able to multitask and interact with multimedia” (p. 35).  Online assessments take this interaction capability and allow a way not just to monitor student learning but to improve the quality of the student learning experience (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).


Cofield, J. L. (2002). An assessment of streaming video in web-based instruction. Presented at the annual meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Chattanooga, TN. Retrieved from

Greenberg, A. D. and Zanetis, J. (2012, March). The impact of broadcast and streaming video in education. Retrieved from

Harrington, S. J., and Floyd, K. S. (2012). Enhancing engagement and the value of the course to the student through course organization and active learning. In M. Bart (Ed.). Online student engagement tools and strategies (pp. 16-18). Reprinted from Online Classroom, 2009.  Retrieved from

Kaplan University. (n.d.). Credit for prior learning. Retrieved January 30, 2013 from

Learner Assessment. (n.d.). In Edutech Wiki. Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Stiggins, R, and Chappuis, J. ().Using student-involved classroom assessment to close achievement gaps.  Theory into Practice, 44(1), 11-18.  Retrieved from



Distance Learning Definitions are a Changin’

13 Jan

Prior to starting EDUC-6135, I viewed distance learning as a method of studying where class content was provided over the Internet in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous methods.  Though this definition is technically accurate, it is not precise enough to be completely correct.  Even after only one week of research, I realized that there were many facets of my definition that were omitted.

A true definition of distance education must include four characteristics.  First, distance education must be institutionally based.  It is not a self-study class but must be formalized through either a school or other organization like a business or company (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012).  Second, there needs to be some separation between a learner and the instructor as well as between the various learners.  This separation could be due to geographical differences and possibly time.  Students do not have to be in the same location and could be separated by great distances and time zones.  The asynchronous nature of the learning allows anyone from any location access to the same materials and resources at any time.

The acquisition of these materials and resources leads to the third criteria, interactive communications, which may be electronic or otherwise.  Communications are not limited to the internet but can still include standard postal mail.  Though the internet has improved the ability to interact, it is not the sole method.  Lastly, distance education is comprised of learning groups composed of students, teachers and the resources required.

A revised definition of distance learning would be formal instruction from an institution (school or business) that uses interactive communication to bridge the distance and time that separates the learning group, instructor and class resources.

The definition of distance learning is constantly changing due to the ever-increasing technological capabilities available (Moller, Foshay, & Huett, 2008b).  Not so far in the past, podcasts were the latest way to improve on the written blog.  Anyone who had a simple microphone and some free software could post an audio file that someone could listen to at their leisure.  As bandwidth and transfer speeds have increased, video-casts are more and more prevalent.  Social media has exploded in recent years, evolving from simple blogs to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others.  Smartphones have the capacity to connect to the internet and post updates to all of these social media sites, providing for a method of real-time updates of news and events worldwide (Cohen, 2012).

The future of distance learning is very bright and will continue to grow as technology grows.  Brick and mortar schools will never disappear completely.  There will always be a need for face to face instruction and communication.  However, instructional designers must find a way to transition distance learning from a method of supplying information to that of a true effective learning model (Moller, Foshay, & Huett, 2008a).  Instructional designers are trained in the various learning styles of students but they must establish how they best interact with the e-learning models available and figure out which one works best.  Instruction that is based on-line holds the ability to increase learner to learner communication (Moller, Foshay, & Huett, 2008a).  Distance learning, though, should be viewed as a tool in an educator’s bag.  Steven Cohen (2012) states “the specific tool used should be the one best matched to the educational objective.  Just because you have a tool and you know how it works, doesn’t mean you have to use it.”  The ease of obtaining information and the power that the digital world has does mean that a good educator will find a way to incorporate it into their lesson.

Distance Learning Mind Map2


Cohen, S. (2012, October 1). Distance Learning and the Future of Education. Retrieved from The Huffington Post:

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008a). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web. TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008b). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web. TechTrends, 52(4), 66-70.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Starting Anew

8 Jan

When I first created this blog, it was for a class at Walden University.  The plan was to occasionally post here and there even though it was not for assignment credit.  That plan never came to fruition.  Now, the new class I am taking, Distance Learning, requires blog postings as part of the assignments.  The hope is that I continue to use this blog throughout my time at Walden, and beyond, for things other than requirements of the class.