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Distance Learning: Week 3 Assignment

Week 3 Assignment

Application: Blog—Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Blogs are typically conversational and informative. I will blend both as I delve into asynchronous training solutions for “Example 3.”

I have relatives who work in automobile manufacturing plants in Michigan. I’ve heard first-hand there are no unions, contracts, paramedics, or doctors that can fix negative interactions between man and machine.

That is why I have chosen to focus on “Example 3” of our Distance Learning class.

“Example 3: Asynchronous Training

In an effort to improve its poor safety record, a biodiesel manufacturing plant needs a series of safety training modules. These stand-alone modules must illustrate best practices on how to safely operate the many pieces of heavy machinery on the plant floor. The modules should involve step-by-step processes and the method of delivery needs to be available to all shifts at the plant. As well, the shift supervisors want to be sure the employees are engaged and can demonstrate their learning from the modules.”

Essentially, we are tasked with creating a series of safety training modules for a manufacturing plant that needs help. In addition to the training, we need to focus on asynchronous delivery because we are dealing with shift workers.

I will focus on the benefits of Course Management Systems (CMS) and Podcasting as forms of asynchronous delivery of these critical training materials. Each method would first require training students to use the medium.

I believe both CMSs and Podcasts can support the application of “adult learning principles with nontraditional students.” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albreight, Zvacek. P. 136. 2012) This includes that notion that if our students are working adults, “the course design should incorporate the basic principles of adult learning. Adults are more self-directed and have specific reason for taking the course.” (SSAZ. P. 136. 2012).

In our case, it appears safety is the issue. That would be a big motivator if I was a rank-and-file employee, a manager, or an executive.
Our text indicates an andragogical approach would include activities and assignments focused on the immediate needs of the leaners. They need to know how to safely operate heavy machinery on the plant floor.

A CMS potentially allows

  • instructional designers to craft individual modules for specific behaviors/skills
  • learners to access these modules ad-hoc/as needed or sequencing can be enforced
  • interaction between learner and instructor
  • recording of learner start and completion dates
  • transcripts
  • pre and post assessments
  • grades
  • flexibility of access because of the Internet

While I’m a big fan of CMSs. I am a member of the E-Learning Guild and cannot discount the emerging value of mobile learning to communities outlined in our scenario. I believe individuals in “Example 3” can benefit from portability of their learning experiences.

A Video Podcast allows

  • Instructional designers to craft individual modules for specific behaviors/skills
  • learners to access these modules
  • video demonstration of key concepts
  • access via portable devices including laptop computer, PDA (smart phone), and tablet device

(Sloan, Shea, Lewis. P27. 2010) argue that video podcasts were “generally seen as less useful than audio podcasts. This is primarily because of the need to stop multitasking and, if the charts or graphs are detailed at all, view them on a device with a larger screen than an MP3 player, like a computer.”

I’d counter that by saying a lot has changed in two years including the increase in screen size and resolution of devices.

Concluding, I believe only time will tell, but technology trends coupled with applied instructional design offer great portable potential in the academic, business, and manufacturing education environments.

Works cited:

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

Sloan, T. Shea, T. and Lewis, D. (2010) “Use of New Technologies in Distance Education: The Case of Operations.” California Journal of Operations Management, 8(1) 21-30.

“The eLearning Guild : Learning Management Systems 2008 : Research Library”, n.d. from: http://www.elearningguild.com/research/archives/index.cfm?id=130&action=viewonly.

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