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.
What are some of the pre-planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before converting his program?
During the planning stages of taking a face-to-face course to an online blended format, there are some things that need to be taken into consideration. With that in mind of the ones involved with the learning, these people are full time workers who have families and lots of other life obligations. Some key concepts are identified in our textbook Teaching and Learning at a Distance, that gives a guideline so to speak of how to structure the course (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009). I will from here list some strategies a developer should follow before making a traditional course into an online course. 1. Make the assessment of the learners, whether they will be able to navigate the new course. 2. If their computer skills and comprehension level is that which they can participate in the training. 3. Whether the course will be delivered as synchronous or asynchronous. 4. Develop a course syllabus with the structure of the course, expectations, assignments and assessments that will be due (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009). 5. Develop or purchase all of the materials needed for instruction, and what will be needed as a student for the class to be delivered successfully. 6. The trainer will also need to be well versed on the training materials so that they are not fumbling around when it is time to teach the course. 7. When developing the online communication options, one should consider whether a discussion forum, or a chat function will be best, or just email, phone, or a combination of these options. .
What aspects of his original training program could be enhanced in the distance learning format?
From here the training program could be enhanced tremendously, due largely to the vast amount of online training modules out on the internet, that are of no charge to the company or instructor. This goes to show that the presentations can be viewed and used as much as one needs, and can be used as a link inside of many different course management systems. From the description of the scenario, the training managers already know the material, so having to know the content is already done on their behalf.
How will his role, as trainer, change in a distance learning environment?
To begin with, the person conduction the training will change roles from being a strictly face-to-face instructor in a traditional format to a blended environment of online and face-to-face interaction. This will serve the training manager two roles if you will, one being the role of classroom instructor, and online class facilitator. From this the training manager will have to convert his teaching method from an instructor to more of an SME or subject matter expert. From here, this person will have to think on their feet, and be more of a problem solver than a traditional instructor especially when problems arise in the online forums.
What steps should the trainer take to encourage the trainees to communicate online?
From here, the instructor will have to know how to use the CMS that is chosen for them to present the information in, and just simply build a discussion forum, then make participation in the discussion mandatory and part of their performance evaluation at the end. The manager could easily build a weekly discussion to get the students used to logging in and going to the discussion portal to read the topic and post to their peers. From there it would just be a matter of covering the different topics that directly tie into the information that will be presented for that week, or training session. With this the students could show a lot of improvement in their team collaboration, and communication within that said team as well.
Simonson,M. , Smaldino, S., Albright, M., and Zvacek, S. (2009) Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education. Pearson. (pp. 233-234).
Springer, S. (2016, August 21). The Future of Distance Learning and the Role of the Instructional Designer. Retrieved August 18, 2017, from http://learndesigner.weebly.com/stacys-blog/the-future-of-distance-learning-and-the-role-of-the-instructional-designer