Converting to a Blended Distance Learning Format (EDUC 6135)

Posted: December 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Our challenge this week was as follows:

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.

With this scenario in mind, and taking into consideration your Learning Resources, reflect on the following:

  • What are some of the pre-planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before converting his program?
  • What aspects of his original training program could be enhanced in the distance learning format?
  • How will his role, as trainer, change in a distance learning environment?
  • What steps should the trainer take to encourage the trainees to communicate online?

Based on what you have learned thus far in this course, formulate a best practices guide for this trainer to follow when converting his program to a distance learning format. Include ideas and tips that could assist the trainer in facilitating communication and learning among his students. Be sure to support your ideas with documentation from your Learning Resources.

=====================================================================

A blended, or hybrid, learning environment refers to a learner-centered combination of both face-to-face and online content delivery and activities.  By definition, the online portion of the content delivery comprises 30-79% of the course, with the remainder taking place in the traditional classroom setting (Simonson et al., 2012).  Several learning theories are applicable and supportive of the blended format creating a sound foundation on which to provide the learner with a rich, interactive, and engaging learning experience including Knowles’ theory of andragogy and Holmberg’s theory of interaction and communication.  The blended format is guided by constructivist philosophy and principles which put the focus on the learner, in contrast to the typical teacher-centered approach taken in tradition classroom settings (Ormrod et al., 2009).  The increased autonomy of the learner is supported Wedemeyer’s and Moore’s respective theories of independence, while Moore’s theory of transactional distance addresses the gap between the student and the instructor in the online setting (Simonson et al., 2012).

The trainer in this scenario has a made a good decision in choosing to convert this training into a blended learning format as this approach offers enhancements to the traditional face-to-face environment where he has concerns about the trainees’ quality of communication and will provide him with a great way to make course materials available to students at all times.  However, there are several considerations that must be made in converting his face-to-face course to a blended format, including those listed below.

  • The trainer will need to use a systematic approach such as, ADDIE (Morrison et al., 2011 & Simonson et al., 2012).
  • The trainer will need to know his learners (Morrison et al., 2011).
  • The trainer will need to consider which content will be best delivered online
  • The trainer will need to engage students with activities carefully selected to meet learning objectives using multimedia tools and methodologies (Wedemeyer, in Simonson et al., 2012).
  • The trainer will need to carefully select and be familiar with, the appropriate instructional media (technology) tools to be used, ensuring that trainees have access and the knowledge to use them (Simonson et al, 2012 & Piskurich, n. d.).
  • The trainer will need to ensure that other facilitators are also trained (Moller et al., 2008).
  • Students will need an orientation to using the online environment (Simonson et al., 2012).

My approach to developing a trainer’s guide was to create an interactive presentation with Prezi.com, something I have never used before.  This was no easy task and took far longer than I had anticipated! But I am proud of the result.  Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions so that I will learn even more from this project.

Well, here it is…check it out and let me know what you think… http://prezi.com/nwlc1cmoetnl/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

References

Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environment. College Teaching, 54(1), 190–193. Retrieved from http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/433631/strategies_for_enhancing_student_interactivity_in_an_online_environment/

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66-70

Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., Kemp, J. E. (2011). Designing effective instruction (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Ormrod, J. E., Schunk, D. H., Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (custom ed.). Laureate Education, Inc. Boston, MA: Pearson, Inc.

Piskurich, G., Facilitating online learning. [Video Production]. Laureate Education, Inc. [Producer].

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

Piskurich, G., Facilitating online learning. [Video Production]. Laureate Education, Inc. [Producer].

Advertisements

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s