Posts Tagged ‘Walden University’


Credit Ted Goff (2002). Retrieved from

We were told this week in our Project Management course materials that there are many resources available online to assist project managers in estimating project costs and allocating resources.  I was skeptical so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was true!  Even if we ignore the numerous blogs on this topic published by previous Walden University students, there are in fact many useful resources where information, instruction, discussion, tips, and templates may be found.  One such resource is Don Clark’s blog post, titled, Estimating Costs and Time In Instructional Design (2010, June 23), which provides detailed budgeting information specific to instructional design.  A highlight of this blog for me is the following quote by Clark in which he said, 

“If it becomes evident that the resources to implement the best training strategy are not available, then it is important that all the personnel involved in the project are brought in on the decision making process.  This includes both clients and training developers.”

What this means to me is that communication is critical in ensuring that as a team we figure out how to utilize our available resources in a manner that gives us the best result for the least amount of money. We can also hold some funds in reserve for costs that arise unexpectedly.  In one of our video resources this week, Dr. Stolovitch suggested that as the project manager, we should work lean and hand out additional money as though were giving our “last drops of blood” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  But I digress.  Clark’s comprehensive blog post offers information (including links) regarding budgeting, training cost guidelines, estimating development hours, eLearning development time, development times to create one-hour of e-learning, instructor prep-time, seat time, interactive multimedia instruction, USMC multimedia guide for percentage of development, interactive courseware development costs, tools, and a case study.

Another resource I would like to highlight is this slide show by Bryan Chapman (2010), called How Long Does It Take to Create Learning?  In this slide show, Chapman presents data from a research survey of 249 organizations, representing almost 4000 learning development professionals regarding the number of hours and associated costs of development used to create 1 finished hour of learning. Chapman shows detailed results for Instructor-Led Training, eLearning (Level 1, 2, 3), Blended Learning. I find the information in this slideshow to be quite useful as it delineates between designs with minimal multimedia/interactivity, those with a moderate amount, and those that are rich in multimedia and interactive components and the data is based on real world numbers.

Here are links for some of the other sites I found (including one by our instructor!):

Estimating the Cost of eLearning Projects – Mark Steiner, Inc.




Chapman, B. (2010). How Long Does it Take to Create Learning? [Research Study]. Chapman Alliance LLC. Retrieved from

Clark, D. (2010, June 23). Estimating costs and time in instructional design. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Laureate Education Inc. (Stolovich, H.). (2010). Creating a Resource Allocation Plan. [Media].

For this blog entry I am responding to an assignment for my Distance Learning course, EDUC 6135.  The scenario I chose to address is listed below.

            Example 2:  Interactive Tours

            A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display.  Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art.  As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance.  In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

            Identifying distance learning technologies to meet the needs of a particular situation requires much research and careful thought as to the best solutions.  In this scenario, a distance education technology solution is being sought for a specific lesson in an otherwise traditional classroom.  For this activity, the curators will take the role of distance educators and the students will become distance learners.  According to Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek (2012), “The instructional environment should be viewed as a system, a relationship among all the components of that system—the instructor, the learners, the material, and the technology.” As I looked for possible solutions that would address the need for the ability to tour two different museums and their exhibits, synchronous access to the museum curators, and tool to allow students to group critique four pieces of art.  I spent some time searching for individual technologies for each individual activity and even as I considered technologies that I thought might work I could not see how the various technologies might all work together in concert with the instructor, curators, materials and students as a system!  With each component working separately it seemed too cumbersome coordinate and likely to fail.  I was flummoxed.  I knew I needed to take a different approach, to change how I was thinking about the problem.  I thought about some of the trainings I have attended through my department and tried to recall some of the functionality I had observed during these web conferences.  This led me to my eureka moment.  On a web conferencing platform, the virtual museum/exhibit tours could be played as PowerPoint or other multimedia presentations and the curators could be present to interact with the students synchronously via voice-over-IP, and web cam.  An example tool that I found was Blackboard Collaborate, which offered this multimedia presentation explaining the capabilities of the platform specifically for web conferencing.  Blackboard Collaborate allows for two-way communication, built-in voice-over-IP for up to six speakers, video of the person speaking, live chat, whiteboard area for content sharing with the ability to draw and write on the content.  In addition, there is a cool feature referred to as follow-the-speaker-video which automatically shows live video of the person who is speaking at the time.  Blackboard Collaborate offers a free 30-day trial which may be sufficient for this singular virtual field-trip, however there is a cost consideration if more access time is required.

            Next I had to consider the need for students to be able to provide group critique of four individual art pieces.  I decided that a Web 2.0 tool that allows for collaboration would be an effective solution. seemed like a perfect choice. Simonson et al. (2012) describe wikis as “an excellent tool for collaborative online writing assignments and group activities compiling information in a single online resource.”  Wikispaces provides a “classroom workspace” instructors and students can work on projects collaboratively and they are available for free to teachers and students! Take a look at this introduction page for examples of what can be done.  Wikispaces provides students with online, interactive collaboration experiences.

            When examined according to, the use of the web-conferencing and Wikispaces together provides a rich and engaging learning experience that is both synchronous and asynchronous and comprised of audio, video, collaborative, and interactive components.  In case you might be interested in seeing how a Wikispaces page might work, I located this 8th-grade U.S. history class site as an example of a successful Wikispace page for students.  And here is a video by Blackboard Inc. in which a variety of K12 educators provide testimonial regarding the successful use and cost savings of Blackboard Collaborate.



Blackboard Inc. (2011, August 26). K12 schools save time and money with Blackboard Collaborate. [Web page]. 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, Inc.

Welcome to Mr. Armstrong’s U.S. History Wiki. (n. d.). [Web page]. Retrieved from

Wikispaces classroom. (2013). [Web page]. Retrieved from

We are tasked this week with discussing the evolution of our personal definition of distance learning.  While correspondence courses began as early as 1833 (Laureate Education, Inc., n. d.), in my lifetime one of the earliest distance learning programs that I recall as a child of the 1960s is the drawing program offered through the Art Instruction Schools. Originally called Federal Schools, the school was established in 1914 and by 1931 the name was changed to the more familiar, Art Instruction Schools (“Timeline,” 2013).  During the 1950s, they began their famous “Draw Me” advertising campaign.  I remember several of the cartoon-style characters, including Spunky, Tippy-the-Turtle and the pirate (pictured below), that were placed on matchbooks, in magazine and comic book advertisements, and on television commercials inviting the prospective artist to submit their own drawing of the character to the school for consideration of a scholarship award for the correspondence art program.  I was also exposed to the concept of correspondence courses and possibly audio courses through references made to them in television programs and movies.  For these reasons, my earliest definition of distance learning was simply, taking a course by mail which means that the student is separated from the classroom and instructor.

draw me turtle and pirate

Image credit: Spunky

Images credit:

For the sake of clarity surrounding the evolving definition of distance learning, I would suggest that it is necessary to specify that we are talking about formal education rather than informal.  The term distance learning is a general term which could encompass learning of any kind that occurs when there is distance between the instructor, the student, and the classroom.  Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek discuss at length components of distance education including “…the concept that distance education is institutionally based (2012),” which separates formal distance education from self-study.  Without this distinction, even how-to programs such as televised cooking or do-it-yourself shows could fit the definition of distance learning.  My personal definition of distance learning now includes the separation of the students from the classroom and instructor which can be completed via correspondence and televised lectures, and that there must be a connection to a formal institution of learning.          

The point at which my definition of distance learning began to evolve and expand beyond the concept of learning through correspondence was in the early 1980s, when I attempted a televised course offered through my community college.  I remember this being the new wave of education and I was excited to take a class where I watched a recorded program at home.  I was not successful however, as the ability to be in front of the television at the right moment and on the right channel eluded me.  Without an instructor and classmates, I found the overall experience to be confusing, boring, and isolating so I it was not long before I dropped the course.  My definition of distance learning now included tele-courses, but I was not impressed.  Fortunately, personal computers such as Tandy machines, Commodore, and Macintosh were beginning to make their appearance in my life so I had high hopes for the education opportunities of the future.

As the personal computing industry began to blossom in the 1980s, the ability to communicate on bulletin board systems (BBS) and then the introduction of interactive sites like Compuserve and of the internet presented the most exciting time period of technological advancements I had ever experienced in my life.  These and other advancements in electronic media technology would eventually allow for what Simonson et al. referred to as “interactive telecommunications,” allowing for synchronous communication between teachers and students (2012).  However, Simonson et al. referred to the argument by Garrison and Shale during the time period of the late 1980s that most of the communication that was taking place was “non-contiguous” and that distance education “must involve two-way communication.”  My own definition must also now be adjusted to include a reference to interactivity through technology.

It is with my experience at Walden University over the last year that my understanding of distance learning expands dramatically and my definition nears its completion, at least for the time being.  Through my classes I have been exposed to a learning management system which incorporates a variety of electronic media options for synchronous and asynchronous communication including multimedia presentations, discussion boards, email, announcements, and chat rooms.  In addition, I have been exposed to other tools of distance learning including blogs, vlogs, voicethreads, and MOOCs, and I will soon begin to explore how to develop and place a training design onto a learning management system.  I feel that my distance learning experiences are now juxtaposed with my unfortunate tele-course experience of the early 1980s.  Distance learning has come a very long way in the last 30 years!  And so has my definition of distance learning.  At my current experience level, I would define distance learning as the acquisition of knowledge and skills through a formal, institutionally-based program in an environment where the teacher and students are separated by space and sometimes time, and where the separation is bridged through interactive technology which allows for rich synchronous and asynchronous communication.

As part of this assignment we have been asked to consider the factors that impact the always-changing definition of distance learning as well as the influence of a person’s profession or degree of technical knowledge.  In my mind, it is obvious that an individual’s exposure to technology either personally or professionally, and their knowledge of technology will influence their own definition of distance learning.  Therefore, I can only speak to this topic as it pertains to my own experience and suggest that technology has been the most impactful factor in the evolution of my own definition.  As the technology advances, more possibilities and more opportunities arise.  In the article title, The Evolution of Distance Education (2005), Tracey and Richey stated that “To a great extent, the evolution of distance education has paralleled advancements in technology, but its development is also a reflection of changing educational values and philosophies.”  Since humans and human learning theories do not change or evolve as rapidly as the technology, I suppose a case could be made for the need to study learning theory as it relates to each new technological advance and the use of that technology in distance learning.  This idea is supported and expounded upon by the following passage on distance learning by Tracey and Richey (2005):

“The evolution of this phenomenon, as well as its future growth will undoubtedly be shaped to a great extent by technological    advancements and refinements.  These innovations, however, must be matched by research and theoretical explorations of those distance education methods that promote not only student engagement in the learning process, but an inquisitive, skilled and intellectually-able population.”

With respect to the future of distance learning I suspect that the possibilities are only limited by technology, innovation, and imagination.  Being in the public health dietetics profession and with only limited experience with current technologies, my limited Walden education experiences are the most relevant to me in considering the future of distance learning.  As such, it is difficult for me to imagine the path that the evolution of distance learning will travel.   I can only hope that the skills that I am learning in the field of instructional design will afford me the ability and opportunity to participate in the process as the field of distance learning continues to unfold.

~Lorena, the aspiring technophile

Lorena’s Distance Learning Definition Mindmap

Distance Learning


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n. d.). Distance learning timeline continuum. [Multimedia presentation]. Retrieved from

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

Timeline. (2013). Retrieved from

Tracey, M., & Richey, R. C. (2005). The evolution of distance education. Distance Learning, 2(6), 17-21. Retrieved from

Hi everyone!

I look forward to working with you in this class!


baking kitty

My Learning Connections