Tag Archives: Virtual Classroom

The Problem with a Prerequisite

13 Apr

This week I had a really good discussion with my team about creating a program for MS Office 2010 training. While we agreed on course outlines, we differed on the issue of how to enforce a prerequisite.

The idea behind a prerequisite is to ensure that learners have prior skills/knowledge before starting a course.

While we agreed that our training program needed a prerequisite (a “What’s New”), we disagreed on how to ensure that learners took the prerequisite.

The crux of the problem rested on the prerequisite course being classroom based. Classroom based learning has significant benefits when introducing learners to something new, most notably the availability of an instructor to answer questions. However, classroom based learning also has significant drawbacks, primarily a lack of flexibility for the learner.

If a learner can’t attend a course on a particular date, at a particular location, and that course is a prerequisite to attend other courses on a training program, we have problems!

So what is the solution? As a team we came up with a number of possible solutions:

1. Schedule the prerequisite course across different locations, over a wide date range.

2. Video the prerequisite course and make that available for those learners who could not attend the classroom.

3. E-learning – turn the classroom course into an e-learning module.

4. Virtual classrooms – run the prerequisite as a virtual classroom.

All four options have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, I believe that there isn’t a single solution. Rather, I think a blended approach would work best.

As we go forward with this training program, the problem of the prerequisite will need to be addressed. How that looks is still up for debate!

The Future of Instructional Design – New Questions for an ID to Answer

24 May

Recently I read a blog post by Tony Bates on an instructional design workshop (Just ID) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). It’s a fascinating read on how Instructional Designers in BC view the challenges facing their profession and its future directions.
Check out the post here:
Tony Bates Blog Post
For me, the most interesting point that Tony Bates made in the post regarded what he called the “elephant in the room” – namely the “the design of campus-based learning experiences when much can be done online.” I would argue that this elephant is also applicable to corporate training/adult education. As more learning technologies (e-learning, screencasting, mlearning, virtual classroom etc … ) become part of the training culture, Instructional Designers will have to develop the tools/models to make decisions about the most appropriate mode or modes of training.
At the moment, these types of decisions are seemingly made with just the budget in mind. But what happens when we begin to think about putting the interests of learners first?

Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning – Quora.com

13 Jan

There are a number of emerging technologies for teaching and learning – blogs, wikis, twitter etc … However, one that has caught my eye recently is Quora.com

Quora works much like other social media tools such as twitter – in that people log on and add to the conversation. However, the twist with Quora is that the conversation is instigated by a question and people’s responses are answers to that question.

I think this twist makes Quora standout as both a teaching and learning tool. 

An instructor can post a question and a learner can respond. Other learners can read that answer and add their own take on the question. Clearly here is an opportunity to build a knowledge base and have a shared classroom experience online.

Check out Quora here:  http://www.quora.com/

Forms on Demand – is LiveMeeting a training solution?

23 Dec

Forms on Demand is a piece of software that allows users to print forms related to specific patients. Training staff on this software was classroom based and approximately 1 hour long. However, feedback from staff indicated that there were problems with both the fact the training was classroom based (scheduling people to be in one location at one time was problematic) and the length of the course (the simplicity of the software for some users meant the course felt too long).

To overcome these challenges it was suggested that other training solutions could be offered.

After some discussion, it was suggested that the length of the course could be overcome through self-learning. This self-leanring would take the form of videos and a quick reference guide.

To overcome the problem of being classroom based, it was suggested that a virtual classroom environment could be used. As LiveMeeting had been recently rolled out, it seemingly offered a solution – the virtual meeting room could be turned into a virtual classroom!

Whether this solution will work is still to be tested. However, a virtual classroom does cut out the need to travel for training which surely is a benefit.

The benefits of training using a virtual classroom are discussed in this short video: