Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Example 1: Collaborative Training Environment

A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration. (Blog—Selecting Distance Learning Technologies, n.d.)

As technology changes, instructional designers are challenged to embrace the changes and implements ways to effectively utilized technology in their projects. It is important for instructional designers to be able to collaborate with partners or clients to meet their needs. Instructional designers must first focus and determine the underlying needs for the learning (Jonassen, 2006). For example, in the above real-world example the underlying needs of the major corporation are identified as:

  1. Accessible from various locations
  2. Accessible anytime
  3. Accessible on the go via mobile devices or other communication devices
  4. Ability to utilize document sharing
  5. Ability for multiple users to make comments, add screen captures, add documents, or revise at the exact same time within the same document
  6. User-friendly
  7. Customizable

After an instructional designer have determine the needs of the client, it is now time to determine if the partners or clients have an existing course management systems that will meet theirs.

Course management systems (CMS) are software systems designed to track and manage distance education courses (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015). In the real-world example, the major corporation needs have been identified and it is known that they’ve recently purchased a new automated staff information system to support their needs. In the example, it did not disclose any pertinent information about the system or its feature. Therefore, I have two CMS recommendations that will contribute to providing contextual information to learners which are COURSEsites and Moodle.

COURSEsites as well as Moodle can be used from anywhere, anytime, and on the go with supported mobile compatibility. Each system allows adjustments and is flexible so that learning objectives and learners’ needs are met. CourseSites is basically a no-cost online learning environment that you can set up to match your personal teaching style, curricula, and student needs” (COURSEsites, n.d.). Moodle is a free system that “…can be customised in any way and tailored to individual needs. Its modular set up and interoperable design allows developers to create plugins and integrate external applications to achieve specific functionalities” (Moodle, 2015).

After the instructional designer has determined the needs of the partners or clients and has reviewed existing system or made a recommendation, it is now time to further examine the features of the system. The features of both CourseSites and Moodle satisfy the needs of the major corporation. It has been expressed that “CourseSites can be accessed through Blackboard Mobile” (COURSEsites, n.d.) and Moodle users are granted the opportunity to “share files and media” as well as create “collaboration” (Moodle, 2015). Both systems allow different types of teaching and learning needs to be addressed and supported.

To conclude, whether you are an ID or a major corporation with a new system, you must embrace the needs of the learner. You must actively participate and address the learners’ needs in order to ensure a successful system (as cited in Beldarrain, 2006). Having the appropriate system that aligns with the need of the learner will enhances the learner’s ability to understand the training.


Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2),139–153.

Blog—Selecting Distance Learning Technologies [Application]. (n.d.) Retrieve from

COURSEsites (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from

Jonassen, D. (2006). Modeling with technology: Mindtools for conceptual change (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Moodle (2015). About. Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

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