Converting to a Distance Learning Format

Converting to a Distance Learning Format

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.

Before the training manager can covert his program, he will need to have a few pre-planned strategies to ensure an easy transition from the current training format to the new blended learning format. Such pre-planned strategies should include: budget examination, audience learning styles, and server support determination. First, the trainer should check to see if the new training format aligns with the current allocated training budget. If not then he will need to select a more cost efficient. Second, the trainer should ensure that the learning styles of the employees being trained are included in the delivery of the new format. Lastly, the trainer needs to consider if the server is equipped to support the materials used in the new format because some server has a limited space and certain restrictions to successfully utilize the server.

An aspect of his original training program could be enhanced during the distance learning format by utilizing an asynchronous discussion board to communicate with fellow trainers and trainees. Asynchronous discussion board “does not occur at the same time” (Keller, 2012). It allows the trainer and trainees to communicate at different times on the topic of discussion. All the parties involved could explore course materials at their own pace then they can share the information learned in a centralized location.

His role as trainer will change in a distance learning environment by allowing him to become a more diverse trainer. He will be able to communicate and delivery course material utilizing the most common technology used in today’s industry. This in return will allow him to reach more trainers and trainees throughout the organization.

There are many steps that the trainer should take to encourage the trainees to communicate online. For example, he can create an environment that will “provide a detailed syllabus that clearly defines expectations for the course in general and specific guidelines for each assignment” (Durrington, Berryhill, & Swafford, 2006, para. 5). He could also divide the trainees into multiple groups and allow them to select a topic of interest that they can build a working relationship. Having trainees to “work on an activity that is not academic in nature may help the students build their confidence in the group collaborative experience” (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, pg. 193).

To concluded, the training manager will need to have pre-planned strategies prior to converting the current training program into a new blended program. He must pre-plan for the budget, the audience, and the existing server. The training program could be enhanced by using asynchronous discussion board to communicate with trainees and fellow trainers. The training manager role, as trainer, can change in a distance learning environment. There are steps that should be taken to encourage the trainees to communicate online.

 

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/

Keller, C. (2012). Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Communication [Video file]. Retrieve from https://youtu.be/ONGtUTGc9sE

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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