Converting Training Formats: A Guide and Checklist

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.

For the scenario described above, the trainer intends to convert the program or sessions into a blended format. This choice assumes a wide range of content or activity that may take place online, anywhere from 30%-79% (Allen, Seaman, and Garret, 2007).  Preplanning would involve determining how much of and particularly what kind of content (i.e. documents, multimedia, streaming content, plug in based content, etc.) is going to be pushed online and what is still taught face-to-face and whether the hybrid  model will be synchronous or asynchronous. Subsequently a suitable CMS can be selected that is capable not only of delivering the content, but of providing the interaction and facilitative qualities that are necessary for learning objectives (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.).  For example, if the training is synchronous, then some kind of chat module would be necessary (Beldarrain, 2006). Redesigning the content can also enhance the learning environment by properly designing for a multi-modal environment (Mayer, 2007). Everything would also need to be designed and accessible through the lowest common technology that trainees have access to (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek, 2012). Additionally, as the trainees will have constant temporal and geographic access to materials, the trainer’s role will become more of a facilitative one, rather than a trainer-centered one (Simonson et al., 2012). Establishing a culture of friendly and professional communication that is paramount and must be modeled by the trainer (Simonson et al., 2012), especially as the trainer is already dissatisfied with the face-to-face communication of the group thus far. Getting trainees to do the same will require engagement to make them understand that they are “responsible for their own learning” (p. 233).  Considering the how trainees learn will be helpful in designing the environment (Simonson et al., 2012), as well as the cultural context from which they perceive learning (Germain-Rutherford and Kerr, 2008). The best practices guide is formulated of these considerations and intended to help successfully convert the face-to-face course into an online, blended environment.

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References

Allen, I., Seaman, J., & Garret, R. (2007). Blending in: The extent and promise of blended education in the united states. ()Retrieved from http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/pdf/Blending_In.pdf

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

Germain-Rutherford, A., & Kerr, B. (2008). An inclusive approach to online learning environments: Models and resources. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education TOJDE, 9(2). Retrieved from http://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr/tojde30/pdf/article_2.pdf

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Delivery Analysis. [Video Podcast]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_3396926_1%26url%3D

Mayer, R. E. (2007). Five features of effective multimedia messages: An evidence-based approach. In Fiore, S. M., & Salas, E. (Eds.). Toward a science of distributed learning (pp. 171–184). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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

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