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.
Many times it is necessary for companies to provide training for its employees. Due to the logistic of the business, it may be difficult to gather all of the relevant personnel together to participate in the training. Logistics can include time, space, distance and learning capabilities as well as numerous others. An Instructional Designer (ID) must take into consideration these aspects when designing the training and determining the tools that will be used to deliver the content.
In the example above, several logistical aspects stand out:
- Distance – the target group is separated be geography
- Time – the target group must be able to access the training at different times
- Collaboration – the target group must be able to share
The choice of a Content Management System is critical to the delivery of the learning components. There are basic tools that are included such as:
Course Management System Components
Course Management – Syllabus, Calendar, Announcements, Assignment Instructions, Learning Objectives, Student Roster, Glossary, Gradebook/Attendance
Readings – Can include hyperlinks to readings
Content Presentation – Lecture Outlines, Embedded media, PowerPoint’s
Course Communications – Email capabilities (integrated with campus), Chat forums, White boards/Presentation Tools, IM, Blogs
Group Project Space – Group space ( Discussion, Email, Chat; Share documents)
Student Assessment – Exams and Quizzes (incl practice)
Digital Drop -Box for Assignment Submission
Course Evaluation Tools
Course System Statistics
Other Tools Supporting Online Course Management
Homework collection and grading
Plagiarism detection (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, pp. 184-186)
While this list appears to be tailored more towards an academic course, there are components that can be taken to deliver a corporate training. “Today’s workplace requires that individuals create and collaborate within the constraints of time and place. These needs have given way to technological advancements that allow for real-time communication among peers and co-workers who stay connected over the internet. …second-generation Web tools …promise to take interactivity to the next level” (Beldarrain, 2006).
According to The Technology of Distance Education, discussion technologies are the best use for the selected scenario. “Discussion technologies are participatory in nature and require that a number of individuals write and respond to each other’s posts (The Technology Of Distance Education, n.d.).” Two such discussion technologies that allow the target group to collaborate are wikis and blogs. Wikis are a space ‘designed to be created and edited by groups of persons.’ Blogs are ‘a form of online reporting and journaling that gives anyone the opportunity to publish on the Internet’ (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 129).
One example of the use of a wiki is Khan Academy Wiki (http://khanacademy.wikia.com/). This site is a companion to the wildly popular education site of the same name. The website boast on its man page ‘The Khan Academy Wiki that anyone can edit (Welcome to the Khan Academy Wiki!).’ The wiki has over 1000 editable pages as well as an associated blog. Users are encouraged to update pages after visiting the general policies pages. The Khan Academy has a built in reputation for valuable learning resources (my son has used it on several occasions to help with math homework); this companion site makes good use of Web 2.0 tools and is a great free source to add some educational content that can be shared. Although students who used wikis found that it helped them work and learn more efficiently; they were dissatisfied with the fact that content could be located in more than one place making locating information more difficult (Pros & Cons of Course Blogs & Wikis, 2013).
Blogs may be used to create discussion links by the instructor (or student) creating a post and peers or students reply by creating their own posts. In this fashion, ideas are exchange amongst the target group. While not a corporate training blog itself, Learning in the Modern Workplace highlights thoughts on supporting workplace learning. It is a prime example on the use of blogs to exchange ideas. ‘The pros of instructional blogging are: students feel more involved and in charge of their learning experiences; students have viable chances to participate in learning; and students have a chance to actively participate in learning outside of the classroom. One of the primary disadvantages of a blog is the instructor often becomes the primary contributor and mediator. Also, students sometimes treat blogging as simply another assignment, rather than as a way to actively engage class material (Pros & Cons of Course Blogs & Wikis, 2013).’
Beldarrain, Y. (2006, August). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139-153.
Pros & Cons of Course Blogs & Wikis. (2013). Retrieved January 25, 2015, from University of Colorado: http://assett.colorado.edu/pros-cons-of-course-blogs-wikis/
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.). Boston, MA, United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.
The Technology Of Distance Education (n.d.). [Motion Picture].
Welcome to the Khan Academy Wiki! (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2015, from Khan Academy Wiki: http://khanacademy.wikia.com/wiki/Khan_Academy_Wiki