Best Practice Guide

Posted: February 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

This week I was responsible for creating a best practice guide for converting a course to a distance learning format.

The 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.

Best Practice Guide

The best practice guide identifies the major areas the training manager will need to consider when converting his course to a blended format.  First, we will need to consider some pre-planning strategies.  He needs to consider  the changes to the learning environment.  Synchronous vs. Asynchronous.  Then he will need to consider the design of the blended course.  When designing the course he will need to rewrite the learning objectives, and make sure all activities and assignments are directly related to those objectives.

Two of the enhancements identified in the Best Practices Guide are the online access to the training materials and resources, and the overall quality of the communication.  Offering online access to materials and resources makes it more convenient for the learners, and it gives them the opportunity to locate the materials and resources any time and any where.  I believe the overall quality of the communication will be enhanced because online discussions give the learners time to think and respond to discussion questions and thoughts.

The role of the trainer will become increasingly important when it comes to the student-led online discussions.  It will be the trainers responsibility to participate in the discussions, and provide thought-provoking question.  It is also the trainers role to unsure the students are receiving quick feedback from discussions and assignments.  The trainers role in communicating with learners will be extremely important in an online environment.  The trainers need to remain in constant contact with the learners.  The trainer needs to keep a close eye on his trainees.

It is equally important for the trainer to encourage learners to communicate online.  This should be a simple step as long as the trainer as successfully pre-planned the course and is communicating online daily with the learners.  Before the course began, the trainer should have set up the syllabus and Course Management system with his email, and he should have written down the best way to contact him.  If the trainer is communicating as frequently as he should, than the students will notice the communication has been all online, and they will follow the instructors lead.

To read the entire Best Practice Guide, click on the link below:

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