Adapting for online delivery: Is Online the best option?

Written by Phil Garing

Continued from page 1

Another common trap is dumping text online. Text is inherently more difficult to read on screen, learners will almost invariably print out text and read off paper when givenrepparttar chance. Unfortunately, much online text is not set up to print cleanly. Online text is also often broken up into smaller blocks and linked for multiple access points. This is great for learners navigating to find what they need, not great if learners need to repeatedly refer to or work with volumes of text.

Finally,repparttar 109420 most effective 'resource' inrepparttar 109421 face to face environment is of courserepparttar 109422 presenter or lecturer. Often projects to go online simply adaptrepparttar 109423 existing print and media resources. Effective online courses find ways to maintain that personal contact, or develop tools that go some way to performingrepparttar 109424 same functions. Simply offering chat or bulletin board facilities does not, of itself, resolve this issue. The analogy is putting a learner in a car, but not showing them how to drive, or giving them a reason to go anywhere. The delivery methodology needs to be designed to stimulate and guide online communication.

Disadvantages Forrepparttar 109425 learner,repparttar 109426 technology can be intimidating, or actually impede learning. More self-motivation and discipline are often required, and communication technologies may be a poor substitute for face-to-face contact.

Forrepparttar 109427 producer ofrepparttar 109428 learning, significantly higher development costs are likely, and specialised skills are required. There are alsorepparttar 109429 problems of overcoming scepticism amongst potential users, and adaptingrepparttar 109430 organisation's culture and systems forrepparttar 109431 new delivery method.

Despiterepparttar 109432 range of challenges and issues inherent in online learning, there is no doubt that it is revolutionisingrepparttar 109433 face of training and education. Inrepparttar 109434 race to assimilate technology into educational delivery, it is notrepparttar 109435 development of training that isrepparttar 109436 goal, it isrepparttar 109437 depth of learning that results from it. Be wary of claims by vendors of online training solutions that one product is all that is required to develop and deliver an effective (online) package. Any educational course will require planning and good educational design. Subsequent articles in this series will overview that design and development process.

Phil has been involved in a number of projects in the field of flexible delivery, both research based and product-based. In addition he has developed a number of industry based flexible delivery packages and open learning packages in the Polytechnic sector. He also works as a staff development consultant.

Online Instruction: What works, what doesn't?

Written by Phil Garing

Continued from page 1

There is an initial feeling of anonymity, which allows students who are usually shy inrepparttar face-to-face classroom to participate inrepparttar 109419 online classroom.

[These two points together illustrate one ofrepparttar 109420 fundamental differences between emailing an instructor and posting to a threaded list: privacy versus exposure. When dealing with reticent learners, good communications systems will build confidence withrepparttar 109421 technology through private email communication prior to 'group' communication.]

This same feeling of anonymity creates some political differences, such as more equality betweenrepparttar 109422 students and professor in an online class. [Very true. Learners will often be quite vocal and insistent in an online environment in a way they wouldn't face-to-face. Instructors who prefer to maintain a level of professional status in their relationship with learners may not be comfortable in an online environment.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Learning Management Systems: Dotcom collapses, minimising your risk --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Choosingrepparttar 109423 right Learning Management System A recent Updater looked at a range of issues you should consider when selecting a LMS. We've got another one to add torepparttar 109424 list: financial viability ofrepparttar 109425 provider. Recently there's been a rash of mergers and shutdowns, precipitated in part byrepparttar 109426 broader Dotcom shakedown. Some examples: Click2learn has bought Intelliprep Pensare is closing its doors is turning outrepparttar 109427 lights (CyberU will provide Headlight's former customers with continued service) SmartForce announced it will buy icGlobal Saba will acquire Human Performance Technologies Centra acquired MindLever (Source: Brandon Hall)

This raisesrepparttar 109428 issue of service continuity when buying into a prorietary system. The downside of buying into a proprietary system is thatrepparttar 109429 more time and effort invested in building up courseware,repparttar 109430 greater difficulty there is in migrating to a new system. When buying into a system you're betting that it will survive financially, and that it isn't going to get behindrepparttar 109431 pack with emerging technologies.

Other options to consider: Go with a service that delivers your content for you, and let them worry about maintainingrepparttar 109432 infrastructure. While you'll pay higher service costs, you'll find it easier to change providers if necessary.

Inrepparttar 109433 early stages, don't rush in and buy into a system. Take time to experiment and develop a clear understanding of your organisations needs, and also gather information on whorepparttar 109434 leaders are withrepparttar 109435 sort of delivery infrastructure you require. The chances are that you will have a range of knowledge management and skills development issues to address, whatever system you use. Make inroads here first before limiting yourself to an off-the-shelf delivery system.

Phil has been involved in a number of projects in the field of flexible delivery, both research based and product-based. In addition he has developed a number of industry based flexible delivery packages and open learning packages in the Polytechnic sector. He also works as a staff development consultant.

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