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Distance Learning Technologies

Is it time to beef up your organizations\'s distance learning paradigm? Implementing distance learning technologies like web/video conferencing, e-learning and live interactive broadcasting might be the answer. Before implementing any of these distance learning technologies it’s important to consider what they can do for your organization and what content can realistically be taught and how with each technology.

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Distance Learning Technologies

  1. 1. D I S TA N C E L E A R N I N G T E C H N O L O G I E S
  2. 2. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates 11639 E. Wethersfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 USA marketing@docntrain.com www.docntrain.com Phone: 480-614-8440 Toll-free: 877-614-8440 Fax: 480-614-2775 Copyright © 2008 Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates. All rights reserved. Page2
  3. 3. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES I S I T T I M E T O B E E F U P Y O U R O R G A N I Z AT I O N ’ S D I S TA N C E L E A R N I N G PA R A D I G M ? Implementing distance learning technologies like web/video conferencing, e-learning and live interactive broadcasting might be the answer. Before implementing any of these distance learning technologies it’s important to consider what they can do for your organization and what content can realistically be taught and how with each technology. Successful implementation of these distance learning technologies requires careful planning and design. To fully consider how your organization might use and implement web/video conferencing, e-learning and live interactive broadcasting it’s important to identify the various distance learning technologies that are available. That way you can decide which types of distance learning technologies best fit your organization’s needs. The various technologies used in distance learning can be roughly divided into four categories: print, audio (voice), computer (data), and video. Each of these categories has several subdivisions. Be aware, however, that many of the technologies overlap into more than one category. Page3
  4. 4. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Print technologies include packaged course materials such as, textbooks, study guides and workbooks sent to learners through the mail. Learners submit completed materials by mail, fax, or e-mail. Employing the use of a solid print component is a low tech solution that can provide much of the basic instructional content. Voice/audio technologies connect instructors and learners using audio conferences, radio and pod casts. They are valuable because they allow the instructor to use their voice for emphasis of the materials. Computer technologies include web-based courses, video and web conferences, CD-Rom courses and collaboration software. Computer technologies provide instantaneous collaboration and learning. Video technologies include videotape, satellite delivery, broadcast video and desktop video. Video technologies bring people who are separated by distance together in real time. Now that you have an idea of some the various distance learning technologies, let’s focus on web/video conferencing, rapid e-learning, live interactive broadcasting and podcasting to see how they might provide a solution for your organization. Page4
  5. 5. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Web/Videoconferencing A web/videoconference allows two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions. In videoconferencing that might mean cameras and specialty equipment. In web conferencing, we use the internet and simpler tools. These are sometimes called visual collaboration and use a type of groupware or collaborative software. A web/videoconference is designed to bring people together who are separated by distance and time. To take advantage of this type of conferencing, you need the right components. The components required for a videoconferencing system include:  Video input: video camera or webcam  Video output: computer monitor, television or projector  Audio input: microphones  Audio output: usually loudspeakers associated with the display device or telephone  Data transfer: analog or digital telephone network, LAN or Internet Page5
  6. 6. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Tools There are many web/videoconferencing tools Some argue that two outstanding issues inhibit those participating in video and web conferencing. available from which to select. Any of the These issues are: currently most popular tools listed below are equally usable. 1. Eye Contact: Eye contact plays a large role in conversational turn-taking, perceived attention and intent, and other aspects of group communication. While traditional telephone  Adobe Connect Professional conversations give no eye contact cues, web conferencing systems are arguably worse in that http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat they provide an incorrect impression that the remote participant is avoiding eye contact. connectpro Participants must learn to look at the camera when they speak to simulate true eye contact. Elluminate - http://www.elluminate.com  2. Appearance Consciousness: A second problem with web conferencing is that one is literally  iVocalize- http://www.ivocalize.com on camera, with the video stream possibly even being recorded. The concern of presenting an  Skype - http://www.skype.com acceptable on-screen appearance is not a factor in audio-only communication. The addition of video may sometimes impair communication, possibly because of participants’ consciousness  VIA3 - http://www.viack.com of being on camera.  Yugma - http://www.yugma.com The issue of eye-contact may be solved with advancing technology, and presumably the issue of appearance consciousness fades as people become accustomed to videoconferencing. Page6
  7. 7. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Tools Some popular rapid development tools include e-Learning the following: New development tools, often called “rapid development tools”, make e-learning easier and faster to  Adobe Connect produce. These tools also allow us to easily capture computer applications and simulate environments http://www.adobe.com/products/connect to allow for independent learner study and practice as well as create interactive instruction on most any topic. Articulate  http://www.articulate.com/products/prese nter.php  Brainshark Communications http://presentation.brainshark.com  Camtasia http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp  Captivate http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate  CourseAvenue http://www.courseavenue.com/default.aspx  FlashForm http://www.rapidintake.com/flashform_ind ex.htm  Learn.com Coursemaker Studio http://learn.com/learncenter.asp?id=17844 1&page=5  Lectora http://www.trivantis.com/products/lectora. html Page7
  8. 8. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Here is some information from the MyCasting web site: http://corp.orb.com/en/mycasting - MyCasting is the opposite of broadcasting. When you install Orb software onto your home PC, you transform the machine into a personal Live Interactive Broadcasting broadcasting system. MyCasting means you are free to create, enjoy and share media at A few tools exist that remind us of the old days of distance anytime and anyplace and on virtually any Internet-connected media player with learning via satellite. These use streaming video over the web, streaming capabilities (mobile phone, PDA, laptop or other PC). You’re in control of the but many are open to the public. It might be possible to contact programming decisions, which device you wish to use and where and when to enjoy the the company's business development office to find out if their show. MyCasting unlocks the digital media on your home PC and makes it accessible services could be used for a specific group, as opposed to through the Internet. anyone on the web. The following are additional platforms that enable live interactive broadcasting. As of this MyCasting is the only tool whose broadcasts do not writing, they appear to be open to the public when broadcast. Contact the appropriate automatically go live to the public. Instead MyCasting allows business office to determine if the audience can be specified or limited. you to confine your broadcast to a single group. It’s also free. http://ustream.tv - Ustream.TV is the live interactive video broadcast platform that enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size. Anyone can become a broadcaster by creating their own channel on Ustream or by broadcasting through their own site. With Ustream's interactive broadcast functionality, viewers can personally interact directly with whoever is broadcasting. http://www.ubroadcast.com - Ubroadcast’s Station Manager Software lets you broadcast live and uncensored content quickly and easily with no broadcasting or technical experience. It is a live Internet radio broadcast tool. Ubroadcast gives you the forum to: ~ Talk live about topics ~ Conduct interviews and other presentations ~ Promote your product, service or yourself ~ Showcase your talents or promote other content ~ Play pre-recorded content Page8 
  9. 9. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Podcasting A podcast is a series of digital-media files that are distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and computers. The term podcast, like broadcast, can refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. A podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or Atom. The MP3 files generated by podcasters are relatively easy to create and don’t require high-priced equipment, allowing amateurs to record a program without a large investment of time or money. Combined with the ability for automated downloading of these files, podcasting has become a hot trend in training. The portability and on-demand nature of podcasting are key components that allow listeners to catch up on audio content—whether entertainment, news or learning. Page9
  10. 10. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Use Technologies to Steer in the Right Direction With careful planning and the correct design, you can move different components of training into appropriate media for delivery. For example, e- learning is an appropriate media for background and overview information provided in many courses. e-Learning might also be considered for some of the basics of computer systems, such as navigation. Web conferencing can supplement e-learning with an opportunity to talk directly to an instructor, subject matter expert, or other class members remotely. It might also serve as a tool for collaborative work on student assignments and application sharing to learn specific skills. Consider maintaining live instruction for your more complex and advanced training pieces, and use well-designed job aids to serve as references. Updates and short learning events can be broadcast via podcast or voicemail, or sent via email as needed. Page10
  11. 11. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES 50% INDIVIDUALIZED LEARNING Model of a Technology-assisted Training Environment With the wide array of available technology, it’s possible to CBT On-line Material build a distance learning paradigm. Arana J. Greenberg,  Simulation president and CEO of Alpine Media Corporation, feels the new  Reading  Visualization technology-assisted training environments will look like the  Browsing model presented below. Unlike traditional CBT environments,  Data Access  Assessing the new training systems will evolve from being quot;individualizedquot; to quot;personalized,quot; and will focus on training individuals how to learn more effectively. These training solutions will be hybrid solutions, employing multiple technologies to produce and rapidly deploy high-quality training. Most importantly, they will shift toward a model that increasingly provides opportunities to learn from others. While the cited author envisions an environment that is Synchronous Conferencing completely managed with technology, it’s important to consider what is appropriate for each technology type, what content can  Video  Notes/E-mail realistically be taught with that technology and how to best  Audio  Forums address it within each.  Lecture  FAQs  Listservers The implementation of distance learning technologies requires  Newsgroups careful planning and design. It is not a quick or easy process, but the potential savings over time are tremendous. 50% COLLABORATIVE LEARNING Page11
  12. 12. DISTANCE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES Keys to Success  Select the appropriate technology  Allow plenty of time for planning and development  Design training within the technologies to ensure consistent and timely feedback to students  Encourage and enable student-to-student interactions and collaboration  Provide appropriate and timely training for the instructors and facilitators  Ensure a support structure for students either outside of or within the technology  Have a back-up plan for when technology fails Not sure where to start? Drop us a line and we'll be glad to get you started with the right mix of distance learning technology solutions. Page12