Re: e-training

Subject: Re: e-training
From: Sandra Law <sandra -at- qmaster -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 16:12:53 -0700

Ellen Kelly wrote:

> Bill:
> I read your post on e-training with interest. There is also another
> "e-trend" that encompasses both aspects you talk about. The product I
> document is a web-based training classroom tool - students and the
> instructor participate in a live class over the Internet ... this is
> "synchronous" learning. It's a cool new trend that companies are using
> train employees in remote offices.
> Instructors can use multimedia content, text chat, audio, and video in
> courses, and the students can actively participate. I think this type
> training is something that we will be seeing much more of in the

My experience of this kind of training/instruction is as a student and
as a
future practitioner. As a student, I have not been able to benefit from
really high tech presentation formats of which Ellen spoke, i.e.
synchronous or
live training. I have taken courses completely online, however most, if
not all
of the interaction, was asynchronous (reviewing course materials,
in a web conference, and sending email). Currently I am taking a course
audio-conference (not by choice, by necessity) and it too is
asynchronous, i.e.
one person is able to speak at a time, and there has to be a lull in the

conversation before another party is able to break into the

The experience can be quite alienating, although good 'discussions' did
place in the web conference. It is fairly difficult to work in groups,
one of my courses required a lot of group work. The only virtual forms
communication groups had was email or chat rooms. We never resorted to
the chat
room. Most of the students in the courses that I was taking worked full
and thus it was necessary to make sure things got done on time -- so the

compiler of the material could review and assemble it before the due
date. That
was sometimes very difficult.

I should say that these courses are all academic (to fulfill graduate
requirements) and my experience should not be taken to represent the
of someone taking workplace training courses. There seem to be very
resources for the really cutting edge stuff. Although there is a on
center devoted to the promotion and use of learning technologies:

Academic Technologies for Learning (ATL)

Another good resource is the following online journal, (has something)
academic and non-academic audiences)

Active Learning - educational innovation and learning technologies.

There are also virtual middle and high schools in my area, that offer
75% of
their courses online. An example is Rocky View Virtual School Program
( There was even a discussion in the audio
course (a Project Management course in Instructional Technology) of
schools that offered Physical Education online. Students were expected
to keep
a record of all activities, with their parent's assistance. The
instructor of
the course felt that the web was not an appropriate medium for the
delivery of
such a course, but some of the students suggested that 'in the future' a
conferencing system could be set so that the teacher could monitor the
in the class. That's when the discussion got very strange to my mind.
Not only
did it not seem feasible logistically (each student would have their own
and the instructor would have to watch how many screens OR the teacher
would be
at a remote location and the students would gather in a central
location). Too
much like surveillance to me. Shades of 1984. Also, I made the point
high school, for a lot of people, is about the opportunity to meet other
and to participate in non-academic activities (clubs, sports, social
events). I
was very focused in high school on academics but that's not everyone's
(for good or ill) and why should it be. It's almost as if the only
way to express yourself in this culture is through a form of
self-imposed social
isolation (I'm too busy to talk, interact, take account of someone
existence). And I have no problem working on my own (entirely) -- but
really I
think some of these training strategies may just further isolate people
from one

Where this sort of education seems to be of benefit for remote
communities that
have limited access to conventional libraries. One of the women in one
of the
courses that I am taking works in distance education and she pointed out
there was simply no comparison between conventionally delivered distance

education and computer assisted delivery. Specifically, she said that
materials took 6 weeks to reach students, while online delivery was

Anyway, that's all I have to say.

Sandra Law

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