Re: Experience with Distance Learning Courses

Subject: Re: Experience with Distance Learning Courses
From: Gregory P Sweet <gps03 -at- health -dot- state -dot- ny -dot- us>
To: Roger Renteria <roger -dot- renteria -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2012 10:44:45 -0400

Hi Roger,

I can be available for interview. I am actually coming at this more form the other side as I've been delivering training via WebEx for the last six years or so, though I do attend a good bit of DL courses as well.

You can see my full online profile here if you think I'd be a good candidate:

- How do you feel about the online environment vs. traditional lecture
based courses?

I truly feel that the online environment is better than the traditional lecture hall simply because the synchronous environment forces participation. In the traditional lecture hall it is very easy for the lecturer to simply lapse into the full-on lecture. The science shows that in the traditional format students tune out the lecturer within 10 minutes. When you move to the on-line environment, that window of attention gets even smaller. Good speakers know this and use it to their advantage, building in interactions that demand the participant's attention creating a more engaging and meaningful event. Unfortunately there is a lot of distance learning being done exactly as the material would have been presented in the traditional classroom, with little or no interaction. Also there are a lot of folks out there that treat their online classroom as a lecture capture system, intending to create an archive of the lectures students can then attend at their liesure and of course this is not an effective use of the online classroom.

- What are your advantages or disadvantages with DL courses?

The advantage is that actual course time is reduced for all involved, and instructors can stay with just the most important material. Since the time committiment is reduced to just the actual time students are in the course, we can offer shorter, more frequent offerings. Expanding the courses available and providing the students with the optimal blend of course to meet their needs.

Costs are reduced for all involved as well. We estimate that we save approximately $14k per instructor, per course in travel expenses alone.

We can also offer greater flexibility to students as they can choose from the entire slate of course meeting times instead of just the few sessions that would have been given in their geographic area.

The major disadvantage is that you must commit to the new format. You must fundementally change your way of delivering training. You cannot go halfway and you cannot simply take your old classroom course and start presenting it online, regardless of what Cisco, Citrix, or Adobe has to say. You must design for the medium and build the interactions and course around the features available in your classroom. This of course adds to the upfront investment and is contrary to the marketing literature so It can be difficult to get buyin from the higher-ups who expected a seemless change with no time committment. The other disadvantage of the system is casued more by the plethora of bad DL that's out their. Many participants have come to expect they can sign up for a course, maybe sign in at class time, and then continue on with their normal work whilst the lecture runs in th background. Or worse they'll sign up with no intention of attending, they just want access to the recording. Those types of students are often shocked when they encounter a fully-interactive distance learning event, and often have difficulty adjusting to the event.

- Do you feel it's worth taking DL courses?

Absolutely! One of the most engaging courses I've attended in the past year was a well-done Robohelp 9 course offered by Icon Logic. The time and money saved by not traveling to attend the course was enough return before the skills acquired through the training were even considered. But again, had the course not been interactive, or if the instructor simply had me there to observe him record his video (capture his lecture) then, no it would not have been worth it. And again, there is far too much DL today that follows the lecture capture format.

- Do you still get the same kind of instructor to student interaction
attending courses online?

In our courses we facilitate a much higher level of student to teacher interaction, and that's the stadandard I use when I attend events. I think one of the failures of most large-scale webinars out there is that 1) they do not have enough TAs to cover the chat and ensure that every question is answered. You simply must engaged with everyone if you are going to this format, and 2)there's a belief that you cannot be interactive when the class grows to large. This is a myth as I have personally attended sessions with 500+ participants were highly interactive. You simply have to have the correct toolset and use it.

- Would you like to share any positive or negative experiences with your

See my above answers. Feel free to contact me if you want further details.



-----techwr-l-bounces+gps03=health -dot- state -dot- ny -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com wrote: -----
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
From: Roger Renteria
Sent by: techwr-l-bounces+gps03=health -dot- state -dot- ny -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: 08/19/2012 06:08PM
Subject: Experience with Distance Learning Courses

Hi everyone,

I'm working on an article for the site and I would like to hear about your
experience attending distance learning / online based courses. What are
your thoughts?

- How do you feel about the online environment vs. traditional lecture
based courses?
- What are your advantages or disadvantages with DL courses?
- Do you feel it's worth taking DL courses?
- Do you still get the same kind of instructor to student interaction
attending courses online?
- Would you like to share any positive or negative experiences with your

If you have any other thoughts or feelings that you would like to
contribute, I would greatly appreciate it! If you are interested in being
interviewed, I would like to talk to you.

Thank you,

Roger Renteria


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Experience with Distance Learning Courses: From: Roger Renteria

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