Chief Learning Officer - May 2006 - (Page 17)

CO0506.qxd 4/18/06 4:13 PM Page 17 selling up, selling down Why Does Distance Learning Often Feel So Distancing? Bob Mosher O u r early Because of the two-dimensional nature of the I have long been enamored with the learning environment and the lack of a face-to-face modalities that have emerged over the past five efforts at bringing physical environment, synchronous compo- to 10 years. We now have more learning c o u r s e w a r e into the nents need to include different and more options for our students than ever before. Our intentional interactions. For example, an e - l e a r n i n g domain initial concerns were around deploying these instructor should rarely go longer than two tools, but most organizations have solved these t a u g h t us that slides without some type of scripted interac- problems. Now the real work begins: getting content designed tion. These should maximize both the synchro- the highest ROI on each modality. In this nous tool being used and the type of learning for one environment instance I'm not referring to the classic return desired. For example, polling slides can be used on investment discussion. A colleague of m i g h t not play out for inductive reasoning or whiteboards shared mine, Dr. Conrad Gottfredson, has changed e q u a l l y as well in to begin applying a student's learning to real- the acronym to return on instruction, mean- life examples. No matter what type is used, the ing, are we using each learning modality in a a n o t h e r. T h e same interactions should be frequent and relevant. way that allows our learners to maximize each is true in distance The graphical layout and content per slide also learning interaction? needs to be considered. Do the graphics l e a r n i n g. Lately, distance learning, especially models enhance the topic being taught? Should a using synchronous tools, such as LiveMeeting, media clip or animation be used? Should the WebEx or Centra, has been drawing a lot of content build sequentially or be shown all at attention. Distance learning can be defined as once? All of these issues need to be considered any form of instruction delivered via distance when moving to the two-dimensional layout of a synchronous experience. and involving some degree of instructor or peer interaction. Even with all the promise these The second area that can cause distance learn- technologies and approaches hold, I'm sure ing to fail is the misuse of time. Students can't we've all sat through a lengthy death by slides tolerate long periods of staring at a screen and presentation pretending to be a course or listening to audio. Recent models I've seen kept learning experience. The irony in many of the synchronous sessions to no longer than two these courses is that they are often taught by hours. If this is the case, then the content needs the same instructors who are typically very to be spread out over a longer period of time. engaging when standing in front of a class- This newfound time should allow this model to room. What's the difference? incorporate other learning tools and strategies. In the time that falls in between synchronous Synchronous distance learning often falls short sessions, students should be required to partici- of its true ROI for one of two reasons. The first pate in other, more independent forms of lies in the design of the content. Many of the instruction such as e-learning tutorials. Design synchronous classes seen today are simply decisions need to be made between those topics imported versions of well-designed classroom best taught by an instructor and those that can I I Chief Learning Officer content. Our early efforts at bringing course- be saved for independent work. Practice labs can ware into the e-learning domain taught us that be used to encourage the transfer of knowledge content designed for one environment might to real-life scenarios. Assessments can be added not play out equally as well in another. The throughout to allow instructors to diagnose mas- same is true in distance learning. When class- tery and remediate learning constantly. The Bob Mosher is director, room slides and content are moved over to the addition of these approaches can create a rich learning evangelism and Web, many instructors become lecturers and learning environment. strategy for Microsoft stop engaging the students at the level typical- Learning and has been an ly found in the classroom. This doesn't mean Distance learning can be an incredibly power- influential leader in the IT that all the work done designing the classroom ful learning modality if we start by maximizing training space for more than May 2006 content is lost. It simply means that the exist- its natural ROI and stop constraining it based 15 years. He can be reached ing model needs to be enhanced or modified. on old models and approaches. at 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Chief Learning Officer - May 2006

Editor's Note
Table of Contents
Letters to the Editor
Take Five
Selling Up, Selling Down
Guest Editorial
Learning Solutions
Robbins-Gioia University
Deloitte & Touche USA
CLO Profile
Washington Gas
Case Study
Human Capital
Health Care Service Corp.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida
Business Intelligence
In Conclusion
Advertiser's Index
Editorial Resources

Chief Learning Officer - May 2006