Online training or, e-training, can be less expensive, more efficient, and more productive than traditional face-to-face instruction. This chapter reviews why businesses are adopting Web-based instruction, characteristics of exemplary e-trainers and skills online instructors must attain. The primary focus of the chapter is on the importance of instructional design in analyzing the online audience and context; developing instructional strategies and online materials; implementing a Web-based course; and evaluating an online training program. Future trends and a conclusion complete the chapter.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Programmed Instruction: Method of presenting new subject matter to students in a graded sequence of controlled steps. Students work through the programmed material by themselves at their own speed and after each step test their comprehension by answering an examination question or filling in a diagram (High Beam Encyclopedia, 2006).
E-Trainer: Instructor who provides training online via synchronous or asynchronous modes.
Instructional Design: Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. It includes development of instructional materials and activities; and tryout and evaluation of all instruction and learner activities ( Berger, 1996 ).
E-Learning (Electronic Learning): Term covering a wide set of applications and processes, such as Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet (LAN/WAN), audio- and videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, CD-ROM, and more (Learning Circuits, 2006).
Asynchronous: Learning in which interaction between instructors and students occurs intermittently with a time delay. Examples are self-paced courses taken via the Internet or CD-ROM, Q&A mentoring, online discussion groups, and e-mail (Learning Circuits, 2006).
Learner-Centered Instruction: Being a learner-centered teacher means focusing attention squarely on the learning process: what the student is learning, how the student is learning, the conditions under which the student is learning whether the student is retaining and applying the learning, and how current learning positions the student for future learning. The distinction between teacher-centered and student-centered is made as a way of indicating that the spotlight has shifted from the teacher to the student. In learner-centered instruction the action focuses on what the students are doing not what the teacher is doing. This approach that now features students, accepts, cultivates and builds on the ultimate responsibility students have for their own learning (Overview of Learner-Centered Teaching, 2006).
Content Management Systems: A centralized software application or set of applications that facilitates and streamlines the process of designing, testing, approving, and posting e-learning content, usually on Web pages (Learning Circuits, 2006).
Learning Management Systems: Software that automates the administration of training. The LMS registers users, tracks courses in a catalog, records data from learners; and provides reports to management. An LMS is typically designed to handle courses by multiple publishers and providers. It usually does not include its own authoring capabilities; instead, it focuses on managing courses created by a variety of other sources (Learning Circuits, 2006).
Facilitator: The online course instructor who aids learning in the online, student-centered environment (Learning Circuits, 2006).
Learning Objects: A reusable, media-independent collection of information used as a modular building block for e-learning content (Learning Circuits, 2006).
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