Investing in Multimedia Agents for E-Learning Solutions

Investing in Multimedia Agents for E-Learning Solutions

Terry T. Kidd (University of Texas School of Public Health, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch107
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Abstract

The waves of technology are changing the workplace and the worker of today as we approach the 21st century. To be prepared, people need to be proactive, to ride the next wave, to adapt to change, learning new things constantly.” Lowell Gray, CEO of Shorenet, an Internet service provider in Lynn, MA. Are multimedia agents effective tool for e-learning solutions to assistant performance improvement specialist in the organization development challenges? This question was investigated through the evaluation of existing research materials on e-learning and multimedia agents. Research has shown that multimedia and e-learning solutions have a positive effect on job training and job performance. Is it an effective instructional tool both in cost and for performance interventions? This report begins with a background discussion into the definition and appropriate training issues dealing with e-learning and multimedia agents tools including adult learning, active training methods that are associated with the interactive multimedia agents, as well as the value e-learning and multimedia has on the organization. In addition, the study continues to discuss how multimedia and e-learning based instruction for on the job training meets the benefits for business result and improvement of job performance that trainers seek in their instructional outcome.
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Introduction

“The waves of technology are changing the workplace and the worker of today as we approach the 21st century. To be prepared, people need to be proactive, to ride the next wave, to adapt to change, learning new things constantly.” Lowell Gray, CEO of Shorenet, an Internet service provider in Lynn, MA.

Are multimedia agents effective tool for e-learning solutions to assistant performance improvement specialist in the organization development challenges? This question was investigated through the evaluation of existing research materials on e-learning and multimedia agents. Research has shown that multimedia and e-learning solutions have a positive effect on job training and job performance. Is it an effective instructional tool both in cost and for performance interventions? This report begins with a background discussion into the definition and appropriate training issues dealing with e-learning and multimedia agents tools including adult learning, active training methods that are associated with the interactive multimedia agents, as well as the value e-learning and multimedia has on the organization. In addition, the study continues to discuss how multimedia and e-learning based instruction for on the job training meets the benefits for business result and improvement of job performance that trainers seek in their instructional outcome.

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Background

As we enter the twenty-first century, the use of computer-delivered instruction is revolutionizing the way people obtain training in order to support learning wherever it occurs in the organization in meetings, on computer screens, through mentors, or during actual work team projects (Silberman, 1998). As in the instructional design process, e-learning solution and other forms of performance improvement interventions should have three phases: a front end that includes the assessment of the training need and the establishment of training objectives, a mid section that involves the detailed planning and delivery of the training program, and a back end which focuses on the events that “encourages back-on-the-job application, ongoing performance support, and the evaluation of training outcomes” (Silberman, 1998, p. xii). During the e-learning training program, adult learners must be actively engaged for optimal results to be transferred to actual workplace practices. This can occur by promoting an active training approach that involves a commitment to learning by doing and reinforcing the concepts in the e-learning application. The concepts of active learning in an online environment can be made through interactive multimedia agents. Interactive multimedia agents and active training in the traditional sense do not seem to match at first reasoning. However, when one looks at the nature of adult learning and online training (e-learning solutions), it is not hard to understand. According to the modified and expanded wisdom of Confucius into the active learning credo:

When I hear, I forget.

When I hear and see, I remember a little.

When I hear, see, and ask questions or discuss with someone else, I begin to understand.

When I hear, see, discuss, and do, I acquire knowledge and skill.

When I teach to another, I master. (Silberman, 1998, p. 2)

It seems these statements have raised the interest of researchers, trainers, and instructional designers alike. And as a result, several questions have been raised.

  • What makes multimedia agents and e-learning popular among active adult learning training?

  • What characteristics do interactive multimedia agents and e-learning instruction have?

  • Can multimedia agents and e-learning be an effective medium in performance improvement and adult training?

There is a vast amount of research that supports the validity of interactive multimedia agents and e-learning for job training needs. With such a wide variety of information and research, we must begin by identifying the definitions and value of both “active training” and the term “interactive multimedia agents.”

Key Terms in this Chapter

Performance Improvement: The process whereby the organization looks to modify the current level of performance to achieve a better level of output.

Adult Learning: An educational approach characterized by learner-centredness (i.e., the student’s needs and wants are central to the process of teaching), self-directed learning (i.e., students are responsible for and involved in their learning to a much greater degree than traditional education), and a humanist philosophy (i.e., personal development is the key focus of education). Related concepts include: facilitated learning, self-directed learning, humanism, critical thinking, experiential learning, and transformational learning.

E-Learning: The delivery of a learning, training, or education program by electronic means. E-learning involves the use of a computer or electronic device to provide training, educational, or learning material.

Training Development: Activities or deliverables designed to enable end users to learn and use new processes, procedures, systems, and other tools efficiently and effectively in the performance of their work.

Multimedia Agents: The presentation of information by a combination of data, images, animation sounds, and video. This data can be delivered in a variety of ways, either on a computer through a storage medium or using a computer connected to a telecommunications channel.

Organization Development: An effort based on action research methodologies to increase organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization’s process, using behavioral science knowledge.

Return on Investment: Refers to the percentage of profit or revenue generated from a specific activity.

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