Dual-Design Strategies for Modularizing E-Learning for Academic and Commercial Uses

Dual-Design Strategies for Modularizing E-Learning for Academic and Commercial Uses

Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-870-3.ch002
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This chapter addresses applied strategies for modularizing e-learning along both an academic university track and a commercial one. Academic qualifications and professional certifications have been seen as complementary in some ways, antithetical in others. Another way to visualize both is as one-in-the-same in terms of learning contents, albeit with versioning for the various differences. The chunking of a curriculum for both a formalist college setting and for a business one involves creative applications of the module format, particularly given the disparate needs and learning outcomes of the two (often) different learner audiences. This case examines the differences between the learning needs of both demographics. This case then sets the dual-design scene from an instructional designer point-of-view.
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Settng The Stage

Traditionally, universities have packaged learning into academic years, semesters, or quarter terms, for over a hundred years. More recent learning terms have involved short courses and even extreme accelerated learning between formal terms through “intersession” courses. The new scheduling of shorter learning chunks and the high investments in multimedia development of electronic learning has led to the popularization of modules. Modular delivery of learning offers more flexibility in accommodating learners (Crynes, 1996). Modules offer ways to disaggregate a curriculum into restructured pieces built around different learning outcomes. These smaller components may enhance the targeted use of assessments with unique learners, and provide “benefits in ease and quality of instruction” (Burgess, 2003, p. 128). This author suggests that modules also make it easier to incorporate new texts to a course. The updating and revision of course materials may also be easier (pp. 132 – 133). “Module delivery is flexible in that it is variably credit rated and can be studied in full-time, part-time and distance modes,” observes McClelland (2002, n.p.).

Prior to the initial exploration into modularizing an academic curriculum for commercial trainings, the university had not developed the in-house capacity to use its learning / course management system (L/CMS) to deliver automated trainings. It was working on various technological methods to support self-enrollments into the learning system and to allow external corporate access to their employees’ learning records—both non-trivial technological aims. It also had not developed the capacity to strategically extract contents for modularized trainings in a for-profit setting.

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