Is it time to beef up your organizations\'s distance learning paradigm? Implementing distance learning technologies like web/video conferencing, e-learning and live interactive broadcasting might be the answer. Before implementing any of these distance learning technologies it’s important to consider what they can do for your organization and what content can realistically be taught and how with each technology.
I S I T T I M E T O B E E F U P Y O U R O R G A N I Z AT I O N ’ S
D I S TA N C E L E A R N I N G PA R A D I G M ?
Implementing distance learning technologies like web/video conferencing, e-learning
and live interactive broadcasting might be the answer. Before implementing any of
these distance learning technologies it’s important to consider what they can do for your
organization and what content can realistically be taught and how with each technology.
Successful implementation of these distance learning technologies requires careful
planning and design.
To fully consider how your organization might use and implement web/video
conferencing, e-learning and live interactive broadcasting it’s important to identify the
various distance learning technologies that are available. That way you can decide
which types of distance learning technologies best fit your organization’s needs. The
various technologies used in distance learning can be roughly divided into four
categories: print, audio (voice), computer (data), and video. Each of these categories
has several subdivisions. Be aware, however, that many of the technologies overlap
into more than one category.
Print technologies include packaged course materials such as, textbooks, study guides and workbooks sent to learners through the mail. Learners
submit completed materials by mail, fax, or e-mail. Employing the use of a solid print component is a low tech solution that can provide much of the
basic instructional content. Voice/audio technologies connect instructors and learners using audio conferences, radio and pod casts. They are
valuable because they allow the instructor to use their voice for emphasis of the materials. Computer technologies include web-based courses, video
and web conferences, CD-Rom courses and collaboration software. Computer technologies provide instantaneous collaboration and learning. Video
technologies include videotape, satellite delivery, broadcast video and desktop video. Video technologies bring people who are separated by distance
together in real time.
Now that you have an idea of some the various distance learning technologies, let’s focus on web/video conferencing, rapid e-learning, live interactive
broadcasting and podcasting to see how they might provide a solution for your organization.
A web/videoconference allows two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio
transmissions. In videoconferencing that might mean cameras and specialty equipment. In web
conferencing, we use the internet and simpler tools. These are sometimes called visual
collaboration and use a type of groupware or collaborative software. A web/videoconference is
designed to bring people together who are separated by distance and time.
To take advantage of this type of conferencing, you need the right components. The
components required for a videoconferencing system include:
Video input: video camera or webcam
Video output: computer monitor, television or projector
Audio input: microphones
Audio output: usually loudspeakers associated with the display device or telephone
Data transfer: analog or digital telephone network, LAN or Internet
There are many web/videoconferencing tools
Some argue that two outstanding issues inhibit those participating in video and web conferencing.
available from which to select. Any of the
These issues are:
currently most popular tools listed below are
1. Eye Contact: Eye contact plays a large role in conversational turn-taking, perceived attention
and intent, and other aspects of group communication. While traditional telephone
Adobe Connect Professional
conversations give no eye contact cues, web conferencing systems are arguably worse in that
they provide an incorrect impression that the remote participant is avoiding eye contact.
Participants must learn to look at the camera when they speak to simulate true eye contact.
Elluminate - http://www.elluminate.com
2. Appearance Consciousness: A second problem with web conferencing is that one is literally
on camera, with the video stream possibly even being recorded. The concern of presenting an
Skype - http://www.skype.com
acceptable on-screen appearance is not a factor in audio-only communication. The addition of
video may sometimes impair communication, possibly because of participants’ consciousness
VIA3 - http://www.viack.com
of being on camera.
Yugma - http://www.yugma.com
The issue of eye-contact may be solved with advancing technology, and presumably the issue of
appearance consciousness fades as people become accustomed to videoconferencing.
Some popular rapid development tools include e-Learning
New development tools, often called “rapid development tools”, make e-learning easier and faster to
Adobe Connect produce. These tools also allow us to easily capture computer applications and simulate environments
http://www.adobe.com/products/connect to allow for independent learner study and practice as well as create interactive instruction on most any
Learn.com Coursemaker Studio
Here is some information from the MyCasting web site:
http://corp.orb.com/en/mycasting - MyCasting is the opposite of broadcasting. When
you install Orb software onto your home PC, you transform the machine into a personal
Live Interactive Broadcasting
broadcasting system. MyCasting means you are free to create, enjoy and share media at
A few tools exist that remind us of the old days of distance
anytime and anyplace and on virtually any Internet-connected media player with
learning via satellite. These use streaming video over the web,
streaming capabilities (mobile phone, PDA, laptop or other PC). You’re in control of the
but many are open to the public. It might be possible to contact
programming decisions, which device you wish to use and where and when to enjoy the
the company's business development office to find out if their
show. MyCasting unlocks the digital media on your home PC and makes it accessible
services could be used for a specific group, as opposed to
through the Internet.
anyone on the web.
The following are additional platforms that enable live interactive broadcasting. As of this
MyCasting is the only tool whose broadcasts do not writing, they appear to be open to the public when broadcast. Contact the appropriate
automatically go live to the public. Instead MyCasting allows business office to determine if the audience can be specified or limited.
you to confine your broadcast to a single group. It’s also free.
http://ustream.tv - Ustream.TV is the live interactive video broadcast platform that
enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast
to a global audience of unlimited size. Anyone can become a broadcaster by creating their
own channel on Ustream or by broadcasting through their own site. With Ustream's
interactive broadcast functionality, viewers can personally interact directly with whoever
http://www.ubroadcast.com - Ubroadcast’s Station Manager Software lets you
broadcast live and uncensored content quickly and easily with no broadcasting or technical
experience. It is a live Internet radio broadcast tool. Ubroadcast gives you the forum to:
~ Talk live about topics
~ Conduct interviews and other presentations
~ Promote your product, service or yourself
~ Showcase your talents or promote other content
~ Play pre-recorded content
A podcast is a series of digital-media files that are distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and
computers. The term podcast, like broadcast, can refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also
called podcasting. A podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded
automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS (Really Simple
Syndication) or Atom.
The MP3 files generated by podcasters are relatively easy to create and don’t require high-priced equipment, allowing amateurs to record a program
without a large investment of time or money. Combined with the ability for automated downloading of these files, podcasting has become a hot trend in
training. The portability and on-demand nature of podcasting are key components that allow listeners to catch up on audio content—whether
entertainment, news or learning.
Use Technologies to Steer in the Right Direction
With careful planning and the correct design, you can move different components of training into appropriate media for delivery. For example, e-
learning is an appropriate media for background and overview information provided in many courses. e-Learning might also be considered for some of
the basics of computer systems, such as navigation.
Web conferencing can supplement e-learning with an opportunity to talk directly to an instructor, subject matter expert, or other class members
remotely. It might also serve as a tool for collaborative work on student assignments and application sharing to learn specific skills. Consider
maintaining live instruction for your more complex and advanced training pieces, and use well-designed job aids to serve as references. Updates and
short learning events can be broadcast via podcast or voicemail, or sent via email as needed.
50% INDIVIDUALIZED LEARNING
Model of a Technology-assisted Training Environment
With the wide array of available technology, it’s possible to
CBT On-line Material
build a distance learning paradigm. Arana J. Greenberg,
president and CEO of Alpine Media Corporation, feels the new Reading
technology-assisted training environments will look like the
model presented below. Unlike traditional CBT environments, Data Access Assessing
the new training systems will evolve from being quot;individualizedquot;
to quot;personalized,quot; and will focus on training individuals how to
learn more effectively. These training solutions will be hybrid
solutions, employing multiple technologies to produce and
rapidly deploy high-quality training. Most importantly, they will
shift toward a model that increasingly provides opportunities to
learn from others.
While the cited author envisions an environment that is
completely managed with technology, it’s important to consider
what is appropriate for each technology type, what content can
realistically be taught with that technology and how to best
address it within each.
The implementation of distance learning technologies requires
careful planning and design. It is not a quick or easy process,
but the potential savings over time are tremendous.
50% COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
Keys to Success
Select the appropriate technology
Allow plenty of time for planning and development
Design training within the technologies to ensure consistent and timely feedback to students
Encourage and enable student-to-student interactions and collaboration
Provide appropriate and timely training for the instructors and facilitators
Ensure a support structure for students either outside of or within the technology
Have a back-up plan for when technology fails
Not sure where to start? Drop us a line and we'll be glad to get you started with the right mix of distance learning technology solutions.