July 10, 2013 by idinnovation
My most recent experience with online learning has been interactive online learning modules and has included numerous screen captions that provided real life situations. I think one of the issues with organizational “check box” training is that in theory, the message is communicated. The question is whether employees achieve the desired transfer of knowledge. It is important that instructional designers understand that learners come with varying characteristics (Stolovitch & Keeps, 2011). An important factor to consider is that the amount of content for a novice is smaller than that of an expert (Stolovitch & Keeps, 2011). Check box trainings do not consider this and instead train for the masses. That said in my situation there was a vast amount of information that was include because they provided details of a specific regulation. Constructivist theory emphasizes that learning should be authentic (Huang, 2002), practical tools such as games, case studies or internships are important contributors to adult education (Brookfield, 1995, as cited by Huang, 2002) and instruction should be based on real-world problem events or issues that are both appealing and meaningful to adult learners (Bostock, 1998 as cited by Huang, 2002). Stolovitch and Keeps (2011) contend that there are four key adult learning principals: readiness, experience, autonomy and action. The readiness principle should be approached from the learner’s perspective. When looking at experience adult learners seek information that is relevant although prior experience can sometimes lead to resistance of new knowledge. Autonomy is important for learners, as they want options, although adults must work within organizational guidelines, more and more adults are being given more autonomy in the workplace. Finally, management is very results oriented and seeks to see if training is proven in the application of job functions. It is important that adults learners can apply the content learned in courses as that is an indication that the training was leaner centric (Stolovitch and Keeps, 2011).
Evaluation of implemented course is significantly important to the perceived success of the course. Kirkpatrick’s approach to evaluative approach has four levels and is often complemented by Phillips’s (2003) fifth level return on investment (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). The first level as defined by Kirkpatrick used in many training and development sessions and can occur many times during a course or program and at the end of a course. These evaluations cover the subjective opinion of the session participants and focuses on questions pertaining to if the content was applicable and useful in real life scenarios and learner perceptions of the training (Kaufman & Keller, 1994). The second level is an assessment and includes testing. These questions seek to assess whether or not the participant learned something new or can now do something they could not do prior to the session and can include objective testing, team assessment and self-assessments (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). The third level of assessment looks at if the participants are actually utilizing the information in which they learned in real life situations. The fourth and final level of Kirkpatrick’s level of evaluation looks beyond the individual and looks at the organization and how employee development has improved business goals and objectives and that the business goals are being met as a result of the training program(Kaufman & Keller, 1994).
Moller, Foshay and Huett, (2008) contend that whether designing for educational or organizational learning and development it is important to focus on the type of learner that will be learning from materials. Collaborative learning environments are not always a good fit for some training needs such as immediate individual training (Moller, Foshay and Huett, 2008). Distance learning offers an increase in flexibility and accessibility of education available to nurses, combined with the expansion of roles of nurses distance learning has the potential to increase the viability of courses by allowing for larger geographical reach thereby negating issues relating to small classes sizes (Hewitt-Taylor, 2003). The profile of the distance learner is changing from adults that are place bound, goal orientated and naturally motivated to one that is diverse, dynamic, younger and responsive to rapid technological changes (Dabbagh, 2007).
Huang, H.-M. (2002), Toward constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33: 27–37. doi: 10.1111/1467-8535.00236
Hewitt-Taylor, J. (2003). Facilitating distance learning in nurse education. Nurse Education in Practice, 3, 23-29.
Kaufman, R., & Keller, J. M. (1994). Levels of Evaluation: Beyond Kirkpatrick. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 5(4), 371-380.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.
Stolovitch, H. D., & Keeps, E. J. (2011). Telling ain’t training. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.