In addition to CMS technology, there are many other distance learning technology tools that can be used to deliver learning experiences. The use of technology tools can enhance and tailor a distance learning experience to fit the needs and requirements of the learning context itself. Various technology tools exist that can enhance face-to-face instruction, blended learning, and asynchronous and collaborative learning.

For this week’s Application, you have been provided with three real-world examples, each of which describes a unique distance learning technology challenge. While reading through the examples, consider the needs and requirements of the learning context presented and which technologies could provide solutions in each situation.

Chose one example on which to focus and, in a blog post, identify one to two distance learning technologies you think provide the best solution for the given challenge. Support your decision with information and rationale from the Learning Resources. In addition, provide examples of the use of these technologies by searching the Internet for two external resources that showcase how these technologies have been successfully used in distance learning.

Example 1: Collaborative Training Environment

A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration.

In a collaborative environment, there are many technologies available to enhance and share training between users located in different geological locations. Wikipedia (2013) lists several, such as discussion boards, video- and audio-conferencing, chat rooms, and wikis, just to name a few.  The collaborative training workshop that involves offices in different regions could be managed and implemented using any number of these technologies. As the instructional designer, I feel that using a wiki and discussion board would prove successful and economical for the implementing company. The wiki and discussion board can also be password protected which would add a measure of security to the company.

Wikis have been successful in nearly every aspect of personal, educational, and corporate networks. Anyone can create a wiki and, provided the wiki administrator approves the work, most anyone can contribute to a wiki. An example of this is Wikispaces, used extensively by educators and students to collaborate during projects, share documents, and graphics.

Discussion boards are used to share thoughts and ideas. Some online educators estimate that they have as much as three times the interaction with students in discussion boards as they do with face-to-face students (University of Oregon, n.d.). From my own experience, discussion boards can be engaging, entertaining, challenging, and thought provoking. Questions can be answered by student peers and fellow employees.

References:

UOregon (n.d.). Generating and Facilitating Engaging and Effective Online Discussions. Retrieved from Web Article http://tep.uoregon.edu/technology/blackboard/docs/discussionboard.pdf

Wikipedia (2013). Virtual Collaboration. Retrieved from Web article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_collaboration

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