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.
Possible Distance Solutions:
Due to time and geographic constraints, the above scenario calls for the development of an educational program that includes asynchronous communication tools and the collaboration and development. I believe a sound instructional development proposal should include a course management system featuring a wiki, containing the collaborative documents developed by staff members, and e-learning modules.
Simonson et al. (2012) describes wikis as “an excellent tool for collaborative online writing assignments and group activities compiling information in a single online resource”(Pg. 129). These collaborative environments are surprisingly effective as a training tool as it can leverage the knowledge of an organization’s workforce, a fact that course management corporation, Blackboard, stumbled onto in their own organization. The company had to quickly expand the internal tool to keep pace with employee demand. Blackboard’s internal wiki is incorporated into new employee education and they are encouraged to add to it (Laff, 2007). Wikis have proved to be quick and efficient ways to get updated information in front of employees. According to Laff “Instead of writing white papers, which must pass through onerous reviews, staff members can simply add content to a number of different channels such as client support. Access to some documents is controlled so some documents are “read-only”. Mistakes can be edited by experts when necessary” (2007, Pg.31).
In educating a vast workforce spread throughout a large geographic and time zone variances, e-learning modules can be very effective and efficient, saving countless hours when compared to instructor led training and retraining. Using authoring programs, such as Adobe Captivate, modules can be developed that cover specific tasks within the automated staff information system combined with system. Following a class tell-show-do-practice model, the e-learning modules could be comprised of actual system screenshots, on screen prompts, and audio narration. This combination allows users to receive instruction and the ability to practice and hone their skills in the application safely. According to Vayuvegula (2012) “Simulated screen capturing software enables users to watch the working of the software with users getting a step by step demo on using the software. Not only that, they can try using the software in a simulated environment, and do tests to reinforce one’s understanding of its functioning. That way, they are better prepared to handle the software on the job”(Para. 3). This method of applications training has been popular in the business world for several years. The computer and software company, IBM, is as famous for its industry-leading efficiency methods and commitment to workforce development as it is for making computers. IBM developed its award winning Basic Blue e-learning program to meet a challenge similar to the one described in this scenario, a need to train a large number of people spread throughout the world in an efficient manner (Ng, 2001, Mar 19).
Laff, M. (2007). The world according to WIKI. T + D, 61(5) , 28-31.
Ng, P. (2001, Mar 19). E-learning as a business strategy: Walking the talk at IBM. Business Times , 12-22.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and Learning at a Distance. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Vayuvegula, A. (2012, Sept. 10). E-learning Solutions for Software Applications. Retrieved Sept 22, 2012, from CommLab India: http://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning/elearning-software-applications