A Collaborative Training Environment

In a real-world situation, a new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. The staff is located in different offices and are unable to meet at the same time or in the same location. Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek  stated that the keys to a successful distance education is in the design, development and delivery of instruction and is not related to geography or time (2015, p.9). As the company’s instructional designer, I will design a course using a learning management system and incorporate a means for staff to communicate with one another, share information in the form of screen captures as well as documents. To accomplish this I will consider the following web-based technology tools:

  1. Screencast-o-matic
  2. Screencastify
  3. Google Docs
  4. Google Drive
  5. Discussion board

The choice of these technology tools are taken under consideration based upon Holmberg’s theory of Interaction and Communication. Elements of his theory deals mainly with communication and the motivation the student has toward learning that is impacted by feelings of belonging (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015).  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory is a five stage model in which the third level contributes to the need of love and belongingness from relationships with friends and family that also involves social, community or religious groups (Atherton, 2013). The motivation of a student is a strong factor toward an effective outcome to the learning. The tools that I have chosen for the pending task I believe will enable the motivation a student in my course will have and promote a positive outcome to the training they will be undertaking.

Screencast-o-matic is an online tool from a website that offers a free means of recording what is on your computer’s screen, a webcam or both. The application is easy to use, allows the user to record up to 15 minutes of video in different formats for recipient compatibility and can be uploaded to YouTube for public viewing. To collaborate recordings with team members, all the viewer would need is an Internet connection and access to the YouTube site. The creator of the video would merely need to provide a link to the video they created. In the case there is a team member that does not have access to YouTube, an alternative for screen recording would be a Google extension called Screencastify. This extension is accessed through the Web Store that is found by clicking the Apps button on the Bookmarks bar located in the Chrome browser. After conducting a search for the extension, the user will add it to Chrome and it will appear to the right of the address bar and be associated with their Google account. Video files they create, up to 10 minutes in duration, can record what is on a webpage, the desktop or a webcam and will be saved inside of their Google Drive account or uploaded to YouTube where they would be able to share with other members of their team actual situations that are occurring from their own experiences with the new system. A long-standing method of categorizing the ability of media to convey information is the cone of experience introduced by Edgar Dale (1946) in which he states that real experiences are the foundation for learning (Simonson et al., 2015, p79-80) . Google Docs will be an ideal solution for the team members to use for collaboration on best practices, trouble-shooting issues or updating materials as prescribed by the framework for the approaches to education Dan Coldeway, of South Dakota’s State University indicates at the same time while in different places (ST-DP) or at different times while in different places (DT-DP) (Simonson et al., 2015, p9). The files they collaborate on can be stored inside Google Drive and made available to anyone that needs to access them with the ability to grant access level rights for editing purposes, making comments or view only access. Inside of the LMS system, there is a discussion board feature built in that can assign staff members to a group and allow them to communicate with one another on an ongoing basis. The learning management system under consideration is called Schoology and within the discussion board is the option to share files in a discussion from a third-party application such as Google Drive making it even easier to collaborate with members of the team with documents, videos and images. As an added bonus for ongoing collaboration amongst team members, Google+ also offers a means of communicating with each other while sharing information in a video call using Hangouts, the Google version of Skype. The following links provide some great examples and success stories of people that have used technology tools such as the ones described here for distance learning purposes.

Google products: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1k7yKKGZkmdDm3ouCecueIjlY7iKITYnCLo41AQgrU74/edit#slide=id.g1ed39be7_2_805

How Google Saved a School: https://youtu.be/xn9nSMypWxk

Screencast-o-matic: https://youtu.be/OvyuPYVi_08

Screencastify: http://etconnectoprf.blogspot.com/2015/04/this-is-awesome-with-amy-hill.html

References

Atherton, J. S. (2013). Learning and Teaching; Motivation [On-line: UK] Retrieved from http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/motivation.htm

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. 6th ed.

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