Converting to a Distance Learning Format

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A growing consideration for many companies is to transition their traditional face-to-face training sessions into an online format. With online courses becoming such an integral part of education, in 2013, Huss, Sela & Eastep (2015) reported the total number of students in the United States taking at least one online course had risen to 7.1 million, which proportionally is 33.5% of all higher education students (Allen & Seaman, 2014). A first impulse could lead someone to see what courses could be easily converted into an online environment (Minnaar, 2013). However, before doing that, there are some strategies to consider first.

Most people that have been teaching face-to-face courses usually don’t have any formal experience in developing an online course. As a result, this can lead most to adopt a “craft approach” in their eLearning initiatives (Moller et al., 2008, p.67). Using the craft approach leads a teacher to fully design and develop an online course, along with related materials, based upon what worked for them in the traditional classroom (Moore & Kearsley, 1996). This would be a mistake as the learning management system your organization is likely to choose has features and tools that promote student interaction and communication that are different from the traditional classroom experience.

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