Monday, August 10, 2009

Personal Learning Network 3

An assignment for my "Tech for Teaching" class at SDSU requires us to follow Ed Tech related blogs on our reader than write up a summary of what we learned from reading these posts and how these lessons apply to our professional goals. This is the third of 3 Personal Learning Network reports on some lessons I have learned lately through blogs I follow in Google Reader.

Over the past year, I have been working on the major project of transitioning my organization from only instructor led training to a "Blended" training approach consisting of eLearning, Instructor Led Training(ILT), and Job Aids. The blog posts highlighted in this Personal Learning Network (PLN) report provide valuable information that will help improve the effectiveness of my organizations training solutions by transitioning to a "Blended" approach. The first article, "When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom" tells the story of a school that is maximizing the potential of a "Blended" approach by banning power point from the classroom and the second post titled, "Best Moodle Modules and Plugins" provides information on useful ways to customize Moodle. Together, these posts provide ideas for improving the effectiveness of a Blended training approach and the tools to help make those ideas happen.

I believe that there is no one best way to deliver training, and that in most cases, a blended approach is the most effective. ILT, eLearning, and job aids have different advantages that when used in combination can result in a more effective training solution. The article "When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom" featured on "The Chronicle of Higher Education" website describes what a Dean at Southern Methodist University is doing to push instructors towards a blended approach. I found this article intriguing because I think it hits the nail on the head of the best way to take advantage of ILT in combination with eLearning. By removing power point from the classroom and taking advantage of computer based resources, instructors are given the freedom to facilitate a more interactive session resulting in an improved learning experience.

A valuable tool in implementing a blended training approach is the learning management system, Moodle. As a Moodle administrator, I am always looking for customizations to help Moodle fit the needs of my organization. The post, "Best Moodle Modules and Plugins" describes tools that can improve the effectiveness of elearning. By using modules discussed in this post such as "Book" and "Questionnaire" we are improving the effectiveness of our ILT courses by making them more interactive. In the past, a portion of the ILT course would be reserved for lecture to introduce the topic. This type of information is now delivered via Moodle prior to the ILT course so that learners are familiar with the topic and ready to practice the skill they are learning when they arrive at the instructor led course.

Migrating to a "blended" training approach from nearly 100% ILT is a difficult battle and the posts highlighted in this PLN report are helping my organization's training dept reach it's goal. By taking advantage of tools such as the modules and plugins described in the blog post, "Best Moodle Modules and Plugins," while embracing the theories discussed in the article, "When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom" we are improving the effectiveness of our "Blend" of training solutions. I can't wait to see how what I have recently learned from my PLN helps my organization get closer to our goal of a blended training approach.

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