Most adults are in tune with learning behind closed doors because that is what they are used to doing. Why not? It is the same old fashioned way. Nothing wrong with taking classes live but there are additional costs that include both time and money. Time costs include preparation, driving, and managing the facility of operations. Money costs include paper, ink, additional staff, facility rental. If we could eliminate these costs and took education outside the classroom would learning take place at the same level. According to a study by the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials I learned what is known as the “No Significance Difference Phenomenon”, which claims that there is no difference between learning that takes place in a classroom vs. distance learning. As long as the institution is able to incorporate multiple learning strategies and engage the learner, then retention would be at the same or higher level than traditional live synchronous learning.
Here are some examples of types of delivery devices that are available which cost considerably less money, time, and resources than traditional education.
Webinars – This synchronous learning environment allows me to pretest the students, verify knowledge using formative questions during the class, and record both video and audio of the entire presentation into a streaming or download file. The webinars using WebEx have breakout sessions that you can assign people to work on collaborative projects too.
Advantages: real time instruction, audio, visual, and printable documents can be transmitted live
Disadvantages: most people have not had experience taking webinars. Additional steps are required to ensure learner understands how to use system.
Teleseminars – I am using www.FreeConferenceCall.com to record my audio presentations which I can receive a mp3 download. I use http://Audacity.SourceForge.Net to edit the mp3 file and now using www.HipCast.com to upload the audio files to an RSS feed so that iTunes will pick it up and people can download to their iPods.
Advantages: Modality. People can download the file from iTunes to their iPod or MP3 player and listen anywhere anytime. People also get questions answered from a live human being on during the call. Each call is archived.
Disadvantages: Visual and kinesthetic learners have a tougher time with this format. They want to see or experience the program. If they cannot see or do during the call or archive it becomes a challenge for them.
Video Tutorials for CD or streaming live – I am using Camtasia to record audio plus video of live demonstrations, PowerPoint, and how to review my document. A service called www.ScreenCast.com will allow you to upload the videos to embed into presentation without going the YouTube route.
Advantages: Audio, Visual obviously benefit but the kinsthethic learner can now stop the video, practice what they have learned, and then move forward with the rest of the program.
Disadvantages: Some still need a live person to at least motivate them to do it. Overcoming the fear of pressing the wrong button will hinder learning and performance. This form takes a proactive learner to meet the learning objectives.