Today, almost every large university has some on-line offerings for Distance Education. Further, it is estimated that, in any given semester, approximately four million American students are taking at least one on-line course. Both synchronous and asynchronous learning models are being used extensively.

My interest, however, lies in the Distance Education being offered by our community colleges for the specific purpose of skills acquisition.

Community colleges are a vital part of their geographical community, often providing training for the area’s businesses and industries through both traditional and technology-based models.

Local business demand has been forcing many of these colleges to re-think their traditional (lecture/textbook) offerings for technical and vocational courses in maintenance and instrumentation.

That local industry is beginning to tell them something. Industry is discovering that technology-based training is necessary — and, that the training must be video and audio based — if it is going to meet the learning needs of our nation’s workforce. In addition, the training platform selected must be readily accessible, affordable and accountable. Video-based E-Learning instruction meets those requirements — especially when offered within the community college environment.

Smaller companies often can’t afford training because of budgetary constraints. However, if training is incorporated into a community college environment, it becomes both affordable and accountable. Also, unlike businesses, community colleges have the ability to review and accredit curriculums, bringing accountability to the training program. In this way, smaller companies are not left out of the Distance Education loop.

Effective video-based training has allowed community colleges to expand their student base and to become both visionary and flexible, necessary traits in today’s competitive world. Most importantly, perhaps, E-Learning offerings have allowed the community colleges to profitably retain lower-enrollment programs while operating on a more flexible schedule.

Just one more way full motion/optional audio courseware has helped America re-train its workforce. Distance Education that includes Distance Training for skills acquisition is a fast-growing movement of almost unlimited potential.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com