December 1, 2014

A Dennis Carter piece in eCampus News included the following headline, “Report predicts online learning explosion by 2015” and began:

“The number of college students taking online college courses will equal the number of students who attend classes in a traditional classroom by 2015, according to a market research firm whose research contradicts another recent study suggesting a possible leveling off in online learning.

The research firm, Ambient Insight, released a report this month . . . “

While the growth has not been as dramatic, online learning is growing in the training world, as well.

However, when it comes to industrial skills training, several misconceptions have marked the development of online learning thus far.

Too many courseware developers have regarded the online medium as a “reading” or page-turning activity. Of course, that resultant instruction leaves behind the nearly 40% of America’s workforce which tests below a fifth grade reading level.

In striving to build a winning online curriculum for industrial skills training, many developers have based their strategies on limiting costs or creating flash while sacrificing the basic learning principles that industrial skills training should incorporate to meet the goals of adult learning. Although the Web has been used as a tool for delivering training, the development has been more focused on the mechanics of using the Web rather than in effectively applying Web-based technology to achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Quoting from an ITC Learning “White Paper,” written by Trishia Jandu, we find that, “Statistics show that 50% of learners who have begun an asynchronous online course do not complete the training. The high dropout rate has been attributed to poor instructional design and a disparity between the learner’s computer system and the technology required to run the courseware. The On-Line medium presents an opportunity for developers to harness the flexibility of the technology, tailoring to learners’ needs, styles, and preferences. On-Line courses must be created to facilitate comprehension, retention, and effective application in the workplace.”

Online learning is moving rapidly forward in education. We should hope to see the same forward movement in industrial skills training as soon as developers recognize the specific learning needs of our nation’s workforce.

More on Wednesday – – –

– Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
(Mondays & Wednesdays)