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TECHNOLOGY-BASED TRAINING METHODS

TECHNOLOGY-BASED TRAINING METHODS

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中国经济管理大学MBA公益课堂:



This chapter covers topics such as Twitter and Facebook and focuses on some of the newest technology-based methods that are being used for training and development. First, the chapter describes how new technologies are influencing training delivery, support, and administration. E-learning, online learning, distance learning, virtual reality, virtual worlds such as Second Life, collaboration tools such as blogs and wikis, and mobile learning using social media smart phones and tablet computers such as i-Pads are examples of some of the methods discussed. Blended learning is also covered. The chapter shows how each method is used and help you understand the potential strengths and weaknesses of each method, as well as important research results. Many companies are moving toward a blended learning approach to take advantage of the strengths of both face-to-face and technology-aided instruction. The final section of the chapter gives a useful table that lists each of the technologies and assesses them on various criteria, including learning outcomes, learning environment, transfer of training, costs, and effectiveness. This gives the reader knowledge that can be applied in terms of choosing the appropriate training method for the given situation.



Objectives


1. Explain how new technologies are influencing training.

2. Evaluate a Web-based training site.

3. Explain how learning and transfer of training are enhanced by using new training technologies.

4. Explain the strengths and limitations of e-learning, mobile technology training methods (such as iPads), and simulations.

5. Explain the different types of social media and the conditions conducive to their use for training.

6. Describe to a manager the various types of distance learning.

7. Recommend what should be included in an electronic performance support system.

8. Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of traditional training methods versus those of technology based training methods.

9. Identify and explain the benefits of learning management systems.



I. Introduction


A. Technology is having a major impact on the delivery of training programs.

B. Needs assessment, design, transfer, and evaluation (training design) are critical components of the effective use of training technology.

C. Although technologies such as social media, tablet computers, and virtual reality provide exciting capabilities and possibilities, it is critical that companies use training technologies that support both business and learner needs.


II. Technology’s Influence on Training and Learning


New technologies impact the delivery of training, the administration of training, and training support. Technology is making it possible for:

A. employees to gain complete control over when and where they receive training.

B. employees to access knowledge and expert systems as needed.

C. use of avatars, virtual reality, and simulations enable the learning environment resemble the work environment.

D. employees to select the type of media from which they want to learn.

E. the administration of training to be conducted electronically.

F. close monitoring of employee accomplishment during training.

G. traditional training methods to be delivered to trainees instead of using a central training location.


Technology and Collaboration

Digital collaboration refers to the use of technology to enhance and extend employees’ abilities to work together regardless of their geographic proximity. Digital collaboration can be either synchronous or asynchronous.

A. Synchronous communication refers to trainers, experts, and learners interacting with each other live and in real time in the same way they would in face-to-face classroom instruction.

B. Asynchronous communication refers to non-real time interactions. That is, persons are not online and cannot communicate with each other without a time delay, but learners can still access information resources when they desire them.


Technology and Learning Environment

A. Traditionally, the learning environment included only the instructor or trainer and the learners. The trainer was responsible for delivering content, answering questions, and testing learning. Trainees played a passive role in learning. Communication on course content was one-way: from the instructor to the learner. Experts and resource materials were separate from the learning environment.

B. Technology has allowed learning to become a more dynamic process. Learning occurs primarily through:

1. communicating with other learners.

2. using blogs, wikis, or other types of social media training.

3. working on virtual team projects.

4. participating in games.

5. listening.

6. exchanging ideas.

7. interacting with experts.

8. discovering ideas and applications using hyperlinks that take the learner to other Web sites.

9. experts and resource materials.

C. Technology has enabled training to be delivered to different geographical locations, to accompany trainees wherever they are at work or at home (mobile technology), and to be completed online using a personal computer.

D. Web-based training and e-learning support virtual reality, animation, interactions, communications among trainees, and real-time audio and video.

E. In the blended learning environment, shown at the bottom of Figure 8.2, trainees have access to a blended training curriculum that consists of both online and classroom instruction. Collaboration can occur between learners, between learners and training content (e.g., simulation or game), between learners and instructors, and between learners and experts. It is important that new technologies create a dynamic learning environment, including collaboration, active learner involvement, and access to other resources. A dynamic learning environment likely includes the use of Web 2.0 technologies, including social networking, so-called blogs, wikis, and Twitter.


III. Computer-Based Training, Online Learning, Web-Based Training, E-Learning


Computer-based training (CBT) refers to instruction and delivery of training by computer through the Internet or the web.

A. All of these training methods can include and integrate into instruction text, interaction using simulations and games, and video, and collaboration using blogs, wikis, and social networks, and hyperlinks to additional resources. In some types of CBT training, content is provided stand-alone using software or DVDs with no connection to the Internet.

B. Employees can control what sections of the training program they view; they can skip around and can review material as needed. Immediate feedback is built into the system and the material is accessible at all times.

C. The development of the program and the equipment needed are expensive, but the cost should be offset by savings in the long run.


Online Learning: The Internet, Web-Based Training, E-Learning, and Learning Portals

E-learning, online learning, and web-based training refer to the instruction and delivery of training by computer online through the Internet or the Web. 

A. The features that can be built into online learning include content, collaboration and sharing, links to resources, learner control, delivery, and administration.

B. The possible features that can be built into online learning give it potential advantage over other training methods. E-learning initiatives are designed to contribute to a company’s strategic business objectives. E-learning supports company initiatives such as expanding the number of customers, initiating new ways to carry out business such as e-business (providing products and services through the internet), and speeding the development of new products or services. E-learning may involve a larger audience than traditional training programs that focus on employees. E-learning may involve partners, suppliers, vendors, and potential customers.

C. Factors limiting the use of E-Learning include:

1. Insufficient for teaching complex analytical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills

2. Lack of communication richness

3. Some online learners may be reluctant to interact with other learners


 

IV. Developing Effective Online Learning


Needs assessment, creating a positive online learning experience, learner control, and providing time and space for online learning are three central issues that need to be addressed for effective online learning, including web-based training.


Needs Assessment

A. The needs assessment process for web-based training or any other type of online learning should include a technology assessment and an assessment of the skills that users need for online training.

B. Needs assessment also includes getting management to support online learning.

C. This should include a technical analysis focused on identifying minimum computing requirements (bandwidth, memory, hard drive space, software, processing speed).

D. Bandwidth refers to the number of bytes and bits (information) that can travel between computers per second.

E. Plug-ins refer to additional software that needs to be loaded on the computer to listen to sound, watch video, or perform other functions.


Creative a Positive Online Learning Experience

A. Rapid prototyping refers to an iterative process in which initial design ideas are proposed and provided in rough form in an online working prototype that is reviewed and refined by design team members.

B. Repurposing refers to directly translating an instructor-led face-to-face training program to an online format. Online learning that involves merely repurposing an ineffective training program will still result in ineffective training.

C. The best e-learning uses the advantages of the Internet in combination with the principles of a good learning environment. Effective online learning takes advantage of the web’s dynamic nature and ability to use many positive learning features including linking to other training sites and content through the use of hyperlinks, providing learner control, and allowing the trainee to collaborate with other learners.

D. Materials in online learning need to be organized in small, meaningful modules of information to avoid any confusion to the learner. The modules should be connected in a way that encourages the learner to be actively involved in learning.


Learner Control

One of the web’s major potential advantages is that it gives learners control, which is the ability for trainees to actively learn though self-pacing, exercises, exploring links to other material, and conversations with other trainees and experts. Research provides several recommendations for maximizing the benefits of learner control:

A. Training programs should not allow trainees to control the amount of feedback they receive.

B. The program should offer practice on each topic repeatedly.

C. The program should provide practice to trainees using different examples to help transfer of training content to commonly encountered and unexpected situations.

D. Trainees should be allowed to control the sequence in which they receive instruction but not be able to skip practice.

E. Prompting self-regulation improves performance in online training.


Providing Time and Space for Online Learning

A. Companies need to ensure that:

1. employees are given time and space for e-learning to occur.

2. employees understand why they should attend e-learning and the benefits they will receive.

3. accurate communications about the content and types of learning activities in e-learning courses are provided to employees.

B. Managers need to give employees time in their schedules, and employees need to schedule “training time” to complete training and avoid interruptions that can interfere with learning.

C. Using formative evaluation of prototypes of web training can be helpful in identifying the appropriate length and time of modules. End users should be involved in a formative evaluation.


Technology for Collaboration and Linking

A. Hyperlinks are links that allow a trainee to access other web sites that include printed materials as well as communications links to experts, trainers, and other learners.

B. Collaboration can involve an exchange among two or more trainees or among the trainer or other experts. 

C. Effective online learning connects trainees and facilitates interaction and sharing. Online learning also should provide a link between the trainees and the “instructor”. Trainees need to be provided incentives to complete online learning.


V. Social Media: Wikis, Blogs, Microblogs, and Social Networks


A. Social media are online and mobile technology used to create interactive communications allowing the creation and exchange of user-generated content. Social media can be useful for:

1. providing links to resources such as webinars, videos, and articles related to new learning content.

2. helping determine future training needs and issues by using tagging capabilities.

3. reinforcing and sustaining learning.

4. being used as a coaching and mentoring tool.

5. linking learners before, during, and after a formal training event.

6. engaging Generation X and millennial employees.

7. providing content before a face-to-face learning event.

B. A blog refers to a webpage where an author posts entries and readers often can comment. There are many different types of blogs, including personal blogs written by one person, company blogs used for marketing and branding purposes, topic blogs focusing on a specific topic area, and blogs based on media (video blogs) and devices (mobile device blog).

C. A wiki refers to a website that allows many users to create, edit, and update content and share knowledge.

D. A microblog or microsharing refers to software tools such as Twitter that enable communications in short bursts of text, links, and multimedia either through stand-alone applications or through online communities or social networks.

E. Shared media refers to audio or video such as YouTube that can be accessed and shared with others.


VI. Blended Learning


A. Blended learning combines online learning, face-to-face instruction, and other methods for distributing learning content and instruction.

B. Blended learning courses provide learners with the positive features of both face-to-face instruction and technology-based delivery and instructional methods while minimizing the negative features of each.

C. In comparison to other methods, blended learning:

1. provides increased learner control.

2. allows for self-directedness.

3. requires learners to take more responsibility for their learning—all factors.

4. provides more face-to-face social interaction.

5. ensures that the instruction is presented in a dedicated learning environment.

6. has provided more motivation for trainees to learn and for teaching declarative knowledge or information about ideas or topics.


VII. Simulations and Games


A. Avatars are computer depictions of humans that are used as imaginary coaches, coworkers, and customers in simulations. Typically, trainees can see the avatar, which appears throughout the training course.

B. Advantages of simulations:

1. Eliminates the need to travel to a central training location

2. Meaningful and get trainees involved in learning

3. Emotionally engaging, increasing employees’ willingness to practice, encourages retention, and improves their skills

4. Provide a consistent message of what needs to be learned

5. Can safely put employees in situations that would be dangerous in the real world.

6. Have been found to result in such positive outcomes as shorter training times and increased return on investment

C. Disadvantages of simulations:

1. Limited use due to their development costs

2. Trainees may not be comfortable in learning situations that have no human contact


Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is computer-based technology that provides trainees with a three-dimensional learning experience, moving through and interacting with a simulated environment.

A. Multiple senses of the trainee are stimulated to create the sensation of presence, or the perception of actually being in a particular environment. Presence is influenced by the amount of sensory stimulation, control over the sensors in the environment, and the trainees’ ability to alter the artificial environment.

B. Advantages of virtual reality:

1. It allows the trainee to practice dangerous tasks without putting oneself or others in danger.

2. The use of such a realistic environment in training may make more memory available for learning.

C. Obstacles include the reliance on good equipment for the appropriate level of presence. Poor presence (e.g., poor tactile feedback and long time lags between sensing and responding to trainees’ actions) can be annoying and can even make the trainee feel ill, e.g., vomiting, dizziness, and headaches (“simulator sickness”) due to the distortion of senses.


Virtual Worlds

Virtual World (i.e. Second Life) is a computer-based, simulated online virtual world that includes a three-dimensional representation of the real world and a place to host learning programs or experiences.

A. In Second Life, trainees use an avatar to interact with each other in classrooms, “webinars” (Web-based seminars), simulations, or role-play exercises.

B. Advantages of virtual world:

1. It allows the trainee to practice dangerous tasks without putting one or others in danger and at the same time sees the real-life consequences of their actions and decisions.

2. It also provides a place to meet with trainers, managers, or other employees who can serve as teachers.

3. Virtual worlds also can be useful for teaching interpersonal skills, conducting teamwork exercises and group problem solving.

4. It motivates learners by making learning fun and interactive.

5. It is an especially effective way for employees who are not in the same location or country to have access to training.

C. Disadvantages of virtual world:

1. Lack of ease of use for first-time users; the potential risk of a difficult keyboard and mouse interface, which can demotivate learners.

2. The high investment of time and money required for the programming content.

3. The novelty of experiences in a three-dimensional virtual world such as Second Life and the appearance of the avatars may help trainees recall the experience, but they may also interfere with retention and transfer of the training content to the job.


VIII. Mobile Technology and Learning


A. Mobile technology allows learning to occur anywhere at anytime. Mobile technology consists of:

1. wireless transmission systems such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that allow transmission of data without the need for physical connections between devices or between a device and an Internet connection.

2. mobile devices such as PDAs, smartphones, tablet computers, iPods, iPads, global positioning system (GPS) devices, and radio frequency identification chips (RFIDs).

3. software applications related to processing audio files, word processing, spreadsheets, Internet, e-mail, and instant messaging.

B. Mobile learning refers to training delivered using a mobile device such as a smartphone, netbook, notebook computer, or iPad.

C. Mobile learning can involve both formal (e-learning courses, podcasts, or videos on the mobile device) and informal learning (engaging in communication and messaging with other employees or experts via Twitter, blogs, or Facebook).

D. The advantages of mobile learning:

1. It is an easy way to get up-to-date information to employees.

2. It can be useful for enhancing transfer of training through providing follow-up.

3. It brings training to employees who constantly traveling, out of the office visiting customers or clients, or don’t have the time to attend a face-to-face course or program (such as salespeople or executives).

4. Learners can complete training on their own time and pace.

5. Mobile devices can also provide RSS feeds, shared media (such as YouTube), and podcasts, which are audio or video program content distributed in episodes using software such as RSS.

E. Some companies are using PDAs as their primary method for delivering training or as a follow-up to training programs delivered face-to-face or online.

F. Many companies are considering using tablets such as the iPad for training because of their ease of use, colorful, easy-to-read display, ability to connect to the web, and availability of powerful apps, which are applications designed specifically for smartphones and tablet computers.

G. For mobile learning to be effective, it needs to be short, easy to use, and meaningful.


IX. Intelligent Tutoring Systems


A. Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) are instructional programs that use artificial intelligence.

B. There are 3 types ITS environments:

1. Tutoring is a structured approach to increasing trainee understanding of a content domain.

2. Coaching provides trainees with the flexibility to practice skills in an artificial environment.

3. Empowering is enabling the student to freely explore the content of the training program.

C. The five components of ITS:

1. Domain expert: providing information about how to perform a task

2. Trainee model: providing information about trainee’s knowledge

3. User interface: trainee interacts with the system

4. Training session manager: interpreting trainees’ actions, reporting the results and providing coaching

5. Trainee scenario generator: determining difficulty and order in which problems are presented to trainee

D. ITS is unique from other new training technologies because:

1. ITS can match instruction to individual student needs.

2. ITS can communicate with and respond to learners.

3. ITS can model the trainee’s learning process.

4. ITS can decide, based on the trainee’s previous performance, what information to provide him/her.

5. ITS can make decisions about the trainee’s level of understanding.

6. ITS can complete a self-assessment resulting in a modification of its teaching process.


X. Distance Learning

A. Distance learning is used by geographically dispersed companies to provide information about new products, policies, or procedures, as well as deliver skills training and expert lectures to field locations.

B. Distance learning allows two-way communication between geographically dispersed people through two types of technology:

1. Teleconferencing refers to synchronous exchange of audio, video and/or text between two or more individuals or groups at two or more locations. Trainees attend training programs in training facilities in which they can communicate with trainers (who are at another location) and other trainees using the telephone or personal computer.

2. The other type involves individualized, personal-computer-based training with trainees participating wherever they have access to a computer. This may utilize multimedia methods such as web-based training.

C. A virtual classroom refers to using a computer and the Internet to distribute instructor-led training to geographically dispersed employees.

D. The potential advantages of the virtual classroom include its cost savings and convenience: geographically dispersed employees can be brought together for training for several hours each week, and content experts can be brought into the classroom as needed. However, the training delivered using a virtual classroom is not the same as the training delivered face to face by an instructor.

E. Guidelines for developing effective training in the virtual classroom:

1. Design short modules and follow up with an assignment that applies the learning to the job.

2. Make learning interactive and interesting, such as modeling the program after a phone-in radio show.

3. Include media such as video and audio.

4. Limit classroom size to no more than twenty-five learners.

5. Offer learners multiple ways of interacting with each other and the instructor, including webinars, e-mail, discussion rooms, message boards, and blogs.

F. Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) refers to the latest generation of distance learning, which uses satellite technology to broadcast programs to different locations and allows trainees to respond to questions posed during the training program using a keypad. IDL allows employees in different locations, who lack computers or online access, to see behaviors and how to get things done rather than just read or hear about them.

G. Webcasting, or web conferencing, involves classroom instructions that are provided online through live broadcasts.

H. Advantages of distance learning include that the company saves on travel costs because all trainees don’t have to be in one location to receive quality training.

I. Disadvantages include the relatively low level of interaction between the trainer and trainees and among trainees at different locations.


XI. Technologies for Training Support


A. Training support refers to new technologies providing information and decision rules to employees as needed (i.e., job aids) and providing the training content to individuals who may not have attended the training and supporting materials to both trainees and nontrainees.

B. Training support technologies are most needed when:

1. performance of a task is infrequent.

2. the task is time-consuming, difficult and information-intensive.

3. the consequences of error are severe.

4. effective performance relies on information and procedures that frequently change.

5. employee turnover is high.

6. there is little time and few resources available for training.

7. employees are expected to take responsibility for learning and performing tasks.


Expert Systems

A. Expert systems refer to technology (i.e., software) that organizes and applies knowledge of experts to specific problems; they support training, and can also be used as a main delivery method. They have three elements:

1. A knowledge base that includes facts, figures, and rules about the specific subject.

2. A decision-making capability that, like an expert’s reasoning ability, draws conclusions from those facts and figures to solve problems and answer questions.

3. A user interface that gathers and gives information to the individual using the system.

B. Expert systems can provide high quality instruction at relatively low costs; they allow many learners to arrive at decisions that reflect experts’ knowledge; and they can minimize the errors related to fatigue and decision biases.


Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSSs)

Electronic performance support systems (EPSS) is an electronic infrastructure that captures, stores, and distributes individual and corporate knowledge assets throughout an

organization to enable individuals to achieve required levels of performance in the fastest possible time and with a minimum of support from other people. EPSS can be used in the delivery of training but can also be used in place of training.


XII. Learning Management Systems (LMSs): Systems for Training Delivery, Support, and Administration


A. A learning management system (LMS) is a technology platform that can be used to automate the administration, development, and delivery of all of a company’s training programs.

B. LMSs can provide employees, managers, and trainers with the ability to manage, deliver, and track learning activities.

C. Reasons LMSs are becoming more popular:

1. Reduction in travel and other costs related to training.

2. Reduction in time for program completion.

3. Increase in employees’ accessibility to training across the business.

4. Provision of administrative capabilities to track program completion and course enrollments.


Why Develop an LMS?

A. Tracking the learning activity in a business is important for human capital management. Human capital management integrates training with all aspects of the human resource function to determine how training dollars are spent and how training expenses translate into business dollars for the company.

B. Reasons that companies adopt an LMS are:

1. to centralize management of learning activities.

2. to track regulatory compliance.

3. to measure training usage.

4. to measure employee performance.

C. Thirty-eight percent of companies report integrating an LMS with human resource information systems. LMSs are also important for companies to be able to track the number of employees who have completed courses that they need to meet state, federal, or professional regulations (compliance training).

D. An LMS can help companies understand the strengths and weaknesses of their employees, including where talent gaps exist. It can be linked to other human resource systems to identify learning opportunities for employees to strengthen their performance weaknesses.


Developing an LMS

A. First, senior management needs to be convinced that an LMS will benefit employees, improve business functions, and contribute to overall business strategies and goals.

B. Second, a company that wants to develop an LMS must have an e-learning culture that supports online learning and encourages employee participation.

C. Third, the online learning environment needs to be under the control of the learner.

D. To maximize its effectiveness, an LMS should be integrated with talent management systems. The interfaces between the systems will provide basic employee information such as business unit, geographic location, and job title. Information about which courses employees have completed should also be stored in the LMS.


XIII. Choosing New Technology Training Methods


A. Technology-based training methods require considerable investment in development.

B. However, although development costs are high, costs for administering the program are low.

C. Advantages of these methods include:

1. cost savings due to training being accessible to employees at their home or office

2. reduced number of trainers needed

3. reduced costs associated with employees traveling to a central training location

D. New technology training methods should be used under the following conditions:

1. There are adequate budget and resources to develop and use new technology.

2. Trainees are geographically dispersed and travel costs to a single training site would be high.

3. Trainees are comfortable using new technology, including personal computers and software, the Web, and CD-ROMs.

4. Use of the new technology is part of the company’s business strategy and it is being used in other processes in the company.

5. Employees would have a difficult time attending scheduled training programs.

6. Current training methods allow only limited time for practice, feedback, and assessment.

7. Use of new technology fits into the organizational culture or business strategy.



Chapter Summary


The chapter provides the reader an understanding of the various “new technologies” that have changed the way we deliver training. It is important to know these state-of-the-art modes of facilitating learning. These methods provide interactive learning and are experiential in nature. Advantages and disadvantages are described for each of the new technologies as are its uses. The chapter also discussed choosing new technology training methods. The chapter concludes with a table of key terms, discussion questions and application assignments.



Discussion Questions


1. Explain how technology has changed the learning environment.


Answer: Technology has made it possible for employees to gain control over when and where they receive training, and has allowed access to knowledge and expert systems on an as-needed basis. It has also broadened the types of media available in training programs. The use of electronic enrollment, testing, and training reduces the need for administrative services and paperwork, and also allows employees accomplishments during training to be monitored. Additionally, training can be delivered to trainees electronically, rather than requiring employees to come to a central training location. (p. 319)


2. What types of learning outcomes are best suited for mobile learning? Explain.


Answer: Mobile learning is best suited for teaching facts given the limited personal interaction, and interaction with the content using many mobile devices. Therefore, intellectual skills and verbal information are best suited for mobile learning.(p. 355-356; Table 8.11)


 

3. What are the differences between expert systems and electronic performance tools?


Answer: Although both systems can be used as both a teaching tool and to provide expert advice, electronic performance support systems integrate the knowledge assets into the interface of software tools, rather then separating them into add-on components. An EPSS can also be used to automate some tasks and lighten the work load. (p. 350-351)


4. Are training support technologies always needed? Justify your answer.


Answer: Student answers will vary. Although training support technologies may not always be necessary, they are most needed when the performance of a task is infrequent, lengthy, difficult, or information intensive, when the consequences of an error are damaging, when knowledge, procedures, or approaches are frequently changing, when there is high employee turnover, when there is little time or resources for training, or when employees are expected to take full responsibility for learning tasks. (p. 350; Table 8.9)


5. Discuss how new technologies make it easier to learn. How do they facilitate transfer of training?


Answer: Technology has allowed learning to become more dynamic. Instruction is designed by the trainer, but primarily delivered through the Internet, allowing the instructor to become more of a resource and coach. Learners interact with the training content through exercises, applications, and simulations, and can discuss what they are learning with other learners or access experts or resource materials available on the Internet. New technologies allow trainees to pace themselves, as well as receive training while geographically separated from the trainer, making training more effective, more standardized, and easier to deliver. (p. 322-323)


6. Is all Internet training the same? Explain.


Answer: No. Internet training, just as any sort of training, is extremely varied. The quality of any Internet program is dependent on technology assessment and an assessment of the skills that users need for online training, design principles considered (integration of audio, video, text, and graphics to hold learners’ attention), the ability of trainees to actively learn though self-pacing, exercises, exploring links to other material, and conversations with other trainees and experts, and extent of practice available to trainees to help transfer of training content.(p. 350; Table 8.11)


7. What are some potential problems with using virtual reality technology for training?


Answer: Virtual reality training can be ineffective due to use of poor equipment, which would result in a reduced sense of presence. The distortion of sensory information can result in the trainee experiencing simulator sickness. (p. 342)


 

8. What is social media? Explain how it can be used for training.


Answer: Social media are online and mobile technology used to create interactive communications allowing the creation and exchange of user-generated content. They include blogs, wikis, networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, microsharing sites such as

Twitter, and shared media such as YouTube. Social media can be useful for:

providing links to resources such as webinars, videos, and articles related to new learning content.

helping determine future training needs and issues by using tagging capabilities.

reinforcing and sustaining learning.

being used as a coaching and mentoring tool.

linking learners before, during, and after a formal training event.

engaging Generation X and millennial employees.

providing content before a face-to-face learning event. (p. 335)


9. Explain learner control, sharing, and linking. How do they contribute to the effectiveness of e-learning?


Answer: Learner control, the ability for trainees to learn actively by controlling the pace of learning, exploring links to other material, and communicating with other trainees and experts, allows for a more personalized and effective learning experience. Sharing, or interaction between trainees, allows the exchange of ideas and experiences, allowing trainees to learn from each other. Linking to other web sites gives trainees access to many useful resources such as printed materials, experts, trainers, and other learners. Employees learn by informal, unstructured contact with experts and peers. Collaboration can involve an exchange among two or more trainees or among the trainer or other experts. Hyperlinks are links that allow a trainee to access other websites that include printed materials, as well as communications links to experts, trainers, and other learners. Effective online learning connects trainees and facilitates interaction and sharing through the use of collaborative learning tools such as chat rooms, discussion boards, or social media. Other methods for learner interaction and sharing include having trainees participate in collaborative online projects and receive tutoring, coaching, and mentoring by experts. (p. 333-335)


10. What is repurposing? How does it affect the use of new technologies in training?


Answer: Repurposing refers to directly translating an instructor-led face-to-face training program to an online format. Effective online learning will take advantage of technology to deliver audio and video, use links to other resources, and give learner control. (p. 332-333)


11. Distance learning can be used to deliver a lecture to geographically dispersed trainees. How might distance learning be designed and used to avoid some of the learning and transfer of training problems of the traditional lecture method?


Answer: A distance learning program enables employees to watch a satellite broadcast live or view a tape of the program even at a later point. It also allows employees to receive training from experts who would not otherwise be available to visit each location. Distance learning becomes more effective if there is communication between the trainees and the instructors, rather than just broadcasting a lecture in one direction. It is also more effective to take full advantage of multimedia training methods, rather than rely too heavily on text. (p. 347-349)


12. Why would a company use a combination of face-to-face instruction and web-based training?


Answer: Despite the many advantages of online learning, many companies are moving to a blended learning approach, because of the limitations of related technologies, employees’ preference for face-to-face interaction, and employees’ inability to find unscheduled time to devote to learning from their desktops. Blended learning provides increased learner control, allows for self-directedness, and requires learners to take more responsibility for their learning. It uses the classroom to allow learners to learn together and to discuss and share insights, which helps bring learning to life and make it meaningful. (p. 338)


13. What conditions are best for the use of social media tools as part of a learning solution?


Answer: To determine if social media would be an effective learning tool in a company, the questions to ask are:

Are social networks already being used in the company?

Does social networking fit into the company’s learning strategy?

Are employees geographically dispersed?

Does the learning strategy support on-the-job learning?

Is there is a need to foster collaboration?

Are a significant number of employees from the millennial generation or Generation X?

Are employees comfortable using social networks?

Does the business require substantial teamwork?

Does knowledge need to be shared quickly?

Does the company value innovation?

Does the culture support decentralized decision making?


The more “yes” answers to these questions, the more likely that social media will be an effective learning solution. The most important consideration is whether social media is already being used in the company, which would make it easier to determine how it fits into the company’s learning strategy and how easily it could be adapted to training. It is important to consider if the ideas, content, and recommendations provided in social media are high quality and match company priorities. (p. 337)


14. What should a manager do to help ensure that online learning is effective?


Answer: Needs assessment, creating a positive online learning experience, learner control, and providing time and space for online learning are three central issues that need to be addressed for effective online learning, including web-based training. (p. 330; Table 8.5)



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