Firms today use various forms of distance learning methods for training. These ranges from paper and pencil correspondence courses to tele-training, videoconferencing, and modern Internet based courses.
Tele training: With tele training a trainer in a central location teaches groups of employees at remote locations televisions hookups. Honda America began by using satellite television technology to train engineers and now uses it for many others types of employees training. For example, its Ohio based subsidiary purchases seminars from the National Technological University, a provider of satellite education that uses courses form various universities and specialized teaching organizations.
Videoconferencing allows people in one location to communicate live via a combination of audio and visual equipment with people in another city or country or with groups in several cities. This may simply involve using PC based video cameras and several remote trainees, or a dozen or more learners taking a class in a video conference lecture room. Here, keypads allow audience interactivity. For instance in a program at Texas Instruments, the keypad system lets instructors call on remote trainees and lets the latter respond.
There are several things to keep in mind before lecturing in front of the camera. For example, because the training is remote, it’s particularly important to prepare manual the learners can use to follow the points the trainer is making, and a script for the trainer to follow. A sampling of other hints would include: Avoid bright, flashy jewelry or heavily patterned clothing at least 20 minutes early and test all equipments you will be using.
Internet based Training:
Employers extensively use Web based learning. Many firms simply let their employees take online courses offered by online course providers such as saba.com. Others use their proprietary internal intranets to facilitate computer based trainings.
Various products, like Blackboard and WebCT, support online learning endeavors. For example, WebCT provides a process for delivering course content via Power Point slides enables learners and instructors to interact live and asynchronously via online chat rooms and discussion forums, and also deliver, grades and compiles online exams and grades.
Having used Internet based learning many students are familiar with its advantages. When the Park Avenue Bank of Valdosta, Georgia, installed its e-training program trainees program, trainees could use it 24 / 7 from any computer. The bank’s training program included a learning management system that helps trainers track employees’ progress in completing courses. Internet training can be cost effective. For example, Delta Airlines customer service personnel receive about 70% of their annual required FAA training via the Internet. Delta likes it because prior to online training employees had to travel to one of five training centers keeping them away from their jobs for at least the day.
Effectiveness: Researchers received 96 studies reporting data from 19,331 trainees who participated in 168 training courses, both Web based and classroom. In general: Web based instruction was a bit more effective than classroom instruction for teaching declarative knowledge (memory of facts and principles ); web based instruction and classroom instruction were equally effective for teaching procedural knowledge (information about how to perform a task or action) trainees were equally satisfied with Web based instructions and classroom instruction ; and web based instruction was much more effective than classroom instruction when the trainees could use the Web program control the pace and selection of the content. Another study, by Michigan State University researchers, found that on site employee education programs produced better results than online training, in terms of subsequent test results.
In any case, e-learning is booming. By one estimate employers annual use of e-learning exceeds $14.5 billion.