-- Distance Education has been revolutionalized by the rapid
evolution of computers, telecommunications, and electronic learning technologies. Internet-based
learning has become a popular and well-accepted methodology for delivering distance-education. Faster and more powerful computers, increased Internet
bandwidth, and easy-to-learn training software, along with tightened corporate training budgets,
mean Web-based training and distance education are here to stay.
-- Studies reveal that most distance
education students are adults between the ages of 25 and 50, and distance learners are more likely than conventional
students to be employed full-time. These statistics mean that sound instructional design
in distance education depends on a clear understanding of
what factors affect adult learning.
-- Adults tend to think of themselves as mature, responsible,
and independent. Yet, they may feel anxious, even threatened,
about a return the classroom, even if that classroom is online. A number
of things can be designed into courses and curricula to reduce
these student anxieties:
- Gain student attention early
- Focus student attention on the desired outcomes
- Clearly state instructional objectives for each
section or lesson
- Adapt complexity of materials and rate of presentation
to the probable capacity and experience of the learner
- Assist learners by organizing material into chunks
(or logical groups) of information
- Provide learning experiences that promote moving
information from shot-term to long-term memory
- Offer frequent feedback and opportunities for learning reinforcement
- Incorporate numerous guided practices in the course
-- In order to effectively design courses geared for adult
students, it is important to understand how adults learn,
and how their needs differ from those of K-12 or typical undergraduate
students. Adult education literature supports the idea that
adults are mutual partners in the learning endeavor. Some
of the Adult Learning Theory is geared more towards face-to-face
instruction, but many principles can be applied to eLearning
Adults tend to prefer single concept, single-theory
courses that focus heavily on the aplication of the concept
to relevant problems. This tendency increases with age. Regardless
of media, straightforward how-to is the preferred content orientation.
-- Most adult learning theories have been based on the work
of Malcolm Knowles. He theorized that adult learners have distinct
and unique characteristics. Knowles introduced the term andragogy
to describe the science of helping adults learn. Knowles contrasts
"andragogical" or learner-centered methods with "pedagogical"
or teacher-centered methods.
Andragogical Model --
The following assumptions underlie Knowles' andragogical model:
Fortunately, numerous resources for
studying prevailing theories of how adults learn best are available on the Internet.
- Adults are autonomous and self-directed
- Adults are goal-oriented; when they enroll in a course,
they usually know what goal they want to attain
- Adults are relevancy-oriented; they need to see a reason
for learning something
- Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences
and knowledge that may include work-related activities,
family responsibilities, and previous education
- Adults are practical, focusing on the aspects of
a lesson most useful to them in their work
- Adults are generally motivated to learn due to internal
or intrinsic factors as opposed to external or extrinsic
- As need to be shown respect; they want their instructors
to acknowledge the wealth of experiences adult participants
bring to the classroom
Content Object Resource Model -- The SCORM system is produced
and maintained by the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative. An important goal of SCORM is to separate the "content"
from the "system" that delivers the content in order
to increase compatibility. The challenge is to make it so
that neither the content nor the delivery system relies on
the other's special properties to create learning experiences
that are adaptive and that follow accepted instructional design
principles. S-C-O-R-M stands for:
Sharable. The goal is to make learning content
readily available to virtually all members of the learning
community. That means the content should run on multiple platforms
and be launchable from any number of SCORM-conformant learning
management systems. It also means the content should carry
information that enables identification and search of the
Content. The choice of the word "content"
rather than course is important. A piece of content can be
as small as a single page, a single image, a single audio
file, or a word or character. This granularity provides great
flexibility for learning developers.
Object. This term, from the world of information
technology, implies that the existence of learning chunks
or objects containing data and behaviors will make it easier
to develop reusable content.
Reference Model. This term refers to SCORM's
role as a roadmap to standards work, similar to a bookshelf
of reference materials. SCORM-based standards model the learning
content so that everyone needing to combine that content into
larger composites can understand it thanks to the SCORM framework.
The SCORM system promises to bring together
the best of current standards and to provide a common ground
for future e-learning.
-- The eLearning standards community is creating standard properties
that can be used by all content and by any learning platform.
That is, SCORM addresses the problem of creating content that
users can play on most any learning platform.
In November of 1997, the U.S. Government launched the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative to promote high-quality
education and training materials that are easily tailored to individual learner needs and are available whenever and wherever they are needed.
|Efficiency -- SCORM
promotes online learning efficiency. The initiative is aimed
at improving online education by enabling reuse of teaching
materials. E-learning content and LMS vendors can get their
products stamped as compliant with the SCORM standard from the
Department of Defense's Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)
initiative. While not an interoperability guarantee, SCORM advises
buyers that compliant content and systems should work together.
-- A Learning Management System is an environment where
developers can create, store, reuse, manage and deliver learning
content from a central object repository, usually a database.
Learning management systems offer a central database and format
for a consistent learning experience.
Learning management systems (LMS) are also known as training
management systems and integrated learning solutions. These systems have become full-scale enterprise
software. Today's LMS launches e-learning courses and provides registration capabilities,
automated course catalogs, competency management, assessment, resource management,
tracking, and reporting. These systems have become popular because they can serve as the
backbone of a company's learning and e-learning strategy.
Education institutions and corporations expect their learning
management systems be fully integrated with content, services,
and the technology platform for managing and delivering the
learning process. As a result, learning management systems describe
a wide range of applications that track student training and
may or may not include functions such as:
- Authoring of courses and training modules
- Classroom management
- Competency & knowledge management
- Certification or compliance training
- Mentoring and discussion boards
- Competency testing and recordkeeping
Features of these systems
often include search engines, access to private learning networks,
secured managed chat rooms, discussion groups, and e-commerce
Note: Course Management System (CMS) is another name for Learning Management System.
-- Selecting an LMS can be an enormous task. It could be the
biggest decision a corporation, education institution, or e-learning
professional ever makes. LMS applications are large, complex software programs
that change rapidly, and they can cost a million dollars or
more. The LMS purchase becomes a visible decision to everyone
who logs in and takes a course.
|Some LMS applications:
Blackboard · Lotus Learning Space · eSocrates · WebMentor · Training Force ·
IntraLearn Software · Mentergy · Jones Knowledge · WebCT · Mindflash · SyberWorks ·