“Self-paced asynchronous applications include web-based and computer-based courses that learners use at their own pace” (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta). In order for companies to reach out to a vast amount of employees in a timely manner, course management systems are being used for effective communication. CMSs are “commonly used for distributed learning purposes, enabling teachers of conventional face-to-face courses to provide learning resources and conduct course-related activities, such as discussions and testing, outside of normal class time” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). Course management systems such as BlackBoard and Moodle incorporate several of today’s technological tools in order to increase comprehension including Discussion Forums.
Discussion forums “allow learners to interact with each other and the instructor through threaded discussions by posting messages on specific subject areas, starting new threads and sub-threads, or posting replies to others” (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta). The ECAR Research Study found that students “described classes where participating in online discussions helped them learn by facilitating greater engagement with their classmates. They had more time and a richer context within which to formulate their answers” (EDUCAUSE, 2004).
Companies are increasingly using online learning for their employees. One example is Home Depot who in 2003 began installing computer kiosks in their stores for employee training. “At the kiosks, employees can access asynchronous internet-based training on plumbing, gardening, painting, product knowledge, on-the-job safety”. (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta). Home Depot has seen a decrease in the amount of time it takes to train an employee and an increase in content retention. They attribute this to “eLearning’s active learning facet” (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta).
IBM is another company that has integrated online learning into their training program. “On the company intranet, learners can choose the information they need when they need it” (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta). In addition, when an employee becomes a manager, they “begin Phase I asynchronous online learning sessions for two hours per week, during regular work hours, over the course of six months” (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta). IBM worked to implement a system of learning that “continuously and effectively trains employees” (Koller, Harvey, & Magnotta).
As an Instructional Designer, I would design modules to be presented in a CMS. Employees would be able to access the modules from anywhere at any time. In addition to viewing the material, the employees would login to a specified Discussion Forum where they would engage in written communication with other employees, trainers, and perhaps supervisors in order to communicate how improvements would take place, when new processes would become effective, and how these changes would impact employees and departments of the various plants. Having a course management system so that employees were able to view training modules at a time convenient to them as well as still be able to communicate with others by allowing them to give feedback and ask questions would increase learning.
EDUCAUSE. (2004). Course management systems. In Students and information technology.
Koller, V., Harvey, S., & Magnotta, M. (n.d.). Technology-based learning strategies. Oakland, CDA.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.