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Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

by wmorrisblog

The real-world example I chose that posed a unique distance learning technology challenge is example #1.

 Example 1: Collaborative Training Environment
A new automated staff information system was recently purchased by a major corporation and needs to be implemented in six regional offices. Unfortunately, the staff is located throughout all the different offices and cannot meet at the same time or in the same location. As an instructional designer for the corporation, you have been charged with implementing a training workshop for these offices. As part of the training, you were advised how imperative it is that the staff members share information, in the form of screen captures and documents, and participate in ongoing collaboration.

As an instructional designer for the corporation, to help implement this new information system to the six regional offices, I would use three technologies developed by Citrix Online services: GoToMeeting and GoToTraining. To help facilitate workshops for each region, I would also appoint a staff member from each office as an acting organizer.

To establish the preliminary implementation with the appointed organizer, I would host several introductory meetings using GoToMeeting. This technology will allow acting organizer to host an online meeting among each region with up to 15 people. This web conferencing tool allows staff to share any application on their computer in real time. All staff members will be able join the workshop in no time. The benefits of this technology allow the corporation the ability to:

  • Eliminate travel cost
  • Hold unlimited meetings for one flat fee.
  • Collaborate with remote colleagues.
  • Host and attend from either a Mac or PC.
  • Save with integrated audio conferencing (via computer and telephone).

The meeting organizer can share either their whole screen or choose to just show a specific application. Meeting sessions can be recorded – including all phone and microphone audio – for future review and reuse. Meeting organizers can also interact on the screen using the pen, highlighter, arrow, and spotlight tools.

The attendees of the workshop can see what is being shown to them. They can work together by sharing a keyboard and mouse control, or see each other’s work by changing presenters. Most important, is the ability to edit documents on screen.  After the meeting is complete, the appointed organizers can review meeting attendance reports to track accountability. Also take the recorded meeting and post it on the corporate website, or with a third-party video host to share throughout the company.

 After all selected organizers have been briefed on how to hold meetings among each other; the next step would be to host a dry-run workshop using GoToTraining. This online training software allows you to hold interactive training sessions with up to 200 people – right from your desk. It also will save time and travel costs by moving the workshop online. To facilitate staff located throughout different offices, a date and time for the workshop would be established by the host/organizer inviting individual staff. An invitation will be emailed for individual staff to register and be provided with workshop materials in advanced. The benefits of this technology for workshop/training sessions allow the corporation the ability to: 

  • Reduce travel costs.
  • Reach more trainees across the globe.
  • Use the control panel to manage and monitor attendees
  • Manage timed activities and breaks
  • Make documents and materials available online.
  • Use test and polls to increase interaction and check for understanding
  • Provide feedback by surveying attendees at the end of workshop

In addition, Event 360, a fundraising consultant to nonprofits, uses online training with GoToTraining to help them with their events, consulting, and fundraising analysis.  Tony Heinz, director of technology, explains how the use of this technology helped the company facilitate training, knowledge, and company information across the country. This also reduced the cost in travel. Here is a video of the interview explaining the benefits.

Here is another video that explains how to be successful using GoToTraining.


CommonCraft. (2010). Video Podcast: GoToTraining explained by common craft. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kypqsRTDxpg

Heinz, T. (2010). Video Podcast: Event 360, a fundraising consultant to nonprofits, turns to online training with GoToTraining. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHmNBq6oPN0

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What is distance learning?

from Morris W – Wmorrisblog’s by wmorrisblog

For over 15 years, I have watched the developmental growth of distance learning from the perspective as a student, teacher, and developer. Before taking this course, my definition of distance learning was simply that an individual could be taught, lectured, informed, trained, or advised on a particular subject matter at a distance; none-the-less, an alternative for traditional study. My first observation was of a neighborhood friend who decided that he what wanted to go into full time ministry through Oral Roberts University. The courses that he had to take were correspondence classes. I thought to myself, “This guy is missing out on the real experience of what college is really about -“’the social experience.’”

After reading this week’s resources, I too have learned that distance learning is a lot more than I initially thought. Since the early 1800’s, distance learning has been utilized through correspondence. Simonson (2009), states that there are two sides of the coin, “distance teaching and distance learning.” He goes on to say that distance learning is formal education that is institutionally based in which the learning group-the teacher, students, and the resources – are separated not only by geography but sometimes by time and intellect. Technology and instructional media are used to link the resources. As a media design specialist, I am tasked to design the instructional media elements within the distance education environment. From my perspective, I always knew that the entire process that involves the development and deployment of an online course was “big picture,” and the role that I played was very important. I would work alongside an instructional designer as well as a subject matter expert (SME) which is an entirely different department.

Recently, I was promoted to an instructional designer and my knowledge of what distance learning is, what it involves, the technologies, and individual roles and responsibilities have been expanded. I have defined distance learning as the process by which technology is used for education in ways where the student does not have to physically be in the place where the teaching is taking place. Access to the instructor is gained through technology such as the Internet, interactive videoconferencing, and satellite. I also have a second definition which states distance learning is the exchange or transfer of information by integrating technology or technical media where individuals (facilitator and receiver) can access, view, retrieve, send content in such a way that numerous individuals can be taught, lectured, informed, trained, or advised at the same time wherever they live.   

My vision for the future of distance learning stems from the argument that training via e-learning must be one of the mandatory requirements to grow a line of business. Businesses and organization are realizing the ROI that distance education will bring in indirect ways which are important to customer satisfaction, safety, and the reliability and effectiveness of a product or service (Moller, 2009).  As ISD methodologies improve, upfront development cost may decrease and in some cases be avoided by conducting a more comprehensive front end analysis by qualified instructional designers. Whether one prefers to learn individually or within collaborative environments, e-learning presents a new opportunity to adopt potential individualization strategies that are not possible in traditional classroom environments. Instructional designers will continue to evolve by thinking outside the box, to collaborate, and to advance the common vision through the use of technology.

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63–67.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66–70.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

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Happy New Year

This year has really gone by fast to say the least. As I look back I am thankful at the many blessings in my life. I am grateful to be employ by an awesome company. There are those that are less fortunate. I enjoy my career and I am passionate  about what I am able to do throughout each day. I am grateful for an awesome family as well as my christian church family. I look forward to another exciting year of hardwork, new ideas, new perspectives, and new friendship in my new career as an Instructional Designer. Now let’s get back to work.

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Learner Motivation

by Willie Morris

As I reflect upon a very exciting course, I have learned that students will most likely receive our instruction if they believe that it will help them in their own circumstances.  Students will adapt to the learning tasks if they believe that such responses will truly be useful and productive for them.  Whenever something energizes, directs, and sustains a students behavior, it gets them moving; pointing them in a particular direction, and keeps them going. People will virtually be motivated to learn one way or the other. One student may be more concerned about the social aspects, interacting with classmates frequently. Another may focus on athletics, excelling in a particular sport or working out daily after school.  And yet another student, perhaps because of an undetected learning disability, poor social skills, or in a wheel chair, may be interested primarily in avoiding academics, social situations, or athletic activities. Some people don’t “carry” motivation around with them; it can also be influenced by environmental conditions. But when that person truly strives to be successful in a specific task, it will lead them to continue that task until they have completed it, even when they are occasionally frustrated in their efforts to do so.

This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. As an instructor, I am always challenging myself to come up with ways to create a learning environment that motivates people to learn. I have been fortunate to engage with others on learning theories that affects how and what information is processed. I have been able to apply different approaches as to how students are more likely to remember information they have encoded in memory in more than one way-perhaps visually and as a verbal representation. This time around, I was able to increase my knowledge of Vygotsky’s theory and many others. 

 This course has given me considerable amounts of insight about how I can help students learn more effectively. Once I have developed my approach and it is based on my objectives, solid research on which educational technology to use, my students will come out ahead. I know can tailor my instructional strategies for both conventional and online environments where students can become successful at the tasks most of the time.

This course has helped me to diversify my instructional design content that will bring a wide variety of backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives, and needs to both conventional and online environments.

This course has helped me:

  • Effectively relate new information to things that I already know but wasn’t able to connect precisely.
  • Effectively research studies-descriptive, correlation, and experimental to answer different questions about how I educate.
  • Effectively brought clarity to the derived principles and theories that describe and explain how a person’s learning, development, and behavior yields similar results.

In conclusion, as I continue to further my career in the field of instructional design, I will continue to challenge myself to stay current about research, theoretical developments, and educational.

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Integrating Technology into Instruction

Fitting the Pieces Together

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles, how has your view on how you learn changed?

As we continue this journey of becoming great Instruction Designer, we should consider the framework of a theory. Each theory will address some aspects in which our learning objectives will have validity. The most important thing that I have learned is that one theory alone cannot address all cognitive development. The environment plays an equally critical role in most aspects of development. The families and cultures in which the learner is raised have a significant impact on the cognitive abilities, moral values, and social skills that will be acquired. As an instructor, I will remain optimistic about the cognitive abilities that each learner can develop not only through conventional education but online as well.  The experience that we provide will make a difference in their lives.  

What have you learned about the various learning theories and learning styles over the past weeks that can further explain your own personal learning preferences?

After learning various learning theories and styles, I now have a clear understanding of how to define them. Theories describe possible underlying, unobservable mechanisms that regulate human learning, development, and behavior. They typically incorporate many styles and encompass a multitude of interrelationships. I still do not have a favorite theory but I now have a better understanding that helps to facilitate the “what” and “why” behind human behavior. In the past, I use the constructivist theory in my line of work because I provided experiences to help students construct an increasingly and more accurate understanding of the real world. Helping them assimilate new material in this digital age into existing schemes by tying it to things they have already learned.

What role does technology play in your learning (i.e., as a way to search for information, to record information, to create, etc.)?

Technology plays a major role in my learning. Because there are some many innovative ways to utilize technology, I initially establish a clear understanding of the purpose and type of technology to use. If this process is done correctly, the implementation process will have an even greater impact. The instruction will be easier and more valuable. Next, I develop objectives of how a certain technology can improve teaching and learning. For example, this semester I learned how to utilize blogging and RSS feed that allowed me to create, design, manage posts, manage comments, and experiments with the blog. Through the usage of the internet, I find relevant sites that I can research various topics related to my area of interest. I have been using graphic design software for over 15 years in my career so I am constantly finding new ways to stay on the cutting edge with design media. I also find ways to collaborate with other professional and educators in similar situations and others who have experience with technology. I utilize a lot of online training resources in my career field that helps offset the costs involved in travel for expensive workshops.

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By Willie Morris

How has your network changed the way you learn?

My network has truly changed my approach to how I research and develop content for myself personally, as an instructor, and as a student. By learning through social networks that are real-time occurrences in the world today on views of others of the same interest is very insightful. My network also allows me to meet new people, share ideas, and get advice from different perspectives and approaches on software training, hardware, and advanced integrated teaching of the academic courses. In the past, we were only limited to the library and various theories to approach our areas of expertise. Access to books, publications, and articles would become available at times when answers were no longer needed. Also, I would teach a course in the fall of one year with an updated software version in the lab and would be clueless as to what to base my course content on. But now my network consists of sites, tutorials, and content that keep me ahead in whatever subject matter I need access to.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

Because my career profession is in media design, I utilize a lot software packages such as the Adobe Collection (Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Premiere Pro, Encore, Dreamweaver). I also, utilize 3D modeling software such as 3DS Max, Poser, and Maya.  All having serious learning curves which in the past, I had to certified every year. But I have been designing media for over 15 years now so I am considered one of the “go-to” guys in the field. All are useful in developing media for the web, television, gaming, and print for any field of interest.

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

In the beginning of my career there were not many avenues to access content in my field other than on-the-job training.  I would simply learn from my peers, other educators, illustrators, artists, and programmers in my community. With the help of the internet, my network in whatever I’m interested in is at the click of a button.  When I’m interested in graphical media help, I refer to www.lynda.com. Or if I’m interested in a specific topic, I find a forum or blog.

In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?

Because most of the networks I am associated with are very broad environments in which content is developed by all stakeholders; connectivism is necessary. By creating concepts that are visual through the use of the same technology, helps those that were only sold on traditional learning methods and/or theories to consider other ways.  Most networks have found out that the strength is in numbers. Whenever you are able to get group support in a centralize environment where information can be distributed or access through a number of devices, that is powerful. We must continue to stay current in resourceful environments, work together and function well with others in the achievement of individual tasks to become vital in the support of connectivism.

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Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources

In this weeks blog, I will cite two journals from the Walden University Library database and comment on the value of these resources.

Information has a greater impact if it can be embedded into existing, heavily organized, and interconnected knowledge structures. Because of the individual’s limited information processing capacity, attention demanding information will only be incorporated into organized knowledge structures and longterm memory if it seems relevant to those structures. This value resource gives you indebt knowledge of information-processing models that we have been exploring throughout the semester.


The second article (20 pages) focused on informational processes through a series of test which included emotions, emotional competence, emotional intelligence, emotionality, mental health, and subjective well-being. The second set included cognitive styles, intellectual styles, learning styles, and thinking styles demonstrated through higher level or holistic thinking. The results were very surprising.