Archive for January, 2015

This week, I chose to identify possible solutions to the following distance learning challenge:

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.

In today’s business environment, collaboration in the workplace is important.  For this scenario, a collaborative training solution is needed.  According to Wiesen (2015), “collaborative training is a form of training in which a number of people learn together as a group, usually through a system such as computers connected through an Internet connection.”  As an instructional designer for the corporation charged with implementing the training workshop for these offices, I  would consider utilizing distance learning technologies that allow employees, who are located in different locations, to communicate, contribute, and share information.  I would establish a flexible training schedule that will give employees multiple options to complete the training.

One of the technologies I would consider utilizing in this training scenario is a wiki.   From classrooms to corporate intranets, wikis are being utilized by people to help them to collaborate, share and build information (Rai, 2008).  A wiki is usually thought to be a space designed to be created and edited by groups of persons using a web browser (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 129). Users can create, edit, remove or contribute to pages using a web browser.  In addition users can share resources such as documents, videos, spreadsheets, important links, FAQ’s, key terms, discussion questions, and project documentation. Wiki’s are very resourceful tools that can be utilized by team members.  These resources can be accessed by staff members at any time and location.  To promote the wiki, email notifications and social media can be used to get the word out.  Wikis are great to use for ongoing collaboration.

For this training scenario, I would also consider producing webinars utilizing web-conferencing software.  “A webinar is a presentation or workshop that is transmitted over the web using video conferencing software” (Beal, 2015). A webinar is interactive allowing participants to give, receive and discuss information (Beal, 2015).  Web conferencing software, such as AT&T Connect and Webex, is needed to produce webinars.  Hundreds of participants, located in the same or different location, can be reached during a webinar.  Videos, graphics, document sharing, guest speakers, and Q&A can be incorporated into a Webinar.  A webinar session can be recorded for future use as a training module.  This is beneficial for employees who are unable to attend the scheduled webinar session.


Beal, V. (2015). Webinar – Web-based seminar. Retrieved from

Rai, P. (2008). Learners Together – Home – Wikis in Business and Education. Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Wiesen, G. (2015, January 1). What Is Collaborative Training? Retrieved January 26, 2015, from


Defining Distance Learning

Posted: January 12, 2015 in Instructional Design

This week in Distance Learning, I have learned that the definition of distance learning has continued to evolve over the years.  The need for distance learning opportunities and advances in technology continue to grow.  Prior to this week, my understanding of distance learning is directly related to my educational and professional experiences as an online learner. However, I learned this week that “distance education is institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 32).  Prior to this week, I did not limit distance learning to being institution-based but included self-study in the definition as well.  Also, I thought distance education was a more recent idea in the field of education.  I was not aware that correspondence study, a 160 years old, was a distance education option carried out through the postal service (Simonson et al., 2012, p. 37).

In the education environment, I previously attended traditional face-to-face classes.   I was not familiar with the option to obtain an education as a distant learner.  However, in more recent years due to advances in technology, I decided to continue my education at Walden University and become a distant learner utilizing the option to achieve a M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology in an online environment.  This was the most viable and flexible option for me since I have to juggle work, family, and personal responsibilities.   Initially, I had to make adjustments in the online learning environment since students and instructors are separated and course work is completed remotely using the internet.  As a distance learner, I communicate with instructors and classmates utilizing computer-based communication such as email, discussion boards, blogs, and wikis.

In the professional environment, there is a growing demand for distance learning training in the business environment.  There is still a need for traditional face-to-face instruction, especially if complex material is being covered.  However, distance learning is becoming more popular due to the availability of technology and collaborative tools used within companies including web conferencing, wiki’s, webinars, blogs, email, CHAT/IM, videos, etc.

I have observed benefits and challenges with distance learning in the business environment.  Distance learning training allows the company to save significantly on travel expenses when online training opportunities are available.  According to Moller, Foshay, and Huett (2008), “the motivating factors for corporate e-learning are predominantly economic”.  In addition, the distance learning option offers employees with busy schedules flexibility in completing the training at their own pace.  However, there is a need for more effective evaluations and assessments to measure the success of the training including ROI and/or learning outcomes.  According to Moller, Foshay, and Huett (2008),  “evaluation of e-learning is necessary to demonstrate its worth, the need for better and more widely used evaluation models is critical to the future of e-learning”.

It is important for ID professionals who have the required training and background design e-learning modules as opposed to those who do not have the background. According to Huett, Moller, Foshay, and Coleman (2008), ID professionals can “partner with academic researchers to ensure that distance education initiatives truly serve the needs of students.  IDs should determine who should enroll in distance education offerings and promote designs that serve the targeted student population (Huett et al, 2008, p. 64).

The demand for distance learning will continue to grow in the education and business setting.  As and instructional designer, my goal is to improve learning in the business environment.    When designing learning experiences in this environment, I would have to consider the rapidly changing business environments.  Since clients in corporate environments are so diverse, it is important to get an understanding of their different learning styles and needs.  Designing/developing effective online and eLearning training courses is important since distance learning is a growing trend in corporations.  In addition, new methodologies are needed in the ID field that will integrate electronic performance support systems (EPSS), knowledge management (KM), and training components, which will take the new approach to needs assessment and ROI evaluation (Moller, Foshay, & Huett , 2008).

Mind Map of Distance Learning Definition



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. doi:10.1007/s11528-008-0199-9

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. doi:10.1007/s11528-008-0158-5

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson

Distance Learning

Posted: January 10, 2015 in Instructional Design

My name is Farida Muhammad and I live in Acworth, Georgia.  After 20+ years of professional  experience in IT working in various industries including insurance, banking, and telecommunications, I decided to return to school to achieve a M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology at Walden University.  I am looking forward to utilizing the knowledge that I learn from this program to assist me in becoming an instructional designer to improve learning in the business environment.  I am excited to gain more knowledge about Distance Learning since it is becoming more widely used by companies with access to collaborative tools such as web conferencing, wiki’s, webinars, blogs, email, videos, etc.  I look forward to working with everyone in this class.