Collaborative Training Environment

This blog post addresses the training solution for a newly purchased information system in a major corporation. The learners are located in different locations and cannot meet at the same time. The staff needs to share information in the form of screen captures and documents; in addition, they are required to participate in ongoing collaboration. To fulfill these needs, the instructional designer is utilizing technology tools, which enable collaboration and document sharing through an asynchronous learning environment.

Google Docs

Google Docs

GOOGLE DOCS

One of the powerful Web 2.0 tools in document sharing is Google Docs; it enables learners to save documents online; the document could be shared by selecting the “Share” feature which generates a unique web link that could be sent via email to the learners (Kostina, 2012). Google Docs includes spreadsheets, presentations, documents, and forms; participants can either edit content or just view the final documents (O Broin & Raftery, 2011). The documents could be saved as PDF or shared as a web page for everyone to view (O Broin & Raftery, 2011). In addition to sharing a document, learners could open the link and collaboratively work on the same document to modify and add information (Kostina, 2012). Participants can work synchronously and asynchronously on these documents.

One of the very effective learning strategies is project-based learning; for example, participants in the training program could work together to provide solutions to case studies and/or present findings. Through Google Docs, participants could create schedules using the spread sheets feature, edit presentations and share documents related to their training. In addition, it is easy to share screen shots and images in the online shared document.

Drawings and Charts in Google Docs

Drawings and Charts in Google Docs

Through a case study, O Broin and Raftery (2011) concluded that participants found Google Docs very useful in their project-based tasks as they were able to work remotely on a document from various locations. Furthermore, once instructors are granted an access to the shared document they could provide instant feedback through inserting comments; in addition, they can review the history of revisions and flag any lack of participation (O Broin & Raftery, 2011). In a training program, facilitators then can recognize the needs and could motivate the learners to participate and direct them to proper resources.

WIKIS

Wikis is another collaborative tool that could enable participants to compile information into a shared online website (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). Wiki platforms are provided through course management systems which could be a tool to enhance the learners’ interaction in online learning courses. In addition, there are many wiki providers like Wikispaces ; here are some examples of educational wikis.

As the learners are separated by location and time; and there is no shared physical workplace, conversations can accrue among the users of the wiki as they view the same content and engage in conversations that could motivate them through their professional development training (Lightle, 2010). Through wikis, participants can create and edit instant web pages and embed screen shots, list challenges and share their experiences (Lightle, 2010) related to the training. The final product site is a collection of challenges, experiences and suggestions that all learners could refer to when needed throughout the training.

Wikis

Wikis

In a project supported by the University of Wisconsin-Madison through the Technology-Enhanced collaborative group work project, DeGrace (n.d.) explained that wikis brought the class together. Moreover, it enabled them to understand the various elements of the course and helped them in keeping track of what they are doing and what everyone else in the course is doing (DeGrace, n.d.), here is an overview of the project.

To build an online professional network, the Middle School Portal 2 (MSP2) group used wikis to embed live feeds from various website which provided learners with up-to-date information from various resources; all are collected in a page of wiki (Lightle, 2010). In addition, learners can get notification through email when there are new contents posted to the wiki.

Using a new staff automated information system could be challenging; employees may lose interest and motivation in completing online learning. Technology tools could provide a sense of community and provide support to enhance the learning experience. It is the responsibility of the instructional designer to understand the learners’ needs and provide venues for them to collaborate, share experiences, ask questions and continue learning.

References:

DeGrace, K. (n.d.). Awardees’ stories about using group assignments. Retrieved from http://engage.wisc.edu/collaboration/stories/#3

Kostina, M. (2012, June 13). 10 free, must have web 2.0 tools for your teaching & training needs [Blog message]. Retrieved from http://effectiveonlineteaching.org/2012/06/13/10-free-must-have-web-2-0-tools-for-your-teaching-training-needs/

Lightle, K. (2010). Using social media to build an online professional learning network of middle level educators. Knowledge Quest, 39(2), 48–53.

O Broin, D., & Raftery, D. (2011). Using Google Docs to support project-based learning. All Irlend Journal for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 3(1), 1-11.

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

[Untitled image of multiple documents in Google docs]. Retrieved September 23, 2012 from http://www.google.com/google-d-s/b1.html

[Untitled image of drawings and charts created in Google Docs]. Retrieved September 23, 2012 from http://sixrevisions.com/project-management/6-tips-to-help-you-get-the-most-out-of-google-docs/

[Untitled image of characters standing on puzzle pieces]. Retrieved September 23, 2012 from http://driscoll-class.wikispaces.com/Wikis+in+Education

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