Computer Based Training Business Interchange Essay, Research Paper
COMPUTER BASED TRAINING (CBT)
Dallas Baptist University
MISM 6330, Section 01
Database Management Systems
Instructor: Mary Braswell, MBA
Mary L. Everitt
19 April 1999
Table of Contents
Computer-based training (CBT) is an all-encompassing term used to describe any computer-delivered training including CD-ROM and the World Wide Web. CBT courseware curriculum development involves the use of integrated multimedia training tools that have taken the lead in developing training courseware. We have always had workplace learning systems. People best learn many tasks and skills at the workplace or very close to the workplace. There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that if people learn a task or a skill at their workplace, they are more likely to transfer that skill to actual work performance. The interfacing between workplace learning systems and corporate learning systems is a critical strategic issue. In today?s corporate environment centered around cost cutting initiatives there is major pressure from corporate management to keep training near the workplace to avoid the high cost of travel. The purpose of this research paper is to examine new CBT technologies available, evaluate the current CBT presentation methods and explore emerging technologies in the CBT business industry.
Computer Based Training (CBT)
Pacing, branching, and interaction are three unique characteristics that multimedia tools bring to education. As costs decrease and the advantages of multimedia are documented, corporations are rapidly adopting this new instructional method. Major benefits to the individual and organization include instructional flexibility, increased retention, decreased instructional costs, improved performance monitoring, and record keeping.
Interactive Distance Learning
Computer Based Training (CBT) Advantages
Corporations agree that training can “…raise productivity, build loyalty, and boost profits” (Henkoff, 1993, p. 62). Traditional corporate instructional methods include on-the-job training, national instruction centers, self-paced in-house video training, workshops, conferences, and manuals. As large organizations further define their instructional strategies they will continue to use a combination of these methods, but they are also introducing multimedia to take advantage of its benefits, both for the individual and for the organization (Oz & White, 1993).
New Employees Don’t Have to Wait for Training
In many organizations a few people are responsible for presenting training to a large number of employees in a variety of situations. These situations include orientation and basic skills for new employees, continuing technical skills training for specialized employees, and non-technical and/or remedial skills or regulatory training. Multimedia methods allow timely training for all employees. For Federal Express, “The greatest benefit [to multimedia training] is time compression…” (Tynan, 1993, p. 43).
Take the Training to the Employee
With the use of networks, notebook computers, and multimedia CD-ROM players, training can be integrated directly into the employee’s work, home, or commuting environment (Caton, 1992; Sony, 1993). “Multimedia allows us to do remedial training at point-of-need for people in all locations” (Bjorling, 1992, p. 6).
Each Employee Gets Personalized Training
Using multimedia authoring software a manager can design training around specific employee requirements. Thus, employees can automatically study material that meets their specific needs. For example, over 10,000 Allstate insurance agents and 15,000 support staff need to understand the legal language of insurance policies and explain it to customers. As needed, agents can study auto, homeowners, or business insurance (ICON Associates, 1992).
Each Organization Gets Personalized Training
The organization can maintain and monitor its instructional standards program. From both a legal and safety perspective, corporate managers are concerned about employees receiving the same training and about the corporation’s documentation of training programs. Computer-managed instruction provides for these needs. “Xerox can guarantee a consistent level of education to its far-flung service personnel…” (Tynan, 1993, p. 42).
Learning Is Self-Paced
Since computer-based training (CBT) is self-paced and flexible, students can skip material they have already mastered and concentrate on material they have not yet learned. Additionally, students can play back materials for review. Students “…develop skills faster and have higher retention rates when they control the training vehicle as they can with CBT” (Janson, 1992, p. 92).
Research, comparing traditional classroom methods with multimedia training, shows the latter to be more effective in helping employees retain information because of the increased relevance of the training. Bethlehem Steel has several multimedia training courses available and has found that employee retention improved 20 to 40% (Interactive video, 1991) when multimedia training is used. A Department of Defense study on multimedia training found that on average retention improved 38% (Ultimedia, 1992).
Materials Can Be Easily Revised
Revision of multimedia programs is easy to accomplish. Once resource materials are obtained, they can quickly be added, deleted, modified, or re-arranged to fit corporate, government, or individual needs. This was an important reason for Hughes Aerospace and Defense to adopt multimedia technology (Tynan, 1993).
Record Keeping Is Facilitated
Since computer-managed instruction can develop and score tests and monitor each student’s performance, the computer takes on some of the more routine record keeping duties. Therefore the instructor has more time to develop course material and provide individualized instruction. BellSouth meets OSHA safety requirements by tracking “…the participation and performance of each employee” (IMC, 1993, p. 7).
Decreased Training Costs
Multimedia training startup costs are high. The initial costs include the acquisition of hardware, authoring software; digital resources such as photos, video, and sound; training of current staff and/or hiring of newly skilled people; adaptation of current training goals and methods; and development of new programs. Maintaining manuals, videos, and other traditional training materials can also be costly. However, the use of multimedia may reduce some of these costs. Once initial training expenditures have been made and values identified, it is the consensus among industry users of multimedia training that interactive multimedia is cost effective. Dow Jones is beginning to realize benefits from their investment, after investing in multimedia training nearly five years ago (Smith, 1993). Steelcase, Inc. “…has reduced cost from $200 per employee per year to only $20 for training its 4,000 employees…” (Oz & White, 1993, p. 36).
Atmos Energy Corporation, a gas utility with headquarters in Dallas, chose computer-based instruction to train employees in time-management and computer applications. The firm eliminated the need to send trainers to its more than 80 locations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Industry is recognizing the cost-effective benefits and accepting multimedia and computer-based instruction. Educational research investigating the use of traditional teaching and multimedia methods in the learning process also supports the use of new technology (Kotlas, 1992; McNeil & Nelson, 1991; Oblinger, 1992). Perhaps the MIS course can also benefit (2).
Computer Based Training (CBT) Emerging Technology
Computer Based Training (CBT) Structure
Technology is affecting the delivery and economics of training, the make-up of training department teams, and the tools available for developing internal training (1).
One major business use for multimedia tools is for training. Computer-based training provides the ability to offer training to individuals on their schedule. I also provides a consistent approach that can be tested and verified for accuracy.
Computer-based training makes it easier to track employee progress to determine which staff need refresher courses and to help in promotion decisions. Because of the flexibility in scheduling, it gives the employees the ability to plan their own education and choose their own direction in the company. All of these benefits can be achieved at lower cost with computer-based than with traditional training methods.
If computer-based training is used by enough people, it can be a cost-effective teaching technique. It can also be expensive and time consuming to create the individual lessons. Because of the costs, computer-based lessons may not be updated as often as conventional handouts and textbooks. Standardized tools used to create the lessons are not yet in place and companies run the risk of creating lessons using hardware and software that may rapidly become obsolete, requiring the project to be discarded or rebuilt from scratch. As the variety and quality of software tools and libraries improve, it will become easier and cheaper to build lessons (8).
Multimedia is primarily associated with the characteristics of sound, music, graphics, animation, and full-motion video. These are the same sights, sounds, color, and motion that we have all become accustomed to through our one-way interaction with television. The unique qualities that set multimedia apart from television and many other methods of communication are its pacing, branching and interaction capabilities (MacNelly, 1993).
Multimedia training allows students to begin at the appropriate learning level and progress at their own rate. The pace of the program can be controlled entirely by the individual or, if required by the organization or external regulations, can be computer controlled. The program can advance rather slowly or more rapidly depending upon the student’s interest and capabilities. A student can begin or end a program at any time or location, and can repeat sections at will or as dictated by the system. One can spend as little as a few minutes focused on a specific task or as long as needed.
A student can determine the order of progression or path through the training program. In addition, one can design the system to branch or change direction automatically based upon the student’s choice(s). Students can skip sections, return later, or follow a path that is particularly relevant to them at the moment. Likewise, the instructor can design educational modules that are especially appropriate for each person or for a specific job description. Branching greatly increases educational options when compared with traditional linear learning methods like books, videos, and lectures.
Perhaps the greatest potential use of computer-assisted multimedia methods is student interaction with a program. The student and the program can actually influence each other in determining outcomes, as well as the next decision point. This interaction can be such that the individual becomes more involved, intellectually and emotionally, in the educational process. Interaction physically takes place between the program and student with keyboards, mouse, joy sticks, touch screens, voice, sound, and wireless pointers. More complex sensory experiences, the future of multimedia, are imminent with 3-D programs and virtual reality systems. Multimedia is becoming so common within the computing industry that new microcomputer systems come complete with sound, CD-ROM drives, and almost enough memory to make them really work. Many types of general purpose software incorporate multimedia characteristics without particularly emphasizing the multimedia concept. The most commonly used types include presentation (Compel), word processing (WordPerfect), database (Oracle), expert system (KnowledgePro), and graphics (Color Wheel). Software developers are adding capabilities to integrate sound, animation, and video to their current products as they market new versions.
A recent survey of 304 information systems executives shows that multimedia is currently being used extensively for training and presentations (Multimedia, now and then, 1993). Predictions for 1995 are that these uses will double. Other significant applications will include multimedia databases and reference materials, desktop video publishing, image-based implementations, voice annotation and desktop video conferencing. Corporations willingly share their successful multimedia experiences. For example: GPU Nuclear Corporation has a four-hour interactive training course including simulations (Stafford, 1994). Fred Myer, Inc. expects to have more than 300 multimedia training modules in its 128 stores by the end of 1993 (Greene, 1994). Chevron U.S.A. has used lectures, slide shows, videos, and hands-on training, along with safety manuals, to train employees on the Federal Department of Transportation safety standards for transportation of hazardous materials. After some initial resistance, which often accompanies change, groups are now requesting new multimedia training tools (Newson, 1992). Holiday Inn Worldwide, Pacific Bell Company and accounting firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche use multimedia training (Francis, 1993). DuPont is purchasing 600 multimedia work stations (Splavec, 1992). Companies as diverse as Alyeska, which manages the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline, The New England, a chartered mutual life insurance company, and IDS Financial Services now integrate multimedia into their training programs (Tynan, 1993).
Estimates are that by 1996 U.S. corporations will spend $302 million training employees, an increase of approximately 800% since 1990 (Tynan, 1993). Much of this increase in training dollars is for multimedia software, hardware and program development.
Web-Based training from all perspectives provides an excellent platform for delivering and tracking training, and as technology advances, will become a preeminent medium for training as well (1).
As the market expands, increasing emphasis will be placed on the instructional design of Web-based training. Successful companies will be those who are most able to maximize the instructional potential of the Web. Looking at lessons learned from the computer-based and CD-ROM-based training market can help new companies and experienced companies with successful new ventures. These lessons include being early to embrace new technology, not underestimating the value of a personal touch, and making sure that technology bells and whistles don’t overwhelm the instructional content.
While technology becomes more sophisticated and necessarily more serviceable, competition will increase. In addition, the buyers of Web-based training will become more sophisticated. A more educated client base with more options will demand better administration and tracking services from its vendors, necessitating the development by vendors of a “total solution.”
Evolution of Technology
The Internet and intranet industry will continue to work toward increased bandwidth and better compression technologies. Chapters 4 and 5 look at those technologies already available, as well as those in preparation for delivery to the market.
Technology is significantly limiting the growth of the market now because of the difficulty of delivering multimedia over the Internet and intranets. The bandwidth problem for audio and video should be eliminated for most organizations between 1999 and 2001.
The Changing Training Department
Corporations are demanding more training for more employees in more places, but without a proportional increase in budget. Technology changes the way training is delivered, but it also changes the way these departments operate. Training professionals will need to know as much about selecting courses and vendors as the current professional knows about delivering stand-up training.
What are the Advantages of Web-Based Training?
Flexibility, Accessibility, Convenience – Users can proceed through a training program “at their own pace and at their own place.” They can also access the training at any time, and only as much as they need – known as “Just in time and just enough.”
Cross platform – Web-based training can be accessed by Web browsing software on any platform: Windows, Mac, UNIX, OS/2, Amiga, etc. You can deliver your training program to any machine over the Internet or intranet without having to author a program for each platform.
Web browser software and Internet connections are widely available – Most computer users have access to a browser, such as Netscape Navigator and are connected to a company’s intranet, and/or have access to the Internet.
Inexpensive worldwide distribution – No separate distribution mechanism is needed. Web-based training can be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world, keeping delivery costs low.
Ease of update – If changes need to be made in the program after the original implementation, they can be made on the server which stores the program and everyone worldwide can instantly access the update. Courses can be designed to access designated current information, such as the latest new product specifications from any other server worldwide for an on-the-fly update whenever anyonthe program is run.
Travel cost and time savings – There are no travel costs for bringing remote employees to a centralized workshop because the Web is available from the desktop. And according to the report “Return on Investment and Multimedia Training” the actual time required for training by computer averages about 50% that of instructor-led training, lowering costs further.
What are the Disadvantages of Web-Based Training?
Bandwidth limitations – Limited bandwidth means slower performance for sound, video, and intensive graphics, causing long waits for download that can affect the ease of the learning process. The problem is greater over the public Internet where more traffic jams occur, and less on a company’s intranet which usually has greater bandwidth. Future technologies will no doubt help to solve this problem.
Are computers replacing human contact? – There’s a general concern that as we move towards more computer usage, a glowing terminal replaces a friendly face. Decreasing instructor-led training makes some trainees uneasy. If this is a concern, consider a gradual introduction of the technology.
Today’s Web-based training programs are too static – As with any emerging technology, the level of interactivity in Web-based training is too-often limited. This is gradually improving, and as it does the impact of the training on performance improves also.
Takes more time and more money to develop than expected – Like any first-time challenge, learning about and implementing new technology takes more resources (and more aspirin) than expected. You can make it easier by starting with a simple program and building on success. Also, remember that the greater portion of costs associated with Web-based training are start-up costs. Programs can be delivered and re-used with fewer costs than with traditional methods.
Not all courses are delivered well by computer – Some training topics are not best served by computer-based training and require a more personal touch. Team building activities and dealing with emotional issues such as downsizing come to mind. Web-based training and other technologies for training are mainly for assisting the learning process and are not for replacing methods that already work well.
What are other related terms for delivering training over a network?
There are other terms for remote access training including Internet-based training, intranet-based training, online training and net-based training.
Internet-based training – any training that can be accessed over the Internet. Usually this is done with the World Wide Web, but e-mail correspondence courses and file transfers also fall into this category.
intranet-based training – training based on a company’s internal network. Web browsers are used to access company pages, but they are only accessible within the company.
online training – an all-encompassing term that refers to any training done with a computer over a network, including a company’s intranet, the company’s local area network, and the Internet.
net-based training – same as online training(1).
Why did you choose to call it Web-based training?
Web-based training and Internet-based training are the two most widely-used and widely-understood terms for this type of training. We conducted a survey of readers of the Multimedia & Internet Training Newsletter as well as the subscribers to our discussion-based mailing list, WEBTRAINING-L to see which term people were using most often. There was no clear first choice and both terms are likely to remain popular. As technology evolves, so does terminology.
What is multimedia training?
Multimedia training is a type of computer-based training that uses two or more media, including text, graphics, animation, audio (sound/music), and video. In practice, multimedia uses as many of these media as is practical to produce a colorful, engaging program delivered via the computer. A typical program allows users to control their progress and pace through the course so everyone can learn at his/her own speed. A catch-phrase that reflects this impact is, “With CBT, we captured their heads; With multimedia we capture their hearts.”
What are some other terms and technologies used for training?
Other technologies include:
Distance learning – in its most common historical form, this refers to a broadcast of a lecture to distant locations, usually through video presentations
Desktop training – any training delivered by computer at one’s desk.
Desktop video conferencing – a real-time conference using live pictures between two or more people on a network who communicate via computer
Interactive training – an umbrella term that includes both computer-based and multimedia training
Computer-assisted instruction – a term used more commonly in education for any instruction where a computer is used as a learning tool
Self-paced training – training which is taken at a time and a pace determined by the user (Hmmm. . . kind of like reading this page, huh?) Used historically for text or audio/video self study courses, the term is used by some organizations now to include computer-based, web-based and multimedia training.
Is this a medium worth investing in?
Yes. More and more information services and programs within organizations are moving to the World Wide Web. The Web can provide the most efficient delivery of information because of its ability to be accessible from anywhere, anytime. and to disseminate a standardized, updatable version to multiple users. Think about this FAQ. We only had to publish it once and store it on our server. If we need to update it, we can just upload another version and you wouldn’t know the difference – if you hadn’t seen the previous version.
With careful attention to instructional design during the development phase, Web training can be a valuable addition to your company’s training and performance support offerings. The future of the Web and Web technologies is long-term and big impact according to all estimates.
What is driving the interest in Web-based training?
New demands in organizations are increasing the interest in Web-based training on a daily basis. The need for less expensive ways to deliver training has led many companies to explore the option of Web-based training. The convenience for users of the programs – at their own pace, at their own place – and the engaging nature of the multimedia delivery are big advantages. The centralized nature of web-delivered training makes the delivery standardized for all users who take the course. Web-based training is often less expensive and more convenient the alternatives. Web-based training is a fascinating new field, which will likely have a vast impact on all professionals in the field. And, well, it’s pretty fun to use and develop for, too.
Where can Web-based training be delivered?
To any computer – anywhere – that can access the Internet or intranet (1).
What hardware is required by the end user?
The basic hardware required for a user to take a Web-based training course is:
A computer fast enough to handle the training program. For Windows computers, a 486 is OK, but Pentium or better is preferred. For Macintosh computers, a 68040-based machine is OK, but a PowerPC is preferred.
A sound card capable of playing back any audio files the training program uses.
A network connection, whether it is a digital line connected directly to the company server, or a modem that can dial in to the Internet. If your training is delivered via the company intranet, for example, your users would not need a separate Internet connection.
What software is required by the end user?
A web browser
Any specialized browser plug-ins or controls that are required by the particular training program, such as to play audio or video files.
Does the end user need the same computer system as the developer?
No. One of the major advantages of Web-based training over other types of computer-based training is cross-platform compatibility. Web browsers can access Web-based training using a language that is platform-independent.
Can you use Web technology on a company’s internal network?
Yes. The same technology used for the Internet exists on many companies’ internal local area network, or intranet. While the public Internet is getting all the publicity in the press, the fastest growing segment of the market for Web browsers and servers are companies’ internal intranets.
What is the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet?
The Internet includes all electronic transmissions, including e-mail, file transfers, and the Web. The Web is just one part of the Internet, but it is the fastest growing, most promising part, especially as training is concerned.
How do you influence decision-makers to use Web-based training vs. traditional training options?
The costs for a Web-based training program are often lower than those associated with instructor-led training. The biggest stumbling block is often the start-up cost for investment in the technology and development time. But the costs associated with delivery are much lower than for traditional methods.
How can you justify investing in Web-based training?
Significant cost savings have a way of catching management’s attention. Lower training costs result from the reduction in time and resources for delivery, including eliminating the costs of traveling to learning centers.
How can management be assured employees are actually completing the program?
Because Web-based training programs are designed to be “at your own pace,” the importance of tracking a student’s progress is a concern. Many programs have administrative features that keep track of where employees are in the course and how well they are doing.
How do you motivate employees to use Web-based training?
Any motivation strategies you use now for other training can be applied to Web-based training. By using a computer, some reward structures can be automated. In addition, the tracking and reporting available with Web-based training allows you to structure rewards and requirements for completion and mastery. Students will often need to be sold on using something new, and sitting at one’s own computer doesn’t match having free donuts and coffee at a workshop.
How do you help your training staff that is used to instructor-led training (ILT) make the transition and embrace Web-based training?
To make the transition easier for trainers as well as students, some organizations combine elements of Web-based training and ILT for some early programs. There are a variety of new roles and career opportunities for those who are willing to adapt to the new technologies.
What kind of a team is necessary to develop Web-based training?
Teams range from just one, very dedicated person who does it all, to project teams of over 40 professionals.
In general, at a minimum, you will need:
a project manager capable of dealing with diverse work styles and personalities
an instructional designer familiar with computer-delivered instruction
a programmer or author to use the authoring tool
a graphic artist
a subject matter expert
a web master for maintaining the program on the server
and, of course, someone who can obtain funding for Web-based training from management
The people you use, naturally, will have either one or a combination of the above skills, or it may be just that one person who can do it all. Do you know someone like that?
How much multimedia is being used now for Web-based training?
Multimedia on the Web is growing in popularity with languages like Java and plug-ins for authoring tools like Shockwave and Neuron making it possible. Bandwidth is the major limitation and right now, the vision and the potential is greater than the reality.
How about multimedia in the future for Web-based training?
Emerging technologies will provide greater bandwidth (i.e., bigger pipes), and greater compression (i.e., lower fat) for delivering audio and video. It is only a matter of a time before multimedia over a company’s network and the Internet is commonplace. In the meantime, Hybrid CDs, also known as Internet CDs, are an alternative in which the program with audio and video are delivered on a CD-ROM, with updates delivered automatically over the Web.
Think of Detroit in the early-to-mid 1900’s when car makers were trying to figure out basic technologies, such as automatic transmissions and 10-cylinder engines. Everyone knew the problems would get solved eventually and just about everyone was working on it. Once someone hits on a good idea, everyone jumps on board.
How do you determine the appropriate level of interactivity and media?
The type and amount of interactivity required varies with the instructional objectives of a program. It is generally not possible for a program to be “too interactive.” However, it is possible for a program to suffer from too many multimedia bells and whistles. They become gratuitous when they don’t contribute to meeting the instructional objectives.
From an instructional designer’s perspective, how is Internet-based training different from multimedia training?
Designing for the Internet presents a special problem. Connection speeds can be slow and downloads can be long due to factors over which trainers often have no control. Until bandwidth improves, design out most of the “fat media” in the program, especially video. Design in interactivity, discussion, and access to other resources that are part of the benefits of training on line.
From a student perspective, how is Web-based training different from CD-ROM based training?
CD-ROM-based training programs usually have their own unique interface. Web-based training requires a Web browser, so the basic navigation scheme is usually familiar to the student. Students who will be receiving Web-based training should be familiar with how to use a browser. In general, the student should see little difference in the actual training once it has been accessed. If the training is over an intranet, the difference is not very noticeable, but over the Internet, the connection speeds and download times are often much slower than CD-ROMs.
More and more, CD-ROM and the Web are being seen not as two different methods, but as two parts of the same method – content delivery. CD-ROM is useful for intensive media and the Web is useful for information distribution. Combine the two and you have a real solution.
Do I need a learning assistant or facilitator like Microsoft’s Online Learning Institute (MOLI) has as a part of the learning process?
An assistant or facilitator available online can be helpful but your training can be designed without them. An assistant on line can help handle customer service issues or technical problems. A facilitator can help with content issues and can guide discussions. Web-based training -especially within an organization – is usually designed to be a stand-alone process to be taken at any time of the day or night. Even in the latter case, having e-mail access to a webmaster, course manager, or content expert can be helpful.
Can an existing CBT be converted into a Web-based training?
The major authoring tools (described in a later chapter) allow you to create both a stand-alone version of the program, and a Web version of the program. Depending on which authoring tool you use to create a pre-existing CBT program, you may be able to convert most of it for delivery over the Web.
What special programming languages do you have to know to create programs for the Web?
Although you need to be somewhat savvy in all things Web-ish, there are no complicated programming languages you need to learn. In general, you should be familiar with HTML, although this is not required if you are using one of the high-level HTML editors, such as Microsoft’s FrontPage which allows you to create Web pages without knowing HTML. The major authoring programs are nearly the same whether you are developing for CD-ROM or the Web. There are also “object oriented” visual tools for programming with Java, such as Aimtech’s Jamba and Symantec’s Visual Cafe.
How much technical information do I need to know about specific Web languages, like Java?
Java is a programming language that allows the developer to create small applications called applets that control specific aspects of a Web-based training program, such as creating interactive animations. Shockwave is a plug-in for programs developed with Macromedia’s Authorware so these programs can be viewed with a Web browser over the Web. There is also the Neuron plug-in, which allows ToolBook II applications to be viewed with a Web browser. You should be aware of what Java is capable of, although the specifics of programming a Java applet are not necessary if you use the right authoring tool. Or send one of your staff off to authoring school.
What is Adobe Acrobat? Do I need to use it?
Acrobat is used when existing documents need to be displayed on screen or downloaded in the same format as they appear on paper. Acrobat saves the graphics and font files along with the text of the document so that it always looks exactly the same on the screen no matter where or how it is viewed. Government agencies use Acrobat for electronic versions of reports and papers because they need to make references to specific page numbers. You can use Acrobat to reproduce existing company documents if they need to look the same on the screen as they do on the page. An Acrobat file can also have hyperlinks within and between documents. Be aware that HTML has similar functionality and is often easier to use.
What about the overall impact of the Internet?
Someone pretty bright put it well: “The Internet is being overhyped but underestimated.” The Internet will change everything.
Should the training be interactive on the Web or should it be downloaded and used off-line?
It depends on the type of training and administration that you are after. Real-time administration, as the user is taking the course, can be achieved while the user is online. Off-line programs can be set up to send completion information and test scores at the end of the course, and, if necessary, download another portion of the course. But if a student is taking a course off-line, he or she may not be aware of any updates to the program that may occur while the course is in progress. If the online course requires a change or update of some part of the data or coding, the student is not disrupted, and does not have to initiate another download of the entire course.
Where is the water cooler?
Down the corridor on the right. Just past the cubicle with all the Dilbert cartoons.
What kinds of authoring systems are available for Web-based training?
Authorware, ToolBook II, IconAuthor, Quest, IBTAuthor, CBIQuick, and many others are currently available, most with training components built in. If you want to start with a simple program, an HTML editor or Web page layout program like Netscape Navigator Gold, Microsoft FrontPage, Claris Home Page or Asymetrix Web Publisher may be all you need.
How fast a connection is needed to access Web-based training effectively?
If your program utilizes video, animation, and audio, the connection should be as fast as possible. For home office users, this means ISDN or 33.6Kbps & 56Kbps modems. If the training utilizes limited graphics and no audio or video, then a minimal connection via a 14.4 modem should be adequate.
What is bandwidth?
The actual speed available at the time of the transmission. The more users are on a network, the less bandwidth available for that transmission.
How can I calculate how fast my program will be delivered over a network?
It is difficult to calculate actual speeds because bandwidth varies so often. One second, your training might be delivered at 6.5Kbps, the next it may be 1 or 2 Kbps or even less. In general, your files are calculated in bytes (MB, KB, etc.) and bandwidth is measured in bits (Mb, Kb, etc.). To determine how many bits your program is, multiply the number of bytes by 8. A program that takes up 4 megabytes of space takes up 32 megabits. If your connection speed is 2Mbps (Megabits per second), this file would take 16 seconds to download. Alternatively, over an Internet connection of 33.6Kbps (.336 Mbps) your 32 Mb training would take about 96 seconds. All this is assuming ideal conditions. And, of course, conditions are always less than ideal.
Do you need a Web server to provide Internet-based training?
A Web server is needed to have the training available to others. The options are a server maintained by your department or information technology (IT) department, or a public Internet service provider (ISP).
Once a course is developed, how do you get it on the Internet or intranet?
Most of the time it is just a matter of placing your program and its accompanying files on your server, then testing to ensure it works properly. Ask your network administrator, Webmaster or ISP provider how to upload the files the Web site. After that it is a matter of marketing.
How can you charge for courses over the Internet?
The most utilized method is to have the users pay up front by credit card, then give them a password that lets them into the program once payment has been made. Security for taking payment over the Internet is relatively good. For internal programs over an intranet, course registration software can automate chargebacks to the purchasing department.
What about security? I’ve heard about viruses, hackers, etc.
Your company’s intranet should be protected from hacker intrusions from the public Internet by a firewall. Your IT department or network administrator can recommend virus protection software. While these problems exists and make big news in the media, the percentage of incidents is quite small and should not deter your work deploying Web-based training.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a hardware and/or software security measure taken by companies with internal intranets to keep out unwanted transmissions or visitors from the Internet. An effective firewall will keep out hackers, casual users, and accidental queries while allowing access to legitimate users of the company’s intranet from a remote location. Some firewalls limit the ability of employees within the company to download files from the Internet to keep out viruses.
Interactive Distance Learning and real-time multimedia
Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) technology allows for simultaneous, interactive instruction of student groups at up to four locations by providing high-quality video, audio and data communications. IDL is popular and effective because it emulates the traditional classroom experience. Students ask questions, watch other students on video monitors, and receive responses from their teacher and other students in real time (6).
Interactive instruction offers a solution for minimizing training time without sacrificing desired training outcomes. Those organizations that use interactive instruction report reductions in training time when compared to the traditional instructor-led approach for instruction delivery. This reduction in instructional time is typically in the range of 20-75%.
The ability of interactive training to save employee time decreases training costs and permits organizations to redeploy the time of its employees to activities useful to the organization(1).
Consider the potential benefits of these advanced distance training technologies. Your inability to understand or deliver advanced training capabilities will compromise your organizationrs success and maybe the outlook for your own career. You’ll need a systematic approach to their introductions or you’ll risk the propagation of ineffective use. Successful introductions of technology are measured by the degree to which users adapt and own its introduction and implementation. This begins with your own understanding. In the next article we’ll look at direct broadcast satellite in detail. We’ll examine an actual field implementation at other companies.
Computer Based Training (CBT) Challenges
The purposes of this paper were to examine unique characteristics multimedia brings to the educational experience; to explore ways industry is using multimedia for training purposes; to review benefits industry has discovered through experience; and finally, to consider multimedia technology as a method for presenting the junior level MIS course.
Multimedia, as an instructional tool, is finding its way into higher education. Solomon (1994, p. 81) “… explores the factors that have inhibited widespread use of multimedia…[in]…higher education as well as the factors that are necessary to allow multimedia to thrive.” Sammons (1994) specifically studied the deterrents university faculty have in adopting multimedia teaching methods and recommends strategies for overcoming these problems.
EMERGING PC TRAINING TECHNOLOGIES
The rate of information doubling is every five years. Toffler (1970) describes the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change. Generally speaking we are approaching and have probably exceeded our ability to make use of all the given information presented to us in a day. Because the amount of information and the ease of its distribution have increased, employees now receive an overwhelming volume of context-free information, mail memos, reports, periodicals, books, manuals, classroom training, and much more.
Employees learn most effectively in the context of a meaningful work environment. Research indicates that 80% of all job skills are leamed on the job (Malcom 1993). Today, on the job means at the PC. Yet we continue to focus all our energy on improving formal training programs while we barely influence the 80 percent of learning that always has occurred – on the job (Malcom 1993). Paradoxically, 80% of training resources are expended on the 20% of learning that occurs in the classroom or similar environment.
Instructional design is the systematic way of designing, carrying out, and evaluating the total process of learning in terms of specific objectives, based on research in human learning and communication. (Gagne, 1990) There are proven methodologies that illustrate how several types of communications media, including the PC, can be combined in various ways to mediate the flow of information between instructor/technology and recipient.
The exponential growth and commercialization of the Internet presents numerous opportunities as well as challenges :
· Information access
With the development of the World Wide Web, a global distributed information system, accessible information across the Internet has multiplied (In today’s world, this could mean high speed connection between intranets).
· Information distribution
With an estimated 30 million users and 200,000 connected networks world wide, the Intemet is becoming a mainstream public as well as corporate network. (Intemet World, 1995) The ability to use this system for training will only get better as we develop technology that assures available bandwidth reservation.
· Intercompany integration
With new business models that demand outsourcing, ‘just in time” everything, and virtual organizations, integration across organization boundaries by leveraging the Intranet and Internet can improve intercompany productivity.
With the adoption of universal conferencing standards, advanced digital compression and more powerful desktop computers, it is only a matter of time before the WWW and Intranet becomes a tool for direct audio and video communication.
· Cost effective
According to a recent research study, the average corporate investment in proprietary network implementations is $245,000, with an average payback period of more than two years. 80% of the respondents to this study targeted a single groupware application. A groupware application is characterized by the enabling role it plays in employee collaboration of documents and communication over the network. On the other hand, WWW applications can be fully developed and deployed for $10K or less. (Source: International Data Corporation).
The development of the WWW/lntemet and relatively new focus on the Intranet, leave us with possibilities limited only by the extent to which we are willing to use our imaginations. Since the National Science Foundation gave up control of the Information Superhighway in late 1994, permitting commercial applications on the Intemet for the first time, technology development can only be described as exponential.
It is clear that the Web and Intranet can be used as an educationalnraining aide, providing available information in moments. And, because it is free of many of the bandwidth problems slowing aspects of WWW/lnternet development, some useful training applications will be available on the Intranet before they are generally ready on the Web.
The advent of Java and the assimilation client side execution languages like VB and Java Scripting are permitting a high degree of immediate interactivity, today. Objective testing and tracking can now be accomplished over the web.
In 1997 Corporate I.T. networks will enable us to use the company’s existing PC network to connect with other organizations – from desktop to desktop simultaneously training any number of cc-workers. This is facilitated by the transition to 100MB ethemet networks from 10MB ethernet networks. The Ethernet network is a system originally developed by Xerox, Intel, and Digital Equipment Corporation in the early 1980s. Many PC workstations are connected using an ethernet cable. A special network operating system manages traffic over the cable for the workstation. The significance in the 100MB ethemet network is in its ability to carry streaming video and audio without impact to other users on the network, where this would be othennrise impossible with a 10MB ethernet network.
In an Ethemet networked video conferencing solution the audience can see, hear and view material all at once. Participants submit written questions, which appear on the screens of all trainees, or request to speak directly with the instnrctor. Attendance records can also be maintained.
This will enable a training organization to meet higher demands with fewer resources. Cover more bases with less interruption to the workday. Instant connections will enable your corporation to conduct management seminars, benefits presentations or Q & A sessions from an office cubicle. And, we’ll be able to deliver live and pre-recorded training sessions to people across campus sites – simultaneously. And because we’ll be able to incorporate training into regular work schedules where work is done at the PC, we can relay new or time-sensitive information, work together in groups and conduct seminars more frequently – without increasing staff or budgets.
New products such as multipoint to mulitipoint videoconferencing are evolving into the market now. With these products your employees will be able to hold a multipoint to multipoint videoconferencing and share documents in a shared whiteboard space using standard ISDN.
ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network, is often evangelized as the telecommunications network of the future bringing digital (as opposed to analog) signals into the home or office. ISDN can provide 64 to 128 Kbits/sec of digital data. Compare this to typical modem rates of 28.8 Kbits/sec.
Many new video conferencing technologies use ISDN. With this exciting technology people in a variety of distant locations will be able to confer and share applications such as Excel or Word. The video quality delivered is excellent at video speeds of 15 frames per second (FPS), compared to theater movies at 28 FPS, and n/ 30 FPS. The use of Multipoint Controller Units (MCU) will allow’continuous presence’ calls with dozens of video enabled PCs. Each person is equipped with full interactivity on a shared ‘whiteboard” space. The MCU capability will be brought to us by the telecommunications carders AT&T, Sprint or MCI. Scheduling a multipoint video conference will be as easy as scheduling a teleconference today.
With the coming conferencing capabilities, look for Active X video and audio conferencing in the fall of 1996, using H323 for real-time web communication without high bandwidth requirements. Long distance contact and application sharing will be commonplace. Trainers and teachers will be able to deliver product real time, from long distances and get immediate true assessment of their teaching effectiveness. This will be most effective outside the formal classroom setting, where asynchronous training philosophy dominates, as a supplement- i.e. teacher student conferences.
Before the beginning of 1997, the Web/lntranet will be much more than its present status as more a ‘display’ medium for research and training aides. It will be a fantastic altemative for actual delivery of Rich Multimedia Content (RMC), effectively supplementing more focused delivery media like multipoint videoconferencing and interactive television, which will continue to be the best alternatives for planned presentation of classroom content.
Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS).
DBS is a one-way broadcast network offering information and video delivery to IBM compatible PCs. DBS uses a full Ku-band transponder on a satellite to provide 12 Mbps digital broadcast channel. 12 Mbps or 12 Megabits per second transmission is equivalent to 30,000 time faster transmission than your 28.8 kilobits per second modem!
A transponder is analogous to an antenna. Ku-band transponders are high powered digital broadcast antennas on the satellite. Ku-band differ from C-band transponders, lower powered analog broadcast antennas on older satellites. New Data Encryption Standards (DES) and certification systems enable authentication of broadcast recipients. In simple terms, this conditional access capability ensures that a receiver PC may only access data that it is authorized to receive.
While old C-band transponders require 1.2 meter dishes or larger, Ku-band transponders require much smaller dishes because their signals reach closer to the earth and therefore require a smaller receiving “footprint” or dish. Today’s Ku-band-ready dishes are as small as 18″ to 24″. Hughes Network Systems pioneered this technology in 1995 and introduced the now familiar DirecTV system as an alternative to traditional cable TV programming. The DirecT/ dishes are 18″ and cost as little as $600.00. Soon every PC owner will be able to own their own satellite dish. They will watch N quality video at their PC and surf the intemet at blinding speed. Examination of DBS is key to understanding the enabling role it can play in delivering distance learning to the desktop.
Today DBS is an ideal medium for Interactive television. Interactive Television (INJ is a satellite based one-way, point-to-multipoint live video broadcast service. It transmits a television quality signal to any number of remote classroom locations. Classrooms can be equipped with keypads connected to dedicated phone lines. Participants view the program on standard TV sets at remote classroom sites, equipped with individual keypads, allowing participants to ask and respond to questions and offer comments during live broadcast.
Over the course of the next 12 months the technology will evolve such that ITV be delivered to the desktop PC. in this implementation a satellite dish connects to the PC via a standard coaxial cable. The cable in tum powers the dish. The cable connects to the PC through a standard PC TV tuner card that can be purchased at the local computer store for under $100. The student will interact with the broadcast facility through keypad emulation software residing on the intemet.
Teletraining is an integrated system for the planning, design and delivery of live and stored audio/video to a student. An’on demand” system interacts with and queries a database of video indexes on a server and plays back stored video broadcasts as opposed to live broadcasts.
For example, Joe, our new hire can dial into an intemet server populated with corporate videos of sales orientations, stockholders meetings, company archives, and more. Joe requests the server to transmit the sales orientation video to the small satellite dish connected to his PC.
IMPLICATIONS TO TRAINING COSTS
A small dish satellite solution will significantly reduce training and travel time; and travel, hotel, instructor, postage, printing, and other expenses associated with live 1:1 instruction are practically eliminated. For example, instead of sending an army of marketeers on the road to demonstrate the company’s latest products, the product demo can be taped or broadcast live to a number of remote classrooms, hotel sites, or corporate networks connected to PCs and equipped with a DBS dish. There is only the one time development cost, and the cost of deployment decreases the cost per recipient with each broadcast of the same marketing material.
IMPLICATIONS TO IT ORGANIZATIONS
satellite services can supplement or even extend our terrestrial-based services to give companies a competitive edge. Because it reduces cost, while increasing system availability satellite technology is a valuable business tool.
In future articles we’ll thoroughly examine small dish interactive television implementations, its purpose, its service, architecture, technical specifications and key benefits. The intention is not only to examine the solution architecture but elicit some forethought and insight as to the many possible benefits derived from integrating small dish satellite into current training activities. The aim is to demonstrate a correlation between the small dish business model and the requirements to deliver communication, training, and information through it – anytime, anywheRe!
For further reference check out ATT’s homepage at http://www.att.com
Future-state designs now must encompass learning systems at a number of different levels. The corporate level or the centralized learning center is only one version. Workplace learning systems of various varieties are equally as important, and networked learning systems via networked information technology are a must.
The Role of Technology
No modern T&D strategy is complete if the future-state design does not create a specific role for information technology and training delivery technology. Most training organizations today do not have consistent information technology linking them together across an organization, nor do they have common delivery technology platforms that enable easy transit of learningware across the business.
Benchmarking or best practices visits can be a very powerful tool in developing a T&D strategy, particularly if executive sponsors are personally involved. It can be particularly powerful if executive sponsors lack a rudimentary understanding of what the role of T&D is in a modern corporation and what a world-class training system looks like. The drawback to including benchmarking or best practices visits in a strategy project is the lengthening effect that it typically has on the project schedule, since getting executives calendars together in both the host company and the company doing the strategy project can be a logistical nightmare. Our general recommendation is to conduct benchmarking and best practices visits as a matter of routine, and then incorporate the results of those into the strategy project when that strategy project is done.
Planning to spend the time to do the necessary communications during and after the strategy formulation is a very important issue for the strategy project. If a T&D strategy results in a significant departure from the way T&D is organized or conducted today, a great many people will require communications regarding the proposed future state. Many of these will be important stakeholders that must be briefed in person and should not be briefed via memos, E-mail, company news articles, and so forth.
Case Study: Intel Corporation
Intel designs, manufactures and markets microprocessors. The Logistics Systems training group previously offered traditional classroom instruction for learning new applications. The group decided to begin providing embedded training in the applications themselves, thus eliminating the need for training. Comparison of hours off the job for training on the LEUCIE Project at Intel Corporation showed traditional classroom training would have required up to 12 hours, while embedded CBT training required up to 2 hours.
Background of the Company
Intel Corporation is the world’s largest supplier of microprocessors for use in personal computers. The logistics department at Intel consists of 800 people worldwide responsible for coordinating the movement of materials and supplies in and out of the company.
Purpose of the Training Project
The Logistics Education and Performance Support Team at Intel is responsible for providing training on new software applications. While the group historically provided traditional classroom training for new programs, the group now provides embedded training in the applications themselves. Users of the new applications can click on an icon to bring up a training module which provides instruction that is designed as just-in-time and just-enough for the task at hand. Rod Ibieta, manager of the Logistics Education and Performance Support Team, reported that development required working closely with the software programmers to have the training modules appear seamless to the user.
The LEUCIE project (Logistics End User Computing Information Enabler) is a new report generating application. Development involved three instructional designers working with the software development team to provide ideas for the user interface design and content. The resulting Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) included traditional online help, Step-by-Step Cards (on-screen instruction windows that stay resident on top of the application while enabling the user to still interact with the software), and simulations of the software (mini-training modules).
Hardware and Software
The program runs on Intel-based PCs. The training program / electronic performance support system (EPSS) was developed using Macromedia’s Authorware Professional.
Intel has replaced the estimated 8 to 12 hours of classroom training typical for such an application with 1 to 2 hours needed to complete the embedded training modules. The program managers report that in addition to the time savings, there has been an increase in accuracy. Their project report quotes Gloria Gery as saying research shows classroom training on software results in 78% average accuracy, versus 98% average accuracy with embedded training built into an electronic performance support system. The project report (Smiley, 1994) provided the following information:
“Providing a comprehensive performance support system eliminated the need for any classroom training. A course on how to use LEUCIE would have been 8 to 12 hours, so the team estimated saving a day of the users’ time. In addition, the users benefit from having the simulations and other PSS elements available at their desktop, and can access these tools whenever necessary. Since the LEUCIE application is being implemented worldwide, users have 24-hour access to the training and support information regardless of their location or work schedule. Use of the LEUCIE PSS is being tracked automatically through the networks it is installed on. Markers in the LEUCIE software count whenever a user accesses one of the PSS tools. User reaction to the PSS is being tracked via a survey following their initial use (1).”
http://www.gise.org/JIGE/Voll-5/CORPORAT.htm, Corporate Multimedia and the MIS Course.
http://www.ozemail.com.au/~visible/papers/CBT.html#Prices, CBT Prices.
http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/content/pcwk/1435/pcwk0108.htm, Training Companies.
http://itta.org/news.htm/trainingnet.com, Trends in Training & Development.
http://www.brandonhall.com/newsletter.html, Brandonhall Training Home Page.
http://www.newbridge.com, Interactive Distance Learning.
ISP: The Internet Connection (TICNET), Dallas, TX.
Hardware Configuration: Compaq Presario 5020 System, Compaq MV500 17? Monitor with Compaq IJ700 Printer.
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