Friday, March 16, 2012

case study ...

With all of the tools available to an instructional designer, it is important to think about how each can be applied to different scenarios. Let’s consider a scenario.
scenario ... 
In an effort to improve its poor safety record, a biodiesel manufacturing plant needs a series of safety training modules. These stand-alone modules must illustrate best practices on how to safely operate the many pieces of heavy machinery on the plant floor. The modules should involve step-by-step processes and the method of delivery needs to be available to all shifts at the plant. As well, the shift supervisors want to be sure the employees are engaged and can demonstrate their learning from the modules.
needs ...
The manufacturing plant must first create the learning modules to instruct on safety. The modules should contain evaluation pieces to ensure they understand the key components. They also need a way to distribute the modules to their employees so that the employees can have access at any time. There should be a way to track when employees complete modules as well as how they score on them.
solution ...
"The key to success in an online classroom is not which technologies are used, but how they are used and what information is communicated using the technologies" (Simonson, et al, 2012, p. 115). Utilizing a Learning Management System (LMS) is a great way to address this scenario. An LMS is “a software application that automates the administration, tracking, and reporting of classroom and online training events, enabling detailed analysis of the effectiveness of your training investment” (Moran). An example of an LMS is Canvas made by Instructure. This LMS has features that allow the creation and storage of courses (so that employees can access them at any time), the creation of quizzes and tests (to evaluate an employees understanding of the course work), and tracking of grades through gradebooks and reports. It is stored online, so employees can access the courses at any time. 
An LMS also allows for storage of documents. While this is not directly called out in the scenario, safety manuals could be stored in the LMS for centralized storage and easy access.

An LMS with distinct modules also provides a layered availability. While an important new employee training tool, "real world experience provide(s) the foundation for learning" (Simonson, et al, 2012, p. 92). As new employees gain additional hands on experience, there may need to be a return to the courses to re-learn and/or expand the foundational knowledge that was built. Having the modules in an LMS that an employee can access at any time allows for greater continued knowledge growth.
has it worked for others?
This scenario is very similar to a project Virtualis Media Group worked on for a client. In this case, they used the LMS Moodle. The LMS “was used so that asynchronous course modules could be easily designed” (VMG). This approach was successful. It created a stock of courses that new employees could learn from and employees with violations could access resulting in “less violations and injuries in the workplace” (VMG).
Goodrich Aviation Technical Services also had success with an LMS. Utlizing a pre-packaged product by Boeing called BOLD (Boeing On-Line Delivery), the company found the transition productive and successful, specifically in the area of manuals pointing out that “since BOLD is issued through a central server, it is easy to ensure employees have access to the latest revision of each manual” (Nelson, p. 1).
Instructure. Canvas.
Moran, J. “Mission: Buy an LMS.” ASTD. Retrieved from
Nelson, N. Evaluation of broadband applications to aircraft maintenance safety: A case study of Goodrich Aviation Technical Services. Retrieved March 14, 2012 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.
Virtualis Media Group. “VMG Provides Local Cooperative Learning Program with e-Learning Solution for Employee Safety Training.” Retrieved March 14, 2012 from