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Context and Project Description
One of the assignments in this course was to investigate the importance and application of technology as an instructional and learning tool for distance education. We were required to develop and present a demonstration of a particular technology as applied in distance learning. My technology of choice for the demonstration was UDUTU, a free web-based course authoring tool. I was creating an online learning center for a real estate developer client at that time for use by their sales people worldwide and found UDUTU’s simple and user-friendly features to be the appropriate tool to use in converting their classroom training courses into elearning modules.
How The Artifact Demonstrates The Standard
I used the classroom module Process and Behavioral Training as my example for this project. The original module consisted of 126 pages of PowerPoint slides. For the online version, I designed two main modules with at least 2 lessons each using instructional design criteria learned from EDTEC 544. I incorporated static and interactive media as appropriate. Images and graphics were edited using Adobe Photoshop. Pinnacle Studio Plus was used to edit the video and I used Audacity for audio editing. For assessment and progress tracking, I created quizzes and scenario-based video exercises using UDUTU’s built-in interactive learning features. A document processing simulation created with Adobe Captivate was also included. The final product was converted into web format and launched on the company’s online training website.
Challenges and Opportunities
UDUTU allowed me to create lessons as reusable learning objects, making courses ready for the company’s instructors and designers to edit and adapt without having to rewrite new training modules all the time. Although the seamless integration of rich media made it easier to design training modules even for those without extensive technical training, it also allowed for one to get overboard in using them. Collaboration with subject matter experts and progress reports to stakeholders were almost effortless and frustration-free because courses can be authored and accessed anywhere, anytime with just a browser.
What I Learned
There is no question that technology plays an important role as an instructional tool for distance education. However, knowing and understanding technology is not enough to create an effective online training solution. It is equally important (if not more so) to have sound instructional design criteria. Combined with technology-enhanced strategies, one can create an online solution that will encourage and facilitate collaborative learning.
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