Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

For this week’s Blog Assignment, I decided to evaluate Example 3:

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.

In this situation, an Instructional Designer needs to consider not only the goals of the program, but audience characteristics and needs before attempting to address this issue.  For example, an ID should consider the wide range of the learners’ schedules.  Based on this information, I believe that a traditional “face-to-face” teaching system should be disregarded.  Workers need to access this information when the time allows. In our text, Simonson states in the Equivalency Theory, learners need to be given a comparable learning experience to those of traditional learning, but it should not be identical (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009). For this reason, I believe that the online training could consist of video podcasts and a correlating CMS website. “Web-supported instruction allows instructors to capture class activities and archive both process and product, enabling access to course content beyond the timeframe of the course; expands opportunities for students to contribute through use of asynchronous communication tools; is readily accessible and amenable to all schedules; and encourages active learning.” (Dabbagh, N., 2002).

In order to demonstrate the step-by-step processes on how to safely operate pieces of heavy machinery on the plant floor, a series of video modules would be the best way to highlight safety problems in the workplace.  The video would show actual workers in simulation situations demonstrating common safety problems and the proper behavior during these potential dangerous situations.  The video would be divided up into sections, based on the piece of machinery that the worker needed to view.  The videos could be in DVD format or supported in an online environment, such as a YouTube channel.   For example, the FAA has a series of modules online for new employees describing their role “as part of the FAA and the pursuit of excellence in safety and operations (Atoleadingedge, 2009).”  Learners would be encouraged to subscribe to the YouTube channel, so they can be notified of any additional safety updates.

As a supplement to the video, a company safety training CMS could be developed such as one found on Edu 2.0.  This website will have a portable document format (PDF) of the transcripts of the video, an additional PowerPoint further explaining the safety video and an online quiz over the material.Oklahoma State University uses a similar system on a common website.

The reason I believe that a course management system should be used is because it would be easier for the learner to submit questions and their quizzes to the facilitator.  Also, the facilitator could monitor and document how much time the employee was online, studying the material.

Working alone or in conjunction with one another, these distance learning technologies could really improve and address the safety concerns of this manufacturing plant.  Due to the interactive nature, workers would be engaged and invested in their own learning.

Atoleadingedge. (2009). Leading Edge 2.0: Making the Connection. Retrieved September 24, 2011 from

Dabbagh, N. (2002). Using a web-based course management tool to support face-to-face instruction. Retrieved on November 21, 2010 from:

Federal Aviation Administration (Creator). Atoleadingedge (Poster). (2009, May). Connecting with safety [Video] Retired from

Oklahoma State University. (2011), EHS Online Safety Training. Retrieved September 24, 2011 from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, M


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