The Ripple Effect
At Blackboard World this year, I spoke with training professionals from institutions around the world. One of the biggest challenges shared by all: getting faculty engaged in—and of course, completing— training.
I heard the frustration from instructional designers and professional trainers about how they invest significant time in designing training to increase instructors’ proficiency with developing online and hybrid courses. And yet, despite these “free” internal resources, some instructors simply don’t take advantage of them, and others may never complete the courses they do start.
We all know instructors’ ability to create engaging and exemplary online/hybrid courses is critical to the success of an online learning program. As the demand for online courses grows, whether by virtue of being part of your institution’s growth strategy, or due to increased learner demand, faculty must be ready and able to make the shift. The effects of poorly executed online sections can have a ripple effect—from impacting the academic success of students (and ultimately, retention) to influencing an institution’s brand reputation as a result of “poor reviews” via social media outlets.
Never has faculty adoption and proficiency with online learning been more critical.
Cast a New Stone
I believe that institutions can partner with outside resources to increase faculty participation in training. By working together, you can complement your institution’s internal training organization—and kick-start your efforts.
There are several compelling benefits to working with an outside training provider:
- It increases the perceived value of training. With outside training, there are perceived costs; these costs may not be as obvious when delivered by internal instructional designers. Faculty want the institution to get their money’s worth, and may feel more obligated to complete training with a “paid vendor.”
- The “expert” label may carry a certain level of prestige. When an outside vendor is engaged, faculty members are likely to view these trainers as the “experts” on the product. This leads to greater participation by faculty if they believe they have a limited window of time—namely, a scheduled training session— to learn from and access these experts. By getting the ball rolling with faculty, you’ll help them build the confidence they need to try new things—which in turn will lead to more engagement with your internal organization’s ongoing training initiatives. (See next point.)
- It’ll create the ripple effect you want. Once faculty conquer the basics of using the LMS tools available to them, they’ll be able to focus more on the pedagogy of online learning. They’ll not only have the technical skills needed to be successful, but they’ll have the confidence to become part of a community where they are motivated to learn best practices, incorporate rich digital content, and design courses that engage students more and improve outcomes.
- Your team will be freed up to focus on more strategic initiatives. Developing a strategy for how and when to engage outside training vendors will ensure that your institution’s internal resources are free to focus on mission-critical initiatives. Use the outside vendor to bring in technology enhancement training and best practice updates from the field, and let your team spend more time focusing on things that are unique to your institution.
- It will standardize your training. An outside vendor should have strong certification programs—both for faculty and for instructional designers. It ensures that a level of standards is met, and guarantees a consistency in training delivery. Given the pace at which technology changes and rich digital content assets are developed, it’s also critical that the vendor have a process for refreshing this certification on a regular basis as well.
As I end these blogs (which hopefully will be posted regularly) I’ll take a minute to call out some exciting new opportunities, events or promotions that I think will be of interest to you! I look forward to hearing from you!
Learn More About Blackboard’s Training
Blackboard Consulting offers training solutions designed around your institution’s unique needs—whether you need to train groups of people on-site at one time, or have more of a rolling need for training and an online solution would work best for you.
To learn more about Blackboard’s online training certification programs (and special promotions), please join us for a live webinar on Thursday, September 27 at 1:00 PM ET, where one of our training experts will walk through your options. Register for the webinar now>
Or to learn more about our full suite of training options, visit www.blackboard.com/training.