Guest post by David Palmer, National e-Learning Consultant for DoD/Intelligence, Blackboard Professional Education Division. As an e-learning consultant here at Blackboard for over four years now, I work closely with Military Education institutions including the Department of Defense and other intelligence agencies, to implement e-learning programs.  I focus mainly on distance learning and I often advise clients who are just getting started with deploying online programs. Blackboard has clients all over the world that continue to successfully implement online learning into their education plans.  These training programs can be divided into three major modes of delivery: resident, blended, and distance.

1) Resident-based instruction: This approach is common for clients who want to use Blackboard Learn to supplement a course that is primarily based on face-to-face, classroom-style learning.

2) Blended learning: This approach is one that is seen the most in the military, and is very successful in having a strong impact on learners. What is blended learning?  Blended learning integrates face-to-face instruction with online learning.  Blended learning can be crafted in a way that best supports the mission of your institution.  Examples of this in the military combine some of the best resident-based instruction with highly collaborative solutions, such as Blackboard Learn, to facilitate a “continuous learning environment.”  This continuous learning environment helps military learners stay connected with new knowledge when they need it most, especially when they are outside the classroom.

3) Distance learning: Military clients are using Blackboard to recreate classroom-based learning environments entirely online.  This is done through online discussion threads, blogs, wikis, web-conferencing, etc.,  which work in concert to drive highly collaborative learning.  We even have a military academy that offers a Master’s degree program delivered exclusively online through Blackboard! While there are many strategies to deliver education and training in the military, one thing remains constant: clients who use Blackboard in these three ways are doing so successfully.  Our clients have a solid grasp on the requirements of their institutions, and are making significant changes to the role that technology is having in and out of their classrooms.   These changes are creating better learner outcomes, costs savings, and efficiencies for military education programs.

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Are you interested in finding out more about how your military institution can enhance learning, even in the face of recent defense budget cuts?  Join me at an upcoming webinar entitled “Meeting Today’s Budget Cut Challenge With Blended Learning” to discuss how to sustain great military training through these difficult times. Here are the details: Date: February 15, 2012 Time: 2:00-3:00 PM EST Register at: http://bit.ly/yvf0qA I look forward to this opportunity to share how the most successful military institutions are using technology to impact their mission.  Until then, connect with me on Twitter at @DavidPalmerBb and follow @BbMilitaryGovt for real-time updates on the learning technology issues that matter most to your organization.

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