A few weeks ago, Blackboard was proud to host its first Federal Series Event, featuring speakers from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ HR Academy, the Federal Aviation Administration, and The Graduate School. The event provided attendees the opportunity to network with others in the federal training space and provided new insights into best practices in blended and distance learning.
During a presentation from The Graduate School, Dr. Sharon Fratta-Hill presented several tools and strategies she has leveraged in blended learning environments. I learned quite a bit during her presentation, including these best practices for engaging distance learning:
1. Sharing audio and video isn’t enough. Even though multimedia content is a great way to grab learners’ interest, they will learn more from media content when given the opportunity to collaborate with their peers. To foster interaction, encourage students to leave constructive thoughts and questions on multimedia content to spark discussion and dialogue.
2. Leverage mobile technology: There are many reasons to make training mobile: not only are mobile devices incredibly pervasive in our daily lives, but they can also allow learners to access training while traveling or on the go. The Graduate School’s presentation included a demo of a great mobile training course that users can access on tablet PCs and smartphones!
3. Use gamification to keep things interesting: During their presentation, demonstrated a Jeopardy-style game that was used in ethics training for Hill staffers. This was just one of many examples of how federal trainers can leverage games to make learning fun and more memorable.
4. Provide opportunities for just-in-time learning. One of the benefits of online training is that learners can reach back to review old course material through their learning platform. By archiving course content in a way that is easy to navigate, learners can access the knowledge they need wherever and whenever they need it.
5. Remember: It’s also about the experience! As the slide below tells us, there is more to training than just good pedagogy. By creating online and distance learning environments that truly engage the learner, they will me more likely to actively participate in, and learn more from, their training experience.