Ai Consultants

 

Distance Learning

Training in the 21st century is becoming increasingly expensive.

The amount of time that any individual can spend going to face to face workshops is less than it used to be.

This has led to the rise of blended learning approaches which combine a certain amount of face to face work with materials delivered on line or on CD. These can be in the form of PodCasts, Flash movies, or e-books.

Tools like teleseminars or webinars have also become more popular with the rise of cheap reliable webcams and the spread of broadband. In addition the use of forums, social networks and "networks in a box" have become important as a way of interacting with students.

At Ai Consultants we have been making use of these new tools to improve the way in which learning materials have been delivered.

Blended Learning

While we still believe that face to face workshops are a key part of training to make sure that learners engage with the knowledge, we believe that it's important to supplement this with other tools. One product that we've found particularly effective is Articulate. It allows us to record a voice track over a set of power point slides. This means that we can can produce both a podcast and a distance learning product from the same materials. In fact if a transcript of the original voice track is taken, then an e-book can also be produced. This is important as it allows us to cater for the different learning modalities of the individual. Articulate also allows us to insert quizzes into the programme and attach example documents and work books to it - so it's a very powerful tool. You can see a sample from our 1 ManBrand product here which will give you an idea of what the articulate tool can do.

We've also taken to creating specific environments to allow course alumni to compare notes and for us to moderate facilitated discussions. Ning is a particularly powerful tool as it gives us a secure environment within which we can organise after workshop support.

Case Studies

Punch Above Your Weight is a training workshop to help small companies build an effective internet presence. It covers how to use Google ad-words as a research tool to establish those all important key words and shows you how to deploy them using blogs, squidoo lenses and RSS feeds. We created several support mechanisms to demonstrate the potential of Web 2.0 to support conversation, collaboration and aggregation. These included groups on social networks such as Ecademy and Facebook as well as a blog, and a protected environment for sharing downloads and comments built in Ning. For more details visit the Punch above your Weight site.

When the Small Business Service wanted to re-launch its extranet, we were commissioned to create the learning materials. In addition to the traditional workshop slides which were delivered in 4 pilots, the materials were made available with briefing notes to local champions supported with an Articulate version of the presentation to allow remote or facilitated deliveries of the material. We created a set of journey maps - examples of how the resource could be used in practice by different individuals with widely different job descriptions to achieve a range of typical tasks. Finally we managed the provision of an overall operations manual from our technical author partners, CherryLeaf.

We believe in using big pictures to communicate complex information. Here is an example from one of our brand development workshops.

 

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