Archive for November, 2011

Problem Statement:

A biodiesel manufacturing plant needs to improve its poor safety record. The plant needs a best practice solution for its core practices as well as being able to communicate across the board with staff on different work schedule. The plant supervisors also want to be abreast of staff demonstration of their learning from each modules.

Solution Technology: Schoology or Prezi


Schoology is a social network-based tool that allows trainers,teachers and students to interact with each other through technological prerequisites and learning components. The strategy of Schoology is parallel to that of Facebook in which exchanges take place, messaging, statuses update, and information and other media shared within a classroom network. (Manning, Brooks, Crutteau, Diedrich, Moser, & Zwiefellhofer, 2011)

Manning et al., (2011) noted two main contextual features of Schoology: Interactive communication and academic information exchange. 

The features of interactive communication allow instructional designers to generate discussion queries, work in partnership with groups, and display coursework for active communication, post quizzes to validate dynamic knowledge. Supervisors, managers (teachers, parents) as well as the employees (students) can place questions and concerns in the discussion board for speedy access and replies. Send and receive email, quickly. (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009)

The benefits: 

 a)     Employees participating in a Safety class; for example, can ask questions and post comments about classmates’  reviews, concerns, questions or understanding of learning protocol. The trainers, supervisors, managers, (teachers) etc., can partake in and invigilator student-led discussions comparable to online discussion in Facebook, Twitter, etc.

b)     Employees that are on diverse shifts, vacation, or out sick, still have access to the sequence learning 24/7. Trainers or supervisors (teachers) can upload videos of safety learning sequence on YouTube, or other multimedia devices.

c)     Supervisors (teachers) have validation privileges’ of employees learning progression.

d)     Schoology easily integrate with other software applications.

 The features of academic communication are the ability to deliver academic information to the employees (teachers or students).

The benefits:

a)     Schoology access increases communication between management and employees and holds them accountable for their educational tasks.

b)     The employees (teachers or students) within Schoology can access their grades, attendance records; participate in lively discussions, and management feedback on electronically submitted assignments.


Prezi, according to Fischer (2011) is the cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them.”

Manning, Brooks, Crotteau, Diedrich, Moser, & Zwiefelhofer, (2011) post “Prezi presentations are visually appealing and extremely easy to use.”

The Prezi technology tool allows trainers, teachers, and trainees to interact collectively with each other to enhance their learning and teaching experiences. Since Prezi easily integrate with other software application, it can easily become the best practice application for the workplace environment.

Since there is, a working culture engaging in independent work times, Coldeway (2011) framework addresses this problem. Coldeway, (2011) post “Combinations of time and place result in four approaches to education: same-time, same-place education (ST-SP); different-time, same-place education (DT-SP); same-time, different-place education (ST-DP); and different-time, different-place education (DT-DP)” (Simonson et al., 2009,p. 10). What does this mean for your business? It means having the technology accessible 24/7 for all employees; whether shift working, traveling for business purposes, on vacation, or out sick.

The Features:

  1.  Prezi is visually captivating presentations that lead the audience down a path of discovery.

  2. Prezi presentations allow for the use of a wide variety of media including, videos, jpg files, pdf files, and YouTube videos.

  3. Prezi offers free educational accounts.

  4. Prezi stores presentations on the Website or standalone application on the computer.  

The Benefits:

  1.  24/7 access to the technology

  2. Access to free accounts

  3. Create concept maps of the content

  4. Employees are responsible for their learning


The rationale behind selecting these tools is the ease of integration with other software, making it easy for the corporation to integrate technology into their core business practices. The accessibility of both technology is a plus for the organization with a 24/7 office hour.

In addition, Prezi the cloud-based tool for presentation is a convenient choice because it allows zoomable designs that appear to leaf of the page. However, Schoology is the ease to creating learning sequences’ such as modules, assessment, surveys, etc., without additional software.

More important, both technologies allow interaction between the teachers and students or trainers and the employees.  Souder (1993) observation of interaction revealed: “…the distance learners in the study were observed to gain much more than a traditional education from their experiences. The students in the study gained a broadened network of valuable colleagues” (Simonson et al., 2009, p. 76).

The successful use of Schoology:

Melissa writes, two months in to the school-wide Schoology  implementation, her teachers have used the feature to give students access to course content and key dates. Some have chosen to post major calendar events such as quiz/test dates and project due dates. Others posted daily assignments. Melissa sees this as an advantage because if a student is absent from class, he/she can access the assignment.

Melissa post, “Linsly School Biology and AP Chemistry teachers use Schoology for PowerPoint presentations. The science instructor uses the screen recording software called Camtasis to record her lectures, and put them in Schoology. All teachers within the school use Schoology for assignment feature to collect and return digital work to the students. Two teachers used Schoology to collect a PowerPoint project from students.  Another item that was interesting to the teachers was the “group” feature. Melissa stated that the Forensics teacher created a group for her Forensics team for communicating practice schedules and pertinent reminders.”

Martin of  St. Gregory writes, “This year, about half a dozen of our teachers are piloting a new program called Schoology, which functions simultaneously as a learning management system for teachers and a social network platform for students and teachers. Teachers are able to post their course syllabus and assignments, and, if they choose, track student attendance, maintain a grade book, provide students resources and links, and organize materials into folders for better organization.”

Martin posted additional comments as well: “Schoology provides students a better tool to manage their various courses, keep track of assignments, and benefit from the calendar functions, which they can use as a planner for all courses operating within Schoology.  Now, certainly many other LMS (learning management systems) offer all this, but what Schoology adds is a social network element with a look and feel very similar to Facebook, making it more intuitive and natural for regular Facebook users.   Students can use a vehicle they are so familiar with, Facebook style posting, commenting, threading and linking, and do so with their classes to enhance their learning.”

The successful use of Prezi:

Orlando writes,One alternative to boring PowerPoint slides is to use Prezi. This web-based tool allows the user to create a single canvas of text, images, videos, etc. online. The presenter flies from location to location on the canvas, sometimes turning elements upside down, sometimes zooming in or out, to explore the relationship between ideas. Like a painter, the canvas draws the developer to choose visual imagery to create the presentation, in contrast to the text-heavy, outline-based methodology of PowerPoint. I have abandoned PowerPoint entirely and now use Prezi exclusively for my presentations. This is a remarkably freeing experience.”

Dawson writes,I am getting better using visuals for keynotes and presentations than the traditional PowerPoint. The launch of our Transformation of Business framework has provided a great opportunity to use Prezi. The entire story layout on a page and Prezi enables me to zoom in, pan across, and illustrate the key points in the framework.”


Dawson, R. (2011). New Prezi: The transformation of business. [Blog message]. Retrieved from http://

Fishcher, A. S. (2011). Prezi. Retrieved from

Manning, C., Brooks, W., Crotteau, V., Diedrich, A., Moser, J., & Zwiefelholfer, A. (2011). Tech tools for teacher, by teachers: Bridging teachers and students. Wisonsin English Journal. Retrieved from, 53(1), pp. 24-27.

Martin, J. (2011). Schoology at St. Gregory: A new experiment. [Blog message]. Retrieved from

Melissa. (2010). Early success with schoology. [Blog message]. Retrieved from

Orlando, J. (2010). Prezi: A better way of doing presentations. [Blog message]. Teaching with Technology, Trends in Higher Education. Retrieved from

Schoology. (2011).

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2011). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education, (4th Ed.). Boston: MA: Pearson Education, Inc.










Defining Distance Learning

Distance Learning


What is distance learning?

     Referring to (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009), distance learning is “Institution-based and formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunication systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors.” Those are the four main component of the definition of distance learning. Moreover, Coldeway of South Dakota’s Dakota State University provides four practical approaches to the definition of distance learning. For example, Coldeway states that there is a “Combination of time and place results in the four approaches to education:

  • Same-time, same-place education (ST-SP), means learning takes place at the same time and in the same place, which is a self-contained classroom that is teacher-centered.

  • Different-time, same-place education (DT-SP), means learning takes place at different time and in the same place allowing individual learning to occur in a learning center, or that multiple sections of the same classes are offer so students can attend the class in the same place at a time they choose.

  • Same time, different place education (ST-DP), means that learning takes place at same time, but in different places.

  • Different time, different place education (DT-DP) when communications systems are used.”

     The first two types of education are synchronous and the latter two are asynchronous learning.

     Further, explanation of distance learning Rudolf Manfred Delling (1985) stated that distance education, in general, is a planned and systematic activity that comprises the choice, didactic preparation, and presentation of teaching material as well as the supervision and support of student learning” (Simonson et al., 2009). Finally, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational; research and Improvement defines distance education as “the application of telecommunications and electronic devices which enable students an learners to receive instruction that originates from some distance location (Simonson et al., 2009).

Personal Definition and Observation of Distance learning:

     Before this course, my definition and learning was very limited. My prior learning experience as it pertains to distance learning was analyzing, designing, and developing course curriculum for the company’s internal communication platform—the Intranet. My limited responsibility was to create and upload the learning instruction onto the platform. My personal definition as I know it today is Distance learning provides access to students/learners across the globe. Where the instructional designer are afford the opportunity to create meaningful learning sequences that incorporate learners from different places and times, as well as same time and places.

     During this course, my personal definition has evolved. It means that distance learning provide the foundation for the instructional design to build learning sequences to achieve positive outcomes including, but not limited to, time involve in the reinforcement of the instruction. As I further contextualizes, distance-learning start by examining the performance problem and designing the most appropriate means of which the learning should take place. As well, the instructional designer considers the learners needs above the content; and therefore, provide learner-centered learning instruction.

     Moreover, there is a continue emerging of the distance learning definition as well. Referring to Edwards (1995) open learning is “A way in which using mass produced courseware to a mass market…Open learning places greater emphasis on the current specific needs and/or market available by recognizing local requirements and different instead of delivering an established curriculum.” Recently, virtual school has emerged as the expansion of technology continues to develop. Virtual, according to (Simonson et al., 2009) is defined as something quasi or pseudo—distance education is about as real as actual as education can be.”


     As an instructional design student, I envision the continued growth and progression of distance education. In the future, classroom instruction as we know it today might be a thing of a distance past as more and more technologies for distance learning continue to improve. I believe that the next generation of learners will predict how their learning will take place. I see a Facebook type of parallel technology in view for the next generation of learners, as well as iPhones, Tablets, Notepads, or something new altogether. I see professors, teachers, and trainer growing more and more into multiple roles of teaching at a distance because the future is moving rapidly into new technological frontier.

     Universities that are more open are going to spring into existence, perhaps as we sleep. Referring to Holmberg (1986) states, “The Open University brought heightened prestige to distance education and spurred the establishment of similar institutions in industrial nations such as West Germany, Japan, and Canada as well as less-developed nation as Sri Lanka and Pakistan.”

     Who has to say that these trends will not gain more advantage, power, and strength to influence the way we learn at a distance today?



Coldeway, D. (2009). Distance education. In Simonson et al, Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance eduation. (4th Ed.), (pp. 10-11). Boston, MA: Pearson.

 Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., Zvacek, S. (2011). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. (4th Ed.). Boston: MA: Pearson Education, Inc.


Mind Mapping of Future Distance Learning