There is a movement in American education and training to put as many courses and workshops online as possible. It is beyond the scope of this paper to examine online, face-to-face, and hybrid delivery (partly in the classroom and partly online) in any depth. Still, we do want to make a couple of remarks here.

First, regardless of which delivery method is chosen, all instruction must use systematic program planning.

Using the ADDIE model, for example, it is important to:

  • Conduct a needs analysis to determine what has to be learned;
  • Design and specify learning objectives;
  • Use criterion-referenced testing and assessment;
  • Develop learning activities and strategies that help students master the content; and
  • Conduct a program evaluation.

Second, some courses do not lend themselves to online training. Those that have considerable psychomotor skill learning or field work are not good candidates. Nor are courses that require hands-on assessment procedures. Other poor candidates include courses where testing and assessment procedures cannot be secured and proctored, or where student confidentiality may be at risk.

Third, careful consideration needs to be taken with regard to instructional equipment that requires a lot of bandwidth such as computers and instructional games. Students should have access to technical experts when they are taking online and hybrid courses.

Fourth, students need practice and feedback for learning to be optimal. When planning online instruction, plans must also be made to provide feedback and remediation to students who need it. This must be done in a timely and organized manner. Students may need feedback before proceeding to the next lesson or unit; provisions must be made in the design.

Even with these considerations, any delivery option is possible as long as the course is well developed using systematic program planning. Some experts believe that hybrid or blended delivery offers the best of both worlds. The following web sites provide additional information about hybrid and blended learning systems:

 

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