Episode 52

"Self-Paced Learning"

Duration 00:17:25      Recorded on October 19, 2008

In this show, Susan and Dan explore self-paced, non-facilitated learning.

Show Notes:

Susan and Dan explore self-paced, non-facilitated learning in this episode. The impetus for this exploration came from the learners in Susan's instructional design class and the need to see common elements of design despite very different delivery methods.

Dan first talks about how units are sometimes outsourced for development and the determination of 'seat time,' and gives a walk through what might be included in such a self-paced unit. Other companies might develop in-house with tools like Camtasia, Articulate, or Captivate.

A team might include Subject Matter Experts, an instructional designer and developers. Together they write very explicit storyboards and the instructional designer often negotiates the differences in approaches to learning.

Dan thinks when designing a facilitated course in higher education, there are more pieces to consider (e.g. discussion and assessment). He also considers how this changes when companies look to incorporate social networking tools.

Susan asks about measuring outcomes, which further highlights the benefit of self-paced delivery. You can distribute training to the masses more efficiently, and all you need is a score (example of compliance training). When used with a blended strategy, you can use self-paced learning to establish a consistent knowledge base for richer discussions and interactions when face to face or live.

On the con side, because the range of learners might be quite diverse, sometimes designers are forced to keep content too simple. Also, there is a lot of weight on getting it 'right' since you cannot correct misconceptions (lack of interaction). You have one opportunity to present the content and have it stick. Also, information becomes dated rather quickly in the business environment.

In comparing/contrasting self-paced and facilitated learning, the best quote came from Dan: 'the principles of learning are still the same. It's still a matter of what you do with those thirty screens that you have. Dan also introduces a new term, the 'evergreen topic;' the part of content that won't change just because the business changed its strategy. Susan and Dan's evergreen topic is how people learn.

About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
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