This research study opens with a review of the literature which details the financial challenges both small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The paper then focuses on the free design and free development tools available to trainers who wish to distribute their programs in a virtual environment. The book will present a synopsis of the processes used to develop online training materials and recommendations for future research.
The Internet has changed the face of how businesses have many options when choosing how to present and share information. The decision to use an online training platform and programs translates into a new learning curve that is very difficult for the trainer and the trainee, as options and the environment changed drastically from face-to-face training sessions. This paper deals with the methods and tools that can be used to make online education more interactive and consistent eliminating costs. All the tools and platform options discussed in this article are a free alternative for organizations that want to provide their employees training materials online without taking the high annual costs.
There are many ways to communicate and educate individuals in the classroom and virtual business arena. The encyclopedia of educational technology testifies to this abundance of means. Distance learning has been around in one form or another for over a hundred years. Correspondence courses, training files, radio, television, and more recently the Internet were a part of the history of distance education (Blake, Blackwell & Gibson, 2005). For the same reason, the online training can be done via e-mail, instant messaging, corporate Intranet, or on popular online platforms like Yugma, Lotus Sametime, Webex and Placeware (Ibm). While each program may be similar, the content, communication methods and ultimately will affect the employee’s success within the training program.
Comparing the quality of traditional training virtual training can arise many debates. These debates include not only the quality of training, but also the education and tools they need to provide quality education (Singh & Pan). Technological change may require that online education must go beyond sending text and PowerPoint slides (Kachel, 2005). The content must be designed into small manageable pieces that will hold student attention, providing effectively the content needed. Compared to traditional training, the learning environment offers an on-line area that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the position of the learner. So every aspect of the interaction must be provided and examined in order to facilitate this process of continuous learning.
While many large institutions can justify these costs as the journey is not required, the same cannot be said for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The lack of funding for a platform is only a cost associated with entering training materials on-line. Institutions must also pay for the programs that you will use to create the content. These can be simple programs like PowerPoint to deliver a presentation or more advanced programs like Camtasia to record the sound and the image captured by the screen designer. Additional programs like Webex, Elluminate, or GoToMeeting Yugma can also provide virtual meetings that offer both sound and Web camera functions.
In conclusion, the cost associated with providing a platform and the cost for employees with the training material online may be a factor, but not nearly as big a factor as the cost of not providing your staff with higher education. The questionable argument that suggest that the teaching style is a factor in the decision making process is whether or not the online tools will be used to improve employee training falls short in relation to the ability of an employee properly trained and educated. It’s my opinion that free alternative means of education that is offered completely online rivals with more traditional methods and less versatile of textbooks and classrooms.