Sunday, December 11, 2016

Employee Development

     5 Reasons for a Company-wide Employee Development Plan:

Click Link: 

    Note: (Make sure your speakers are on and use arrows from the beginning to hear audio) 

      Personal Development Plan:
Employee development is crucial to ensuring that employees have the competencies necessary to serve customers and grow. Here is a list of four personal development plans that I am going to present to my company in order to initiative so that I can grow and also strengthen the organization I work in.

Within my organization I can use assessments to identify managers with the potential to move into higher-level executive positions, and use them with work teams to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members. Assessments can help my team and future employees understand their tendencies, needs, the type of work environment they prefer, and the type of work they might prefer to do (Noe, 2013). 

Research indicates that 70% of learning happens on the job, 20% by observing others and only 10% through formal training (Tiao, 2014). The truth is that most business leaders now rate informal approaches as having more impact than formal training initiatives. With this in mind I see mentoring playing a large role within the development strategy within our organization. Through intentional mentoring I can help employees under me understand the organization, guide them in analyzing their experiences, and help them clarify career directions (Noe, 2013).

Professional development:
When professional development is connected to the overall mission of an organization it can prepare employees for other positions. Noe (2013) states that, “development prepares them for other positions within the company, and increases their ability to move into jobs that may not yet exist” (p.367). This type of future oriented professional development is able to retain employees because they see that the company has a vision for them. By having the organization invest in my own personal development I am increasing my own value and overall worth. One example of personal development is my pursuit for higher education in order to advance my career.  

Job experiences:
For any employee to succeed in their jobs, they must stretch their skills and apply their skills and knowledge in a new way, and master new experiences (Noe, 2013). A new job assignment for my role within my company would look like traveling to a new orphan care project in order to learn how they operate. This type of experience would allow me to take advantage of my existing skills, experiences, and contacts, while helping me develop new ones in a new context (Tiao, 2014).


Growth Engineering (2015). How To Promote Informal Learning. Retrieved from:

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Employee development [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Pontefract, D. (2013). Dear C-Suite: We don’t do training. Chief Learning Officer, 12(11), 40-43.

Tiao, S. (2014). Our Tips Revealed: Employee Development Program Best Practices. Retrieved from:

Wright, K (2014) Development is a Marathon, Not a Sprint. (2014). Personal Excellence Essentials, 19(4), 26.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A New Frontier for Training with Technology

Image result for technology images

Learning is a complex and multifaceted process that requires various fields of study to understand how each individual learns. In today’s 21st century, technology is having a direct influence on learning and training across multiple platforms. Through this summary I will be showing how these five selected technologies are having implications on training.

      Computer Based Training (CBT), Online Learning, Web-based training: 
Online learning, e-learning, and web-based training all include delivery of instruction using the Internet or web (Noe, 2013). As technology increases across the globe and as networks of communities become more connected there is going to be an increase in these forms of online learning. This from of training is only going to increase as companies are realizing its cost saving benefits and its effectiveness to train a large number of employees. These web tools, computer trainings and interactive videos are also especially valuable for helping trainees learn technical or interpersonal skills (Noe, 2013). The implication for training with these tools can also provide autonomy to the learner. Noe (2013) states that, “online learning provides the trainee with content, but it also can give learners the ability to control what they learn, the speed at which they progress through the program, how much they practice, and even when they learn” (p.325).

      Distance Education:
Distance learning delivers content to other locations online through webcasts or virtual classrooms and is supported with communications tools such as e-mail, videos and online discussions (Noe, 2013). Today’s modern landscape of distance education is constantly shifting and so are the students who are currently entering this vast field. Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek (2015) state that the modern “distance learner can be of any age, have attained any educational level, and have a variety of educational needs” (p.188). The implications for this field are going to weigh heavy on the education designers to not only understand the characteristics of the modern distance learner, but also be able to shape learning experiences that engage everyone and meet the diversity of needs. Moore and Kearsley (2005) note that one of main reasons people choose distance education is because it offers the “combination of education with work and family life” (p.8). This is where distance education is evolving and it is also going mobile and transferable to any device across various fields (Moller, Foshay & Huett, 2008).

      Social Media:
Social media technology is changing modern forms of communication through interactive communications such as wikis, blogs, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube (Noe, 2013). This form of social networks can also be known as connectivism and it can create tremendous learning scenarios across multiple disciplines (Davis, Edmunds & Bateman, 2008). As these technologies emerge there are numerous implications for trainings. Now, the learner can receive training from anywhere and connect with anyone from anywhere. Through social media the training can be delivered to geographically dispersed employees and it can be delivered faster and to more employees in a shorter period of time (Noe, 2013).

          Blended Learning:
Blended learning is also a form of instruction that is impacting training. It is generally delivered by combining technology with a face-to-face delivery approach (Noe, 2013). This blended approach serves the both the modern learner and those who need face-to-face instruction. As training programs advance this blended learning approach is becoming more common since technology is readily available and user friendly. 

Stories are an important way to tap into the heart of an audience and provide meaning in alternative ways. This form of digital storytelling combines the ancient form of narrative with new technologies. Research shows that 70% of what we learn is consumed through storytelling (Malamed, 2011). This statistic will begin to affect how training's are designed whether it be online training or a live presentation. Trainers will need to start organizing information into a story arch format, which can work for many topics (Malamed,2011). This is an example of how video storytelling can make an impact on numbers.                                                                                                                                    


Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.),
Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education

Stolovitch, H. D. (2011). Telling ain't training: updated, expanded, and enhanced, 2nd edition. American Society for Training and Development.

Tracey, M., & Richey, R. (2005). The evolution of distance education. Distance Learning, 2(6), 17–21.

Moore, M., & Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance education: A systems view. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. 

 Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66–70

Noe, R.A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. 

Malamed, Connie (2011). The Elearning Coach. Retrieved from:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Needs Assessment

The Organization that I choose to take a deeper look into was Whole Foods. These stakeholder questions regarding the needs assessment will be focusing on the organization of Whole Foods.  

What stakeholders would you want to make sure to get buy-in from?
Before one understands which stakeholders to get buy-in from they must first understand the company they are seeking to serve. Whole Foods places a priority on organic foods and they strive to bring their clients the best foods that have been locally grown. Whole Foods truly is the leader in organically based food and they have numerous markets across America. In order to get buy-in, I would target corporate managers, specific store owners, employees and the farmers that they use to source food. This organization is multifaceted because it doesn’t follow a typical top down approach to business. Its organizational structure reflects its values, therefore the needs assessment needs to ask specific questions that uncover the need. Noe (2013) states that, “the goal of needs assessment is to determine whether a training need exists, who it exists for, and for what tasks training is needed” (p.116).

What questions would you ask (and to whom would you address them) during the organizational, person, and task analysis phases?
What? Organizational Analysis: (President, CFO, Corporate Mangers, Store Owners)
·       -What is the history of your organization? (Who is involved etc.)?
·       -Will you tell me a little about your mission and vision?
·       -What are the organizational goals?
·       -In order to achieve these goals what are some challenges you are facing?
·       -How do you think these challenges need to be overcome?
·       -How would you define success in your business?
·       -What role do you see the training having you in helping you realize this goal?

The Organizational Analysis phase is the stage when asking questions of stakeholders is the primary task so that you can understand the current situation (reality) alongside the desired situation (goals). A key goal in this section is for the client/stakeholder to put words on their version of success so that the selected intervention sets realistic expectations, meets actual needs and is in line with the client’s current mission/vision.

Who? Person/Learner Analysis: (Store Owners, Employees, Farmers)
·       -What do they do? Can you describe a typical day in the life?
·       -Can you give me a general sense of their demographics (age, gender, etc.)
·       -What was the process you have for finding and hiring them?
·       -Where do you see a performance or organizational gap occurring?
·       -What motivates and drives their performance? What doesn’t?
·       -How are they currently trained to perform their work tasks?
·       -What is there work environment like?
·       -Do they use any essential tools/methods for performing their tasks?
·       -What is their current skill level? (new, experienced, expert)?
·       -How do you encourage or motivate other lead drivers? Do you use incentives or rewards?

Noe (2013) notes that, “the needs assessment process results in information related to who needs training and what trainees need to learn, including the tasks in which they need to be trained, plus knowledge, skill, behavior, or other job requirements” (p.125). Discovering the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities is crucial for this stage along with the tasks related.

How? Task Analysis: (President, Store Owners, Farmers, Employees)
·      - Based upon the performance gap you shared, what do you think the training/learning objectives should be?
·       -What resources or training content do you already use?
·       -What content needs to be covered?
·       -Can you identify behaviors needed for effective job performance?  
·       -What skills are necessary to meet today are needs, as well as the company’s future skill needs?
·       -Can you  provide a common set of criteria that are used for identifying appropriate development training and learning activities for employees, as well as for evaluating and re- warding them?

Noe (2013) noted that the “task analysis results in a description of work activities, including tasks performed by the employee and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to complete the tasks” (p.135).

What documents or records might you ask to see?
Since Whole Foods in national known I would want to collect their pre-existing data on previous trainings, workplace performance reviews, hiring processes, specific store organizational structures, employee development and incentives, and what areas of learning and development have worked in the past. With this much data it will be easier to understand the instructional context for the need and therefore understand whether it is a performance issues that needs a training solution. Collecting existing data saves time and money for organizations, and also delivers a more accurate solution that aligns with the business goals.

What techniques would you employ and why?
Observations, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and collecting historical data. Using a mixed method approach that includes collecting pre-existing data, interviews, focus groups, and surveys will target the diverse student population that Whole Foods serves. There needs to be a multifaceted and diverse approach to collecting viable information. Fitzpatrick, Sanders and Worthen (2010) make the exact same point stating that, “in fact, stakeholder involvement in interpreting the results of the data analysis can serve several purposes. In addition to potentially adding to the validity or comprehensiveness of the conclusions, their involvement can increase their later use of the information as they understand more about why the conclusions were reached” (p.448). Using these techniques and showing the findings to the stakeholders during the process will be crucial. 


Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Stolovitch, H. D. (2011). Telling ain't training: updated, expanded, and enhanced, 2nd edition. American Society for Training and Development. 

Fitzpatrick, J., Sanders, J., & Worthen, B. (2010). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Training & Development

Have you ever wondered why employees leave companies so soon? Or why employees don’t seem to be satisfied in their role? Or why companies seem to be wasting time and money in areas that don’t truly grow the business?

The reality today is that organizations are investing more in training and development than ever. The overall spending on employee training in the United States is around $165 billion (Eades, 2014). Yet, even with all this time and investment towards training, organization are still searching to effectively transfer practical knowledge into performance results. The truth is that when employers realize the power that training and learning development can have on their organization, they will be willing to make the investment because it will pay dividends.  

This investment in training can reap results in:
Less Employee TurnoverKeeping well trained employees pays off significantly because the cost of employee turnover can be high. The reality is that 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year (Woolf, 2014).
More Employee Satisfaction:  According to statistics 76% of employees want to do their job well, but feel they lack the tools to grow (Woolf, 2014).

The end result is that when training and learning development is weaved together with a business strategy it results in more money and time for the whole business (Noe, 2014)  I would say it’s worth the investment, wouldn’t you?


Eades, J. (2014). Three ways to measure training effectiveness. Retrieved from:

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Woolf, S. (2014). 5 Surprising Employee Development Statistics you Don’t Know. Retreived from:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Welcome to my blog. Over the next 8 weeks I will be posting here for my Training & Development course. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Scope Creep

            Around 10 years ago I was living and working internationally with refugees who were displaced from a neighboring country. I was helping facilitate language programs for them and also building an internal network for their transition back into society. We had a small group of 10 managing this specific project with various stakeholders involved. While the altruistic goal of service was commendable, the definable objects of the mission were lacking and scope creep began to sink in fast and often with the team I was working with. One of the greatest factors that contributed to scope creep in this situation was a misguided plan. The overarching vision was clear, but definable objects within a realistic timeline lacked. Looking back I can see how the major factor that contributed to scope creep was vague plan. Portny et al., (2008) states that, “the first step toward a successful project is to develop a plan that allows the project team to do the work required to produce the desired results in the available time for the available resources” (p.377). One way that our team should have addressed this issue was through updating the plan as the project progressed. It’s called scope “creep” because it slowly changes the direction of the project before anyone can really notice it. This is why a detailed plan needed to be in place and constant evaluation needs to occur so that addendums can be made. Greer (2010) makes a similar point calling for the project manager and others to “update the project scope statement and overall plan. Make an addendum or a complete revision, if appropriate, of the project schedule, work breakdown structure, scope description, and so on. Make sure you note all of the conditions that led to the change, the people who discussed alternatives, and the people who selected the recommended alternative. Document it—get it in writing” (p.36).
            Another major factor that contributed to scope creep was the aspect that the team didn’t plan for it to happen. Portny et al., (2008) states that, “avoiding scope creep is not possible. However, monitoring it, controlling it, and thereby reducing some of the pain is possible if the project manager follows a few guidelines” (p.347). The best approach is to set up a well-controlled, formal process whereby changes can be introduced and accomplished with as little distress as possible (Portny et al., 2008). The team didn’t define the outcomes so that when the change and scope creep entered the project the group was surprised it was there and didn’t know how to handle it. Every plan that is enforced needs to factor some form of flexibility and change. Portny et al., (2008) states that, “project managers give themselves the greatest chance for success if they confront head-on the possibility that some things might change. They need to prepare at the outset for how to minimize any associated negative consequences and maximize any positive consequences” (p.377).  


Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Monitoring projects [Video file]. Retrieved from

Friday, July 15, 2016


Communication plays such a vital role in the success of any project. This role of communication most times falls directly on the project manager. Portny et al., (2008) states “the key to successful project management is effective communication—sharing the right messages with the right people in a timely manner. Through communication people exchange and share information with one another, and influence one another’s attitudes, behaviors, and understandings” (p.357). The message that Jane communicated to Mark carried different meanings across different modalities of communication. Even the message was the same, the modality directly impacted how that message might be received. Jane chose to communicate informally in person, over the phone and formally over email. The message was the same, but the best option that Jane chose was over email for a variety of reasons.
            When Jane communicated informally in person, Mark might have been working on a project or preoccupied with something before Jane walked up. Also a key point to understand is that just because something is shared in person doesn’t always mean it will be understood or applied (Portny et al., 2008). Jane would also need to document that informal conversation she had with Mark, which could have been done, but it is much harder in an informal meeting. The phone call was a good approach, but it was hard to see and document the words she was trying to communicate.
            If Mark is as busy as Jane suggests, then she needed to adjust her communication to fit the person  (Portny et al., 2008). This is why email was the best approach. In the email Jane explained “what” she needed, “why” she needed and “when” she needed the missing report. The tone was respectful, but also assertive to keep the project moving in the correct direction. The written form of communication was also able to also allow the recipient space to form a response, which will minimize the chance of miscommunication.  Portny et al., (2008) states that, “to minimize the chances for misunderstandings and hurt feelings, project managers should do the following: Confirm in writing the important information that was shared in informal discussions” (p.357).

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Strategies for working with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The role of the Project Manager

The crucial Role of the Project Manager:
A few years ago I was indirectly involved in implementing a new database system that would help people store, use and track information more accurately and effectively. Our small team held many meetings, downloaded all the needed software, tested out the product and felt confident that this new database would be a great tool for the company. Our small team of three was fairly new to the company, so we wanted to make a good impression on upper management and help other employees do their jobs with more efficiency. After months of preparation and working out the glitches in the system we decided to share our new system with the upper management and send out this new database tool to company for them to use. At first, the staff was impressed and so was upper management, but soon questions and concerns started to pile up. Have you thought about this? Why wasn’t I considered in this design? Who authorized this project? How do you plan to evaluate and implement this product to outside clients? Our team knew after the first couple of questions, that we had made a great mistake in how we handled and conducted this project because ultimately nothing was implemented by the staff. There were many factors that led to the project’s downfall, but two factors I can identify clearly. First, the project manager failed to involve key stakeholders from the start and second, the group lacked a clear implementation plan and ultimately didn’t plan for resistance.  
Remembering this project and what I know now about the project manager’s role I can see how the project manager at the time never involved key stakeholders from the start of the project. Greer (2010) states that, “if you don’t involve all stakeholders in an active and engaged fashion from the beginning, you are likely to suffer the consequences of rework when they finally figure out what you and your project team are up to…. and they then take action to leave their mark on it!” (p.10). Rework was exactly what our team had to face after we introduced the project. It is crucial from the beginning before the project begins to diffuse the unclear issues about the project. Greer (2010) states “it’s best to do this as a team, in order to avoid conflicting interpretations of deliverables later as they are being created” (p.13). Even though our team was on the same page, we needed an outside viewpoint that could help our team course correct.
Another key issue that we learned in the post-mortem analysis was to always plan for resistance during implementation. Our team should’ve understood the resistance we faced, but an unclear implementation plan caused this confusion. The resistance that our team encountered showed itself in two primary forms. The first form of resistance that we faced was a lack of understanding and buy in from the staff about the project itself . The organization had a vision to strategically transform the staff through this database, but each employee at the organization didn’t even understand the vision they were trying to cast. The staff resisted because they didn’t understand the need to change and they were unsure of what the change could mean (Hitt, Miller & Colella, 2009). This lack of understanding also led to the second form of resistance that our team encountered, which was a loss of trust (Beach, 2006). When our team didn’t involve upper management and the staff within the change process it created a self-preservation culture and a loss of trust was fostered. As Lee (2008) clearly points out that “when managers hoard information, or tiptoe around the truth more employees must read between the lines for the real messages and their true intent” (pg.24). When our team was faced with these forms resistance, we were surprised because we didn’t anticipate it.  Anderson (2010) clearly notes that the “most fundamental mechanism for sustaining a change is a regular meeting during which team members can come together to share results, perspectives, and opinions” (p.306). Our team, not only needed to meet together, but we needed to include the right people into those meetings from the onset.

Anderson, D. L. (2010). Organization development: The process of leading organizational change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Beach, L. R. (2013). Leadership and the art of change: A practical guide to organizational transformation. (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Overcoming ‘scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from
Lee, T. J. (2008). Actions speak loudly. Communication World, 25(4), 24-28.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Hitt, M. A., Miller, C. C., & Colella, A. (2009) Organizational Behavior:A Strategic Approach (2nd ed.) by John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Welcome to my Instructional Design Blog.

Throughout this blog I will be sharing ideas about instructional design, performance improvement, project management, learning, brain science, ADDIE and much more. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Future of Distance Education

      There is paradigm shift happening in today’s educational field. Globaliztion and the advance of technology are changing the landscape of modern day education. Rutherford and Kerr (2008) state that, “with the internationalization and globalization of education, and faced with rising needs for an increasingly educated and more adequately trained workforce, universities are offering more flexible programs, assisted by new educational and communications technologies” (p.65). This rise of distance education is forcing modern educators to examine new theories for learners in an online distance setting. The future of distance is constantly changing and in five or ten years it is going to look very different. Even though distance education has been around for decades in different forms, the recent rapid increase of technology has given rise to its growth (Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek, 2015). Technology has been crucial in facilitating this evolving process of distance education and has provided an intersection for instructors, content and the learner to interact (Simonson, Smaldino and Zvacek, 2015). As technologies emerge and society begins to change distance education is becoming more flexible to the learner in their given field of study.
         A change causing the paradigm shift in support of distance education is the flexibility it provides. Distance learning was formed in such a way as to facilitate this type of flexibility for adult learners. Distance education has also allowed learners to expand their skills and improve their career paths without having to leave their living room to acquire new knowledge. Distance education has also shaped the way education is structured and it is beginning to alter the way learning is perceived (Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek, 2015). Moore and Kearsley (2005) note that one of main reasons people choose distance education is because is offers the “combination of education with work and family life” (p.8). 
          With this shift in mind the future instructional designer needs to be prepared and lead the change for what’s coming. Staying up to date with modern learning theories, distance learner needs, structure, and various technology tools will be paramount for the instructional designer. I also believe that the challenge facing distance education is not learning new technologies, but building a mental model for learners and then researching how these technologies can serve the learner. Distance education must constantly be backed with research and sound design principles.  Tracey and Richey (2005) note that, “these innovations, however, must be matched by research and theoretical explorations of those distance education methods that promote not only student engagement in the learning process, but an inquisitive, skilled and intellectually-able population” (p.21). Technology must serve the learning objectives, but as technology advances in distance education it is going to be a challenge not to just adopt the latest new thing.  This is why the future instructional designer is going to be needed in each and every intersection where distance education is built.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education
Tracey, M., & Richey, R. (2005). The evolution of distance education. Distance Learning, 2(6), 17–21.
Moore, M., & Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance education: A systems view. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. 
Germain-Rutherford, A., & Kerr, B. (2008). An inclusive approach to online learning environments: Models and resources. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education TOJDE, 9(2). Retrieved from

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Best Practices Guide
Note: Through this best practices guide the trainer will be able to use this information in order to effectively transition his training course to a fully online course. Each of these three areas is crucial for understanding and providing steps for the transition. 

·      The Role of the Instructor in Providing Structure
One crucial area that should be considered in the planning process is establishing structure and clear learning objectives listed. This can be created through a checklist, syllabus or goals/objectives listed for the course under each material or training. Clear structure and learning objectives before the course even begins or before all this information is converted online establishes a relationship and expectation between the instructor and the student, or in this case the trainee and the trainers. Anyone taking a an online course needs to know and understand the expectations and requirements to complete the course of study before they even begin. When planning a course no one should assume that everyone has taken an online class or is familiar with technology. With this in mind the instructor or trainee is responsible for clearly guiding each student. Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek (2015) that, “students who have not taken a distance learning course, either synchronous or asynchronous, need guidance as to what they are expected to do. It is the responsibility of the instructor, when designing a course, to be certain that there are hints and suggestions, clearly articulated expectations” (p.193).  Through providing a syllabus, online calendar and clear learning objectives before each week’s assignments will serve as great aides for students (Simonson,  Smaldino & Zvacek, 2015). 
·      Assessing the Learners
The characteristics of modern distance learner can be vast and span across various cultures, age and geography. With this in mind, I believe that the first role of the instructional designer will be to learn general characteristics of their participants in their learning environment so they can shape instruction accordingly. Even though this may be challenging because of distance, time or separation it will prove valuable. Simonson, Smaldino & Zvacek (2015) state that, “knowledge of the students can assist the distance educator in overcoming the sensation of separation of the instructor and the student and can ensure that the learning experience will be positive” (p.189). After these general characteristics are considered the instructional designer can then approach his learning design with more clarity as to “who” he or she is going to be educating and build a course around these learning tendencies.  Ertmer and Newby (1993) state that, “online instruction must be based on a student’s existing mental structures, or schema, to be effective. It should organize information in such a matter that learners are able to connect new information with existing knowledge” (pg. 60). While it is going to be impossible to base an entire online course structure upon individual learning characteristics, gathering these general learning characteristics will help shape the learning environment as a whole

·      5 Attributes of Successful Distance Learners
If the trainer is seeking to change the format into an online training styled format, he or she must also consider the characteristics that distance learners need to be successful. This list will help he or she prepare an orientation for his trainees.
#1 Time management Skills
The flexibility of distance learning classroom has its clear advantages and is very conducive for today’s modern learner in that it allows the student to work, take care of family and attend  school. While this flexibility for the adult learner might seem ideal it also requires serious skills of time management. The ability to manage time is the major factor of encouraging students to succeed as a distance learner. As a distance learner, it is vital to know that you will not receive persistent reminders about quizzes that are coming up, projects that are scheduled, or deadlines for papers that must be submitted. This means that the student must utilize some sort of time management system in order to keep track of everything. Having a time management strategy can help an individual avoid procrastination.
#2 Independent or Self-Learner
Distance learners should be independent, self-directed individuals. The online environment enables students to learn at their own pace, relieving some of the pressure of traditional seated learning and making learning more enjoyable, but this requires that the student is able to identify learning goals and objectives and focus their attention accordingly. Distance learners must become independent problem solvers, doing their own research and expanding their life-long learning skills. This process helps them develop critical thinking skills, and the ability to interpret and synthesize reading materials and research papers with differing points of view and in the process develop their own positions and beliefs about the subject matter.
#3 Goal Driven
This attribute is in line with being a self-learner, but in order to be effective in an online classroom and keep pace with the information being a goal minded individual is crucial. Online classes move quickly and instructors often will not allow students to make up missed online discussions or assignments. This means that discipline and goals will play a vital role.

#4 Good Collaboration skills.
Many distance learning environments and courses require good collaborative and group management skills for group projects and discussions of study topics. The ability to collaborative work toward a goal, or collaborate in a discussion is helpful for distance students. Students may be asked to work within a group in various capacities to support a collaborative effort for discussion, research, or project, so social skills as well as communication and respect of the other students is vital. Working together in an unemotional and civil fashion, and coping with the personalities of the others in the group may be challenging but these skills are needed in distance education as well as in most aspects of life
#5 Basic Computer Proficiency
Some computer and Information literacy is necessary for a distance learner. Distance learners should possess a working knowledge of email, the Internet, and basic keyboard skills. Distance learners may be required to develop skills for researching and locating information from various sources and differentiate and evaluate them for inclusion in distance learning assignments and research projects.
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