Creating Web-Based Training: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Effective E-Learning

Creating Web-Based Training: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Effective E-Learning

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Overview

"Today’s trainers must know about WBT (Web-based training) if they want to keep up in their industry. With Creating Web-Based Training, they don’t have to be programmers to create and use WBT. Step-by-step instructions show readers how to create simple yet effective WBT projects without hiring a multimedia development team. Clearly written with a minimum of jargon, the book explains it all:

• Web design basics—where to get easy-to-use Web-authoring software and how to use it; authoring text; adding color, images, links, navigation, audio, video, and embedded programming; and posting WBT pages on the Web or an intranet.

• Training—designing WBT for specific training objectives; using interactivity effectively; choosing and producing media; and estimating cost factors.

The book includes a CD with WBT samples and templates, which make it easy for trainers and educators to get started—on the Web!"

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814471074
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 06/30/2001
Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.80(d)
Age Range: 17 Years

About the Author

"Joseph T. Sinclair (Vallejo, CA) is the author of many books, including Web Pages the Smart Way, Creating Cool Web Databases, Java Web Magic, and Typography on the Web.Lani W. Sinclair, Ph.D. (Vallejo, CA) is a trainer for Chevron in California.

Joseph G. Lansing (Fruita, CO), formerly a trainer for Chevron, heads his own WBT consulting company, Outback Design."

Read an Excerpt

Creating Web-Based Training


By Joseph T. Sinclair

AMACOM Books

Copyright © 2002 Joseph T. Sinclair
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8144-7107-2


Introduction

The authors wrote this book on the premise that there is no better learning environment for most topics and situations than a classroom. Face-to-face interaction with an instructor and peers enables a student to get answers to questions and immediate feedback for a rich understanding. Alas, it is not a perfect world. Other methods of instruction have been tried, many successfully, of which Web-based training (WBT) is the latest. So, the question is not whether WBT is better than classroom teaching or whether it will replace instructors. There question is, Where, when, and for what types of training is WBT effective? This book provides information that will be helpful to you in answering this question. However, you are the one who will have to make the decision - do you use WBT and how? - based on the whole range of considerations specific to your particular situation.

What does the Web bring to training? The Web is a medium that includes diverse media such as text, images, sound, video, embedded programs, and interactivity. In addition, the Web has a built-in delivery system that reaches worldwide. The capability to use the Web and view Web pages has become ubiquitous, at least in advanced countries. Because the Web is not a broadcast (not distributed in real time), it is convenient. Moreover, extensive Web software that enables even novice computer users to create Web presentations is available. If you would have proposed such a system just a dozen years ago, everyone would have told you, "Too expensive." Yet the Web is inexpensive, too. What a deal! Just think of all the ways you can use it for training!

Once you have made a decision to create and employ a WBT project, this book will help you to carry through your plan. This is not a theoretical or management book. Rather, it provides hands-on, specific techniques you will need to develop and deliver WBT. In other words, the authors intend that you will learn how to do it, not how to manage it. The side benefit, of course, is that if you learn how to do it, you will be better able to manage it. So doers and managers alike can benefit from this book.

Because WBT is new, there is no consensus as to the definition. For some people, WBT is as little as posting a black-and-white text presentation (e.g., instructions, reports, forms, books) on a website. For others, it is an interactive multimedia presentation costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rather than offer a definition, this book offers a range of Web development techniques you can use for instructing on the Web.

Thus, a simple idea such as posting text instructions for filling out a corporate form might be considered WBT. This form might be printed or, more likely, might be one that receives input in a Web page. For example, suppose employees need to be taught how to fill out a comprehensive form for requesting reimbursement of travel expenses. If the form is printed, it needs to be reprinted together with the printed instructions each time the form is updated. On the Web, an administrator can change the form and instructions routinely (as travel policies change) without being concerned about reprinting and redistribution. And on the Web, presumably, the input from the form is automatically delivered to the appropriate person or persons; this approach can provide convenience, save money, and speed up the process, all at once.

Shall we dignify this simple instruction by calling it "training"? Sure. If an employee doesn't fill out the form properly, it costs the corporation more to process. Consequently, it's important to make sure that employees fill it out properly the first time. Obviously, this is a very simple example of WBT. Nonetheless, it provides a clear example of the power of WBT. If such a simple presentation can provide convenience and save time and money, think what more comprehensive WBT presentations can do!

Having said that simple instructions constitute WBT, it also needs to be said that we agree that just posting text on the Web in the simplest type of WBT. And while this may be appropriate for completing travel forms, it may not be appropriate for other instructional needs. Keep in mind that it's easy to enhance text with interactivity and media, and where it's appropriate to do so, WBT becomes more effective.

We provide you with Web techniques that you can use to develop WBT together with your knowledge of how to teach and how to design instruction.

The progress in creating and conducting any training is:

1. Assess needs

2. Design instruction

3. Develop materials

4. Deliver

5. Evaluate

Of these five, this book covers numbers 3 and 4, which means develop Web text and media and deliver it via the internet. After you have assessed your needs and selected your training methods, this book will help you get your design on the Web and assess the usability of your Web development.

If you design instruction for the classroom, it will have different features than if you design it for the Web. Therefore, this book covers the Web portion of the instructional design (number 2), also, keeping in mind that this book does not cover that portion of the instructional design regarding content.

Once the Web development is complete and the WBT presentation is working properly - that is, it's usable - you can then take the final step of evaluating the overall effectiveness of your training using many of the techniques you normally use for any type of training.

There are dozens of media, many dozens of Web development techniques, hundreds of instructional design approaches, and thousands of combinations of the aforesaid three. The book presents a few simple ideas that any instructor who knows how to use a computer confidently can employ. That will get you started. From there you will have the confidence and basic knowledge to go on to bigger and better things (i.e., more complex Web techniques and applications).

This book is organized as follows:

Part I Creating Web Pages Illustrates how to easily make Web pages using a Web authoring program. You do not need to know any Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). If you already know how to make Web pages, you may want to skip Part I.

Part II Refining Web Pages Covers some simple but important techniques relevant to WBT. Although like Part I this has basic information, it has enough information important to WBT that even those who feel comfortable making Web Pages will want to read it.

Part III Publishing Web Pages Explains Web hosting on an intranet or on the Internet.

Part IV WBT Basics Provides basic information on using the Web for WBT. This is the meat of the book, and even those proficient in Web development will find good ideas here.

Part V Advanced Web Techniques Considers Web technologies beyond the basics that are appropriate for WBT. More readers will find this Part to be useful for WBT.

Part VI Advanced WBT Techniques Focuses on some special techniques you can use to enhance WBT. There is even a chapter on WBT design, which is meant to be only an introduction to design, not a definitive explanation.

Part VII WBT Projects Examines a variety of simple WBT projects to prove a practical view of WBT.

So, we start with simple Web page development using free Web authoring software. Web authoring is the core of practical and effective WBT, and if you can't create Web pages, this book will teach you. From there we cover additional media that you can use to enhance your WBT presentations or even set up as the core of your WBT. At the end of the book you should feel confident using several media and constructing useful WBT presentations, small or large.

In conjunction with this book, you will need to use certain software. We have used free software wherever practical, and Table I.1 shows some of the choices. If you have other similar software you want to use with this book, that's appropriate too, as long as you know how to use it.

Can you do WBT alone? The answer is an unqualified yes! If you can use a computer, you can do it all. That does not mean, however, that you won't want to get assistance from others. Many readers will feel confident in their ability to write, to edit the writings of others, and to employ digital topography (i.e., desktop publishing). Others may want to farm all that out to writers. Many readers are capable of making voice redordings (easy). Others may want to employ an audio engineer. Many readers will know how to shoot informational video effectively (not terribly difficult). Others may want to hire a professional videographer. And then there's that all-important Web element: the color image. Many people can at least handle photographs effectively and perhaps Web-page trimmings too. Others may want to employ a digital artist to do that work and make the WBT presentation look elegant.

Remember those attractive computer-based training (CBT) multimedia presentations that were distributed on CDs? Most were created with difficult-to-use, expensive multimedia authoring software (e.g., Macromedia Director). They were slick, and many even ran on the Web via browser plug-ins (e.g., Shockwave). However, there were - and still are - expensive to produce. This book does not cover such WBT presentations. Why? Because Web technology can do the same job much less expensively and has, in effect, a built-in distribution mechanism. What's more, Web technology is easily mastered by almost anyone using widely available, inexpensive, sophisticated, easy-to-use website authoring software. This creates many opportunities for inexpensive but effective in-house productions even for those organizations without an extensive Web-development staff.

Self-administering Courses

This book doesn't cover WBT courses that give exams, grade them, and report the results to the instructor together with statistical analysis and charts. You can create such courses with Web technology, but it will require a lot of programming.

This book keeps it simple. It is about Web techniques and possibilities. We teach you a few Web techniques, and they open up a world of possibilities for you. Later in the book we cover some design ideas in regard to Web techniques, but the instructional design is left to you. If the truth be known, WBT is in the process of being invented every day. You have as much opportunity as anyone to invent techniques or to employ a unique collection of techniques that will teach your students efficiently and may even be useful to other instructors.

Let Us Know

If you dream up a new WBT technique that you haven't seen anywhere else or have a question, contact us as jt@sinclair.com. Or visit bookcenter.com for updates on this book.

A few words about who this book is for. The readers we have in mind are administrators, trainers, corporate trainers, instructors, teachers, professors, professionals who use training for marketing, or anyone who teaches something to someone else in a formal or quasi-formal manner. WBT includes: simple instructions, training of all kinds, education, and even higher education. Web technology is within reach of everyone, even solo instructors not affiliated with any organization. Consequently, WBT is a universal medium, not within the realm of an educational elite.

Thus, we get back to our original representation. We do not intend for WBT to replace instructors and classrooms. WBT is simply another tool for instructors to use in their quest to impart their knowledge and experience to others. WBT can be used instead of classroom instruction, or it can be used before, after, or during classroom instruction. Like other pedagogical tools, WBT has its advantages and disadvantages. So, we will leave it to you to decide. We provide you with some Web basics, and we know that they will propel you on to some possibilities that until recently none of us had even dreamed.

Good luck with your WBT projects.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Creating Web-Based Training by Joseph T. Sinclair Copyright © 2002 by Joseph T. Sinclair. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

"Part I. Creating Web Pages

1. HTML and the Browser

2. Creating a Web Page

3. Adding Images

4. Adding Links

Part II. Refining Web Pages

5. Webtop Publishing

6. Adding Color and Preparing Images

7. Navigation Bars and Menus

III. Publishing Web Pages

8. Web Hosting

IV. WBT Basics

9. Defining a WBT Product

10. Interactivity and Usability

11. Supplementary Internet Protocols

12. Types of WBT

V. Advanced Web Techniques

13. Embedded Programming

14. Forms

15. Readable Text

16. Complementary Technologies

VI. Advanced WBT Techniques

17. Streaming Audio

18. Streaming Video

19. SMIL

20. Designing WBT

VII. WBT Projects

21. Book Project

22. Review of WBT Projects

Appendix

1. HTML Tutorial

2. SMIL Tutorial

3. Streaming Media Check Lists

4. Software Lists

5. Open Standards"

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