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The Importance of Understanding Both Educational and Technical Facets
of Instructional Technology
This piece was written with primary and secondary educators
in mind. I was a fourth grade teacher, and over a year ago I resigned
my position and ventured into distance learning at the corporate level.
Having made the transition from public education to the business world,
I now look back and see other public educators attempting the same transition.
Whether such an attempt should be made is up to each individual, but I
can offer advice for those interested in moving into the business world.
Become well versed in both the educational and the technical facets of
the instructional technology field.
My experience as a student in a graduate-level IT program
has shown me that a traditional teacher preparation program does not prepare
an instructor for the online environment. Distance learning removes
much of the face-to-face interaction that a traditional instructor depends
upon to communicate with the learner. Online courses succeed when
a community of learning is created, online etiquette (netiquette) is practiced,
instructor and learner communication is clearly written, and both the
instructor and the learners are prepared for each session.
Because of the Instructional Technology program, I have the teaching techniques
needed to continue my career as a distance educator.
Some may read the above paragraph and think that it
covers the necessary components of a quality distance-learning course,
but my employment experience has shown me that more is required.
I am the Manager of E-learning for a mid-size corporation, and my task
is to build intranet-based health and safety training for the corporationís
employees. My position is experimental; therefore, I am the sole
designer and developer of the employee training. Understanding and
applying the teaching philosophies of distance learning is only half of
my job. The other half involves understanding and utilizing various
tools to create and deploy the health and safety training. Knowledge
me to build training courses. Just as important, I continually learn
to utilize new tools and programs that will ensure future training course
meet the latest technical and design standards.
From my experience, it is important to understand both
the educational and the technical aspects of distance learning.
Instructional Technology is an ever-changing field, and a distance educator
must also continually adapt and improve if s/he hopes to remain effective
About the Author:
Vince Kwisnek is a student in the Graduate-level IT program at Duquesne
University. He may be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.