Computer-based training (CBT), also called computer-assisted instruction (CAI) is a type of education in which the student learns by executing special training programs on a computer. CBT is especially effective for training people to use computer applications because the CBT program can be integrated with the applications so that students can practice using the application as they learn.
Historically, CBTs growth has been hampered by the enormous resources required: human resources to create a CBT program. and hardware resources needed to run it. However, the increase in PC computing power, and especially the growing prevalence of computers equipped with CD-ROMs, is making CBT a more viable option for corporations and individuals alike. Many PC applications now come with some modest form of CBT, often called a tutorial.
CBT is also called computer-assisted instruction (CAI)
COMPUTER-BASED TRAINING FEATURES
CBT has a number of distinct and unique features, including:
Immediate Feedback. The immediate feedback most computer-based training provides on trainee progress allows both instructors and trainees to monitor progress and adjust instruction accordingly. This feature is important for all skills, because it ensures that students are actually learning what they need to know.
Placement. Placement via on-line testing that matches a trainee with needed training is also built into many CBT systems. By using this feature, you avoid any unnecessary training for an individual. The CBT can accommodate each individual's needs by "branching" to the level of training that is appropriate for that individual.
Integration of Text, Graphics, Video, and Sound. If the training is particularly content dense (many new concepts presented close together) or uses a hierarchy of skill acquisition (where current concept mastery is dependent on mastery of earlier concepts), CBT's integration of text, graphics, video, and sound facilitates the learning process. On average, people remember:
20% of what they see,
40% of what they see and hear, and
70% of what they hear, see and do,
so CBT's rich, multi-sensory delivery system can facilitate greater retention of new knowledge.
COMPUTER-BASED TRAINING BENEFITS
CBT has many positive features and effects, many of which are particularly important to small and mid-sized companies.
CBT is cost effective:
• While customized computer-based training programs can be very expensive, off-the shelf and "customizable" programs can run as little as $20 to $100, and enrolling employees in computer-based learning labs may cost only $30 to $50 per credit hour.
• After initial costs, you have a 24 hour per day trainer. Using CBT, a trainer can teach any number of trainees at the same time. By customizing CBT programs to focus only on what trainees need to learn, training time and costs can be significantly reduced.
• Because CBT may enable you to reduce or eliminate travel for trainees, your total training costs can also be lessened.
CBT works with an adult population:
• The trainee feels in control.
• The computer is non-judgmental and non-threatening. It provides a privacy factor that reduces learners' embarrassment about taking "remedial" classes or making mistakes while answering questions in the training materials.
• The computer actively engages the trainee in the training process, providing increased trainee satisfaction.
CBT is self-paced, flexible, and individualized:
• Trainees work at their own pace.
• CBT can sequence training to match the trainee's needs. The computer can always match the trainee's schedule. CBT can reach trainees outside the traditional classroom, providing instruction on the job or at home.
• CBT provides immediate feedback to trainees on their progress. CBT does not have to be delivered to all employees at the same time, thus allowing the company to maintain coverage of critical positions.
CBT is tireless:
• It never needs a break.
• It is always there.
• It can train greater numbers of students in a given time frame compared to other methods.
• It meets the need for round-the-clock (continuous) training.
CBT gives trainers increased control over training activities:
• It provides management systems for tracking trainees' progress and location.
• It provides on-line testing to match a trainee with needed training. It provides consistency of training in terms of quality and information presented.
• It provides standardization of training when training occurs in several work locations simultaneously.
CBT can reduce resource requirements:
• You can have a higher trainee-to-trainer ratio, where the instructor serves as facilitator, assisting trainees as needed.
• There is less need for a centralized training facility. Facilitators can serve more than one company with a CBT program, lessening the investment each company would have to make.
CBT can improve job performance:
• It trains people in specific skills for specific performance.
• It trains people in general skills that broadly affect general performance.
• It provides increased access to information tools for decision making.
CBT can be a change agent:
• CBT may be the catalyst for a paradigm shift to new training approaches within an organization. Companies might begin to look beyond traditional classroom instruction to meet their training needs.
• CBT can provide computer literacy skills to employees, resulting in improved personal and organizational productivity.
Computer-based training is not, however, the answer to every training need. It is more appropriate -- effective and cost efficient -- in some situations than others. The material in this guide will help you determine when it can effectively meet your training needs.
COMPUTER-BASED TRAINING TECHNIQUES
Most CBT uses one or a combination of the following techniques:
The most common of all techniques is the tutorial. It is used to introduce new information that must be taught in a sequential manner. It is useful for teaching factual information, simple discrimination, rules, and simple application of rules.
Drill and Practice
Another commonly used technique is known as drill and practice. It provides opportunities for practice when mastery of a new skill or information is desired. It should be used after initial instruction.
Training games supplement other instruction and are used to provide motivating and engaging opportunities for practice after a skill or new information is taught. Training games capitalize on the competitive interests of learners and add entertainment value to instruction.
The technique of simulation is most often used when practicing a skill in its real context is too costly or dangerous. It provides an opportunity for experimentation, and allows students to test assumptions in a realistic context. Simulations are also used to model real-world situations that are not physically dangerous or costly, in order to build realism and relevance into the training situation.
One of the most challenging techniques used in CBT is problem solving. It helps students develop skills in logic, solving problems, and following directions, and is generally used to augment higher order thinking skills.
Demonstration or presentation is best used to support the introduction of new information. It can also be used as a review tool.
Most CBT incorporates one or more of these techniques. A training game, for example, might have some of the elements of drill and practice; a tutorial might use problem solving questions. If one or more of these techniques is right for meeting your training requirements, CBT may be an appropriate training method for you
Short for Web-based training, a generic term for training and/or instruction delivered over the Internet or an intranet using a Web browser. Web-based training includes static methods -- such as streaming audio and video, hyperlinked Web pages, live Web broadcasts, and portals of information -- and interactive methods -- such as bulletin boards, chat rooms, instant messaging, videoconferencing and discussion threads.
Businesses often use Web-based training to educate employees. The instruction can be facilitated and paced by the trainer or self-directed and paced by the trainee.
Web-Based Training Overview
MANY CORPORATIONS have begun to make the move from instructor-led classroom training to Web-based training (WBT). There are several important factors to consider before making such a switch. This article outlines some important considerations for Web-based training.
Advantages of Web-Based Training
Web-based training has the potential to offer many advantages over traditional instructor-led training. If done well, advantages of Web-based training may include:
• Provides standardized training ensuring a consistent message across the corporation.
• Decreases time employees are away from their jobs.
• Web-based material can be easily adapted for different audiences (unlike print-based material).
• WBT is better than print-based material for unstable or rapidly changing material that needs to be updated often.
• Training is available to a larger audience - the same WBT course can be distributed to desktops around the world.
• The company saves money on travel expenses, instructor/trainer costs, classroom facilities costs, and packaging/distribution costs.
• Training can be customized and tailored to the company's culture.
Disadvantages of Web-Based Training
While many companies are jumping on the Web-based training bandwagon, it is important to remember that WBT does have some drawbacks. Some potential disadvantages include:
• Bandwidth limitations can place constraints on certain media types. All learners must have adequate bandwidth to access WBT.
• Initial development costs can be more expensive than development costs for print-based or instructor led training.
• WBT may require longer development time.
• Learners must be self-directed learners and comfortable using the Web.
• WBT tends to have higher drop out rates than classroom training.
• Learners are more likely to be distracted or interrupted when engaged in WBT at their work space
• So far it is difficult to measure the Return on Investment or to quantify the results of WBT
• It is difficult to provide opportunities for practice and feedback with WBT. Learners don't have opportunity to ask questions if they don't understand.
• It is difficult to develop tests that will measure the learner's understanding of the material.
• WBT may not be as effective as face-to-face instruction when training soft-skills. It usually lacks crucial practice and feedback elements.
• Use WBT as a pre-requisite for a classroom training session. Have learners do pre-reading and pre-work via the Web before coming to the classroom.
• Include some form of interactivity in WBT-- synchronous or asynchronous chats, exercises, activities, case studies, scenarios, quizzes, etc.
• Make sure your learners have the technical capability and motivation for self-directed learning on the Web.
• Use WBT for technical or procedural training, reserve classroom time for soft skills type training that requires some form of face-to-face interaction.
• Supplement WBT with job aids and printable material.
• Repurpose existing content.
• Use WBT as a refresher.
• Great option for computer savvy audiences.
• Give them the facts, but include details as an option ("Tell me more" links to additional information).
• Customize the information to the learner's corporate culture or specific interests. Make it personally relevant -- don't just deliver the facts.
Self-paced web-based training (WBT) can be compared to computer-based training (CBT) in the quality of the training that it enables. However, there are advantages to establishing a web-training site instead of producing a CD-ROM based training system. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of web-based training.
• Pinnacle Systems Retail Sales Channel Web Based Training
• Packet8 VOIP Installation Guide
• Delivers training to users anytime, anywhere
• Instant multi-platform capabilities (Windows, Mac, Unix)
• Easy updating of content
• Quicker turnaround of finished product
• Controllable, trackable access
• Learners' progress can be tracked and stored in a database for evaluation
• Options exist for installing the training on private networks
• Easy to link to other training systems
• Bandwidth and browser limitations restrict instructional strategies
• Slower performance for sound, video and large graphics over dial-up connections
• Necessitates server access, usage control, system administration
How Does Events Online Develop Self-paced Web-based training?
Events Online uses a highly structured process for WBT development:
The first step is to identify what the client wants to accomplish with the WBT. What are the outcomes? How will we define success?
Task and User Analysis
During task and user analysis, Events Online determines exactly what the user needs to know to perform on the job. We also identify the current computer skills and educational levels of the target users. The result of this analysis is that we thoroughly understand how to structure the WBT to meet the users needs.
The purpose of the technical analysis is to establish the technical capabilities of our client. Our instructional designers can then design a course or performance support system that takes advantage of the client's technological capabilities in an instructionally sound way.
Interface design is a very critical phase of the development process. The user interface must be as intuitive as possible, and allow users to control the learning experience as much as possible. Events Online's interface designers understand the complex, non-linear way that learners use a web-based product. They know how to work with our instructional designers and the client to define an appropriate metaphor for the interface. The result of the interface design process is a prototype of the interface that is ready for usability testing.
Usability testing is when we test the interface on real end-users or people with similar skills and knowledge. Through careful observation and analysis, the effectiveness of the interface is determined.
Events Online's technical team prepares a template based on the tested interface design. This template includes blank pages with pre-positioned navigational controls and repeating screen elements. Once templates are done, they are ready to receive course content.
The instructional design process is one where a highly experienced designer organizes and presents content in a way that enables end users to meet their learning goals. A lot of effort is placed on "chunking" the information, i.e. selecting essential points and presenting it in distinct informational units. IDs prepare storyboards that are used by programmers to create the interactive screens. The client reviews and approves storyboards prior to media development.
Based on the storyboards, media specialists create the variety of content that will make up the product. This may include text, still graphics, movies, animations, music, narrations, databasess and Flash content.
Programming is where subject matter content is put into a web format. It may include HTML documents, CGI scripting and Flash programming. CGI scripting provides server-side applications for tasks such as creating dynamic documents, performance tracking, student record keeping, and security measures. Should the instructional design call for sophisticated interactions or graphic simulations, Flash programming becomes necessary.
Evaluation lets us see whether or not the goals and objectives of the training have been met. The advantage of a Web-based system is that updates are easier and faster to implement than they are with other types of custom training and information systems.