Return to ATSC Home page

Distributed Learning Decision Criteria

Although once considered to be the fastest and less expensive alternative to classroom training, recent lessons learned have proven otherwise. The use of complex interactivity, media, gaming, and simulations in Distributed Learning (DL) leads to increased costs and development time.

This shouldn't be a reason not to select DL if all other criteria are met:

DL Decision Criteria
Question Impact
Is the content stable? If the answer is no then DL may not be the right choice. If the content is subject to frequent changes, consider building the course on an LCMS such as the Lifelong Learning Center (LLC) where content can be updated by the course manager. Contracted DL may require more time than other options.
Does the content require a sense of taste, smell, or touch? Taste, smell, and touch are still not features of Army DL although with the use of special input devices such as haptic tools, the sense of touch can be replicated.

Generally speaking, if training requires any one of these three senses, then DL is likely not the best choice.
Does the content require an instructor to lead or facilitate the course? Research shows that instructor's contact is the most important factor contributing to DL student success. Contact must be regular (on scheduled activities) and substantive (have real purpose or objectives).
Does the content require the learner to interact with other learners? If yes, consider a blended approach or delivery via Lifelong Learning Center where students can interact via social media tools or within course threaded discussions. Student interactions enrich the content by sharing backgrounds and experiences.
Does the assessment require a proctor? Web based assessments can be secured using password and login or Common Access Card (CAC) authentication to access the exams. Although not 100% secure, they are considered to be trustworthy as long as the information isn’t shared by the students.

If an onsite proctor is needed then DL may not be the best choice. Consider sending students to an education center or classroom for proctored exams.

There are some applications that can be used in the LLC that secure the assessments and should be considered in this decision.
Page Last Updated: 10/29/2015 11:00:29 AM