As technology makes advancements and further evolves in our daily lives, it also presents challenges in our learning environments. If developers use modern technology in their learning material or dispersal means, they have to keep in mind that the more complex their delivery is, the more likely the learner will have complications accessing the material. One example of modern technology causing potential problems is synchronous training.
Synchronous training does allow multiple users to access training material on their own, and virtually from anywhere, but varying time zones present complications for learners to be engaged. Trying to get everyone to participate at a single date and time while geographically separated goes beyond just establishing a meeting time, other considerations include weather phenomenon and even work schedules. “Synchronous tools are obviously more difficult to employ when students span many time zones and are less appropriate when students can meet on campus” (Mason 2003, p. 6).
If a developer were to use programs that create synchronized presentations, such as the Department of Defense’s Defense Connect Online (DCO), they have to establish a particular date and time to hold the session. If your users are in different time zones and countries, this challenge can almost be overwhelming and very frustrating. One thing DCO does offer is a secure means to converse and share information, so that is a plus for this program.
If DCO would not meet a developer’s needs either because they are not military, or they do not require a precise date and time to get together, chat forums such as Wiki may be better. Using Wiki, developers can create sessions with a common topic and discussion subject while allowing users to access and post comments on their own schedule. From a planning standpoint, this is easier to use for both the developer and user.
Mason, R. (2003). Evolving technologies. Encyclopedia of distributed learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.