WBT design for volunteer training

Web-based training (WBT) has been defined as a, “Flexible and robust delivery method for organizations seeking an online learning solution” (Driscoll, 2001, p. 183). Within the children’s ministries volunteer development process at Christian Life Fellowship, WBT offers a tangible solution to providing accessible, convenient, and interactive for volunteer training. Careful attention to design impacts the learning environment (Hannum, 2001). Therefore, several important design factors should be considered in the development of a WBT solution for volunteer development.

One important design consideration is the model of WBT that is selected. The computer mediated communications model is one of particular interest. According to Hannum (2001), “The purpose of the computer mediated communications (CMC) model is to facilitate communications between instructor and students or among students” (p. 156). The CMC model is a means to circumvent time barriers, allowing learners to participate in the learning experience at their own personal time schedule (Hannum, 2001). Volunteers regularly comment that personal schedule constraints often prevent them from participating in training opportunities. A hybrid WBT model combining online training materials and a discussion forum (Hannum, 2001) would provide a mix of instructive and constructive learning activities.

The learning experience should include both quality instructional materials and dependable support for learners. The online instructional presentations would be an integral component of each volunteer training session. Instructional presentations delivered via the Web can take a variety of forms and generally support interaction between the learner and instructor (Loughner, Harvey, & Milheim, 2001). In addition to instruction and collaboration elements, a training session should include, “a variety of directly useful performance supports such as job aids and reference sheets” (Peal & Wilson, 2001, p. 151).

Beyond the selection of the learning model, other various features of the online learning environment should be considered. The learner should be provided with guidance throughout the learning process (Hall, 2001). The website through which the training will be provided should be thoroughly organized (Hall, 2001), ensuring that learners understand the requirements of the learning activities and they are able to navigate the online learning portal. Learners should have the freedom to freely navigate the lesson, moving among the major sections of the session (Hannum, 2001).

These are just a few of the numerous design factors that should be considered in the development of WBT for volunteer development in the religious education setting.

– Jason Rhode

References:

Driscoll, M. M. (2001). Developing synchronous web-based training for adults in the workplace. In B. H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based training. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Hall, R. H. (2001). Web-based training site design principles: A literature review and synthesis. In B. H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based training. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Hannum, W. (2001). Design and development issues in web-based training. In B. H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based training. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Loughner, P. D., Harvey, D. M., & Milheim, W. D. (2001). Web-based instructional methos for corporate training curricula. In B. H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based training. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Peal, D., & Wilson, B. G. (2001). Activity theory and web-based training. In B. H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based training. Englewod Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.