Distance Education

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Personal Development Plan

My Personal Development Plan.
My exposure and experiences in this program has fired my motivation to continue my educational goals. While I am aware of the financial responsibilities and constraints as a mother, a student, a professional, wife and supporting my two older boys in college. I have to be sensitive to the immediate need of my family, who has been extremely supportive of my success up to date through thick and thin.
Throughout the program, I interacted and struggle with some aspect of the using technology.  Shortly after,  I started my  graduate program  I realize the  need to  change my specialization  from online learning  to “Training and Improvement”.  This is because I strongly felt that I need substantial knowledge to function as expected and desired in higher level technological program.  Moving forward, I want to acquire the knowledge by getting a formal education on the use of software technologies.   There are a thousand and one YouTube videos for learning, Lydia.com and many tutorials. I discover they mostly get me to the solution. I want to know the details. Possibly get a certification in Adobe   Photoshop and Dreamweaver.  I want to do better than work with a tutorial. 

An opportunity to practice.
 I want to get a job in the field of Instructional Design to enable me practice some of the things I just learned in this program.  I know that I do not want to teach in elementary or High school. I will update my resume and apply for a job. Not sure how that will go, considering the financial crisis. I have a plan B. I am preparing to volunteer at the local community college and universities. I am on vacation all week in Virginia Beach.  Nowadays, I am analyzing every aspect of whatever I am involved with. I sometimes initiate a discussion on the best approach to help people get things done especially, if they are struggling.  I like to know why they are using one approach versus the other.

 CPT Certification.
I want to get my membership for the International society for performance Improvement.  I investigated how I can obtain my CPT certification.  My organization tuition reimbursement fund can assist me to obtain this certification.  CPT certification is very important to me. In the future, I am planning to retire in Nigeria, and I feel that I can use my knowledge to create a training solution organization.

Continuing Education Plan.
 I will like to pursue my education and obtain my PHD. I have a lot on my plate right now. I need to figure out the financial aspects of my intention.   I look forward to talk to my advisor when I finish my grad program. I will like to return to Walden for this program. I am passionate about continuing my educational goals because it will continue to increase my exposure to the educational forum that I value. There is a lot to learn, and I look forward to be the best in all I can be.

Employees Development Plan

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A6: High-Tech Training

Technology continues to evolve. It is the pace setter for accessing learners from across the world and permitting them to learn anytime and at their convenience. There is a constant debate on the use of technology and the impact on learning.  Noe 2010 indicated “new technologies have made it possible to reduce the cost associated with delivering training to employees, to increase the effectiveness  of the learning environment and to help training contribute to business goals” P. 297.
In this day and age, traditional f2f method of training is fading away as people rely more on the use of technology to improve learning. It is obvious that f2f learning will be needed in some aspects of learning. Technology application to training is effective when used appropriately.  This paper will discuss the impact of five selected technologies on how people learn.

Technologies Used in Training
Impact on how people learn
Implications for training
Intelligent Tutoring System.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) are tutoring systems which form with using artificial intelligence
techniques in computer programs to facilitate instruction.

It provides immediate feedback to learners without the presence of an instructor.

The system lay emphasis on learning by doing using its three
ITS environments, tutoring, coaching and empowering.

ITS provides information about the content expectation and trainees level of knowledge.
ITS can be used for training with programmers without the details knowledge of knowing how to program. This is because the four components namely
Domain Expert- Provides information on how to perform the task.

Trainee Model- Provides information about student knowledge.

Trainee Session Manager – Interprets trainees action and reports the result s or provides coaching.

Interactive Video.

Interactive video is another fun unconventional way to train employees. Interactive video combines the advantages of video and computer-based instruction.

Here, is a link to an interactive video used for training.

Instruction occurs one-on-one with the learner through the use of keyboard or touch the monitor to interact with the program.
Employees can control what aspects of the training program they want to view.

They can skip ahead wherever they feel necessary, or they can review topics that are fuzzy. The employees also receive immediate feedback about their performance. Training is also made convenient for employee and employer
Interactive video is very useful in teaching interpersonal skills and technical procedures.
Storage is easy either on video disk or CD.

Employers using this model will incur high cost of developing interactive video programs.  In some organization purchasing the equipment is offset by the reduction in instructor cost and travel costs related to a central training location.

In addition to the cost, interactive video is customized “only” for the organizational use.
Virtual Worlds.

Virtual world is described a synchronous persistent network of people, represented as avatars facilitated by network computers.
Mark (2008)

Second Life is an example of a computer-based, simulated online virtual world that includes three dimensional representations of the real world and a place to host learning programs or experiences
In the virtual world, trainees use an avatar to interact with each other in classrooms webinars, simulations, or role play exercises.

Trainees are real without bias to other comments.
Learners learn alone, with peers or their team.

Virtual world could be used to create classrooms such as virtual reality simulations that actively involve trainees.

It gives the opportunity to imitate the actual workplace.

It provides an opportunity for organizations to explore various options of virtual worlds programs.

 Virtual Worlds could be used for teaching interpersonal skills, leadership and working under pressure.

Consideration for first time users is important since research disclose the lack of ease of use. Organization should build in time for first users to get acquainted with the new technology.

Retention of learned activities should be monitored after the training

This is a type of training method that represents a real–life situation with trainees’ decisions resulting in outcomes that mirror what would happen if they were on the job. Noe (2010).

Simulations are in a way, a lab experiment where the students themselves are the test subjects. They experience the reality of the scenario and gather meaning from it. It is a strategy that fits well with the principles of constructivism.

Simulators are useful in that learners are able to access them anywhere, anytime.

Simulators provide increase involvement with trainees and can be emotionally engaging, thereby increasing willingness to practice, encourages retention and improve their skills. P. 320.

Simulations remove the element of danger from the situation.

Information provided are consistent with what trainees need to learn within the shortest time frame.
One of the set back to this method is the frequent update as new information about the work environment is obtained Noe (2010).

Cost of production is higher. On the flip side, Trainees may be reluctant to learn because the technology lacks human interaction. P. 320.
Hybrid/Blended Training.

Blended learning combines online learning, face -to- face instruction, and other methods for distributing learning content and instruction.

Learners are exposed to f2f and technology –based delivery and instructional techniques.

Blended learning provides learners control and enhances more responsibility for self- learning.

Uses classroom for trainees to get together, discuss and share insights.

Feedbacks are provided live and preferable than online feedback.

Blended learning is demanding and requires a great deal of commitment based on the two learning approaches.

When used for training, provisions should be made for frequent technology updates and other related support system.  Noe, 2010.

Educational Uses of Second Life.  Retrieved June 7 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=qOFU9oUF2HA.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems .Applications of AI to Education. Retrieved from http://aaai.org/AITopics/IntelligentTutoringSystems.

 Instructional Strategies on line (2004-2009) Retrieved June 7, 2012 from http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/de/pd/instr/strats/simul/index.html.
Mark, W.B (2008) Toward a Definition of “Virtual World” Retrieved June 7, 2012 from http://journals.tdl.org/.

Peer-to-Peer Learning in Hybrid (Blended) Courses. Online. Retrieved, June 7, 2012 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=so0y0rBgDIY.

Schools Use Games for Learning and Assessment (2007). Retrieved June, 2012 from http://www.edutopia.org/computer-simulations-games-virtual-learning-video.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Planning for a Needs Assessment.

A2:  Planning for a Needs Assessment.

Whole Foods Market

Organization Description:
Whole Foods Market started 1980 in Austin Texas. Then, a very small store with strong intentions of retailing healthy and organic food products in the community, promoting diversity, awareness and wellness. Currently, Whole Foods Market is the leading company in the sales of organic and natural food products within America. Their growth became a global event in 2006. Whole foods Market now have 310 market places in United States and United Kingdom. Whole foods Market consist of  62, 000 employees,  10 distribution centers, 7 regional bakery sites and 5 commissaries.

Whole Foods Market Mission:
The mission revolves around a common saying”Whole foods, Whole people and Whole Planet”. These terms are interconnected and overlap in the approach to the business of this organization.
Green Mission:
Highlights the value of 3R’s. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

 With a mindset of serving the community, maximizing diversity and wellness, they are able to select the best quality products, supported by a self –directed team culture creating a respectful workplace, and in participation in active agricultural practices in organic farming while sustaining our planet with wise environmental practices.

Whole Foods Core Values:

Selling the highest quality natural and organic products available.
Satisfying and delighting our customers.
Supporting team member’s happiness and excellence.
Creating wealth through profits and growth
Caring about our communities and our environment.
Creating ongoing win-win partnership with our suppliers. 

The focus is on healthy eating because it offers the greatest health benefits by purchasing.

Based on my observation on the information presented on Whole foods market web site, I prefer to visit one of the whole foods market in my area to get a firsthand information on what
goes on in this region. I recognized that a true assessment of Whole foods Market should include the entire organization. Knowing that there are over 310 stores across the world, I will consider getting a buy-in from the board of directors from various regions, VP’s of various Team member services, independent Stakeholders, employees, Mangers, customers, environmentalists, Agricultural partners, and food banks.  Noe (2010) states “It is important to consider the organizational business strategy, its resources available for training, and support by managers, peers for training activities. (p. 103). Conducting organizational analysis to determine the appropriateness of training.  Selected questions will be directed to organizational leaders and mid-level managers, and trainers.
  •  How does training support the strategic need of Whole food Market?
  • Are there resources allocated for training purposes?
  •  Please explain how employees perceive training in this organization?
  •  Considering the size of your organization, how would training improve the employee’s performance, relationship to customers and partners?
Person analysis helps to identify employees who need training. Noe (2010).
What are your strengths and weaknesses in getting your job done?
Do you feel that your performance now satisfy your job expectation? If yes, How? If no, why?
How can organizational training assist in your job performance?
The person analysis will focus on the employees, team leaders, and customers.

Tasks analysis results in a description of work activities, including tasks performed by the employee and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to complete the task. Noe (2010). In reality, a job must be selected before analysis questions could be developed. Noe (2010). Task analysis must represent documents available at the local site or database of the organizations. For each position, selected for analysis, having the critical tasks steps, how often employees need to complete the task and current level of difficulty when performing task will lead to in-depth information about the task in question.
During the assessment process, I will like comprehensive information that is generated through the organization’s operation. Some of these are performance appraisal forms, job descriptions, current training curriculum's and what gaps such trainings seek to close. Stated and unstated operational codes.
In conducting a need assessment for an organizational, person and task analysis, I will adopt a combination of techniques to get to the information needed.
I will conduct a conference meeting initially to get all my stakeholders informed and prepare for the process. Questionnaires will be developed online to meet the need of the diverse and global population. For the local work teams, direct observation on the job will be appropriate.  

In conclusion, performing a need assessment is crucial and usually the first step in the instructional design process. Noe (2010). Need assessment enables designers to create effective training program, geared to the strategic business purpose of the organization, and acceptable by all stakeholders through communication and collaboration for the improvement of employees and the organization as a whole.
Noe (2010) Employee Training and Development (5th Ed.) New York, NY: McGraw Hill.  
Whole foods Market. Retrieved May 10, 2012 from http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/.
Whole Foods Core Values. Retrieved, May 10, 2012 from http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values/corevalues.php.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Elevator Speech- The truth about training

My Elevator Speech.

Hello, my name is Folashade Fawehinmi. I am an Instructional designer in the making. I am not surprised about your take on training. Stolovitch, (n.d.) noted, “Training skills are necessary to perform, but not sufficient alone”.  If you give me a minute, I will clarify some of your concerns.  Let’s reflect on the economic issues in this country, training is considered unnecessary, and   some organizations are cutting back on training and development of their employees (Noe, 2010). The truth is training alignment with business strategy provides the roadmap for any organization to accomplish its goals. Training should be structured and focused on getting employees to consistently reproduce behavior without variation, but with increasing greater efficiency even if conditions change.  Stolovitch (n.d). If these words are not true after a training encounter, there is a training performance gap in your system.  
In reality, training should be designed to prepare employees for competency on the job. Training makes our job relevant and connects to the overall business strategy of the organization, while it makes employees proud and appreciated.
Employees need continuous learning to compete in this evolving world of knowledge and new technologies, and this is fundamental to organization’s sustenance and employee’s performance.
Thank you.
Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Stolovitch, H. (n.d) “The Truth about Training” Laureate Video.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Analyzing Scope Creep

Scope Creep could be described as the uncontrolled changes in the requirements of the project as defined.  In any project, you will expect a clearly defined project scope; you still have to beware of scope creep. Scope creep tend to  arise when new features are added to product designs that have already been approved, without providing equivalent increases in budget, time and/or resources. In order to address scope creep challenge, the best approach is to set up a well-controlled formal process known as a change control system.
My blog is based on an experience during an interview with my cousin about the failure experienced in his business.  The incident occurred about 4 years ago.

                Tim had a good intention to be self- employed. So he quit his real estate business after the economic downturn with the hope of establishing a business to sustain himself and his family. He wants to produce grilled goat meat, and chicken for sale.  His criteria originated from considering fast food franchise as a viable business,   and believing   the flocks of the immigrant population would be his primary customers.
He had some money saved he hopes to secure a loan from the bank, and have friends invest in the business.  He also intends to partner with a friend to run the business.  They will both have a 50/50 share in the business.
As he worked on researching what he will need to accomplish this goal, he learned that it will require a USDA involvement and approval. The local health official’s involvement and layers of approval from the location (warehouse), to the equipments required to produce the products.  He quickly rented a place and renovated the location for his business. After all the expenditure, the licensing authority informed his that they are unable to approve the location. After multiple negotiations, he was ordered to tear it down and rebuild the warehouse to the USDA specification. The final approval of the location lingered for about 18 months.  He managed to get a small business loan from the Latino organization in Washington, DC.  He used the money to build the warehouse to the specification. By the approval date, he was already broke and had no money to operate the business.  His rent was mounting in arrears, and the repayment plan of the loan begins.  
In his plan, he knew he could get the raw material (fresh goat meat and chicken) from local farms. Little did he learn from USDA that he could only purchase materials from only USDA approved farms. In his discovery, USDA farms products are higher in price than other regular livestock farms. This factor will cause his projected product price to increase.
Another interesting aspect of the operation is documentation of almost every aspect of the production. Tim lacks the ability to complete documentation requirements while working in production. He was informed about hiring employees, but knew he cannot afford the salary.  

Scope creep Issues.
The following issues impact the establishment of the business. In my opinion, the business had problems at almost every stage such as Conceive, Define, start, perform, and Evaluation.

Conceive Stage

Funding- the estimation of cost, expenditures, facilities, equipment purchases, renovations and contingency plans  were not properly identified  before embarking on this project.  In a nut shell, the entire approach to the project needs to change. Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, and Kramer (2008) states that “input from more than 500 project managers regarding the most important single problem facing project managers indicates  that coping  with change is at the top of their list.”
Tim just want a business, no feasibility study was done. Interestingly, USDA told him there is no one in USA producing grilled goat as of the time of his business initiation. This makes it difficult to compare his idea to similar businesses; instead, they got creative, that lead to the layers of delay in the approval process.
He was unprepared and unaware of the different levels of regulations, license and approval requirements.

Define /planning stage

 In his planning, he had no business plan to identify, analyze and define what this business will need to thrive. He had no prior experience in the business. He just knew that edible products sell in the fast food business.
There was no adequate plan on how he will purchase the raw materials and other ingredients to prepare this product. The surprise occurs after the fact.
 The scope of other resources was left out of his vision. In my opinion, the lack of feasibility resulted in the frustration encountered with time frames and delay in the approval process.

Project Start stage

The business was unable to start operation once approved, because everything was wrong from the onset.  The owner was unable to purchase the materials to start operation as planned. Though, the business had viable customers. Despite all these challenges, the business continues to run in a substandard manner. The worst happened when the landlord evicted them because they owed about a year and half rent.  

How did you or other stakeholders deal with those issues at the time?

 Based on the challenges encountered by the business, the business partner part ways with my cousin.  He was stuck with the business and believed he could get by, ran on credit until eviction.  Budrovich, (n.d.) indicated that the standard five variables that challenge project manager are Time, money, scope, people and quality.

What could you have done to better manage these issues and control the scope of the project?

I am proud of what I have learned so far in this course, because the experience taught me the foundation of project management and standard of approach to project management.  With this in mind, every aspect of a project is important. It is not just enough to conceive an idea, but be realistic about analyzing, planning and identifying all the crucial aspects of the project idea, be able to determine how the progress will be assessed.
I will partner with USDA to support /advice me on all the requirements of this operation, have the necessary documentation, schedules/timelines, and clarify expectation from the beginning of the project. According to Suchan, J. (2007),” your ability to get buy-ins from the entire stakeholder will help to streamline the approval process, and keeps information flowing”.
I will do everything to get the experts involved, I will do my research, I will have a concrete plan about the finances of the business. 


Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008).  
Project   Management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & 
Sons, Inc.
Suchan, J. (2007) Establish and manage the project stakeholders list. Retrieved November 8, 2011 from
Managing Scope Creep in Project Management. (n.d.). Retrieved fromhttp://www.villanovau.com/project-management-scope-creep/.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Communicating Effectively

      “What we see and hear from each other is only the tip of the iceberg. Lying underneath the waterline of our words and actions is a much fuller, richer set of information”.  Strider, (2002) Communication in project management cannot be overemphasized.  In general, people communicate through a variety of means but are the communication effective?  Projects are conceived with excellent plan, hoping for a desired outcome often fails, because of inappropriate communication strategies.  This blog discusses a piece of communication in various modalities. 

How did your interpretation of the message change from one modality to the next?

As an Email (written Text).
The email is direct. The message implies Jane, pleading to Mark to get his part of the project done to enable her move forward.  She appears desperate, by the choice words used to request for the report, but failed to mention exactly when she needs the report. As noted by Stolovitch, (n.d.) “Effective communication is influenced by the spirit and attitude, tonality and body language, timing and personality of the recipient”.  Though, the email was a written text, it was obvious to note the spirit and attitude of the writer. 

As a Voice Message (Audio)
This voice message presented an interesting version of the message. The speaker voice was cautious, calm and directly expressed purpose of the communication. The voice reflected a friendly   reminder to Mark about the ETA report. The voice message reflected a level of familiarities between the speaker and the receiver. The speaker (Jane) knew Mark’s schedule,  and was considerate by referring to his busy day, somewhat empathizing with him,  and hoping that Mark could find some time to get  back to the much needed report. 

As a face-2-face communication (Video cast)

During the f2f conversation, the presence of the speaker made a difference in the way I received the message. Looking at her face, listening to her, reading her facial expression, her lips movement, the tone of her voice impacted the way I received the message. Though, she was demanding an answer, she was respectful and ended her conversation with a smile. Depending on the relationship between the two parties the smile could be identified as a heartening gesture, or could be a distracter. Stolovitch, (n.d) cautions on communicators “to avoid ambiguity” This may be perceived as lack of seriousness in the content of the message. 

What factors influenced how you perceived the message?

Judging from what I wrote earlier on the written text, and what just occurred in the voice message, and f2f communication, the speaker in all the scenarios is attempting to get work done and get results. She may need to use the approach described by   Budrovich (n.d) “Tailor your communication strategy to fit the specific needs of each stakeholder”.   In reality, I do not think that the speaker should use all the three or more methods to get her point across. Instead, her ability to recognize Mark’s communication preference will make it easy to tailor her communication to get the outcome.
Other factors that of influence how a message is perceived are   values, noise, perception, encoding, beliefs, decoding, length of conversation, repetition, past experiences and expectations. This could occur both ways.  Considering cultural backgrounds when communicating during a project is an important factor nowadays, due to technological advancement, and diversity in the workplace.
Which form of communication best conveyed the true meaning and intent of the message?

 This is a subjective question, because as learner’s we are motivated to react to a piece of the information base on a number of reasons.  One major gap is that people have different preferences and approaches to “what constitute effective communication”. For example, being an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner may influence your perception, orientation to details and what you want in a communication. This is because; different channels of information could determine the strengths and weaknesses of communication in question.
In the sample, provided f2f (video cast) communication seems to make the most sense in my opinion.  Knowing that Mark is extremely busy with other responsibilities, there is a possibility Mark might not check his voice message. Considering the email, Mark might not be at his desk to read it.  Going to Mark and discussing the need as demonstrated in the video cast could increase the possibility of getting an answer sooner. If the two have a positive working relationship, it works even better.

What are the implications of what you learned from this exercise for communicating effectively with members of a project team? 

Communication must be planned, coordinated, managed and reported between the team and the project leader. When working on any project, each member is responsible to, and accountable for discussing the progress of the project to other members as assigned. Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton, and Kramer. (2008) Noted that “PM should consider providing project progress reports to supervisors, upper management, the client or customer, project team members, others who are helping on the project, and others who are affected by the project results.”
In organization setting, communication takes different shapes and forms.  Stolovitch, (n.d) states that standard of communication with clients should address the following;
Response to time frames.
Form of oral / written communication.
Establish rules of participation and
Avoid an ambiguity.
Be precise.
Document everything.
As I process the instruction in the exercise” The Art of Effective Communication’ I recognized that some of my responses is based on my own perception, limitation, and assumptions.  To succeed in any projects, all the assumptions and constrained must be discussed prior to or as situation arises.  Portny et.al. (2008) States that “PM must consider project assumptions when they develop their project risk management plan.”

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008).  
            Project Management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects.
            Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley &  Sons, Inc.
Laureate Education, Inc. (n.d.). Project Management Concerns: Communication Strategies and
Organizational Culture [Video B]. Laureate Education, Inc. [Producer]. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=6052000&Survey=1&47=7840074&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=1&bhcp=1.