ICT in Education Toolkit
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ICTs for Education: Resources
1 Background
2 The Potential of ICTs
  Expanding Educational Opportunities & Increasing Efficiency
  Enhancing Quality of Learning
  Enhancing Quality of Teaching
  Faciliating Skill Formulation
  Sustaining Lifelong Learning
  Improving Policy Planning and Management
  Advancing Community Linkages
3 From Potential to Effectiveness

ICTs for Education: A Reference Handbook
1 Decision Makers Essentials
2 Analytical Review
3 Resources
4 PowerPoint Presentation
  2.4 Faciliating Skill Formulation

Resource 2.4.1 - Simulations for Skill Formation [37]

Flight Simulator

The first significant use of simulations was to train airplane pilots. The flight trainer, invented by Edwin Link in 1929, was first used to teach pilots instrument flying. But as simulators became more sophisticated and computers were introduced, they became a tool to teach pilots how to handle emergency and life-threatening situations. Yet, turning off a turbine or disabling a rudder control in a jetliner to test pilot reaction is not a good idea. Modern flight simulators are multimillion-dollar machines, often not much cheaper than real airplanes. But nobody thinks of costs when deciding whether to use them. The reason to use simulation is that it permits reproduction of conditions that, if reproduced in real flight, would be very dangerous. Thus, simulators give pilots a chance to learn the proper way to react under safer conditions.

Simulation of CNC Machines 

Another common family of simulations is those that reproduce the operation of numerically controlled machine tools (known as CNC machines). Apprentices get to know a conventional lathe by handling it under controlled conditions, by machining simple parts initially, always being careful to keep the tool far away from the faceplate. Accidents happen, however; an extra turn of the lever and the tool may hit the turning plate. But a broken bit and a scratched faceplate in a learning lathe are not much of a loss. Yet, CNC lathes—which are programmed like a computer—cost several times more and are more prone to serious accidents. A wrong line of code may zoom the turret toward the faceplate, provoking a horrendous collision and causing serious losses. Students are said to be traumatized by the crash, and administrations have to write off the losses.

Therefore, the obvious first idea was to couple the CNC to a simulator that traced on paper the trajectory of the cutting tool. The resulting drawing would immediately reveal any eventual mistake. Only after the simulation shows the program to be devoid of gross mistakes can an individual use the real machine. With computers becoming more common, a monitor has replaced the paper plotter. The obvious follow-up development is software that simulates the entire process, dispensing with the real-life lathe altogether. This obviously applies to milling machines and the whole gamut of CNC-controlled machine tools.

Today, computer simulations of CNC machines are very common, sophisticated, and inexpensive. When used properly, they can speed up the training and lower the costs significantly, because trainees can learn much from them and require a lot less supervision. Whether they dispense altogether with firsthand contact with real-life CNC machines is controversial, but our sole concern here is that we remember that the challenges of moving from a manual lathe to a CNC version lie with the programmers, not those who train on the machine, which, once programmed, requires little human input. That being the case, it makes little difference whether the programming is for a machine simulated with the monitor or a real-life machine.

Simulations for Troubleshooting

Another very common family of simulations occurs in electric and electronic circuits. Vocational schools frequently use panels on which components are installed, reproducing the typical electric wiring, for example, of an automobile. After students understand the circuitry, the teacher may introduce faults into the circuit, either by disconnecting wires or inserting malfunctioning components. Students have to troubleshoot the defective circuit and find the faults. Obviously, this is much more convenient and faster than working in real automobiles, where access to components and wiring is far more time-consuming. In more modern versions, defects can be introduced electronically, by means of central controls in the hands of the instructors. There are also simulations of defects in real-life automobiles or tractors that have been wired to a computer that simulates the faults.

Simulations for Manual Dexterity

A more unusual form of simulations are those that teach manual dexterity without incurring the costs of consumables. For instance, arc welding requires a steady hand to keep the electrode at a constant distance from the parts being welded. At the same time that the hand has to move at constant speed, it has to adjust for the distance, as the electrode shortens. This operation requires hundreds of hours of practice, burning expensive electrodes, but there are contraptions that simulate a welding machine and permit  significant savings in consumables.

The Electronic Bench

Perhaps the most impressive developments are coming from the use of computers to simulate electrical and electronic circuitry. One can use a mouse to pick up electronic components in a virtual storeroom and connect them in any way desired. A virtual battery or power supply is then connected, energizing the circuit. The electronic bench displays the properties of a real system, from turning on a light bulb to far more complex roles. Then, using a virtual multimeter or oscilloscope, students can make any measurement in this circuit as if it were a real one. The best known software of this type, the electronic bench can enable trainees to assemble an infinite variety of virtual circuits quickly and watch them work. This avoids damage to real-world components, and allows much greater speed of assembly, even compared to panels where no soldering is required.

Software to Simulate Hardware

The ultimate in digital electronic simulations, students can build a computer that works just like as it does in real life. The parts are picked up with the mouse and connected, creating digital circuits, starting from flip-flop gates and/or switches and moving up to more complex microprocessors. In other words, one can assemble and operate a computer on the screen of a computer using software that simulates the hardware. Ultimately, this is no different from a major thrust in real computer design, that is, using software to simulate or, as said in the industry, to emulate hardware

Resource 2.4.2 - The Francis Tuttle Vocational School [38]

The Francis Tuttle School, established in 1979, was named after the founder of the VoTech system of Oklahoma (USA). Currently, more than 30,000 students are taking at least one short-term course from a wide variety of offerings, including more than 200 short-term courses and more than 30 daytime education programs. [39]

Multidimensional Nature of Skills

The speed with which technology changes has increased so much in the last few years that experience is becoming an almost irrelevant asset when it comes to hiring employees. Firms can no longer require many years of experience, because in most cases equipment and the processes have not been around that long. What matters then is the ability of a worker to think through the overall manufacturing system involved in the fabrication process. Workers who can work with their hands only are becoming a relic of the past in an increasing number of occupations. Francis Tuttle prepares its student for critical thinking while teaching them lifelong skills. In fact, one of the hallmarks of its primary program in technology is the multidimensional nature of the skills taught. The orientation of the courses is justified by two main findings: first, some firms offer higher wages to workers with multiple skills, and in periods of crisis firms do not lay off these types of workers, and, second, there is an immense market for maintaining complex equipment.

The school programs are developed in very close collaboration with industry to offer students courses that enable them to hold high-demand jobs. More than 300 business representatives look at the school's curricula and course content as participants in the various program advisory committees.

Technology for Training

Each instructional program at Francis Tuttle is fully equipped with industry standard equipment valued at more than US$10.9 million. The school's services and programs include a teaching factory, advanced technology programs, and VAN SAT, an engineering and electronic commerce center provider. In addition, the main campus has an 11-meter satellite teleport for distance learning, the largest in Oklahoma, which allows students to surf on the Internet during real-time, interactive 12 LIVE classes as part of their daily activities or to take specialized classes taught at other locations. 12 LIVE is the first cooperative network able to connect a mixture of city and rural schools to a vocational center, a community college, and a university. Furthermore, each classroom has remote-controlled cameras, television monitors, microphones, and speakers, and the teachers' workstation includes an image document camera, a VHS player, a computer loaded with software and tied to a laser printer, Internet access, and a fax machine.

The overall objective of all the training is the operation and maintenance of the new generation of machines and technology equipment. The school builds on the belief that the ability of enterprises to generate new technologies has far outstripped the ability of servicepersons to maintain them. As a result, these maintenance requirements will create more jobs in the next several years than the country is able to train individuals to fill. There is a scarcity of maintenance technicians who can understand the mechanics, electronics, and pneumatics of such machines. One interesting example mentioned at Francis Tuttle is the new generation of pagers transmitting through satellites. The technology and satellites are available, but there are very few technicians who have the breadth of skills and the specific knowledge to repair them.

No Lectures

All of the courses offered are competency-based, which, by itself, indicates the commitment of this institution to offer serious training geared to the needs of industry, since competency-based training clearly shows the links between training and expected performance. This approach avoids conventional lectures, as is the case at Francis Tuttle, where all live lectures have been eliminated. Videotaped lectures, written materials, and computers are used instead. Teachers are not replaced, however, so the valuable interaction between them and students is fully preserved. The experience of this school suggests that not all students operate well with this system, and there are attempts to help those who have initial difficulties with computers and VCRs. However, only a few consider this method to be inadequate and, curiously, they are not necessarily the weakest students academically. The school uses one-to-one tutoring in the difficult cases, the price to pay for an otherwise interesting innovation.

By eliminating lectures and using competency-based training materials, this system allows each student to move at his or her own pace. Students can join the course at any time and leave when they finish their modules. They use Learning Activity Packets (LAPs) to advance and are required to take performance tests to demonstrate mastery of one LAP before moving on to the next. This system allows fast-moving students to advance quickly and slow students to master the contents fully, taking as long as they need. LAPs are used because they are an excellent tool for delivering competency-based instruction. Some estimates based on similar programs elsewhere indicate that efficiency increases can be quite substantial, depending on how they are defined.  On the downside, the fixed investment to operate this method is consistently higher, the logistical problems much more pressing, and the administrative and technical overhead somewhat higher. But these are all minor problems. Overall, the method seems to be a step ahead, which, unfortunately, has not been adopted by many schools.

A Modular Program

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the series of courses offered Tuttle offers is the modular nature of the curriculum and the vast common core of subjects. There are only five basic processes: mechanics, electricity, thermal, fluid, and Optics, all of which encompass 13 major concepts (such as force, energy, and so on), and all of the manufacturing processes are based on combinations of these. To become a technician, one needs an integrated view of all of them.

Students devote about 30% of their time to classroom theory work and spend the remaining time on applications and hands-on activities. In addition, given the weakness of high schools in math and science, and the importance of this type of knowledge in the various high demand occupations, remedial courses are offered to those who need them. All students spend about 60% of their time taking common core modules and the remaining time in specialization. Since these basic processes change very little over time, 60% of most courses is common for all specializations and does not need frequent updating. In electronics programs, for instance, 80% of the materials are the same in all of the courses offered. Therefore, the fixed investment of developing a systems approach based on five processes can be justified.

Can It Be Replicated?

The Francis Tuttle School remains committed to continuous quality improvement, and word about its intriguing achievements has spread worldwide. Tour groups from approximately 50 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, Great Britain, Pakistan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, have visited the school

Resource 2.4.3 - Interactive Media Training [40]

Interactive software is out there, and it's not just for children. One of the most useful applications for multimedia (videos and CD-ROMs) is skill enhancement and training. Below is a sample of such products.

Technical Training

Automation Studio (www.ttaweb.com) is a technical and interactive CD package that trains individuals in circuit design and automation technology. The software package is designed so users are able to outline, simulate, and animate their own circuits while using various methods of electrical controls, including hydraulics and pneumatics. Appropriate for engineers, teachers, and students alike, Automation Studio is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese.

Aircraft Systems Review (www.nolly.com/asrv.html) can be used to train pilots on unfamiliar aircraft and enables those in the aviation field to refresh their knowledge. The videos incorporate one-on-one instruction with visual explanations and procedures, viewed from a pilot's perspective. These videos are also "generic" in the sense that they can be used universally without regard to individual trainees' airline affiliations.

TPC Training Systems (www.tpctraining.com), which offer an extensive video and interactive CD library  specializing in machine and mechanical training, have provided training to more than three million employees. The training videos cover such topics as reading blueprints, schematics, and symbols; electronics and digital electronics education; and engine mechanics, hydraulics, and even heavy machinery use. The training CDs cover process instrumentation, mechanics maintenance, and air conditioning/refrigeration systems.

Medical Training

TUTOR Series (www.labmed.washington.edu/tutor/products) is a set of interactive CDs produced by the University of Washington and covering several different aspects of evaluating medical data and training individuals in interpreting multiple results. ElectrophoresisTUTOR, for example, is an interactive computer program that teaches electrophoresis interpretations of proteins in various body fluids. With its illustrations, charts, and tables, the software is useful for instructing beginning students or evaluating competency levels. PhlebotomyTUTOR simply trains individuals in the appropriate techniques for taking blood from a patient.

PedsLink (www.pedslink.com), a resource for pediatric health care, produces a series of training videos geared to home health clinicians and nurses who provide care for infants and children with various illnesses. Videos, such as Home Phototherapy for Infants, take the care provider step-by-step through treatment methods and assessments and use specific procedural demonstrations.

General Skill Training

Glencoe Online (www.glencoe.com) is a source of several tools, one of which is The Job Interview CD-ROM, an interactive guide that trains job seekers in all aspects of the interviewing process. The CD also provides information on commonly asked interview questions and gives advice on how one should respond to them. It uses video clips depicting job interview scenarios, narration, tips, and questions to reinforce concepts that are vital to a successful interview.

BrainwareMedia (www.Brainware-tm.com) offers several videos and CDs for business and managerial training, but it can be useful to everyone. The Art of Communication is an interactive CD-ROM that helps individuals to improve their communication skills. It features advice; interactive role-playing using common, everyday situations; and self-assessment exercises, and is ideal for training in giving presentations, public speaking, or just communicating with people in general.

Resource 2.4.4 - Applications of E-Training

Axa - The French Solution 41
The growth of e-training in France has been slow, compared to that in the United States. While e-training accounts for 60% of the expenses of corporate training in the United States, in France it accounts for only 11%. Surveys of French companies indicate that face-to-face is still the preferred training model, and that many human resources employees are not clear about e-learning's potential as a training tool.42 AXA is among the exceptions.

AXA, a multinational insurance group with close to 100,000 employees in 25 countries, provides training to this large and scattered workforce, which was becoming increasingly complex and expensive. AXA's Human Resources Department in France decided to use its intranet connection to develop a distance learning program that could ensure fast distribution to a large audience. A modular structure was adopted to facilitate frequent but cost-effective updates of the content material. The company entered into a partnership with IBM for the technical aspects of the training and had a number of partners for production of educational material.

Before starting the project, in 1997, AXA's Human Resources Department organized a five-day retreat to ensure the managers' support for the program. Then, the department met with the employees to discuss the new training and orient them on how to use the intranet for training purposes. Only after ensuring that managers and employees were ready to accept and use distance learning strategies did the department begin to introduce e-training gradually into the employees' traditional training schedule. Training programs take between 40 and 400 hours per employee, depending on the topic. Employees can go through the training individually or with the help of volunteer tutors who are content area experts working with the distance education experts. They can be reached by e-mail, telephone, or face-to-face contact. Piloted in one of the French branches, e-training is now available to AXA's employees worldwide.

The pilot stage provided good results and some important lessons for companies considering developing their own training:

  • Developing training materials for multinational workforces is a major challenge, since learning preferences vary across countries. For instance, English speakers preferred lessons that began with anecdotes and moved from the particular to the general, while the French preferred to look at the general before going into the particular.
  • It is important to have a place reserved for training and someone to encourage and prod trainees; few individuals have the self-discipline to search for training independently.
  • Supervisors' support is essential for the success of any training project.

Carrefour - A Brazilian Experience

Carrefour is likely the largest wholesale chain in Brazil, with almost 50,000 employees. Founded in France in 1963, the chain has a long tradition of employee training. In the late 1980s, Carrefour founded one of the world's first "corporate universities," the Institute Marcel Fournier, and used videoconferencing for employee training. Currently, the chain has three "corporate universities," one of which is in São Paulo, Brazil: the Instituto de Formação Carrefour (Carrefour Institute for Professional Development).

The reasons Carrefour moved into e-training are similar to AXA's. As the chain spread throughout the country, the distance between stores and training centers escalated costs. E-training was the strategy of choice because it (1) provides economies with traveling costs, (2) reduces the amount of time employees are away from work, and (3) avoids the complex logistics of planning and implementing training for large numbers of individuals coming from many different places. In addition, it is easier and less expensive to update e-learning material than it is to produce printed material. The company also perceived a need to maintain a technological lead. According to the Institute's Training Director, "The majority of large businesses in the world are investing in online training...and some are well advanced in this area. We could not be left behind."

Carrefour universities offer a variety of training, not only to employees, but also to clients and vendors. The Brazilian Institute provides 114 courses in different areas that include informatics, marketing, management, etc. The programs have different platforms, including multimedia, video, DVD, television broadcast via satellite, and intranet, and they vary in length from four hours to 15 days. Some courses are mandatory, while others are elective, and participation depends on the interests of the employees and their supervisors. Courses can also be provided on-site, and the Institute has many training rooms in addition to a large auditorium with simultaneous translation capabilities. At first, the Institute served only employees, but training programs for clients and vendors were programmed to begin in late 2002. Plans for expansion also include courses on the Internet and a mix of online and face-to-face strategies. In less than one year, the Institute trained about 3,000 employees.

Cisco Learning Network

Cisco Systems is one of the largest network companies in the world, with annual revenues of over US$20 billion. Headquartered in the United States, the company has 225 sales and support offices in 75 countries. For years, its training programs were managed independently at each different unit, resulting in redundant and inconsistent programming. To streamline, expedite, and improve the quality of the training programs, the company developed the Cisco Learning Network (CLN).

CLN training is developed using multimedia technologies and stored in a centralized database. Employees select either a full curriculum or individual modules and take an assessment test, the results of which guide the adaptation of the module to respond to each employee's specific needs. Employees are evaluated at different intervals to gauge the effectiveness of the program, and results are stored in a personal training file in the Human Resources database.

The programs can be provided in two ways: (1) in scheduled delivery, at a fixed time and place, or (2) on-demand, for individuals who have particular needs. Scheduled delivery uses three platforms: multicasts (videos that are sent over the network to desktops), virtual classrooms, and remote laboratories. On-demand training uses Web-based on-demand content, CD-ROMs, and remote labs. Laboratories, used to supplement complex topics, include simulations that provide virtual access to equipment and techniques too costly to be available for every learner. It was observed that CLN courses reduced the time sales employees spent away from their customers by up to 40%.

Cisco's training expertise has outgrown the corporation, and the company is now a major developer of training solutions. The Cisco Networking Academy Program prepares high school and college students to design, build, and maintain computer networks in more than 6,000 academies spread throughout the 50 American states. The academies reflect partnerships between the company and private or government organizations, including public schools. Cisco also provides online seminars and Career Certification programs; the latter has grown from 6,000 students per year to 100,000 and is offered online or through more than 130 sites and 750 certified instructors worldwide. Some of the courses are offered by Cisco Learning Partners, organizations authorized to deliver Cisco-developed learning content. According to Cisco management, in the current economy, the key to gaining a competitive advantage is the ability to disseminate information, education, and training rapidly.

Lucent Technologies [43]

Lucent Technologies is a spin-off of Bell Telephone Laboratories, which has been at the center of major innovations in communications technology for more than a century. Launched in 1996, Lucent has focused on research, production, and services in optical, data, and wireless networking; optic-electronics; communications semiconductors; communications software; and Web-based enterprise solutions and professional network design and consulting services.

The Global Learning Solutions (GLS) Learning Architecture, developed by Lucent Technologies' New Enterprise Networks Group, combines the Internet, voice network, and small-dish digital video technology to expand the outreach power of traditional training without losing the human interaction aspect. It uses independent, self-directed learning events (asynchronous strategy) with a virtual classroom in which the instructor and most of the learners are at locations distant from each other (synchronous strategy). A typical course operates much like a college class. Learners meet for one to two hours for the live, facilitated part of the course and work on their own until current assignments, exercises, and readings are complete. Often, subsequent live sessions are scheduled with the instructor to follow up on assignments and discuss new material. The extent to which this happens depends on the instructional design. During these interactive sessions, students can present results to the class, have questions answered, pose new questions, participate in group discussions, and receive their next assignment. Between sessions, learners still have access to the instructor and to other learners through chat rooms, threaded news groups, e-mail, and instructor Web "office hours."

Using the GLS Learning Architecture, Lucent has developed a training approach to reach a large workforce dispersed across the world. Its training branch, LucentVision Interactive (LVI), was launched in 1999 initially to train more than 9,000 direct and indirect sales personnel. LVI was able to deliver more than150 hours of training a month with similar or better results than those obtained by traditional, face-to-face strategies, while reducing the number of contact hours by 35%. LVI is now expanding into a "Sales and Marketing University" with an audience of more than 22,000 direct and indirect sales, technical sales support, marketing, and product marketing personnel. A total of US$3.4 million in capital investment and US$2 million in expense budget have been allocated to expand uplink portals in three U.S. cities and Singapore, with another 120 downlinks worldwide.

Corporate Universities [44]

Many companies have developed their own universities to provide training in the core competencies necessary to conduct their business and compete in the marketplace.

Early in the 20th century, General Motors had already developed its own educational division: the General Motors Engineering and Management Institute (GMI). Other companies soon followed. In 1961, the American fast-food chain, McDonald's, opened "Hamburger University." As the more traditional education and training division, the university sought to instill corporate values and teach basic business skills. However, it instituted a major innovation—a concern with involving all those connected with the fast-food chain, either directly (McDonald's employees) or indirectly (franchise owners and their employees). Hamburger University, now with branches in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Australia, started a trend that continues to grow.

While the traditional means for delivering a corporate education has been the classroom, many companies are embracing the Internet as a medium of instruction because it offers many advantages over face-to-face teaching. A Web-based system of instruction allows centralized coordination but dispersed learning, can be adapted to each individual's learning needs, can provide numerous resources without taking up space on a computer's hard drive, and is more convenient to incorporate into the workday than is traditional classroom instruction.[45] It also usually cuts costs, often dramatically, because personnel might otherwise have to travel to another city for the instruction.

 It is not only big companies that can benefit from corporate universities. Verifone, with about 2,500 employees in regional offices in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia, operates its own university. Verifone University created its curriculum using in-house experts when possible and contractors when necessary. It made all course information available on each employee's computer or at office-based learning centers, and is moving toward making all education available on company Websites. Verifone encourages employees to take charge of their own education, going so far as to provide subsidies for employees' home computer purchases.

Two professional associations may be of assistance to those establishing corporate universities: the American Society for Training and Development, a professional association of corporate education officers and consultants, and the European Consortium for the Learning Organisation, a network of business and academic professionals that collaborates on learning. The journal, Corporate University Review is available online at http://www.trainingworks.org/pdf/corpuniversities.pdf. Several Websites now index e-learning firms, such as L-Guide; the Clearinghouse for Training, Education, and Development; and EdSurf. For-profit firms also have sprung up to consult and provide services in this new field. These include the Corporate University Xchange, The Corporate University, The Virtual Corporate University Extension, Woohoo Inc., and McGraw-Hill.

37 Excerpted from: Claudio Castro. July/August 2000. "Skills Training: Where Simulations Are At Home." TechKnowLogia. Available at: www.TechKnowLogia.org

38 Excerpted from: Claudio de Moura Castro. July/August 2000. "What, No Lectures? The Francis Tuttle Vocational School." TechKnowLogia. Available at: www.TechKnowLogia.org

39 Francis Tuttle web page (http://www.francistuttle.com/ )

40 Excerpts from Lewis, J. (July/August 2000). "Enhancing Vocational Skills: Interactive Media Training." TechKnowLogia. Available at: www.TechKnowLogia.org

The descriptions of e-training applications in AXA, Carrefour, and Cisco are taken from: S. Jurich. May/June 2001. "Corporate Universities: Three Examples from across the World." TechKnowLogia. Available at: www.TechKnowLogia.org

42 S. Ghys. E-learning, les enterprises francaises restent a convaincre. In Jurich, op cit.
43 This description is taken from: R.L. Vigil. July/August 2000. "Getting the Most out of Online Training: Integrating the Missing Ingredients." TechKnowLogia. Available at: www.TechKnowLogia.org
44 This section includes excerpts from J.Y. Jones. May/June 2001. "Business, Corporate Universities and E-Learning." TechKnowLogia. Available at: www.TechKnowLogia.org
45 N. Chase. 1998. "Lessons from the Corporate University." Quality Magazine. Available at: http://www.qualitymag.com


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