Managing Grant-Funded Blended Learning Delivery

Industry – A federal-level industry organization tasked with delivering health, environmental and safety training to the public at large.

Overview: This organization, while traditionally focused on research standards, recently accepted the permit to design, develop, deliver and track health, environmental and safety training for anyone using the products they oversee.

The first challenge this group faced was infrastructure. They had no process in place for serving on-line training out to the public that provided them the ability to document the training delivered initially and every two years thereafter so that students can maintain their qualification. Additionally, part of the training grant received to support development of the program is a requirement to qualify instructors and provide them support materials for traditional instructor-led training delivery with a consistent message. Completion records for both the instructor-led and computer-based sessions must be maintained in the same system so that a business or individual hiring one of the trainees can verify his orher training status on-line to ensure they have not exceeded their qualification period. There is also a requirement that instructor qualifications can be searched on-line giving prospective trainees the ability to find local instructors if available.

Challenges and Solutions: to meet these challenges, the RISC VTA Suite was configured to allow for student self-enrollment. The organization was able to determine what information they needed to gather on each trainee such as email address, company, primary language and job function as part of the self-enrollment process.

Online modules were created and approved by the organization and its overseeing agencies. These modules were loaded into the VTA suite and configured to allow student to generate their own certificate and wallet card at the end of training to document completion. Students interested in becoming instructors are required to complete all courseware and pass the final test with 100%. If they do so, they are given the option of completing an instructor commitment form and identify the courses they would like to teach. Instructors are also given to option to exclude themselves from the public search function – an option popular with corporate trainers that only deliver the courses to their staff and do not want to be listed as a public instructor.

Of course, training and qualifying instructors is the easy part. The next challenge to overcome is how to get the training materials – including random tests – to the instructors and allowing the instructors to upload completion records for students in their classes. As a solution, an option was added to the instructor function in VTA Learner allowing the instructor to “schedule” an upcoming class. In doing so, he/she identified the location of the course and the expected number of students. When the session is saved, the VTA system will send tests and answer keys to the instructor via email based on the number of students in the class. The instructor can also download the instructor guide, PowerPoint Slides and a roster template that requires the same student demographic information required in the self-enrollment. After a course is held, the instructor can upload the roster to create the student records and include his/her students in the public search to verify qualification. The instructor may then download and print the students’ completion certificates or instruct the students to do so on their own.

All of the courses and exams are available in both English and Spanish and the VTA Learner interface is configured to allow the student to set his/her preferred language. This language preference flows over into the course communications as well. To help maximize the number of students that maintain their certification, email messages are automatically sent to the students at fixed intervals prior to the expiration of their qualification based on their preferred language. Instructors receive notices for their own qualification as well as reminder notes for scheduled classes that have not had rosters uploaded.

More information: Interested in learning how your organization can use VTA as the infrastructure to deliver training? Contact RISC