|New Training Technologies (ILO - UNEVOC, 1995, 95 p.)|
The reasons for using NTTs in Education and Training are multiple. They may help in improving the quality of the teaching/learning process, reducing training time and costs, complementing the lack of education opportunities in certain places at certain times.
Improving quality is probably the most important reason. The introduction of NTTs increases learning attractiveness and therefore its effectiveness. Tests have demonstrated that an improved quality of training material and media increases the retention rate by 30 to 40%, which is not negligible! This may be due to different factors, such as better adaptation to the individual learning styles. Increased retention may reduce failure rates2 and consequently training length and costs.
1 Interactive videodisc for management training in a classroom environment Judith VADAS - Paper presented at the 8th Conference on Interactive Videodisc in Education and Training, sponsored by the Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT), Washington DC - August 1986.
2 Evidence mounts on merits of classroom technology - Gary BORSCH Multimedia Solutions magazine - 1990 -Volume 4 Number 6, page 1.
For young people, used to playing with technology outside the school, the use of NTTs in education creates or maintains motivation to learn; it also indicates the necessity that schools should not remain behind the rest of the world but should keep abreast with it, and prepare learners to use technology in their working life.
Another aspect is the opportunity offered by NTTs to provide certain learners with the prerequisites required to enter a course of study; the teacher then has a more homogeneous class, which works faster and better.
Quality may also result from the simulation of reality, where complexity, cost and/or danger would make it difficult to undertake training in real-life conditions. Typical examples are simulating econometric models of the economy, aircraft flight simulators, chemical experiences with explosive products, etc.3 The importance of simulation in education and training is growing. it allows the learner to test several sets of parameters, and to create various environments whose effects can be computed and studied until the optimal solution is found.
3 Lights, camera, reaction! The interactive videodisc: a tool for teaching chemistry Loretta L. JONES & Stanley G. SMITH - in Working papers in Multimedia solutions: Series "Instructional applications in higher education" (Institute for Academic Technology, University of North Carolina, USA) - 1991 - pp. 23-34.
Quality training may considerably reduce the dropout rate. Increased quality of training media motivates learners who generally accomplish their training up to the end, which is not always the case, for example in distance-learning courses using only printed materials.
Finally, quality may also be induced by the learners' opportunity to discover the subject matter, by means of additional and complementary material, and by easily accessing and querying encyclopaedias, multilingual dictionaries, data bases, hypertexts, etc.
Reducing training time and costs may be as important as quality in many cases. And this may cover different aspects.
NTTs may reduce development costs by allowing for the reutilisation of teaching material, faster and more frequent updates, and joint development by multidisciplinary teams4 whose members are not working close to each other, and are not necessarily available at the same time.
4 Report on the DELTA exploratory action - Commission of the European Community - Ref DE2205 - May 1991, 98 pages.
Distribution costs may also be reduced; digital learning material can be easily accessed on networks or sent very fast and at low cost to multiple locations using computer networks; this is also true for educational material updates.
Delivery costs, i.e. costs related to the teaching/learning process when it really takes place, are frequently forgotten, or at least underestimated. NTTs may offer savings in travel and away from home living expenses (thanks to distance learning) for both the teachers and the learners. In adult continuing education the salary of learners while retrained represents an important percentage of the overall cost, not to speak about the working hours lost for productive work.
Complementing the lack of education and training opportunities in certain places at certain times is another reason for using NTTs. In some cases, and more particularly in some regions of the world, the use of NTTs will help solve the problem of lacking the right teachers (having the right skills and communication ability) at the right place and at the right moment.