In 2011, The Boeing Company invested over eight million hours in training its 170,000 employees, with an increasing percentage of classes being delivered online. In fact, online classes now account for over 40% of courses offered at Boeing. The challenge faced by the Learning, Training and Development (LTD) organization was the development of an evidence-based design methodology for creating effective online learning experiences based on learning science principles and standardized development processes. The approach involved analyzing, experimenting, and evaluating existing online courses to understand how to improve them.
A team was formed consisting of training professionals from the Boeing LTD organization and Learning Science researchers from the University of Washington's Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Science of Learning Center. They chose the course designed to teach the company's Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) system, ENOVIA, a fundamental component of the company's aircraft design and Product Data Management system. The team investigated various ways that learners interacted with the course, and implemented several changes that improved learning, such as the integration of formative assessment and integrated feedback; minimizing cognitive load with focused multimedia resources; a modular and adaptive pedagogic format, and leveraging Learning Management System (LMS) technology. Then they analyzed the effectiveness of the new course with learners.
The resulting course significantly improved learning, especially for the critical group of students with average or below-average initial knowledge. It also produced more positive attitudes towards course content and future learning. These methods are now being incorporated into the development and evaluation processes the company uses in creating online courses. Funding for future learning science research has been approved and allocated within the company's long-range business plan.
Details of the research will be published in the prestigious Journal of Engineering Education, April 2012, Vol. 101, No. 2, pp. 1–44 (Lawton, L., Vye, N., Bransford, J., Sanders, E., Richey, M., French, D. and Stephens, R. (2012) "Online Learning Based on Essential Concepts and Formative Assessment.")
To measure the effectiveness of various components of online learning
Apply the techniques of learning science research to improve the online experience in a signature course that teaches the Project Lifecycle Management system
Demonstrated improvement in comprehension, particularly for learners with a lower level of initial knowledge
|12th Annual Learning Excellence and Innovation Award||
Best Practice in Learning Technology
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