OMT – Adapting international best practices in e-learning to the Vietnamese context

In December 2008, with support from the Global Competitiveness Facility (GCF), OCD initiated the Online Management Training program (OMT) to provide flexible and affordable training to Vietnamese SME exporters.

Developing the OMT program was a formidable challenge to corporate training provider like OCD, since even though at that time there were some Vietnamese e-learning solutions available, like www.vietnamlearning.vn and www.hoctructuyen.vn, they primarily offer pre-packaged training courses aimed at the individual learners. OCD trainers, with years of experience in classroom training for businesses, were also new to e-learning, especially the instructional design aspects of e-learning.

A serious “shopping process” for a relevant e-learning Training of Trainer program that focuses on ensuring online learning interactions between learners and facilitators, learners with learners, typical in corporate training context, was initiated. The award-winning Master Online Teacher Certificate (http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/courses/students/mot.asp) program from online-learning leader University of Illinois was eventually selected, thanks to its dual emphasis on instructional design for e-learning and on learner interactions. Since January 2009 OCD has been enrolling several groups of Vietnamese trainers to the MOT program, which helps shape the approach and shared principles to formulating OCD’s Online Management Training program. OCD is currently the only international institutional partner of the Master Online Teacher Certificate program in Vietnam.

By June 2009, together with local partner Inpro, OCD successfully launched the first blended learning course incorporating e-learning sessions, for HR professionals coming from various Vietnamese businesses. Applying a balanced mix of classroom and online activities, the course was enthusiastically received by the participants, who carried on classroom discussions into online forum and group assignments smoothly and effortlessly. The initial success of this first course is a big encouragement for the OMT development team, whose idea is now confirmed that for SME-focus training programs like OMT, a blended learning approach incorporating classroom sessions with online activities would

work best.

Participants of the first course have noted the following strengths of such blended learning approach:

* High level of interactions both in classroom and online between trainer and participants and among participants is achieved;
* Online assignments and forum discussions are deeper and more focused than conventional classroom discussions;
* Participants can track and be tracked by their learning process; learning can be measured along the entire process and not just with one or two tests;
* Trainer facilitate participants’ learning process in a more focused, personalized manner than in crowded classrooms;
* For businesses that send staffs and managers to OMT course, they can easily monitor the learning process and get detailed reports on the performance and participation of their staffs and managers in the training course. Training management is made easier with these objective reports that help training managers and immediate managers alike to evaluate the effectiveness and impacts of training on the performance of their staffs.

Multiple learners online at the same time

In the coming months OCD continues to develop and improve other training courses in the OMT programs, so as to meet the increasing needs for management training of Vietnamese SMEs.

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