Fig 3. List of training resources surveyed. Author Title Publisher Burge, E. & Roberts, J. Classrooms with a Difference Distance Learning Office Field Services and Research O I S E, Toronto University, (1993) Edinburgh University The SuperJANET Video Network Edinburgh University Computing Services Users Guide Computing Services, (1994) Goldstein, J. & Video Conferencing Secrets Navitar, Inc., Rochester NY., Goldstein, J. (1993) Meredith, S. Video Conferencing in Education University of New England, and Business: A Manual for Users (1993) and Studio Managers
Figure 4: Content of Training resources Key : ***** Excellent Reading **** 3-4 points covered * Not relevant ** 1-2 points covered Author Initial Hardware Coping Presentation Dialogue/ Education Room Software with media Skills Social Related Setup Setup Interaction IssuesThe manuals mainly covered physical aspects of coping with the technology. Much has been learned from the broadcasting industry which can be applied to setting up the physical properties of a video conferencing room. Three of the manuals highlighted the skills needed for giving good video presentations. Information on how to keep dialogue and interaction flow going between local and remote sites was well covered in one manual. Further information was provided on how to co-ordinate the different personalities which can arise in two way, free form discussion. No information was found detailing specific education related pedagogical issues.
Burge, E. *** *** ** *** ** * Edinburgh U. ** ** * * * * Goldstein, J * * * *** * * Meredith, S. *** *** *** **** *** * Average 2.25 2.25 1.75 2.75 1.75 1
Figure 5: Delivery styles of Training Resources Key : ***** Excellent Reading **** 3-4 points covered * Not relevant ** 1-2 points covered Author Task Error Succinct Example Access to Oriented Recognition Information Scenarios InformationOf the four resources reviewed, one had a good delivery technique, with excellent access to information and resources. Unfortunately, this manual only covered the skills needed for presentations within video conferencing, and was therefore of limited relevant content although excellent delivery (Goldstein & Goldstein). Generally, the four resources showed little user centred design or efficient structure of information. A summary of user entred design issues for the four manuals is shown in fig.5. Further discussion on the implications of these results is detailed below (Section 4.6.2).
Burge, E. ** ** *** * *** Edinburgh U. * * * * * Goldstein, J * * *** * **** Meredith, S. *** * * ** *** Average 1.75 1.25 2.0 1.25 2.75
Most of the training resources reviewed in Study 2 allowed users to access information quickly, through well designed structure and good references. For Example, the contents page of the Meredith resource is well structured and allows the user easy access to "Techniques for a successful interaction". However, once at this section, the delivery method is little more than a large amount of text with few headings : this is certainly not conducive to efficient information exchange or retrieval. Few instances of succinct, efficient information were found.
Error recognition and recovery is vital in good user training because most users only consult resources to solve individual errors or problems. This detailing of common faults or their symptoms, was found in only one training resource.
Examples of interactions or tasks were generally detailed as case studies. These case studies were usually academic research papers, and therefore were not easy to read and could contain a large amount of irrelevant information. Examples must be clear and relevant to users (not to academics). This must stem from concentrating examples on real tasks that users might perform.
Some of the resource material reviewed above contain highly relevant, useful information. However, overall the structure of the material does not lend itself to easy extraction of information. As shown above, the one manual which was written effectively contained information in only a very limited domain (Goldstein & Goldstein). Therefore, there clearly is a need for training resources which allow users to find information quickly and effectively, with little deviation from their desired path of action. This need can be addressed by a user centred approach to the design of training resources. Material must be designed in a manner which is logical to the user and their tasks, not to the domain expert or technician.
This is symptomatic of any new technology. To begin with, the leading force is always a cost benefit analysis. Then, as the technology begins to establish itself, research and training initiatives move towards promoting how the technology can replace original techniques. This is technology driven situation can lead to an unwillingness on the part of the user to "confront" the technology. At this stage, there must be a concerted effort on the part of designers and mangers of the technology to adjust to the users. This somewhat radical approach needs to take place so that the technology is successfully integrated into the working environment, being seen as a tool and not as a hindrance which needs extra effort or knowledge to use. This user centred approach should increase the use of the technology, without conflicting with user's resistance to change.
From a research and training needs viewpoint, it is therefore imperative that further study must be done to give teachers and learners a definitive guide to using video conferencing in practical scenarios.
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents