Digital Training Comes of Age (PDF) by Eric Newton and Michele McLellan
Can journalism schools expand their impact and reach by offering more distance e-learning? That was the question posed today to a gathering of Knight Chairs in journalism in Chicago at the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication convention.
The question was prompted by the release of “Digital Training Comes of Age,” a new Knight Foundation report showing soaring demand for training in digital tools and techniques. Increasingly, journalists are willing to get the training for those and other skills online.
The Knight Chairs noted that some journalism schools do offer master’s degrees and other on-line courses. They said schools should do more e-learning, but that universities are not doing enough to define best e-learning practices. Many educators have an old idea of e-learning, they said, thinking it is nothing more than lecturing on-line. Howard Finberg of the Poynter Institute had a good idea: Create e-learning modules for teachers and trainers who want to learn how to create good e-learning.
Knight Chair in International Journalism Rosental Alves pioneered e-learning at Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, which has trained more than 6,000 journalists in Spanish and Portuguese. He said e-learning has two great advantages: it’s low cost and self-directed courses can be taken at any time.
“Digital Training Comes of Age” was a survey of 660 journalists trained in Knight-supported training programs. The survey showed that online classes are gaining popularity as a cost-effective way to reach more trainees. A third of U.S. journalists and eight in 10 international journalists say the online classes they took were as good as, or better than, conventional training in the classroom.
Demand for training has grown and journalists want more training in digital tools such as multimedia, data analysis and technology. Most give their news organizations low marks for providing training opportunities.