A Case Study Assessment of the Feasibility of Blended Training for Agricultural Lenders
Morris, Alicia Moyer
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In a globally competitive economic environment, the paradigms of traditional training will be challenged as organizations and academic institutions find cost-efficient systems to educate their clientele groups. Farm Credit of the Virginias (FCV), a one billion dollar agricultural lending institution, commissioned the study team to enhance a traditional training program in marketing and credit to be an Internet-based online educational experience. More specifically, they wanted to know if trainees, staff and interns could accelerate their learning experience in a cost-efficient manner. The study was field tested on agricultural finance and marketing classes at Virginia Tech, as well as a group of trainees, interns and existing staff at FCV. Results indicate a breakeven number of 31 trainees for the FCV online program to be cost effective versus traditional face-to-face methods. Adult trainees reduced the amount of time to become productive employees from one year to six months. Participants spent less than ten percent of their time on the job in online training. Technology, flexibility of time and location, and accelerated learning through mentorship and on-job applications were definite benefits that led to an improved educational experience. It is recommended that a concept of blended education utilizing a combination of online and traditional face-to-face components delivers the superior training experience from an economic productivity and comprehension standpoint, both in adult and academic education.
- Masters Theses