- What is Smart Horizons?
Smart Horizons is an online training company based in Pensacola, Florida. It began as a division of Advanced Systems Technology, Inc.® (AST), which has been in business since 1984 as a systems and software engineering firm specializing in combat effectiveness, simulation development, analysis, and modeling; decision support systems and knowledge representation; life cycle software support engineering; and computer based interactive training (CBIT) development. AST has professional engineers, programmers, military analysts, and instructional systems designers and developers at over 20 locations across the U.S.
Smart Horizons was established in 1997 as a commercial online training provider that offers courseware development by experienced instructional designers, custom training offerings, learning management services, and superior media design. As an IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training) authorized provider, Smart Horizons offers continuing education units (CEUs) for its programs that qualify under IACET guidelines. Smart Horizons provides a wide range of training services, including content development and hosting, product delivery, and student enrollment, support, and record keeping.
- What other training do you offer?
Lifetime Training Solutions is just one part of what Smart Horizons offers in the way of online training. There are extensive product lines of training for professional in childcare, education and pupil transportation, law enforcement and security, telecommunication, healthcare, and business.
Additionally, Smart Horizons Career Online Education was granted District Accreditation from the AdvancED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Accreditation Commission as the world’s first online school district.
- What does it cost?
Our training programs can be offered as a full package price or by individual catalogs.
- What’s a Learning Management System?
A learning management system (LMS) is an online technology that allows learners to access their training on a web portal. The LMS is the delivery location for the training and documents all of the student progress through the training and assessments. Additionally, all of the training can be tracked and reported in the LMS.
Lifetime Training Solutions courses are housed on the secure, proprietary NexPort Campus learning management system, which allows program administrators or directors to track and report on student progress in real time. The next generation online learning and knowledge management platform now provides fully integrated synchronous learning using the NexMeeting online conferencing system that includes integrated telephone and computer-based audio, slide presentations, chat, white boards, and recording capability. Instructors and administrators are able to conduct web-based seminars and classes that are accessible to subscribers in even the most remote regions. NexPort Campus also supports interactive engagement within learning communities through the use of videos, wikis, blogs, collaborative web pages, and threaded discussions.
- Can I see how it works?
If you would like to see a course demo within the learning management system, click here.
- How can online training help me?
The ability to provide rich multimedia online content for learning is an exciting new alternative that is made available with online training. Online learning provides portability: regardless of location changes, training can be accessed on any computer with an internet connection, 24/7. This connection can occur at home, at school, at a public library, or even from a tablet or mobile device with a wireless connection. A good online educational program will be housed within a learning management system to track student records, progress, and transcripts.
Good online training is also objectives-driven, which allows knowledge to be broken down into small manageable chunks. Learners can take one lesson at a time and digest this learning at their own pace. Gone are the days when a student was required to sit in the classroom for hours at a time. Instead training can be readily accessible 24/7. Each learning objective can be developed into a 20-30 minute learning module that can be quickly consumed by the learner with testing assessments at the end for a knowledge check. This training can also be repeated as often as necessary for the student to fully understand the topic of instruction. This provides the necessary repetition and redundancy needed by many learners.
The number of learners who participate in online learning in the U.S. has increased 20% every year since 2002. This represents a total of 22 million individuals in the U.S. who have taken at least one online course. At the current projected growth rate, an estimated 50% of all Americans will be enrolled in online learning programs by 2019. Institutions surveyed from across the country indicate that 63% believe online learning is a critical part of their long term strategy. Even traditional brick and mortar public schools are creating online curriculum.
For those organizations that provide traditional classroom instruction to their clients, they can cast a wider net by offering the same or similar instruction over the web reaching an audience they may never have had the opportunity to approach. This is particularly true in rural areas where the audience is less likely to travel great distances to access classroom instruction. The use of online learning coupled with social media platforms can provide on-demand interactive training capabilities at a fraction of the cost of traditional stand-up classroom instruction.
- What is blended learning?
A U.S. Department of Education study demonstrated that students can potentially attain higher learning achievement with online training. However, such programs do not completely eliminate the need for traditional stand-up (traditional class room) instruction. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education’s study indicated that when stand-up training is combined with online learning, students benefit even more. This combined approach is called “Blended Learning.”
Blending Learning is the combination of traditional class room instruction with online courses, and it is based on the notion that learning is not a one-time event but a repetitive process. Students need to receive information more than once, and in more than one medium, in order to turn that information into knowledge. Additionally, the online medium allows the student to review lessons multiple times at their own pace. This improves retention and student achievement. Blended learning combines the enhanced learning capabilities of online content with the socialization and personal mentoring of face-to-face instruction. This represents an entirely new pedagogical approach.
Evidence collected from research studies also indicates that online learning can be completed by students in half the time as traditional classroom instruction. Thus training costs can be reduced by not having to run multiple classroom sessions. The blended learning approach does not eliminate classroom instruction but instead refocuses the classroom for critical skills building and problem resolution. Studies indicate that students improved learning outcomes by 10% or more when a blended learning approach was implemented.