Augmenting distance learning on the broadcast networks

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Audio Visual + Print: a new medium for broadcast
Television is often attributed with the facility to grab attention, while print is often associated with being more persistent. This ability to synchronously deliver audio visual and print will not only impact the  effectiveness and the reach of these distance education programmes, but  will also impact how content is created and developed for this  new medium.
The PrinTV field trials – the experimental setup
In order to understand the user experience and the impact of this new method of delivering content to the viewers the PrinTV System was  integrated into an ongoing training programme. PrinTV was integrated  into the SatCom based Gram Panchayat Member training  programme conducted by the, State  Institute of Rural Development. Abdul Nazir Sab-State Institute of  Rural Development (ANSSIRD),

HP Labs India has developved PrinTV that will augment the TV  viewing experience with a print artifact that can be printed, stored, retrieved and referred to when required. PrinTV uses the existing broadband network and delevers documents in sync with the audio visual content. PrinTV will enhance the   instructional/informational value of using TV viewing for distance education

Development Communication Channel) network for over five years. The TDCC network is set up by the Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU), ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) to promote the use of space
technology for developmental purposes. The Primary objective of this institute is to organise training programs for elected  members of Panchayat Raj Institutions, officers of various  development departments, representatives of voluntary  organisations and Bank officials. One of the major training programmes conducted by ANSSIRD is for the elected representatives of the
Panchayat Raj Institution (PR) of Karnataka. Karnataka has approximately 90,000 elected Gram Panchayat members. One of the major responsibilities of the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department is in the realm of implementing the provisions of the  Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 toachieve democratic decentralisation in the governance of the State’s rural
areas. The 3-tier structure of Panchayat Raj Institutions of Karnataka consists of • 27 Zilla Panchayats  • 175 Taluk Panchayats • 5659 Gram Panchayats The Satellite based Interactive Communication System is an integral system of providing training and communication support for the developmental activities. The trials were aimed at testing the effectiveness of the PrinTV through Training and Development and Communication Channel (TDCC) network of ANSSIRD, Karnataka. The trial also attempts to validate the end user experience, and to understand how the presence of a new medium impacts the teaching and information and dissemination through the TV  medium. We also attempted to understand the impact of this  mediums ability to deliver Audio,
Video and Print in sync on the effectiveness of the training  programme.

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Trial location
A comparative study between experimental locations (with PrinTV) and control locations (without PrinTV) was carried out to measure  the extent of utilisation and effectiveness of PrinTV. The  experimental locations for field trial of PrinTV technology are located in the  taluks of Tumkur district. The control sites are in Mandya district.  Tumkur district comprises 10 taluks and 321 Gram Panchayats. PrinTV was installed at seven of the 10  taluks. Mandya district comprised 7 taluks and 232 Gram Panchayats.  Four of these taluks were designated control sites for the study.

End users groups as identified
The main end user groups identified are as follows:  • Faculty: The role of the faculty is to impart training on the  Panchayat Raj System to the elected representatives of the Panchayat Raj Institution and  decide the content of the program. • Facilitators / Resource persons:  They stand in for the faculty, and help the faculty communicate with the recipients of information  and help the recipients understand, absorb and retain the  information given to them. • Recipients: The recipients in this case are the elected  representatives of Panchayat Raj Institution. The training program  aims at educating and informing the PR representatives at  knowing their rights, responsibilities and duties as an elected representative.

Program content
This specific module of the training program aimed at educating and enabling the Gram Panchayat Members to carry out a detailed  planning process towards
generating a five year plan for their gram panchayats, resource  mobilisation to meet the plan expenditure and also to tackle  issues like the pending electricity
bills issue. The PrinTV system was used to send  documents relevant to the specific AV being transmit. Most print documents  send through the PrinTV system pertained to government orders, gazette notifications and circulars
pertaining to the course content.

Trial objectives and trial duration
One of the major aims of the study is to understand the impact of this new media, AV+P on the training  programme. • Does the PrinTV experience
generate excitement? • Do they perceive the learning  experience as complete?
• Does learning become more interactive –hence enjoyable?  • Does sharing information become easier and more  informative? • Do they perceive that they are able to retain more of the  information they have received? The trials were conducted for a period of 3 months during which over 2000  Gram Panchayat member trainees experienced the benefits of PrinTV.  The trials were conducted during January to March 2006.

Indicative observations
Since the study has just concluded  and data analysis is in process, it is possible to only share indicative qualitative trends based on extensive  observations conducting using a variety of ethnographic methodology  including participant and nonparticipant methods.

Does the PrinTV experience generate excitement?
The simulcast print documents increased the involvement of the  participants, as they are keen to receive the print documents. Most participants encouraged their neighbours to attend the training  programme to get documents that were
otherwise inaccessible. These documents created a lot of discussion.

Do they perceive the learning experience as richer and more  complete?
The faculty was of the opinion that they were able to not only appraise the trainees on the various topics but was also able to send them relevant documents that substantiated the  nformation. The ability to send these documents along with the broadcast  AV content enabled them to concretize the information shared. The resource persons perceived that their role and efforts were further authenticated due the delivery of  relevant documents along with the AV that they used as a background to initiate learning and discussion. For the trainees the ability to receive  printed documents along with the AV content was a major incentive.  These documents became tools and weapons of information that strengthened their efforts at grappling with the systems of governance.

Does learning become more  interactive–hence more enjoyable?
The delivery of printable documents in sync with the audio video perceivably brought about a lot more active interaction within the group.  The printed document that arrived with the AV was a point for discussion  that gave them more insight into the information provided on TV. The level of interactivity within the group was also observed to increase.

Does sharing information become easier and more informative?
The participants said that they would make a file of the prints and share it with their colleagues. They would carry these prints during the gram  Panchayat meetings. It is also interesting to note that while the  system is installed at only 7 of Karnataka’s 175 taluks, the documents  delivered through PrinTV have
traveled across the state. Gram  Panchayat members and Resource persons from across the state have called their counterparts in Tumkur to  request copies of documents.

Do they perceive that they are  able to retain more of the information?
Most of the trainees opined that these documents sent via the new medium PrinTV would act as trigger to the  information provided to them during the training programme. Those with no or little literacy looked to this method of synchronous delivery as a means by which they could take these  documents away to be read to them by a literate family member to understand  what was required of them.

Other application spaces for PrinTV
Some of the applications envisage in the developmental space are: • Education
• TV based Educational programs – Augmenting lecturer’s broadcast with printable lecture notes, reference materials & tests • Public Information Dissemination • Epidemic prevention – Printable practical guidelines on preventing AIDS etc • Benefit schemes – Forms/ procedure for applying for them • Community information  • Edutainment • Agriculture – Information about farming techniques, how to and how much to use pesticides, technology support. • Epidemics – Information on symptoms, measures and precautions on avian flue • Travel – Tourist information,  travel tips, history of places. • Health programs – Advisories • Spiritual programs – Sermons  The following issues need to be addressed in future as they will impact the way the new medium of simulcasting data along with audio – visual communication will impact choice of media, content creation and affordance of the media over time. Content for mixed media Simulcast with PrinTV opens up the arena for messaging that is complementary and completed by each other and can be deliveredsynchronously.

Impact of mixed media
The impact of this form of mixed  complementary media needs to bestudied to understand the full significance of having the message being added to and supported through different media that complement each other and deliver
synchronously, some thing not possible till now.

Affordance of mixed media:
The affordance of such mixed media needs to be further explored. How do audio-visual and print media when delivered synchronously change the affordance of the various media? Do the affordances of these media get extended and flow into one another.

Impact of behavior change communication augmented by PrinTV:
Also of interest is the long-term impact of the PrinTV experience on the community served by these representatives. It is essential to  understand how the community benefits from the PrinTV medium.

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