; The Future of Extension Program Delivery: The Case for Online Training | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name The Future of Extension Program Delivery: The Case for Online Training

Curtis Mahnken and Kevin Klair


We live in an incredibly fast-paced and ever-changing world. Every industry seeks to be cutting edge and keep up with new technology and trends that change at a moment’s notice. According to the USDA, rural areas are not immune to these changes. Farms with internet access have increased almost 20% in the last ten years, and those numbers will only continue to grow. How can Extension keep up? In addition, budgets are tightening and fewer resources are made available to produce successful outcomes. One way is to embrace a shift in thinking about program delivery, most notably, utilizing online training as an effective tool for Extension.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers program (TAA) provided business management and production training to eligible producers, of which a significant number were women. Online training was vital for the program’s success because of the large geographic dispersion of nearly 11,000 program participants and tight delivery timelines. Prior to training, most participants indicated a preference for taking a combination of in-person and online workshops. Only 37% indicated a preference for online training. However, 59% of all completed workshops were completed online. Additionally, after training the number of participants preferring online training grew to 55%.

This presentation will utilize data collected from TAA to answer questions regarding utilizing online training and the effectiveness of online training versus in-person training. The TAA program provides strong evidence that reaching audiences with diverse gender, ethnicities, age, and education levels can be accomplished effectively using online education delivery methods.


2014 Women in Agriculture Educators National Conference