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14 - Learning Piano Via CD? Disk vs. Mr. Nunzio; IBM Increases On-Line Learning Efforts; Training Professionals Need Balance!

1) . Learning Piano Via CD? Disk vs. Mr. Nunzio. One of the questions that I am often asked is "can people learn artistic skills via computer?" Well, some of the best research is done on oneself. My wife and I bought a piano for Chanukah/Christmas and I added a MIDI port. This allows me to hook up our baby grand to a PC and send notes back and forth. So, I ventured out and purchased a CD-ROM based program called Learning to Play the Piano.

In the weeks ahead I will report on my progress or lack of progress. First report is that I was struck by the memory of my accordion teacher from age 8 to 13. Mr. Nunzio was a large man, with a large presence. Would my CD based teacher be able to match the impact of Mr. Nunzio? Early reports are that only about half of the Nunzio characteristics are present.

The CD is demanding. (Nunzio was extremely demanding!) It makes me practice each scale and concept. And, it matches each piano stroke to the assignment.

The CD gives instant feedback. (Actually, faster than Nunzio, which may be a bad thing.) It tends to interrupt my tentative attempts with more feedback than I need.

The CD provides no fear. (I was afraid of Nunzio, big time.) I've actually skipped several lessons and have had to fear of the look on Nunzio's face. How do we build accountability into on-line learning? Perhaps an on-line relationship with a real or virtual Nunzio?

The CD provides a great deal of sequential choice. (Nunzio was the master of scope and sequence!) I actually didn't know what the pedals were for on the bottom of our new piano, as I had skipped the intro section.)

I'll give our TechLearn Trends an occasional update on our efforts. Oh, we are also working with a few teenagers on the new Driver's Education CD from Sierra.

2) Partnerships and Acquisitions in the Learning Marketplace! There have been a slew of announcements in the past few weeks concerning the technology and learning marketplace. Here are a few of the important ones;

Asymetrix Learning Systems is continuing it's growth through the purchase of two more learning development companies. Asymetrix as acquired Communications Strategies, Inc (CSI) of Fort Worth, Texas and Graham Wright Interactive of Atlanta, Georgia. These two groups will grow the services component of Asymetrix, which owns the Toolbook and IconAuthor series of tools.

CBT Systems and Executrain have entered an agreement for distribution of product. Executrain has a retail training center presence throughout North America and will provide a salesforce effort for the distribution of CBT Systems technology delivered learning products to their corporate customers. It is another example of the convergence of the business efforts at the juncture of multiple methods of delivery. and

3) IBM Increases On-Line Learning Efforts: I had the privilege of giving the keynote at the Skills Conference for IBM Education and Training last week. I was struck by the depth of commitment that IBM is making in the development of on-line learning as an internal and external resource. Leveraging off their work in the E-Business sector and the Learning Space products from their Lotus division, IBM is gearing up a wide range of products and services to assist organizations in developing on-line learning strategies.

4) Training Professionals Need Balance! We need to balance so many forces. We need balance in our own lives (for health and sanity), in our efforts to balance the needs of learners and the organization, as well as balance in the mixture of old and new training methods. The MASIE Center is making an organizational commitment to focus on Balance! for Training Professionals in all of our events. At the TechLearn '98 Conference we will have a series of sessions aimed at personal, professional and organizational balance. If you would like to assist with this task force, drop a note to

Registrations are now open for the 1998 On-Line Learning Conference, focused on the Business of On-Line Learning. If you are a developer or vendor of on-line learning training and learning materials this is an executive, interactive briefing and industry gathering. To be held in Seattle, Washington on March 30 and 31. Details are now on-line at

We are also accepting registrations for TechLearn '98 at

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