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78 - Special Report from Tokyo, Japan - Learning & Development Futures

1. Learning and Technology as Tools for Economic Development: I have been in Tokyo for the past several days attending the Learning & Development Futures Search Workshop, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank Institute. It has been an incredible learning experience, with representatives from countries as diverse as China, Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Pakistan, Philippines and Kazakjstan (former Soviet Union). The questions that we have been tackling with center on the potential for LEARNING (formal and informal education) and TECHNOLOGY to be used as tools for Economic and Social DEVELOPMENT. Here are a few lines from the notes that I have been taking during our dialogues:

* Almost 80% of the world's population has never made a telephone call. One must keep this in mind as we talk about the information superhighway in truly global terms.
* Rural schools without paid or professional teachers are key problems in several of the countries. The potential for on-line or distance learning has enormous potential to supplement community mentors in these schools.
* Our colleague from China reported on a distance learning program with 1/2 million participants and sketched the size of the educational reform efforts in a country with 230 million learners in K to 12.
* The desire to run learning via technology through cultural metaphors to create regional models that are appropriate to each area.
* Governments' struggles with the loss of control brought on with information technologies.
* Awareness of the need to address national IT skills gaps and to integrate IT training into educational policy.

The MASIE Center will continue our participation in this dialogue. At TechLearn '98 we will invite you to join in a discussion on how learning technology can (or cannot) address development issues throughout the world. We will also post a link to the proceedings from this event, including audio interviews with the delegates early next week.

2. Silence Ads on Web Sites via Filter: On-line marketers won't like this new technology! If you have wondered when there would be an "advertisement filter" available, check out this new one. Go to and see a new filter that will shelter the viewer from a range of on-screen ads. Matt Frazer in our lab has tested this software and deems it "deeply effective". You have a range of options of filtering and the software can be downloaded and tested before purchase. (Price is $19.95)

3 Oops: URL Correction for Learning Market Site. Writing Trends from the road after a 13 hour flight led to a bit of typo on my part. The correct url for the Learning Market site mentioned in the last issue is Sorry!

4. Current Training Practices Collected at TechLearn '98. When we asked some participants in the upcoming TechLearn '98 conference for their wish list of outcomes, they all stated wanting to come away with a sense of what other organizations are doing in their efforts to "reinvent training". During TechLearn '98 we will collect and disseminate a broad set of practices from all of our participants. We will ask each participant to complete a quick Current Practices survey, using our Exploratorium Lab (200 PC's). This information will be posted in real time and will allow you to connect with organizations using similar practices and at different stages of experimenting with learning and technology.

We will also collect data at each of our General Sessions using over 1,000 audience response keypads to gather the largest set of Benchmarking Data. Finally, every one of our Problem Solutions Sessions will be led by a TechLearn Coach who will document the brainstorming and data collected for posting on our intranet and will be videotaped for dissemination on our Exploratorium intranet.

To register (there are about 200 spaces left), go to or call 800-98-MASIE.

Hotel Update: We have rooms available at the Dixie Landings and one other hotel on our continuous bus shuttle.


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