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TechLearn Annual Report on the Learning & Technology Industry

TO TechLearn Trends Readers
FROM: Elliott Masie, The MASIE Center
DATE: November 5, 1998

RE: 1998 TechLearn Annual Report on the Learning & Technology Industry

Each year we issue a "bullets of importance" summary on the key trends, issues and technologies at the core of the learning and technology field. These bullets will be at the core of the TechLearn '98 Conference to be convened in 11 days in Orlando, Florida ( We will issue a manuscript expanding on these bullets in December 1998.

1. Major Trends in Learning & Technology
* 92% of large organizations are implementing some form of network (intranet, internet) training in 1999.
* 41% currently have placed at least one course, mainly from external content vendors, online for employees.
* 516 products, systems and new service offerings are now on the market for on-line and technology mediated learning.
* Collaboration (real time and asynchronous) capability is rapidly growing as a component of learning technology and content offerings.
* Organizations are focusing on two parallel tracks: technology for administration of training and technology for content delivery and process. These two tracks are often separate and unrelated projects.
* Knowledge Management is on the radar screen of most major corporations.
* The conversation has shifted from content delivery and management rather than authoring, reflecting an increasing outsourcing of the authoring process.
* Content is the highest desire of major organizations. They are waiting for large collections of technology mediated and delivered learning from suppliers. Demand is ahead of supply in November 1998, particularly outside of the IT zone.
* Workers are starting to have higher computing and on-line learning capacity at home than they do at work.
* IS groups are continuing to place serious internal blocks to mounting on-line learning on corporate networks, with challenges ranging from bandwidth fears to unreasonable demands for charge-backs and centralized control.
* Business units are developing independent and often competitive expertise (to the training department) in the technology and learning arena.
* Core training processes are now emerging as components of learning systems and technologies: mentoring, coaching, continuous assessment, diagnosis, needs analysis, contracting, remediation and collaboration.

2. Drivers in Organizational Approaches to Learning and Technology
* Reduction of cycle time.
* Globalization and enterprise wide delivery of consistent training content.
* Addressing the non-instructional costs of training (travel and lodging).
* Greater modularization and just-in-time capacity for the delivery of learning to the workforce.
* Extending the reach and time impact of instructor led sessions.
* Desire to choose from best of breed training and learning suppliers on a case specific basis.
* Need for performance support capability at the point of work, shifting learning to work environment.
* Learners are experiencing training alternatives outside the workplace.
* Financial officer support for alternative approaches to allocating training investments.
* Desire to drive most training transactions to browser based processing.

3. Technologies on the Learning and Training Cutting Edge and Radar Screen
* Content Production: Template based development
* Content Production: Shifting content "authoring" to subject matter experts
* Content Production: Rapid development (hours and days vs. weeks or months)
* Content Production: Reusable and redeployable content in object format
* Content Production: Learning "clip art" from suppliers
* Content Formats: Streaming video and audio
* Content Formats: Annotated books for learning processes
* Content Formats: Learner input or control of scope and sequence
* Content Formats: Multi-language and learner tracks
* Management Systems: Linkage of training management to enterprise wide systems
* Management Systems: Complete on-line training registration, marketing and administration
* Management Systems: Single storefront for corporate learning
* Technologies for 1999: Form factors such as handheld (palm) computers and hybrid
* Technologies for 1999: Increased push to browser based and push components
* Technologies for 1999: Collaboration and communities of practice supported
* Technologies for 1999: Voice and speech recognition and input
* Technologies for 1999: New fixed media formats and hybrids (e.g.. DVD)
* Business Models: Component reselling of content from training providers
* Business Models: How to develop on-line training in a profitable fashion
* Business Models: Advertiser supported learning
* Business Models: Emergence of consolidators and reseller channels
* Topic Areas to Watch: Linked use of on-line learning for customers with e-commerce
* Topic Areas to Watch: Explosive growth of K-12 homework sites
* Topic Areas to Watch: Virtual association and communities of practice models
* Topic Areas to Watch: Social interfaces for learning
* Topic Areas to Watch: "Zero-Latency" role for on-line learning and training
* Topic Areas to Watch: Performance Consulting and Knowledge Management

4. Questions on Corporate and Government Learning Managers
* What should be our 3 year plan for adding learning technology to our organization?
* How do we choose the most appropriate content for each training topic or project?
* With technology changing so rapidly, what is a relatively safe investment strategy?
* When will we have industry wide standards for learning content to protect our investment?
* How can we integrate our training management systems with HR enterprise wide databases?
* What can be done to allow learners to operate in a high interruption environment?
* Are we going to need to provide technical support for learning technologies? Who provides it?
* When will we be able to see highly motivating, simulation based corporate learning content?
* Show us best of breed examples of learning that we can use as role models!
* With the learning marketplace at high volatility, which providers will make it, merge it or disappear?
* When will be able to deliver high quality video and audio to our desktops over our corporate networks?
* If we build it, will they come?
* Who should drive and lead the push to technology mediated learning?
* What are the role, skill and attitude changes needed for training professionals?

These "bullets of importance" are not meant to be all inclusive. We will expand on them at TechLearn '98 and through TechLearn Trends in the coming months. Our industry is rapidly changing and we invite you to be at the center of the dialogue.

Respectfully submitted:
Elliott Masie, The MASIE Center

There are 100 spaces available for TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18th), Disney World, Orlando Florida. Affordable airfares and hotels available. Join 1,756 of your colleagues for 4 days of "Reinventing Training". Go to or call 800-98-MASIE.

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