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74 - Special Report from Seattle, WA - Boeing Corporation

1. USA Today Report Slams Corporate Training Programs: Yesterday's USA Today carried a short article that took a hard swipe at corporate training programs. Citing several studies, without details, the paper claimed in the headline that shouted: "Experts: Billions wasted on skills training". While one could never deny that there are significant quantities of poor training, the article was quite unbalanced. I received several emails from readers of this newsletter who had the article thrown at them by senior executives.

We are compiling a detailed analysis of the survey mentioned in the article and will issue an alternative view in a future press release.

2. New York University Creates For-Profit Subsidiary for On-Line Learning: Moving to become a major player in the emerging market for education on the Internet, New York University plans to create a for-profit subsidiary that will develop and sell specialized online courses to other colleges, corporate training centers, as well as students who simply prefer to attend class at home.

The move is a direct response to what many educators see as the biggest challenge to higher education: the rise of profit-making institutions, like the University of Phoenix, which threaten to use the Internet to siphon off some of academia's most profitable courses -- continuing education for adult learners -- and leave universities only in the expensive business of undergraduate education. They are even flirting with taking the new venture public through a future IPO. For the details of this story, go to New York Times at

3. Finance IQnet, Corporate Financial Training Site Wins Award: Finance IQnet has won a major award at the New York Festivals, a competition for multi-media and web based programs. Strategic Management Group (SMGnet) is the developer of this innovative program.

The FIQnet is an integrated site that includes learning modules, real time business simulations, interactive job aids, assessment and mastery tests, application tools, on-line expert video and audio clips and many other value-added features. The Financial IQnet helps users learn about financial management and better communicate more effectively with financial managers, accountants, business planners, investors and bankers. This product is an example of the next generation learning and performance integration. Information on SMGnet and a demonstration of their Java Based Simulations can be found at

4. Audio Beams to Deliver Sound to Individuals Without Headphones: Beth DuPont, The MASIE Center's Research Director, sent along this item:
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab are vying with acoustical engineers at American Technology Corporation to be the first to deliver an addressable audio beam that can carry a narrowly focused sound to a specific recipient. The technology under development uses a parametric array to send sound through the air in a tight beam. The result could one day be a public address system that could target a specific worker on a shop floor, for instance, or a museum loudspeaker that could describe an exhibit only to the people standing right in front of it.
Imagine this as an alternative way to deliver coaching and learning support to a worker without the need for headphones or speakers.

5. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin Debuts at TechLearn '98: While TechLearn '98 is loaded with content, sessions, dialogues and technology/learning demonstration, this item is all about fun. (Hey, that's a part of the fun on throwing a learning festival for the training industry!).

Yesterday, Disney informed us that their latest interactive attraction will be opening right before TechLearn and will be part of your night at our special Disney/MASIE Center Party at Tomorrowland. Here is their email to us: "TechLearn participants and their families will be among the very first folks on earth to participate in our new Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. They will enter the playful world of toys where they join Buzz Lightyear on a daring mission to save the universe. Piloting your own XP-38 Space Cruisers, you spin though various scenes scaled to the size of toys. Vehicles are fitted with a joystick steering mechanism and twin laser cannons. It's an interactive outer space adventure taking trainers and technology folks of all ages "To infinity and beyond!"

While I wouldn't include this in your memo to justify attendance at TechLearn, this is a cool side benefit. Plus, we have the whole park to ourselves that lines at Space Mountain! TechLearn '98 will be held in Orlando, Florida from November 15 to 18th. Web site:

(I have had the privilege of working with training leaders from several groups within Boeing Corporation over the past few days. They are taking a hard look at how technology and learning will fit together in the years ahead. It is key to get cross-company cooperation on the process of inventing the future of learning and technology. Hat's off to Boeing on this effort!)

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