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43 - E-Commerce Demands Training Readiness; Libraries: Learning Professionals Support for Access; 5 Tips for Dull Classes

1. E-Commerce Demands Training Readiness. The growth of E-Commerce, business conducted over the Internet, is growing dramatically and creating several areas of demand for additional training. As small and large businesses experiment with conducting their business directly with customers over the "Web", a whole new set of skills are required within the organization. These include:

* Changing the selling and customer support process. Less emphasis is placed on information transfer and more on clarification and adoption. Even the role and structure of compensation plans may change as more of the customer contact is conducted through extranets.
* Technical skills to build and support e-commerce. While this looks like an IT function at first glance, the meat of an effective e-commerce strategy must be driven by the people who live and breath commerce: the business, sales and marketing units. The day to day structuring of e-commerce requires major cross-departmental coordination and training.
* Management readiness. A good number of executives really don't get e-commerce. While they love the idea of revenue coming into the company with little effort, most are not of the digital age. There is a direct need for management briefing and training (including being e-consumers themselves) to insure smart strategic decisions.

Training departments should get ready for the potentials of e-commerce. At The MASIE Center, we were shocked to see almost 81% of all of our registrations for TechLearn '98 and our seminars shift to web based registration. We have had to shift many of our own processes and build our staff's competency in these new arenas. Are you folks ready?

2. A Learning Media Selection Tool. We recently received a note from a colleague in the Air Force about a tool that they are using to help make media selection tools and run ROI calculations. You might want to check it out. It is called ADVISOR from BNH software. The url is:

3. Libraries: Learning Professionals Support for Access The MASIE Center has joined a number of learning and training companies around the country that are supporting public access to the internet through the libraries. It is critical that we work to prevent a HAVE and HAVE NOT situation of kids with access to information technology. The libraries are one of the perfect places to build high speed and abundant access. Librarians have the ability to coach and train youngsters in the use of internet resources and it is a perfect extension of the mission of the library. Last week, The MASIE Center made a $30,000 donation to the Saratoga Springs Public Library to provide three years of high speed access for the citizens of our town. We encourage our readers to look into ways that corporate support for library internet access can be expanded.

4. 5 Tips for Dull Classes We often get questions from classroom and on-line trainers about strategies for teaching really dull material. Let's face it...sometimes the information in a class is not exciting and one has to "slug" through it. Here are a few of our tips for teaching dull classes:

* Chunk the content! Smaller chunks of dull material are easier to swallow. I will often break a dull class into 20 minute modules rather than 1 hour sections.
* Increase the interaction. David and Roger Johnson, from University of Minnesota, have found that dullness can be overcome by interaction. I would rather talk my way through some dull stuff rather than be a passive listener. Shift the mode to small group learning.
* Break the sequence! It is critical that learners know where it will end up. I used to teach a dull data base course from start to finish. Then, I switched and started with the end of the class...the reports. Suddenly the dull material had a purpose.
* Watch your own attitude! Learners don't know it will be dull. But, if the trainer starts with a sigh and announces that this is "dull but necessary", it creates a bad mindset.
* Go Visual! The duller the material, the more visual I want to be as a trainer.

We would welcome other tips from TechLearn Trends readers. Send them to

5. MASIE Video Taping at ASTD Conference. If you are planning on attending the ASTD Conference next week in San Francisco, please join us for a special session. Elliott Masie will be videotaping an interactive talk called: "Teaching and Learning in the Age of Technology: New Perspectives for Training Professionals". This will be taped on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 5:30 PM in the Moscone Center, Room: Gateway 103. The taping will last approximately 75 minutes.

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