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57 - Learning Service Providers (LSP) Grow; Alumni Learning to Provide Boost for Technology Delivered Training; Trainers' Tips for Summer Days

1. Learning Service Providers (LSP) Grow. A new segment of the learning marketplace is growing. LSPs are Learning Service Providers, organizations that will host and administer on-line learning for a company from an external site. There have been several LSPs that have been around for a while, however we are now seeing a new breed of players coming on the scene. Yesterday, we were visited at the MASIE Center Lab in Saratoga by folks from Cytation Corporation, a LSP that grew out of an ISP (Internet Service Provider) company. They have a range of services, including "Roll Call", that will provide turnkey hosting for on-line learning from their web servers. It is worth taking a look at this option, even at the pilot level, if internal politics or budgeting prevent you getting a rapid pilot up and running. We were impressed with their pricing structure for getting started in this field. Their url is:

2. Alumni Learning to Provide Boost for Technology Delivered Training. Imagine getting a note from the college that you attended with something
more than a fund raising request! Well, in the future, your alumni institution may be a core provider of life-long learning. The MASIE Center has been studying possible "break-out" applications for on-line learning and alumni relations has come up as a strong option.

Here is the scenario: The class of 1999 graduates from their college or university. Within weeks of graduation, they receive a life-long account which will enable them to get pull or push based learning resources. Either in their course of study or in the field that evolve to in the future, they are able to continue to receive a basic level of courses, on-line briefings and access to expertise. This first level might be provided without charge, while higher levels of access to faculty resources would be charged appropriately. There would be a life-long skills portfolio on line, access to breaking news in their field, alumni news, support groups for folks hitting a bump along the way and electronic access to the university
library. If I were the fundraiser for this college, my job would be deeply easier after supplying these resources to our alumni. In fact, the college might even be the prime "net portal" for the alumni with some degree of advertising revenue extracted from individualized ads.

We believe that uses of on-line learning like this will create a cultural comfort with the process and bring the industry forward. At TechLearn '98 we will develop a brainstormed list of similar applications across multiple aspects of daily life.

3. Trainers' Tips for Summer Days. Looking outside my window, I am reminded of the challenge of teaching classes on warm wonderful summer days. I dug into my old journals and found a few tips from a train-the-trainer meeting on this topic:

* Acknowledge the Weather: If everyone wants to be somewhere else, there is no point in ignoring it. But, don't become obsessed with it or transmit that you don't want to be there.
* Summer Breaks: We would often bring in a very summer like break in the afternoon. Ice cream. fruit or lemonade can be wonderful treats and are deeply appreciated.
* Occasional Outside Breakouts: If there is space available and you can have a short discussion or work task done outside, go for it. One insurance company had folks build their workplans in groups of three, but sent them to the park across the street for an hour to do the work.
* Heat Monitoring: Keep an eye on the temperature in the room. Don't trust the thermometer in the wall (I usually bring my own from Radio Shack) and remember that the seats or workstations near the windows may be the warmest.
* Turn off PCs: Sometimes the rooms really get warm and stuffy, be prepared to teach a segment without PC's on if it is a technical topic.
* Dress Appropriately: If you are a more formal business setting, invite folks to at least take off their jackets or get more comfortable in your class. Where it is appropriate a causal day everyday in summer classes can also work.
* Monitor the Pace: Sometimes people really do slow down in the summer. I found that my pace of teaching and the pace of the learners was about 10% slower in summer classes. If this is true for you, adjust your teaching plan appropriately.

4. TechTrainer's Forums @ TechLearn '98: Being a technical or computer trainer is not an easy task. There are key decisions to make about your career, your professional development and even your style of teaching. As new delivery technologies come to the marketplace, how do technology trainers react or adjust. We have been asked to schedule a series of meetings called TechTrainer Forums @ TechLearn '98. These will be held throughout the event for computer, technical, IT and other technology related trainers attending the event. To register for the Conference: (November 15 to 18, 1998 in Orlando, Florida).

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