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61 - Microsoft Office 2000 Beta Ships - Collaborative Publishing Training Demand Ahead; 3Com Chairman Calls on Community Colleges to Fill Skills Gap; Teams as Learning Customers

1. Microsoft Office 2000 Beta Ships - Collaborative Publishing Training Demand Ahead. Microsoft shipped 20,000 beta copies of the next generation of Office 2000 Beta today. This new version of Microsoft Office is deeply integrated with intranet functionality and allows all users to create and publish content to the "web", while collaborating with team members on shared documents and data "stores".

Microsoft Office 2000 will also ship in an advanced format with FrontPage 2000. Organizational management of widespread creation and contribution to corporate websites is embedded directly into the application suite. The first 20,000 copies went to select customers and solution providers to provide a wide base of feedback on the next Office Suite.

The MASIE Center believes that tools such as Microsoft Office 2000 and FrontPage 2000 will create increased demand for training and learning in team collaboration on workflow and document creation.

2. 3Com Chairman Calls on Community Colleges to Fill Skills Gap. " Community colleges must move quickly to provide the programs and resources to help close the technology skills gap in the U.S. -- a gap that has left more than ten percent of all technology-related jobs unfilled, and is threatening our continued national economic vitality," 3Com (Chairman and CEO Eric Benhamou told leaders of California community colleges.

"The responsibility for meeting this challenge sits with community colleges because they are the ideal institutions to meet the growing demand for technology skills in our workforce," said Benhamou. "Community colleges offer the flexible schedules and curriculum that help students pursue
lifelong learning."

"Sixty percent of all new jobs created today require high level technological skills, and by 2015, the number will be 90 percent," Benhamou said. "Expanding the availability of IT programs in community colleges is not an option but an economic necessity."

3. Reader Thoughts About Continuous Development of On-Line Learning. Several editions ago, I chatted about the concept of Continuous
Instructional Design, Development and Improvement. Here is a comment from a reader, Doug Brockbank, in reaction to my ideas:

"An interesting question. To me, it's related to the issue of customizability at the point of use. If we design choices for the user to customize the online content and tools to better fit their situation, we could build in the technology to track such refinements and make core adjustments accordingly. Better yet: forget the core adjustments . .just let it evolve at the periphery. The result: a living, breathing learning process. Just a thought."

4. Teams as Learning Customers As we develop more technology facilitated learning experiences, the concept of team learning becomes ever more important. Rather than think of the learner as a single person, why not deliver learning services to a team. If the key unit of performance is the team, why not service the learning needs of the team. Imagine an on-line learning experience that is structured to use the team, in a variety of creative structures, as the customer/client. Team needs assessments, team contracting, group and individual learning contracts and team activities would leverage both individual and group learning activities. Collaboration becomes a core element in this model and we focus the activity on raising the overall performance of the team, with both training and support.

5. The Learning Jam!: Call for Musicians @ TechLearn '98. Training and technology professionals often have a musical side. We are starting a new tradition at TechLearn '98 in November. The Learning Jam will be comprised of participants at TechLearn '98 who play an instrument and would love to play in a free-wheeling jam session. The Learning Jam! will get a chance to play for a while at the Wednesday Night Disney Party. We'll supply a few instruments for those that can't bring theirs to Orlando. If you would like to play in The Learning Jam, please send an email (with a few words about your musical talents) to (Complete information on TechLearn '98 @

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