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62 - Low Cost Home Based Wireless Modem; Learners Are One Click Away From Leaving; Changes in IT Training Are Coming!

1. Low Cost Home Based Wireless Modem: In a few weeks, a new technology will be shipping that is a very cool capability for high usage home computer folks, like myself. HomeFree is a wireless network solution that connects a laptop or desktop to another computing device at distances up to 100 feet, at a cost of approximately $200. This will be a boom to on-line learning, allowing learners to work from the couch, the porch and other places in the home. Check this technology out at

2. Learners Are One Click Away From Leaving! There is no social pressure to "stay", when learning on-line. If you attend an instructor-led class and are bored or not pleased with the content, you will probably stick it out, at least until lunch or the end of the day. We have been conditioned to stay and tolerate less than optimal classes.

However, our social conditioning when on-line is the exact opposite. We are always one click away from departure! Our experience on the web is one of deeply personal choices. We use our mouse as a voting device and leave any site that doesn't match our expectations. No one notices. Here are some of the reasons folks will leave an on-line learning page:

* "Been there, done that!" - Learners depart as soon as they feel the content is something they already know.
* "I'll never use that knowledge!" - Learners depart as soon as they sense the content is not applicable to their situation.
* "This site is SO slow!" - Learners depart as soon as the site, or their web connection, slows down to a crawl.
* "I can't figure out what to do!" - Learners depart as soon as they get confused by the navigational commands or the technical aspects of the learning site.

We can create GREAT on-line learning programs by focusing on these realities and developing appropriate expectations. NEVER assume that the learner will stick it out. The mouse is both a tool of engagement and a tool for departure!

3. Changes in IT Training Are Coming! I am in San Francisco to present a keynote speech on IT and Computer Training. This is a field near and dear to my heart. It is amazing to think how well we (the extended training and learning field) have all done in bringing technology skills to the world's population. It is amazing to think of the tens of millions of users around the globe that have learned totally new sets of skills in the last 15 years.

The next phase of IT and Computer Training is going to be challenging. Here are some of The MASIE Center's predictions:

Learners need to develop better information filtering and verification skills.
The majority of commercial transactions will migrate to intranet and extranet based front ends. Each business unit will require the skills to create and modify these formats on-the-fly.
Business level staff will need new levels of IT skills and background to be able to more deeply leverage technology for profit and productivity.
Managing high confidence computer users will be a challenge for organizations. The next generation of users will require a new model for managing computer usage on work goals.
The Y2K Problem is a warning for organizations. Computing strategies must be more deeply screened for organizational impacts. These skillsets will need to be driven throughout the organization.
The lines between IT Training and Organizational Training are getting fuzzier!
I will be addressing these topics at our TechLearn Conference in November.

4. TechLearn '98 Reaches 1,107 Participants - Training Decisions Simulations: We have been amazed at the rate of registrations for TechLearn
'98 (November 15 to 18, 1998 @ Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL). There are now 1,107 folks registered. Registrations are running 300% ahead of last year. And, there are 90 days to go. We will be setting a limit on registration for the conference!

If you are planning on attending, please reserve a space as soon as possible. We would encourage TechLearn readers to register early and also to reserve a hotel room at the Disney hotel. Complete information is available at

We are pleased to announce that one of our TechLearn Collaborative Members, Peter Jones, Vice President Chase Manhattan Bank, will lead the Training Decisions Simulations @ TechLearn. These will be exciting sessions to look at the difficult decisions that organizations face as they strategically implement next generation approaches to learning. Remember, it is not about is always about making learning and performance decisions!

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