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59 - One Million Citizens in Zambia Apply for Distance Education; Time May Be More Critical Than Distance

1. One Million Citizens in Zambia Apply for Distance Education . We file this in the "can this really be?" category of news. This item came across our desk yesterday:

"XINHUA, ZAMBIA - About one million Zambians have applied for the long-distance education program which was introduced last May in the country with about 9.5 million population.

Lawrency Shimba, the Zambian Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training, revealed this here Tuesday. "We have already received applications and processed them," the Post newspaper Wednesday quoted Shimba as saying. The minister said that the degree program is supposed to start before the end of this year. "

We made several calls to verify the numbers and it does appear that over 1/10 of the population has applied. They are now working thru the details. We'll track this one closely.

2. Time May Be More Critical Than Distance I am in Wisconsin delivering the keynote address to Distance Learning '98, a gathering of over 1,000 higher education, government and corporate distance learning coordinators and faculty from around the world. In my speech, I drove home the idea of looking at TIME as much as DISTANCE in our new models of learning.

Time seems to be a very critical issue in the process of choosing to learn via a non-classroom modality. Most learners could find an instructor led classroom near them. The key question is timing. Learners report that they more often than not want the timing of the learning experience to be different than the classroom offering. Here are the categories of TIME Issues:

* TIME SHIFTING: Learners want to shift the timing of learning. Their desires include after work, in the early morning, during weekends and other shiftings of the clock. One colleague of ours is taking their Master's Program on-line and doing the majority of work in airplane seats during their 150 days of travel each year.

* TIME COMPRESSION: Learners want to learn faster and in more compression than a classroom allows. We are beginning to see the rise in demands for digital Boot Camps and other high compression formats that allow one to accelerate the learning. Major immediate needs yield desires for faster and more compressed learning delivery.

* TIME TRICKLE: We are hearing from people that would like to take a very long time to learn something. Imagine if you could take the concept of Oprah's Reading Club and turn it into a very slow, long-duration degree program. There are millions of people that would love to finish degree
programs or acquire new skills but can't dedicate more than an hour a week. Why not add trickle programs to our mix.

3. Corporate Learning & Training Staff Retreats @ TechLearn '98: Several major companies have decided to organize staff retreats and meetings in conjunction with the TechLearn '98 Conference. Groups like the trainers from the Federal Reserve Banks are scheduling meetings in conjunction with the conference to be held in Orlando from November 15 to 18th.

We can arrange for dedicated meeting space, special speakers and a wide range of retreat and team meeting activities. The entire program of Disney Institute offerings can also be blended into your program. This is a great way to leverage our keynote speakers and sessions, along with the Exploratorium Technology. If you are interested, send an email to Complete details about TechLearn '98 and on-line
registrations is available at

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