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73 - Special Report from Corning, New York - Schools & Technology Events

1. Managing the Demand Side of Knowledge Management: The more we look under the hood at the Knowledge Management products and services coming to the marketplace, the more the focus seems askew. Most Knowledge Management efforts seem focused on increasing the amount of information that will be available to employees. Sure, we need to make sure that the RIGHT information is available to the RIGHT people to make the RIGHT decisions. Yet, the bias towards increasing the supply side of knowledge and information worries me.

Most folks are complaining about having TOO MUCH information already. Many are overwhelmed by the flow of information to their desktops already, before major knowledge management systems are dropped into place. A colleague of mine that is in the top echelon of knowledge management consultants shared this fear with me off the record. He is more concerned with impacting the DEMAND side of the knowledge economy within an organization. We share the worry that some of the IT focus of the knowledge management industry is ignoring the weakening appetite for additional bits of information, no matter how helpful.

2. New On-Line Learning System from ReCor and Free Course: ReCor has launched a new on-line learning system entitled SkillSpace. This is a java-enabled system that allows organizations to deliver and administer courses on-line without the learner having to download the contents to their desktop. To demonstrate the functionality of SkillSpace, ReCor is offering a free on-line class. With four lessons from ReCor's Network Based Training for Netscape Communicator 4.0, the course provides interactive training in a simulated Netscape Communicator environment. Check out this new product and sample course at

3. Schools & Technology: It is Not About Wiring!: I spent a wonderful day on Monday with several hundred school administrators, teachers and community leaders in the Corning, New York area. They are tackling the critical issue of how to proceed with technology in the schools. Here are a few items that surfaced during my presentation and dialogues:

* It is not about wiring or hardware. The conversation in schools needs to switch to content, collaboration, community and learning models for technology. The power of the internet is shifting the dialogue to a vision of how information will be used in the lives of the students and their families, not just about dropping in a few PC's into the back of the classroom.
* Technology will shift twice in the next six years. Nobody can really predict the pathway of future technology. Will wireless LAN's replace Ethernet in schools? Will Palm-like devices be the form factor of choice? Will voice recognition make its way into classrooms? Yet, schools don't need to make these bets. They do need to have a value base of how to evaluate new and emerging technologies for their benefit to the learning mission and to develop a process for experimenting short of the bleeding edge.
* Community leaders can help shape the technology decisions. I was impressed with the role that community groups, like the Corning Corporation are playing in this process. Schools cannot make these decisions in isolation. There are great resources waiting to be invited into the process that can bring strong IT and management visions to the table.

At TechLearn '98 we will add a session to look at the ways in which training and technology professionals can assist school districts with their computer and learning planning.

4. Disney Behind the Scene Tours Now Open at TechLearn '98: With just 6 weeks until TechLearn '98, we are pleased to announce that there will be 4 special Behind the Scene's Tours of Disney and a one day trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center. On Sunday, November 15th, participants in TechLearn and their families can choose an optional 1/2 day or full day tour of the inner workings of Disney or the launch site for America's space program. The MASIE Center has arranged for these tours which will take you under the tunnels at Disney, explore Disney's approach to design or focus in on the gardening methods used at the parks. Or, you can hop on a bus and visit the launch site for the Space Shuttle (which will be carrying Senator Glenn in just a few weeks). These tours are open to TechLearn '98 participants and their families and have an admission fee. For information about these tours or to register for TechLearn '98, just to

5. Trends Adds 20,000 Reader: TechLearn Trends is proud to announce that we now have over 20,000 readers. This publication started at the end of November 1997 with just 935 readers. It has grown steadily and we thank our readers for their involvement, emails and thank you notes. In the next year we hope to continue this model of a short, targeted and opinionated update for the learning and technology field. Thanks! Elliott Masie

71 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology

1. Challenges of Shorter Cycle Times: The pressure is on for cycle time, the distance between idea conception and implementation. Organizations are viewing cycle time reduction as a major target for improvement. In rapidly changing markets, the goal is to be able to "turn on a dime", altering products or processes as soon as conditions change. And, that places new emphasis on the speed of delivery of corporate learning and training.

Distance and On-Line Learning projects are increasingly being justified by the need to reduce cycle time. Industrial age models of slow roll-outs of new processes or skills are not perceived to be cycle-time sensitive. The speed of development, the speed of distribution and the rate at which the new skill-set can be absorbed globally is at the heart of cycle time training reduction efforts. Keep the phrase on your radar screen!

2. Qualcomm Launches SmartPhone: Mobile On-Line Learning: Qualcomm has announced a new product that will add serious capability to mobile based learning. The Smartphone is the blend of the Palm Pilot from 3Com and a cellular phone. Users will be able to browse corporate intranets and access on-line learning and corporate databases using the popular Palm Pilot computing device interface. The product will be rolled out at the end of 1998. Check it out at:

3. Free On-Line Learning Course from The MASIE Center: This is the last reminder about our free on-line learning program that will be offered next week. This class will focus on 3 Roads to Learning Futures. We invite you to a free one hour on-line class, using a world-wide telephone conference call and simultaneous web based interaction. The title of the talk that Elliott Masie will be presenting is: 3 Roads to Learning Futures. It will focus on the 3 big paths that knowledge has to travel:
* Getting content from experts to learning activities.
* Getting learning activities to the screen of learners.
* Getting knowledge from the screen to the hearts, minds and skill collections of learners.
The class will be held twice next week, on Tuesday and Thursday (Sept 29 and Oct. 1st). Details and reservations at:

bgv: TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18th in Orlando, Florida) will a major focus on approaches to Reinventing Training. We will host a series of sessions looking at how Training Departments and training professionals can align training with business objectives, new roles and examples of significant evolutions of training structures. Reserve your space at TechLearn '98 at . Over 1,500 colleagues registered and space is limited. I look forward to meeting TechLearn Trends readers in Orlando.

72 - Extreme Training Measures Needed; IT Skills Gap Attacked with Loan Program

1. Extreme Training Measures Needed: We need to try some very different and even extreme measures in the world of training and learning. The other day I was interviewed by a reporter doing an article on the future of training. Her first question has been rattling in my brain: "How has training over the past 40 years?"

While we can point to innovations in CBT, On-Line Learning and Performance Support, she kept drilling down to see if there were any RADICAL or EXTREME approaches to training that she could report. Hmmmm.

It is time for the training industry to look at Extreme measures. What can we do, as a field, to develop extreme new models for delivering workplace training and performance. At TechLearn '98, we will host a session called Extreme Training. The purpose of this brainstorming session will be to explore dramatic new models for training. We'll publish the results after the Conference. If you would like to highlight your projects or even just dreams for Extreme Training, please send an email to

2. IT Skills Gap Attacked with Loan Program: Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Skills 2000 IT Career Loan Program has distributed > more than $55 million in loans in under seven months. Launched in February 1998, the Skills 2000 IT Career Loan Program is designed to assist people seeking training and resources to begin careers in the information technology (IT) industry.

The program is part of the overall Microsoft Skills 2000 initiative aimed at addressing the IT work force shortage. The more than $55 million in loans, disbursed by Servus Financial Corp., is being used by students to finance technical training at Microsoft Authorized Technical Education Centers (ATECs)and at Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Program (AATP) institutions, as well as to purchase course materials and computers.

Programs like this are growing in the industry as indicators of the depth of demand for certified IT Skills.

3. Trends Readers Flock to Hollywood Simulation: We received a notice from the folks at the Hollywood Stock Exchange that they received a flurry of new players after our note about this on-line simulation. Quite a few readers wrote in about their experience with this concept of on-going simulations. Give it a try at We even heard from a number of technology vendors interested in developing wider sets of on-line learning simulations. It is the future!

4. TechLearn '98 Cruise and Hotels Filling Up: If you are planning on attending TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18, 1998 in Orlando, Florida), this is the time to reserve space at the main hotel. We are also about to close out our block on the Post-Conference Cruise. The main Conference Hotel, Coronado Springs, is about to fill up. While we have a second hotel for additional registrants, if you want to be at the main property, please contact Walt Disney World at 1-407-939-1020. If you have not registered for the conference, go to

Our 3 Day Post-Conference Cruise has only a few cabins left. If you would like to join a group of TechLearn attendees and faculty, go to our web site at and call our travel agent at 800-283-2929.

70 - Special Report from Saratoga Springs - Jewish New Year

1. Multi-Event, Multi-Player On-Going Simulations Awesome Learning Envelopes. Simulations are powerful tools for high engagement learning. One of the powerful improvements that the internet has made to simulations is the opportunity for multi-event, multi-player on-going simulations.

I have been participating in an interesting experiment with one free simulation. I know almost nothing about the economics of Hollywood. So, I joined (and you can join for free as well), The Hollywood Stock Market. Go to and sign up. I received $2,000,000 of play money and have been participating in a daily buying and selling of Hollywood oriented stock: stars, movies and other properties. It works as an enormous multi-player game, with over 100,000 regular players.

There are columns to read, analyst perspectives and plenty of context. This game has caught the imagination of Hollywood agents and studios as well, as an intriguing tool for gauging public sentiment and response.

I encourage TechLearn Trends readers to spend a bit of time on this site: and see how you react to this type of simulation. I believe that these are models for corporate on-line learning and staff development. Interested in your reactions to

2. Knowledge Management Survey in Europe Shows Key Trends. A recent survey by Cranfield School of Management in the UK sheds some intriguing light on European corporate approaches to Knowledge Management:

- Definition of Knowledge Management: 70% of the respondents chose the following summary of knowledge management: A business focused approach - " the collection of processes that govern the creation, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge to fulfil organizational objectives".

- Spending on Knowledge Management: The current average spend on knowledge management is 3.3% of revenue and is expected to rise to 5.5% in 3 years time - an increase of two thirds.

- Relevance of Knowledge Management: The following five issues came out as the most significant: gaining competitive edge; increasing profits; developing new products/services; instigating change and improving efficiency.

3. Wells Fargo and University of Phoenix Partner for Skills Gap Solution: Our colleagues at Wells Fargo Bank emailed us with an announcement about their new partnership with University of Phoenix aimed at the IT skills gap.

The Wells Fargo IT College Program, the objective is to provide broad knowledge of IT concepts and current technologies to selected Wells Fargo employees, enabling them to implement information technology solutions across many diverse environments. Beginning in the summer of 1998, classes will be offered over a six-month period at University of Phoenix campuses in Phoenix and in Northern California.

According to Barry X Lynn, CIO, Wells Fargo Customer Information Group, this education partnership with UOP will allow the company to further develop skills of existing employees who are already knowledgeable about Wells Fargo and its culture.

4. TechLearn '98 Solicits Problem Solution Volunteers. The core piece of the TechLearn '98 Conference are the Problem Solution Sessions. These are brainstorming and solution dialogue sessions led by TechLearn '98 participants aimed at key questions we face in implementing new approaches to learning and technology. The results are published instantly on our conference intranet and are great take-aways for all conference attendees. If you would like to add your name to our volunteer list, please send an email to (Note: TechLearn '98 registration information is available at The url for last year's problem solution brainstorming results is

(Personal Note: Tomorrow is Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish New Year. A joyous time to celebrate another year of life and wonder. Happy New Year to all TechLearn Readers. May we have a good year of exploring the life enhancing capacity of learning and technology. Elliott & Cathy Masie.)

69 - Try On-Line Learning: Free Class on 3 Roads to Learning Futures; New Models for Discussions

1. Try On-Line Learning: Free Class on 3 Roads to Learning Futures. Lots of people talk about on-line learning without trying it. The MASIE Center, in conjunction with Placeware, invites you to a free one hour on-line class, using a world-wide telephone conference call and simultaneous web based interaction. The title of the talk that Elliott Masie will be presenting is: 3 Roads to Learning Futures. It will focus on the 3 big paths that knowledge has to travel:

* Getting content from experts to learning activities.
* Getting learning activities to the screen of learners.
* Getting knowledge from the screen to the hearts, minds and skill collections of learners.

You will need to pre-register for this FREE one hour event. Go to this URL: The class will be held on Sept 29 or Oct 1, 1998 at 12 Noon Pacific (3 PM Eastern). You will receive a url for accessing the program and a telephone number for the audio component.

2. New Models for Discussions. In classrooms, discussions flow naturally. Sometimes they result from a need to process content, other times they are sparked by a learner's question and sometimes they are even the result of a trainer needing to rest for a few moments.

When we move learning to an on-line model, there is a balance between the scheduled event based discussion and the ones that flow from the moment. I've been seeing a large resistance to tightly scheduled chats, in either text or voice. It is hard to predict when the learner needs or desires to interact.

We are exploring ways in which discussions will be triggered and facilitated in a more open format. Watch for new technology that will allow learners to drive the timing of a discussion and also have access to just in time coaching desks for immediate verbalization needs.

3. TechLearn $25 Dollars to Extend to October 1st. With over 1,400 folks registered for TechLearn '98, we didn't want to leave anyone out of the offer of $25 Free TechLearn dollars. These will now be given to everyone who registers by October 1st. They can be used to buy books at the ISPI/TechLearn Bookstore, tapes of sessions and even drinks at the Disney Party. To reserve a space in TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18, 1998 in Orlando, FL) go to

68 - Time Shifting More Critical Than Distance in Distance Learning; Technology Analysis Frenzy Over Starr Report

1. Time Shifting More Critical Than Distance in Distance Learning. The more we listen to users of on-line and distance learning programs, the less it seems to be about DISTANCE. In fact, the major element is increasingly SHIFTING TIME. Learners, even those that are right next to the classroom or campus, are choosing this new delivery in order to allow learning to take place WHEN they want.

In conversations with distance learning coordinators at higher education institutions they are seeing more and more of their learners come from local communities rather than far away. Likewise, on-line training coordinators in corporations are reporting that a large driver is TIME SHIFTING rather than travel reduction.

2. net.LEARNING Web Site Opened: Millions Watch PBS Show. The net.LEARNING show on PBS has now opened up a robust web site with content from the show, dialogues and other resources. Check it out at We are planning on giving a TechLearn '98 award to the producers of this show.

3. Technology Analysis Frenzy Over Starr Report. In addition to the endless coverage of the Starr Report over the weekend, the technology side of internet document distribution also was high on the analysis. I spent some time with a reporter who was writing a story on the "defining moment of the internet" slant on the story. Our comments focused on how there was little dialogue about access to the internet. It was hardly even mentioned in the debate. The "Net" was assumed to be available to all citizens. The other side of the story was the issue of standards and processes for disseminating material. "Just because you can distribute a document, should you?" Challenges were even leveled at corporate intranet managers on whether to block the sites from a bandwidth and adult content perspective.

4. Reading Club for Learning: TechLearn '98 Bookstore to Be Hosted by ISPI. We are pleased to announce that a special Bookstore for Learning will be created at TechLearn '98, in cooperation with ISPI (International Society for Performance Improvement ( We will have a wide range of books on learning, training and technology at TechLearn '98. This is a cool opportunity to actually see and browse these books. A few of our faculty will help design a TechLearn Bookshelf of a selection of books that would assist organizations in their efforts to reinvent training. You will be able to spend your free $25 TechLearn Dollars in the bookstore. TechLearn '98 will be held in Orlando, Florida at Disney World on November 15 to 18, 1998. There are currently over 1,400 of your colleagues registered. For complete information and on-line reservations go to

67 - California Offers Less Formal Training to Employees Than National Counterparts; Letters from Alumni for Learner Motivation

1. Chicago Area Readers: Join Us at the Studio for TechLearn LIVE!: As we have mentioned previously, we are hosting a free satellite and internet broadcast on Thursday, September 10th. This will be originating in Chicago at the studios of WTTW - Channel 11 at 5400 North St. Louis Avenue. There are approximately 15 seats available in the studio audience. If you would like to attend, would you please send an email to and she will confirm if there is room left in the audience. Reminder, if you would like to view this over the internet just go to on 9/10/98 at 1 PM Eastern Time.

2. California Offers Less Formal Training to Employees Than National Counterparts: A UCLA study released Friday found that private employers in California offer less formal training to employees in basic skills, workplace-related skills and job skills than their national counterparts. Most notably, California establishments with more than 250 employees lag the national average in job skills training, which provides the most direct benefits to employers by improving productivity and earnings. California's dearth of job skills training affects all levels of employees, white or blue collar, with the latter receiving less training than the former.

Computer skills training, a natural outcropping in a state increasingly dependent on high-tech growth, is the one area in which California leads the nation, though not by as much as one would expect. California's mid-sized employers (50 to 249 employees) score high in training employees in computers usage, while the state's larger companies actually lag the nation by a small percentage.

Despite periodic employer complaints about the quality of the state's work force, basic skills training is offered by only 13 percent of larger California companies, compared with 19 percent nationally. More than 80 percent of California employers not offering basic skills training said they thought their employees had adequate basic skills.

3. net.learning PBS Show to Air: Check with your PBS local listings and look for a documentary entitled "net.learning", focusing on the increased role of the internet for the delivery of learning, training and knowledge. It will be playing in most regions in the next two weeks.

4. Letters from Alumni for Learner Motivation: When the motivation levels in a class are low, think about turning to the alumni for help. Over the years, I have often used alumni letters to future students as a part of the motivational strategy. It works this way: Ask a few alumni of a class to write a letter to future students. Wait for a month or so after the class and have them write a personal note to future students, detailing what they learned, how they applied it and restate the value proposition of the course. I have found that new learners appreciate hearing what alumni have to say. Often, even a negative can help build motivation. "I found the final lab exercise really tough, BUT it really paid off when I got back to my job."

5. TechLearn '98 Exploratorium Provides Non-Commercial Learning Time. One of the neat features of TechLearn '98 is the Exploratorium. Imagine a room with 200 PC's, all hooked up to a high speed network and running almost every learning technology package in the field. This is a non-commercial room, with no sales folks over your shoulder. Take the time to work with the latest in learning technology, both from a learner and a trainer perspective. Register for TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18th in Orlando, FL) by going to Current registrations: 1,392 with a limited number of spaces available.

66 - Lotus Launches On-Demand Information & Training for Notes; Extending Wait Time in Class Supercharges Questions

1. Lotus Launches On-Demand Information & Training for Notes: "Lotus Development Corp. today announced it is offering a portfolio of just-in-time training products that provide Lotus Notes users with flexible, self-paced resources to help them maximize the technology, particularly between the time of deployment and formal training. The company also announced the availability of the first application in the portfolio, QuickCards for Notes 4.6, an online resource that contains step-by-step instructions on how to perform key functions critical to quickly becoming a productive Notes user."

"Developed by Dallas-based Usability Sciences Corporation, QuickCards for Notes 4.6 complements traditional training and support tools. It not only instructs users on how to work with Lotus Notes, it also dynamically points them to information they may need to continually advance their Notes skill set and helps them build a personal list of "how-to's" that grows with their experience and expertise. Users can access QuickCards through a Notes client. "

2. Readers Generate Dozens of One Day Training Strategies: We received dozens of strategy ideas from TechLearn Trends readers responding to a request for creative approaches to a compressed one day class. We have posted these for your use at

3. Are You Implementing SAP? A Reader Asks for Help: Fredd Griggs, from Solutia, Inc. (formerly Monsanto), would like to hear from other TechLearn readers who have implemented SAP enterprise wide. As you probably know, changing your enterprise database solution is a HUGE undertaking. They would like to benchmark with other companies that have implemented SAP on a enterprise scale. Can you share your approach to post-implementation training. What types of training did you do? Who developed or delivered the training. Please respond directly to Fredd at Thanks!

4. Extending Wait Time in Class Supercharges Questions! If I were to change one behavior of trainers it would be their wait time. It is amazing how short the time is between our solicitation of questions and the next sound out our mouths. Most trainers wait less than 3 seconds. "Are there any questions?" 1....2....3 "Ok, let's move on!" When trainers extend their wait time to 8 to 10 seconds major changes occur in the quantity and pattern of questions. Learners quickly assess each trainer's patterns and intentions when soliciting questions. If the trainer extends wait time, there is time for the learner to review their thinking, formulate their question, scan the class and take a breath. This can't be done in 3 seconds. Extend the wait time and watch!

5. Free Satellite and Internet Broadcast on Sept 10th: TechLearn LIVE! Join us for a free 2 hour broadcast on Thursday, September 10th from 1 to 3 PM Eastern Time for a satellite or internet delivered session. Featuring training coordinators from major corporations, representatives from the Federal Government, and a keynote by Elliott Masie. TechLearn LIVE! will focus on the Future of Learning. We will look at core issues facing organizations attempting to change their model for the delivery of training and learning. Go to to get coordinates and viewing URL. In April, we had over 17,000 colleagues viewing TechLearn LIVE!

* TechLearn '98 Registrations can be made on-line at . There are 1, 319 colleagues registered for TechLearn, which will be held November 15 to 18, 1998 at Walt Disney World in Orlando. There will be a cap on attendance and we urge all TechLearn readers to register now (you can cancel up to one week prior to the event), to reserve conference participation and hotel rooms. Join us as we discuss ReInventing Training!

65 - Pricing On-Line Learning: A Moving Target

1. Speaking A Column: Comments on Voice Recognition Software. I recently wrote my first column for a magazine without typing. Using voice recognition software, I "spoke" the column. If you haven't rechecked the voice recognition software genre, give it another try. To read the column and our perspectives on the training issues related to voice recognition go to:

2. Designer's Edge Releases New Edition: Allen Communications, the maker of Designer's Edge, a pre-authoring tool that assists developers with the process of creating learning programs, sent us the following press release on Friday:

"Allen Communication today announced Designer's Edge 3.0, the latest version of its popular training design and planning tool. Version 3.0 incorporates significant enhancements for developers of training applications, including the ability to do task analysis and report customization, as well as combined interfaces throughout the tool to increase user productivity and encourage the creation of reusable elements. "

"The tool's Enterprise version will include the desktop capabilities as wel as enterprise database support through ODBC connectivity, security features and the functionality for exporting training titles directly to HTML and Java through Allen Communication's Net Synergy." Their web site for more information is:

3. Report on Internet Caused Depression and Friend Shrinkage. A recent story on the front page of the New York Times caused deep conversation in our office. The story covered a recent study reporting that surfing the Internet causes increased depression. A two-year study found that one Internet hour per week made participants one percent more depressed. In addition, their circle of friends shrank by an average of 2.7 people.

Without commenting on the validity of the study, it did get a few of us chuckling and a few worrying. If I were to apply this to my own internet usage, I would be 300% more depressed and would have lost over 950 friends. Luckily, not true for this user.

4. Pricing On-Line Learning: A Moving Target. What to charge for a one hour class or a five week course delivered over the internet? The economics of e-commerce are flirting with the pricing matrix for on-line learning

Some vendors are taking a "Delivery Method Is Irrelevant" position. They are pricing all learning for a specific set of objectives at the same price, regardless of the delivery system. CD-ROM's, Video's and Web Delivered versions of the same modules have the same costs.

Other vendors are playing to the "Web Delivery is Cheaper" model. We are seeing several organizations offer wide libraries of on-line courses that are priced at dollars a module. Most of these don't have an incremental cost to the supplier, as there is little faculty support offered. Some pricing models are based on site licenses that have a low cost per user, but a significant organization wide price tag.

A few brave vendors are getting ready to launch "Price for Outcome or Performance" rather than usage. For example, an organization would pay for each employee that passes the certification exam, without reference to how much resources (if any) they used from the learning services vendor.

Watch for a lot of experimentation in this arena. The pricing question is also being raised in terms of the charge back process between centralized training departments and their business units. A good number of our readers report that charging back for on-line learning programs has met with resistance from units that do not pay for other intranet based programs. Comments? Send them to

5. Trips to NASA and Behind the Scenes Disney Tours Added to TechLearn '98. Participants arriving in Orlando for our TechLearn '98 Conference will have a wide range of low-cost tours they (and their families) can take on Sunday, November 15th. We are building one day tours to Kennedy Space Center and will offer at least 4 different Behind the Scenes Disney Tours. Complete information will be sent to all TechLearn '98 participants in approximately 2 weeks. To register (we now have 1,290 participants), just go to

(Personal Note: We are in the Adirondack Mountains for the week, at our deep woods cabin (with a modem connection). Cathy and I own a piece of the original J.P. Morgan Great Camp in the village of Raquette Lake, NY and get to retreat here for recharging, writing and reflection. Since we still seem to think of the year as running from Sept to Sept, this is our week before "back to school". If we are a bit slower on email responses this week, blame it on the lakes and woods of the Adirondacks.)

Special TechLearn Trends Report

On August 27th, the following question was posted to TechLearn Trends:
I'm a training specialist with a software subsidiary of AG Communication Systems in Phoenix. We make an information management product used by crime labs across the country.

Typically, my training sessions consist of both lecture and hands-on computer training and delivery lasts about three days. We are about to release a new version of our software and a number of our clients are opting out of this full training; they want me to provide a one-day training session without any hands-on work.

I'd like some suggestions on how to make this one-day refresh-training more engaging and enjoyable for the participants. I don't want to lecture about a piece of software for a whole day, but without the hands-on training exercises, I'm stumped. Thanks for your help!

Paul Tracy - JusticeTrax( Training Specialist)

Here is a list of the fabulous replies we received:


Gail Pentz:
Find an analogy you can work with, and use it to liven up the class. I train several control record classes for a software development firm that can last from 1.5 to 2 days each. Since control record classes focus on setting parameters, there is no user portion. To give folks the big picture of how the system works, I do an activity with little plastic army men. My analogy is that accounts are sent to our collections product and are treated and prioritized the same way wounded troops in a M*A*S*H unit would be treated. We walk through what happens in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and then I explain how our product works. I leave the army men and a couple of plastic jeeps on the table for the duration of class to serve as a reminder of the analogy and to add a bit of playfulness to the class. Participants tell me it's helpful. I also let them take a toy soldier with them as a souvenir.

Jeff Defren (Benchmark Computer Learning, Training Advisor):
Perhaps you could develop role playing exercises outlining problems that come up/or may come up, and have solutions delivered through role playing also. Then have a discussion of the how's and whys the solution fits the problem! I would think something that actively engages the students will help to make the ideas stick. Just a thought.

Dennis DiLorenzo (Usertech Multimedia):
Have users solve a crime. Make sure that the crime demands that they use the key features of the software. Work in groups and give a real prize to the first group to solve the crime.

ROBERT M. DUFF: (Visual Information Directorate - Naval School of Health Sciences, Head, Training Technology Department)
This is in response to your request for suggestions on how to cram "hands-on" training into a one-day refresh-training episode.

I would suggest combining your past experience for the most informative FAQ's. Do as much answering of these as you can on a CD-ROM (quick, cheap). Choose the most difficult hands-on to describe in words and illustrate that with live action AND words (voice-over) on the CD. Before duplicating the CD, beta test it with the lowest common denominators and modify accordingly. Provide a HELP line number and/or URL.

It will take some real skull work to review the 3-day course to weed out what can be taught/demonstrated on CD-ROM and what DEMANDS live, on-site, hands-on contact, but it can be done ... and it seems keenly in your interests to do it. The One day can be devoted to the most salient points that require on-site, hands-on contact and it should include a brief "How To Use This CD-ROM we're going to hand out."

Big advantage to the CD-ROM (which I suspect you've already considered) is that they can take it home and use it for its immediate purpose and - if planning is good - for reference in future. Interactivity would be SUPER if you have the time and money. Also of some importance is the cost saving of a one-day over a three-day training. Cost avoidance could pay for the CD-ROM effort if you have very many students. Another hidden advantage is: I need (so-and-so) and I need it by close of business. Only "FRED" can do that. Great! Where's Fred? Gone for three days. Awk !! Hope this helps.

Christine Rennie:
I have a question:
Are your clients looking for a transition to the new version class? If so, my thought is that you may not need an instructor-led class at all. What about a video showing the differences in the software? Or a CD/CBT/book where on the left hand side of the page shows how the software used to work for a particular function and on the right hand side how the new version works.

If there is additional functionality, the self-study could explain through an example what the new functionality is and then give instructions on how to use it. What about a web-based tutorial with you available as an on-line tutor?

Sheri Enault (Franklin Templeton Training & Development):
Since your information management product is used by crime labs, perhaps you could build on that theme (sort of a Dick Tracy style). You could introduce a hypothetical case about a recent crime that occurred. Perhaps you could even develop fictional characters, like the evil Dr. Know Z. Body. Your training could show how the software unravels the case. NOTE: Themes can be beneficial for learners by allowing them to practice the material mentally while you are presenting. However, using themes can be harmful if the learner cannot see how it applies to the content or the theme overshadows the content.

Bob Wincentsen (Cubic Applications, Inc.):
Regarding the new version of crime lab software, we have found that the 3 day seminars are wasted effort for many actual users. A better approach is to spend development time in the software on site maps, search engines in the helps areas and addition of a glossary. Users want to learn only what pertains to the immediate task at hand. Another area that is well accepted is to have situational tutorials- harder to build but it demonstrates the product and gets the users in an exploratory mode. Then the trainer needs to emphasize these areas in the one day sessions. We have incorporated these ideas in a series of instructional CD-ROMs and it seems to be satisfying the users. Best wishes on success.

Patti Combs (Management and Technical Training):
When there is no hands on computers for your participants...
* Plan to break up your day long presentation with small group interaction. For instance, after showcasing a new feature, say take 2 minutes and discuss with your neighbor how/when you plan on using the feature. Like, dislike, etc. Just getting them to talk about it will help them to retain it.
* Plan games. Incorporate the new skills you are teaching into the games.
* Ask for volunteer drivers of your computer. Incorporate this into your games. To answer the question regarding a skill you taught, a team member must demonstrate or find the answer at your computer.

Phyllis Aniello:
If they know the old software, how about the old Socratic method. Identify the critical procedures and ask "How did you do this task in the old version?", just to keep them awake and thinking. Then teach them the new procedure. Of course, document all procedures. Tell a couple of jokes, tap dance a little and you've got it made. Good Luck!!!

Marjorie Osborne (Training Specialist - Polmar Technologies):
I have had that similar situation happen to me and what we did was to have a "What's new in ...." class. I wrote a short tips and tricks manual and just showed (with the aid of a system and an LCD panel) the "new" features of the software. At the end of the "class" I let the students come up and experiment with the software and answered their questions. The day went well, to my surprise. I am a firm believer in hands on training. I would not let my child drive by just reading a book or going to a lecture.

FYI, 6 weeks after the "class", I held a full fledge class with at least half of the students attending from the original class. "Go figure!"

Gene Wood (Training and Applications Manager - Zomba Recording Corporation:
I'm not sure how much time you have or what equipment your training facility has, but maybe a PowerPoint presentation with screens showing the differences and enhancements the new version has over the old version. If any of the windows or dialog boxes look different, capture those windows and put them in the slides. This way they can visualize and be an active part of the learning process rather than just passively sitting there, falling asleep.

David Grebow (Director, Educational Services - PeopleSoft):
Since Time has become the Number One scarce resource, I've been faced with the same problem on numerous occasions during the last few years. Here are some of the ways I've been able to say "Honey, I Shrunk the Course!"

For starters, let the Learners become the Teachers ... take the modules from the 3-day (or break the three day into modules), add the time it takes to present them, and let each class determine the mix of modules they need and want for the 7-8 hour lecture. Building your own course is a great way to get to know what your Learners really need and want and makes the training truly relevant.

Show-and-Tell the hands-on part. Choose the key pieces of learning that you think really need hands-on training - maybe the key differences in versions, new logon procedures, new functions and pathways. Use the Preview-View-Review approach and lecture about what they need to know; demo to show what they need to know how to do; and use the graphical pop-quiz approach for review. The graphical pop-quiz is "Watch me do it again and tell me if it was done correctly or if not, why not?"

Get creative. Have the Learners become teams and use the scenario approach to start time-based contests. The Learners need to "Develop the Dancecard" and list the steps involved in completing the situation the scenario calls for. Winning teams get a prize (TBD). If you have the course development budget make the scenarios video-based to add some additional teaching tools to the program. These days, it doesn't have to be extravagant anymore with digital video. A little sound and video can do wonders to wake them up and gives you a chance to breakaway from being a "talking head."

Take a lesson from Madison Avenue. We've all seen (especially those of us who spend too much time in airplanes and airports), the Visio thin laptop ads. In the User Guide or Student Materials, have a simulated keyboard, mouse and blank screen. Tell them to keep it in front of them as you do the demos and make sure they follow the keystroke sequence for commands. It will work to reinforce their eye hand coordination and nobody has to worry about setting up a classroom or a system crashing.

Finally, and most simply, don't lecture. Talk with them. Engage them. Use stories frequently to make teaching points. Set up the room when you can using non-academic lecture seating. A U-shape that allows you walk in and around and have people see each other works. Get rid of any podiums or other elements you can hide behind that block your self from the Learners. Use one of Elliott's reader's ideas and get a stool to sit on. Keep the dress business casual. Have a working system setup during breaks and invite people to play (aka hands-on learning) and hang-out by that machine as a ready and willing Mentor. Try and remember what made the 3-day program enjoyable, fun, interesting - use the Learner Evals for reference to reality check you memory and incorporate those moments.

And last but not least, leave them with a GREAT Users Guide or EPSS program or Reference Job Aid on a CD-ROM. Use it during the class to get them into the habit of looking for answers in those places. Have your website extend the training with Version X.2 Chats, FAQ's, Forums. The training program may only last one-day, but the real learning goes on forever!

John M. Cozzoli (Education Services - Computer Associates Int. Inc):
I think a PowerPoint presentation with screen shots (or live demos where appropriate), interspersed with QA segments to keep their concentration focused, may work well. You also may want to consider a little off the beaten path approach. For instance, write up a script (like a movie script with dialog) for one section of the presentation, and have a few volunteers read it. Keep it short (15 or 20 minutes) and humorous, and use it when you or your audience is starting to fade.

Diane M. Weldin (Director of Marketing - Business Works, Inc.):
I am a TechLearn Trends reader responding to another reader's dilemma: They ran a three-day training and hands-on program for their crime lab software product -- but clients now only want a one-day lecture with no hands-on. I have a solution that addresses both of these training issues.

Our company, BusinessWorks, develops multimedia interactive (and also entertaining!) training courses/business learning projects for companies. We can deliver your training project via a CD-ROM or over a Corporate
Internet or intranet.

A "virtual" presentation shows the trainer/speaker, in full-color, full-motion video and audio, with the speech text, and presentation slides -- all synchronized on-screen at the user's desktop. Additional features include, languages (for global training and distribution), menu driven glossaries, non-linear slide and text searches. We can even provide "software emulation" so the "hands-on" can still happen during the training-- they can try it as see actual examples of how your software works. If tracking, testing and reporting are necessary, that can also be included. We would be pleased to discuss these solutions with the reader directly if you would be so kind to connect us.

Doris AuYeung:
It sounds as though the "hands on" exercises are not stimulating for the learners. The perspective from the receiving side of computer training is that learners are often put through "the paces" geared for the slowest common denominator. I suspect those opting out are individuals who want advanced levels of usage in addition to basics, for whom the class is moving too slow.

Most learning takes place after the course is over anyway, in the context of the job. My suggestion is to give the learners enough to work with on the job, a few advanced tips, and things they can try on the job. Have the employers agree for you to conduct follow up a few weeks afterward to see how much learners picked up from the one day course (you might be surprised). Also, the instructor is far more valuable in engaging the learners than any hands-on exercises! Good luck!

Rich Michaels (Michaels McVinney, Inc.):
Concerning the above situation. From the information provided I assume that the "clients" who are making this request are already familiar with a former version of the program and are thus concerned that the new 3-day class will be covering information they already know. If that is a true assumption then you may want to consider just providing them with instruction on the new features of the software. If the new features require hands-on experience to understand/use them then you must explicitly state to your clients why they must attend a hands-on workshop. If understanding how to use and benefit from the new features is primarily a cognitive function (i.e. doesn't require practice) then give them what they are asking for - abbreviated instruction.

As to how to be creative in a non-hands-on instructional setting here is an idea which presuppose that the mind is the center of creativity and not just a persons fingers!

Using an interactive lecture format supported by of course "computer generated slides/overheads" describe a new feature of the software. Then through the art of human conversation and interaction ask the participate how/where in the software interface do they suppose this new feature is accessed. As added complexity to creative thinking and learning ask them why do they think this feature is included under this menu/pull down window/function key/etc. Engage the participants in a discussion of the purpose, rationale and reason for this feature. Let them tell you how it will benefit them. Continue in a similar manner until all new features are covered.

This process is guaranteed to not only teach the participants about the new software - it is also guaranteed to demonstrate the participant's current knowledge of how to use the software. As a summation activity in the training consider using a "Jeopardy" style game to assess their mastery knowledge of the software's usage and/or functionality.

The technique as outlined above can also be implemented without the need for an instructor. A properly designed CBT. Multi-media, or Web based application could also deliver the instruction in this manner. (Sans real-time human interaction and spontaneous dialog.) However, if the audience really doesn't understand how to effectively and efficiently use the current software, the self-paced training on the new features of the product will fail. This is also guaranteed!

Only a live instructor has a chance of saving a class when the wrong participants, with the wrong prerequisite knowledge and learning expectations are put into a forced learning situation by "clients" who are trying to save a buck by cutting out training days. On the other hand, feedback like this from your clients may be telling you more than you at first think. Is 3 days to learn your product necessary? Are you really providing meaningful adult oriented instruction? Are the hands-on activities of your current instruction instructionally challenging or instructionally demeaning? Do your clients love your software but hate how they have to learn it? Tough questions that need your honest and thoughtful contemplation.

David I. Stevens:
In reply to the request made by a reader regarding providing a one day training session without hands-on activities. A couple of things come to mind. First you have to ask why the clients do not want hands on activities. Is it because they are not needed? Is it because they are, dare I say it, bored? Or is it because the client does not need the activities to be able to use the product.

It might be a good idea to do a needs analysis. Develop a profile of what the client needs with respect to the product. Once that is done treatment can be assigned to the various parts of the profile and it might just be that hands on activities are not needed or can be reduced to a minimum.

You might also, in the interest of making learning fun or at least different, put the materials into an on-line learning environment. This way the client can "learn" the materials in their own way and in their time. This course should be a structured environment that takes the client through the materials in a systematic way. Use a Presentation Tutorial or a How-To or Choice Driven Tutorial. You may also want to consider burning the new materials onto a CD. Again the client can use the materials as and when they see fit.

If both you and the client really, really want to engage in a face-to-face session and in keeping with the idea of fun learning and providing "hooks" on which the client can put the learning consider integrating the materials into a "treasure hunt". The client has to "find" the new materials, manipulate in some way, use it and when they are finished they can collect their prize. In the same mode consider a "car rally". Look up the rules of a car rally and integrate your product into the rally idea or concept. Again offer prizes for the winners. Remember that when gaming with learners they are ALL WINNERS!!!!

Robin Seitz:
Just because YOUR CLIENTS don't want to have hands-on training exercises during the one day class doesn't mean that YOU can't demonstrate the new version in a hands-on manner. By this I mean setting up your laptop/PC and demonstrating a few specific performance-based scenarios (if you want to do XXX, you used to go to screen YYY and click on ZZZ) using the old software and then showing the same scenarios using the new software (NOW, with the new version, if you want to do XXX, go to screen AAA and click on BBB) .

You can use a product such as Lotus ScreenCam to capture the operations of the old software and the operations of the new version. Your demonstration can be supplemented with PowerPoint slides and/or paper handouts of the screens of the new version, along with the step-by-step instructions on the operation of the new software.

Kim Baker:
I'm intrigued with the possibilities offered by Microsoft's NetMeeting software. With it, a trainer can demonstrate other applications to individuals around the country who are sitting at their desks. The default is 20 participants at one time but I understand that this number can be increased to 50 or 60. The software will accommodate audio and video transmissions as well although bandwidth issues may suggest substituting the audio with a telephone conference call and foregoing video. The software can be downloaded from and can be installed on private servers if intranet use is preferred.

Eileen Licerio (Director, Education - IMA, Inc.):
In response to the one day course. This is where multimedia based training really pays off. I've found in the past that customers won't travel for a one day class, and it's too expensive to send an instructor cross country for one day. If the course is primarily lecture, multimedia is the answer. After my customers have attended my classroom training, I keep them updated with new features via MBT courses.

Rose M. Dorsey:
We created a system simulation demo model where the student watched the simulation of a computer system at work (via a cd-rom multimedia course). The audio talked the student through the process while arrows and labels walked them through visually. We even showed the appropriate buttons being pressed when we simulated a conversation between an employee and a customer. The purpose of this model was to give the students the big picture of how the system worked before getting into the nuts and bolts. If you could demonstrate your system this way via an LCD projector in front of the class that might be a good way to start.

Also, discovery type of learning within teams is another good way of engaging the students without actual hands-on. Give them pieces of information and have them figure it out in teams...then have a spokes-person from each team share their findings with the group.

Ron Nawojczyk:
I would suggest creating some Lotus ScreenCam demonstrations that can be shown and then distributed to the class attendees. ScreenCam allows you to capture any actions performed on a Windows computer screen. I use them frequently to send information to our remote sales offices so that the people there can go through some training examples without having to attend a class and can also view them on their own schedule. In your class, you can run through the ScreenCam examples once during class and then each person could view them as often as they wish on their own. When they are ready to do some hands-on work on their own, they would have a library of example to use as a reference. You can capture voice as you record the ScreenCam so that you have sound included in the examples or you can also use the built in text screens to overlay the examples with textual explanations.

Dave Quinlivan-Hall (Knowledge Navigators International):
We develop annotated screen shots or more elaborate screen cams for the demo part; then use assignments that have people work through the key components. With a project-based pedagogy perspective, divide the hands-on components into smaller, stand-alone deliverables. Determine assignments that will deliver these learning outcomes (assignments can be done individually or in groups). Depending on the complexity of material and dollars to invest in on-line design these assignments can be fully automated or instructor/navigator evaluated. These same modules can be used for quick reference and refresh training later. The data for assignments can be the participant's own stuff or you can create a training database to draw upon -- or you can use both. We do this type of design & development work from instructional design to appropriate multi-media build -- and all in Canadian dollars.

Carolyn Woodie (Woodie Computer Associates, LLC):
I have found this to be a common problem. Software has many new features to help with productivity, but companies want to cut the training time in half! Lecture does not work! Try to provide handouts with as many screen shots as possible for the user to take with them. Use the exercises that you might have used for the user in a hands-on class and walk through them demonstrating the software. If possible, have a couple of users come to the front to have some hands-on training on the demo machine that everyone can see. The users watching will then see some of the errors that they might do when they finally get to use the software and how you (the instructor) help the individual solve their problem.

Always provide quick reference cards for the common key/mouse strokes and a whole batch of shortcuts! I'm looking forward to seeing ideas from others and the whole question of cutting training time is something that I want to see addressed at TechLearn98 when I attend in the fall!

Doug Woodard (Manager of Learning & Communication - L.L. Bean):
I am responding to the August 27th edition of TechLearn trends e-newsletter regarding the request for help. The request centered around a reader looking to reduce overall re-fresher training time from three days to one. The problem as I understood it was the balance between hands-on and ILT learning.

My name is Doug Woodard and I am the manager of learning and communication for L. L. Bean's Customer Satisfaction business unit. I started in this brand new position back in January and I oversee all technical, customer service, product, leadership, team building, OD, (the list goes on!) training (as well as all communications) for all of L. L. Bean's call centers and CSRs. This includes our seasonal workforce which numbers in the thousands. Before coming to L. L. Bean I was a change management consultant for Andersen Consulting where I worked with Fortune 500 companies on planning, leading, and implementing wide-scale change programs. (This work included performance design and development consulting...)

When coming to L. L. Bean I brought with me an approach to learning that may help your reader. It is an approach that we are using here at Bean's to completely re-vamp our training programs: Business Simulation.

Business simulation is an approach whereby you look to replicate the learning participant's actual on the job work environment in the classroom. The learning design should focus on attempting to duplicate the actual characteristics, resources, limitations, and goals that participants face on their jobs. Business simulation is a non-directive learning approach that may typically combine ILT, structured discovery, job-focused activities, and even a little GBL (or goal-based learning).

It sounds like your reader may be able to combine her ILT and desire for hands-on training into a business simulation approach. How do the participants use the application on the job? What goals do they have when they engage the tool? What resources do they have? How could you simulate the job experience in the classroom such that you could highlight the differences/benefits of the new release? The answers to these questions may help to start drive her down the path of integrated business simulation.


64 - People Skills Grow in Importance for Technical Staff; Training Professionals Understanding Y2K Issues

1. People Skills Grow in Importance for Technical Staff: 97 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) polled recently said they look for well-developed soft skills -- such as communication abilities and business acumen -- when hiring information technology staff. This represents a
12-point increase from a 1996 survey in which CIOs were asked the same question.

The survey was developed by RHI Consulting ( and includes responses from 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees. The question was: "When evaluating a job candidate for an information technology position, how important are the individual's 'soft' skills, such as business acumen and interpersonal skills?" Their responses: Very important=(68%); Somewhat rtant=( 29%); Somewhat unimportant=(2%); Not at all important=(1%)

When asked what the single most important people skill for a job candidate to possess, the responses were:
* Interpersonal skills=33%
* Written or verbal communication skills=27%
* Ability to work under pressure=21%
* Overall business acumen=14%
* Professional image=2%

2. Training Professionals Understanding Y2K Issues: Y2K issues will touch the lives of many training professionals in the next 16 months. Most
training folks that I meet with don't have a very detailed understanding of the technical scope of these issues. Matt Frazer, our technical guru at The MASIE Center, sent me this article to read to build my own understanding. I would recommend it! It is called DANGEROUS DATES FOR SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS by Capers Jones. Here is the link to the article:

3. Creativity in One Day Classes: A Reader Request: Can you help out a fellow TechLearn Trends Reader with this question:

"We make an information management product used by crime labs across the country. Typically, my training sessions consist of both lecture and
hands-on computer training and delivery lasts about three days. We are about to release a new version of our software and a number of our clients are opting out of this full training; they want me to provide a one-day training session without any hands-on work.

I'd like some suggestions on how to make this one-day refresh-training more engaging and enjoyable for the participants. I don't want to lecture about a piece of software for a whole day, but without the hands-on training exercises, I'm stumped." Would you send your suggestions to

4. Switching or Adding Browsers for On-Line Learning! Our most recent survey has received over 1,300 responses. The question focused on whether an organization would we willing and/or able to add a different browser to use the full features of a major on-line learning product. Early analysis showed that approximately 55% of folks were willing and able to add a new browser and the rest were either not willing or not able. The Netscape vs. Microsoft browser choice was a dead 50% - 50% photo finish. We would like to add more responses to this survey. If you have a few minutes, please go to We'll post complete results next week.

5. Re-Invent Training Job Descriptions @ TechLearn '98. We are pleased to announce that we will focus on the Training/Learning/Performance job description of the future at TechLearn '98 in November. Mike Nolan, President of Friesen Kaye, and I will run a series of activities throughout
the conference to allow each participant to think creatively about the evolution of their Job Description. As learning models, technology and organizational forces change, what happens to our jobs and roles. Each participant will complete a worksheet over several days, looking at the
changes that might be in store for learning professionals in the digital age. We now have 1,270 registrations for TechLearn '98. Register soon to avoid getting on the "wait list". On-line registration is available at

63 - New Federal Site for IT Skills Gap; Tips for Trainers: Comfortable Shoes and a Stool!

1. New Federal Site for IT Skills Gap! Check out a new site that has been launched by the United States Department of Commerce to focus national attention on the IT Industry skills gap. Called Go for IT!, the site contains listings of training, resource and other programs. Find it at

2. CBT Systems and Real Networks To Collaborate. CBT Systems, a major player in the IT training skills arena and Real Networks, a key developer of streamed multi-media, have inked a deal to collaborate. CBT Systems will standardize on the G2 System from Real to deliver streamed media to browsers. The details on today's press release can be found at:

This is a trend that is emerging as content companies are choosing a media streaming or other web media delivery process as their standard. Watch for lots of announcements like this in the coming 90 days.

3. Reader Suggests Book on Visionary Companies. Robb Kushner, a TechLearn Trends reader, suggested a book that he recently read. ""Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" by James C. Collins & Jerry I. Porras HarperBusiness, a division of Harper-Collins Publishers. I picked it up and found it to be fascinating reading and a great guide to thinking about how to invent the future of our organizations. You can order it from by clicking here:

4. Tips for Trainers: Comfortable Shoes and a Stool! A TechLearn Trends reader wrote us to ask how to manage their energy over long days of classes. I picked up the phone and we chatted for almost an hour about her challenge. She was exhausted at the end of every day of training and totally bushed at the weekends. While training will always use up a good deal of energy, it should not leave us "wiped".

As we talked it became clear that she was standing on her feet for the 8 eight hours a day in fairly uncomfortable, corporate shoes. I had her measure how much she walked during a class and she was shocked to see that she put on a couple of miles a day, between pacing, visiting learners at their desks and moving around the classroom.

Our advice: Comfortable shoes and a stool. While it might not look exactly like your colleagues, go for comfortable and walking friendly shoes. And, go get a bar stool. I find that there are times when sitting on a stool and answering questions or chatting with the class is a relief for everyone, including the students eyes that have to follow you around the room.

Her result: She took our advice and has been using Comfort Shoes and a swivel stool for the last three weeks and says that it makes all the difference in the world. Her comment: "Wow! It really does make a difference in how the day feels. I can't give learners all of my energy if I am physically tired in class."

5. TechLearn '98 Industry Groupings to Convene in Orlando. We have scheduled over a dozen industry groupings at TechLearn '98 to bring you
together with your colleagues facing similar challenges. Here are a few of the structured sessions that are scheduled for TechLearn '98:

* Government, Military and Intelligence Community @ TechLearn '98
* Financial Services @ TechLearn '98
* Retailing @ TechLearn '98
* Higher Education @ TechLearn '98
* Associations and Not for Profits @ TechLearn '98
* Manufacturing @ TechLearn '98
* Medical, Health Care and Pharmaceutical @ TechLearn '98
* International Participants @ TechLearn '98
* Training and Learning Marketplace Vendors @ TechLearn '98
* On-Line Learning Coordinators @ TechLearn '98
* Computer Training Industry @ TechLearn '98
* Chief Learning Officers @ TechLearn '98
* Classroom Trainers @ TechLearn '98
* New to the Industry @ TechLearn '98

In addition, if you would like to add your industry to this list, please send an email to Each of these groupings will have a host, one or more sessions and networking resources. To reserve your space in TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18 in Orlando), just go to There are already 1,151 colleagues registered. Space is limited and registrations will be closed this Fall.


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!

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 @

60 - Special Report from Saratoga Springs, NY

1. Details of Workforce Investment Act. The recently passed and signed Workforce Investment Act is now law. We had a large number of TechLearn Trends readers ask for more detail on this legislation, which includes Individual Training Accounts and other major new programs. We have posted a detailed summary of the act at

2. New VIDCON LEARNING Site and Newsletter Launched. We are pleased to announce a new free resource for learning professionals. This summer The MASIE Center has been building a new site that will focus on the exploding world of video-conferencing as it used in learning and training. Laura Tocco, from Cornell University, has done a summer project to create this new site. In addition, we are launching a twice monthly newsletter called vidcon.learning that will follow the format of TechLearn Trends. Please check out this new site and sign up for the newsletter if you are interested in vidcon. Details at

3. Saratoga Springs: Distributed Learning Center. As you can tell, I travel often. This newsletter originates from a wide range of places around the world as we track the exploding field of learning and technology. Well, home is pretty awesome as well. Today, Trends originates from our office in Saratoga Springs, NY. This region is rapidly becoming a center of Distributed Learning projects. In addition to housing The MASIE Center, Saratoga is also home to Empire State College's Center for Learning & Technology, a powerhouse in the world of higher education distance learning. In our region, we also have 6 other learning and technology projects, including ILINC and the SUNY Network. Let me put a small plug in for the recreational side of Saratoga Springs. We are the site of the Saratoga Racetrack, Saratoga Performing Arts Center and a wide range of historic homes and estates. Check out this cool town at

4. TechLearn '98 Spouse/Friend/Family Friendly. There are a wide set of options for the people in your life that might be coming to TechLearn '98 with you in November. They can attend several events at TechLearn '98 including Behind the Scene's Tours of Disney, Tuesday Night Party at Disney, special classes at Disney Institute. The Party is free, other events have a pass-thru charge. Note: Please make reservations for the event as soon as possible, registration is now at 1,007 colleagues. TechLearn '98 Site: