Subscribe: Learning TRENDS


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

58 - Continuous Development Required for Continuous Learning; MetaData Update; United States Congress Passes Job Training Bill

1. Resources for Innovation: This morning we received a note from a TechLearn reader (Marla Newman), pointing us to a cool site with resources for innovation. It is directed byJoyce Wycoff, author of books on Mind Mapping and Transformation Thinking. The content is about life-long learning, with lots of resources and articles about corporate creativity and innovation. Check out

2. Continuous Development Required for Continuous Learning: This thought has been rummaging around my brain for the past week: "How do we create continuous development for continuous learning?" It all started as I was thinking about stories. A good story evolves. As one tells the same story over and over again it changes. It gets shorter or longer, funnier or more targeted. The telling of the story evolves it, or in training terms: continuous development. However, most courses, once they are developed, only evolve in the instructional dimension. Few organizations have a process for the continuous improvement of a course. As we move our instructional resources on-line, there are great opportunities for us to be able to keep the development process alive for the duration of the course. Anyone with ideas or comments on this, send me an email to

3. MetaData Update: In earlier TechLearn Trends we pointed readers to the work that is going on in the MetaData field. The core idea is to develop an industry wide standard for how we will label learning objects or chunks, so that they can be stored and deployed with greater ease and flexibility. Good work has been done by the IMS and the IEEE groups in this area. Wayne Hodgins has notified us that the latest paper on the MetaData project is now on-line. Warning...this is a technical paper and it drills down to the detail that a standard requires. However, it is worth checking out and supporting the process of building the equivalent of a Learning Nutritional Labeling System. The paper is online at:

4. United States Congress Passes Job Training Bill. The House passed a job-training bill on Friday that consolidates dozens of programs and gives states and local governments more flexibility in designing them. The bill passed the Senate Thursday night. President Clinton said he will
sign it into law. ``This bill will modernize job training to fit the needs of today's economy, and I appreciate the bipartisan spirit that prevailed in getting that done,'' Clinton said in a statement after House passage. Clinton said the bill was modeled after the ``G.I. Bill for American Workers'' he proposed three years ago.

Under the bill, states and local governments would be given more authority in carrying out job-training programs. At the same time, the bill calls for such programs to have performance standards,such as job placement and retention, so that a person considering a particular job-training program would know its track record. The federal government could cut off or reduce funding for unsuccessful programs.

The bill also calls for local businesses to get involved in training programs, and includes a $1 billion ``youth block'' to target at-risk 14- to 21-year-olds. Funding would remain at the current level of about $10 billion a year.

5. TechLearn Volunteers Sought and TechLearn Cruise Announced: This is an exciting week in the planning for TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18th in Orlando, Florida). We will take our 1,000th registration for this unique conference in the next couple of days and we are announcing two high involvement aspects of the event:

- TechLearn '98 Cruise Announced: Continuing a tradition we started back in 1990, there will be a low-cost cruise immediately following the TechLearn '98 Conference. The cost is only $342 per person, for a 3 night. 4 day cruise to Nassau, sailing from Port Canaveral (1 hour from Disney) on the day after the Conference. This will be both a fun and learning filled 3 days. Join a collection of faculty, experts and colleagues for informal dialogues, discussions and non-stop networking aboard the Carnival's Fantasy. For details and to register for the conference go to

- TechLearn Volunteers Sought: TechLearn is built on the premise of action learning and high involvement. Last year, over 100 participants were volunteers helping out in a wide range of areas, including facilitating Problem/Solution Brainstorming Sessions, being docents in the Exploratorium Lab and helping with orientation. If you would like to volunteer at TechLearn, requiring just a few hours of your conference time, please send me an email to and let me know how you would like to be involved. Complete details about TechLearn '98 are available at

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).

56 - NETg and Gartner Learning Merge Operations; Palm Based Learning Goes Wireless

1. NETg and Gartner Learning Merge Operations. This morning we received a flash announcement about the merger of operations of two big players in the technology and learning world:

"NETg, a global leader in technology-based training, today announced that it will merge operations with GartnerLearning following that company's acquisition by NETg parent, Harcourt General. "

"This transaction brings together the brightest professionals, the strongest product offering and the most complete service capabilities of any training organization in the market today," said Gary Lopez, president and CEO of NETg. "The combination of NETg and GartnerLearning brings together the complementary strengths of two leading training industry powers to create a single formidable leader. Together, we will harness the qualities that have propelled the two companies separately and deliver a cohesive set of products and services that will create the standard for competitive performance."

"The company will operate under the NETg name and will offer over 800 training products to a worldwide customer base. The company's U.S.
headquarters will remain in Naperville, Illinois."

For more information:

2. Palm Based Learning Goes Wireless. Our experiments in Palm Based Learning, using the new Palm Pilot and Windows CE hand held computers took a step forward this weekend. I hooked up my Palm Pilot to a new wireless modem that allows for continuous connection to email and the internet via a datastreamed wireless connection. We used the GoAmerica configuration that cost $49 a month for unlimited wireless connection (in larger cities). I was able to hit web sites, our internal intranet and send/receive email. We are doing a test program of the impact of using this as a learning workstation. Very cool...stay tuned for results and impressions.

3. Learning Marketplace Sessions @ TechLearn '98. With ISA (Instructional Systems Association) and CEdMA (Computer Education Management Association) as co-sited conferences with our TechLearn event in November we have a unique opportunity to take a close up look at the state of the learning marketplace. We will be hosting a series of sessions at TechLearn that will confront the difficulties and opportunities in purchasing or selling learning products and services in the new digital marketplace. We will address key issues about how one finds the customers (or products), pricing issues and making concrete plans in a rapidly changing marketplace. To register for TechLearn '98 go to

Personal Note: Our trip to Ireland was awesome. That small country is really the leader in the exporting of on-line and CD ROM based IT content. We met with key players in that industry and also saw the level of commitment from all levels of their government. Ireland is an example of the ability of the impacts of partnerships between government and corporate sectors in pathing a way to a new economy. Very impressive.

55 - Special Report from Dublin, Ireland

1. Lucent Develops Cool Projects Including Persyst Classroom On-Line. Lucent Technologies, the high flying Bell Labs, has a number of very cool multimedia projects in the works. These projects include Persyst, a new player in the real-time on-line classroom technology market segment. Check out their various projects, including Persyst at:

2. Late Night Learning: Cricket Knowledge Via The Web & TV. It was 11:30 p.m. last night and we had just gotten back from a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin. My wife and I turned on the TV to watch for a few minutes as I checked email (yes, I know, but I am a bit compulsive.) We found ourselves watching a match of Cricket on the television. It was fascinating, but neither of us knew anything about the rules. At first glance it looked a bit like baseball but the language, logic, rules, strategy and even pace of the game were big knowledge gaps for both of us.

In times past, we would have been stuck there. Clearly a TV sports broadcaster does not explain the sport each time they cover a game. Who
would tolerate a basic lesson of football or golf during the each Sunday's game? So, we had to map our own pathway to knowledge. Ah, I was already on the web, so let's do a bit of on-line learning.

Success! After a quick search on Excite.Com, we found a master web site for the sport of cricket: For the next 60 minutes, using their on-line briefing, the real-time game on the television, numerous links to graphics and a collaborative approach to learning, we got it. In fact, we both felt after one hour that we had made it across the finish line of Cricket 101. Not fans, couldn't hit a ball or understand the strategy, but we had eliminated the sense of ignorance. In fact, we both turned to the Cricket news in the Times at breakfast.

Lessons learned? On-line learning works when the learners are motivated, have access to multiple sources and styles of information and have a
collaborative learning partner. If either of us had this strange learning urge while alone, we probably would not have finished. If we didn't have the combination of the text and graphics of the web combined with the active stimulation of a live game, we would not have completed our task. It really was a true learning moment of the new world of knowledge access. If you ever stumble on a cricket match on one of your higher numbered cable stations look in the stands, you might find 2 people with MASIE Center sitting with the fans.

3. Get The Manager Involved! During the recent IFTDO meeting, one of the conversations that I had over and over again was about the role of the learner's manager. This is a person that has to be in the middle of our radar screens as learning professionals. The engaged manager makes all the difference in the world. Here were some of the strategies that people were using around the world to bring the manager actively into the learning process:

* Learning contracts before training! Some organizations require a manager and the worker to sign a learning contract prior to any training (classroom or on-line). This focuses both parties on the performance outcomes and makes the learning a sponsored event.
* Manager assigned practice! Rather than using invented exercises in class, one alternative is to provide the learner with a real assignment created by their manager. It changes the class from a theory oriented session to a support process for a real task. The learner gets evaluated not on their activities in class but rather on the performance on the task.
* Manager debriefing upon return! Cut the learner off at the pass, said one senior trainer from Finland. If the manager immediately debriefs the
learner as they return to the workplace, it creates an opportunity to direct the newly acquired knowledge to the job. Manager debriefing is a real
reflection of the organization's interest in the application of training.

4. Forbes Covers On-Line Learning for IT Certification. Today's Forbes Magazine On-Line includes an article on the role of on-line learning in the IT Training and Certification. We were used as one of many sources for this article that looks at the economic impact of the IT certification received via on-line or mixed media format. If interested, go to

5. 25 Free TechLearn Dollars Available Until 9/1/98. We have had a mind-boggling early registration for TechLearn '98, with over 916 people
registered prior to even mailing the brochure. We are extending our offer of 25 Free TechLearn Dollars to everyone that registers prior to September 1st. These TechLearn Dollars can be used for audio tapes, books, Behind The Scene's Tours of Disney, drinks at the TechLearn Disney Party or other materials. You don't need to pay when registering, we can send you an invoice for corporate processing. But, to receive your TechLearn Dollars please register prior to September 1st. Just go to

54 - Special Report from ITFDO Conference, Dublin, Ireland

1. Training as a Political and Development Theme. I was honored to be presenting the keynote at the IFTDO (International Federation of Trainingn and Development Organizations) Conference in Dublin, Ireland. Last night and this morning the conference was treated to speeches by the Irish President and Irish Deputy Prime Minister as well as the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Bahrain, articulating clear messages on the political and economic role that training and development will play in the world. Newly elected Irish President, Mary McAleese gave a passionate call to action for Human Resource Development professionals around the world to address the employability needs of our current and future workforce through continuous lifelong learning. President McAleese pointed out the role of partnerships between government and private industry in building support for increased investments in training and development. She joins a number of other heads of state, including leaders from the U.S., U.K. and Bahrain in targeting training as a fundamental development issue for countries in the next few years.

Prime Minister (Tanaiste) Mary Harney drove home the economic returns on training investments in her case study of the upswing in the Irish economy in recent years. Ireland has become a major player in the technology fields, including the development of on-line learning and digital training. They have made a commitment to increase the percentage of GNP dedicated to learning and training. H.E. Abdul Nabi Al Sho'ala, Minister of Labour & Social Affairs of Bahrain followed my keynote with a picture of the role of training as a future development investment in the Middle East. Training is at the center of the radar screen of governments in their region as they prepare for the next stages of development. They know that learning must be continuous, technology assisted and aimed at closing the skills gap that confront their countries.

These political perspectives are important to the training and learning industry. It is easy to get wrapped up in our deliverables for tomorrow's class or project. But, if we take a step back, we can see the larger context for the key work that we are all doing in the fields of learning and technology. Prepare for these issues to become part of the conversation of future campaigns and legislation.

(Note: We are working on plans to connect digitally at TechLearn '98 with our colleagues in Bahrain, Netherlands and Canada to continue this dialogue. On-line registration is now open at

2. On-Line Role Play Technology Launched. Check out a new on-line role playing technology available from Method Software. It adds a multi-person simulation capability to on-line learning. Their web site is

3. Learning & Technology Briefing via Microsoft Seminar On-Line. I recently recorded a 30 minute briefing on learning and technology that is now playing on the Microsoft Seminar On-Line site. This is a demonstration of their combination Presentation and Streamed Audio model. The title is Learning in Internet Time and the url for the presentation is

4. Trainer Skill: Dealing with Time Compression. Trainers need to be prepared for compression. We often find ourselves in situations where the amount of time gets suddenly smaller. Sometimes the class arrives late, the previous speaker goes long or a question from the audience distracts us from our plan. A key trainer skill is the ability to compress content. Here are a few approaches:

* Cherrypick Topics: Don't cover it all. Take a few key topics and address those and be open with the learners that you are not going to get to these other topics. Link them to resources for self-paced learning on the stuff that you didn't address.
* Modularize Inside of Modules: I always have modules within modules. Drop the story, eliminate the second example, give a shorter demo. Be prepared for the inevitable pressure on time.
* Reverse the Order: I often give speeches in reverse. Start with the conclusion. Tell them the end and then work backwards...driven by theirquestions and absolute needs. You will be surprised on engaging this can befor learners.

We got some great suggestions for reading from TechLearn Trends readers. If you have not responded to our latest survey, take a few minutes and go to Thanks!

53 - Another Entry Into the On-Line Learning Management Systems World; The Role of Search Engines in Training

1. Take Our Reading Survey and Suggestion Poll. Take 3 minutes and participate in our most recent TechLearn Trends Poll. This one is focused on Reading Patterns and Suggestions. We are polling our readers to find out how often they read books related to their work. We are also asking for reading list suggestions for work and personal topics. The results and suggested reading lists will be published in 10 days on TechLearn Trends. We will also have some reading book sessions at TechLearn '98 in November. Go ahead... Take our survey:

2. Another Entry Into the On-Line Learning Management Systems World. We are hearing about several new companies that are building and marketing learning management systems for on-line learning and training delivery. We just checked out a new player: Generation 21. Check out their site at: As you look at these systems, be sure to ask key questions about the interface of the systems with your HR databases and the portability of content in and out of the application.

3. The Role of Search Engines in Training. Search engines like Inkatomi and Yahoo are coming up in classroom discussions. Learners are using them to do a quick skim of content. A few warnings that are helpful to learners using these engines include (semi-obvious but important) warnings:

* Only on-line content is on-line. One person asked my why there was so little material about the origin of television available after getting slim
results from an on-line search. Well, there is a ton available, but it is in libraries and other non-searchable formats. * Engines are selling position. Several of the engines are now selling special positioning so that for a fee your listing pops to the top of the list and is bannered. They look neutral but many of these lists are biased by the economic model of the list sponsor. It would be great to build a mini-module on learning to use and trust search engines.

4. Behind The Scenes Tours of Disney @ TechLearn '98. Take a half-day tour of the belly of Disney. See how the parks run below the surface. Maybe even get a glimpse of a character as they get ready to go into the park. Check out the training approach that Disney uses for cast development. These are some of the topics on the tours that we will be running at TechLearn '98 in Orlando, Florida. These tours are available for a fee (approximately $85 per person) on Sunday before the Conference. Complete details will be sent to all registered attendees (now over 905 people have signed up). Just go to our web site for on-line registration:

52 - Degree of Confidence: Is the Information True & Accurate?; A Few Questions For Reviewing Learning Programs

1. Degree of Confidence: Is the Information True & Accurate? Your workforce has never had more access to more sources of information. Are they ready for the evaluation and assessment of the accuracy of the information? Probably not!

A recent survey by The MASIE Center showed that fewer than 2% of organizations are doing any form of information accuracy training. While
organizations are supplying most workers with more and more access to information, there are few, if any, programs to help them check the accuracy of information.

Some information is poor because it is old and outdated. Web pages get posted with a push of a button but often linger for days, weeks or years after their relevance has ended. Some information is just wrong, intentionally or not. And, many sources of information are not easily
discovered. I recently found a study on learning effectiveness on the net, yet the sponsor of the study, the manufacturer of a specific training
technology, was totally not identified.

My colleagues in the military often use the term: "Degree of Confidence". Imagine if your colleagues had a mental calculation of their degree of
confidence in the information (accuracy, relevance, currency and source). I would trust a link to a web site a lot more if you told me that you had a Degree of Confidence of 98% in the information. On the other hand, I still might want to get linked to a site that had a rating of 12%, but I would handle and process the information quite differently.

It would be great if we could add the "Degree of Confidence" model to search engines, corporate intranet information posting and even courseware for training courses. We need to train our learners to be active and AWARE users of information. A comment by a colleague in the intelligence community still rings in my ears: "Our greatest fear in the cyber-terrorism is not database penetration, it is intentional disinformation. People are too trusting of the information they see on graphically pleasing web pages.
We need to build a healthy dose of information user smarts in the population."

2. Another Media Selection Tool On-Line. We are starting to get a regular flow of tools to help organizations select the appropriate media format for a specific type of learning program. Here is the most recent entry, thanks to a Eric Snyder, a colleague in Canada. This url uses an interesting Java applet. This tool was developed by Brett Bixler. Check out their concepts and value ratings behind their media selection advice:

3. A Few Questions For Reviewing Learning Programs. While there is a lot of buzz about the development of rapid authoring models, we will still be buying a large percentage of our training programs. As trainers we will faced with evaluating new learning programs on specific topics. Here are a few questions that we use at The MASIE Center to evaluate the constant stream of programs that we receive in our Lab:

a) What actions or activities will this program elicit from a learner? This question focuses on the action side of learning. We want to look at how active the learner will be. Are they just watching or reading? If a learner used this program, what would their activities be. Focus more on
the actions of the learner rather than the action on the computer screen.

b) How rapidly does this program get to the main action? This gets at the old, "Where's the beef?" question. We see a large percentage of learners jumping ship if the program doesn't engage them in the first few seconds. How rapidly is the learner learning, rather than being prepped for learning?

c) Does the program drive forward? Is there a forward motion to the program. Does the learner feel propelled forward and bonded to the learning activity? With learners often being ONE MOUSE CLICK AWAY FROM LEAVING, how does the program keep them engaged and forward moving.

d) Do the knowledge resources linger? When the program is over, is the information still available to the learner as a performance support tool. Does the learner need to take notes? Does the learner get job tools and artifacts from the learning experience?

e) Why would the learner trust the information? Is the information source credible? When an instructor tells you to use a specific process for
delegation, you have a sense of context and credibility. Does the on-line learning program offer a similar path for trusting and valuing the advice.

f) Relevancy to our organizational setting? Is the look and feel of the organizational settings discussed in the program appropriate to our

g) What are the technical support requirements of a new user? How intuitive or familiar are the interfaces and user navigational commands? If the learner needs help in using the learning program, who do they call? We call this Total Cost of Ownership of Learning Technology. This can be a real hidden cost

h) What is the degree of learner and coaching control? Can a manager "assign" this program and point a learner to a specific section? Does a learner feel in control of the navigational commands?

i) How will it work in an interrupt driven setting? If the phone rings, what happens? Can I use it without the headsets or speakers? Can I return
to where I was? Can I take it on the road without a network connection.

Add to this list. Send me a few additional review questions to and we will add your questions to a future Trends.

4. Reinventing Training @ TechLearn '98. Almost every training manager or supervisor that I meet talks about their need to reinvent the training function. Some are moving towards performance consulting. Others are moving towards learning technology. Others are considering outsourcing. And others are shifting the focus to the business units. We had added a highly interactive SIMULATION called Reinventing Training @ TechLearn '98. This program will take you and your colleagues through a set of activities to look at how one would reinvent the training function in several different organizations. It will use the TechLearn Benchmarking Data to make this simulation a great activity for you to plan and outline the next several years in the history of your training function. We will distribute the findings from the Reinventing Training @ TechLearn '98 to all conference attendees. To register for TechLearn '98, to be held at Walt Disney World in Orlando in November, just go to

5) On a personal note. We are heading to Ireland in a few days for the IFTDO (International Federation of Training and Development Organizations) Conference. I am presenting the keynote at this gathering of international training and development professionals. We will be in Dublin for the week and would love to get together with any readers that are attending the conference. Send me an email and we will find a place to get together (do I hear the word PUB?). Just drop me a line at We will send an update from the Conference next week.

51 - Microsoft Launches New Streaming & Content Delivery Technologies; Talk About the PAIN or GAIN Rather Than Learning Process; Growth of On-Line Registrations for Training & Conferences

1. Microsoft Launches New Streaming & Content Delivery Technologies. This week, Microsoft launched a new set of technologies and solutions aimed at the delivery of content via streaming over the intranet or internet. The Microsoft New Windows Media Technologies include a new Media Player and 2 Media Streaming Servers. These technologies, when used with a wide variety of authoring tools and content development tools being launched by other vendors, expand the abilities of an organization to deliver learning and training events in an on-line fashion.

The player is available as a free download and the NetShow Server is also available as a free add-in to NT. The higher end server product has a per user license fee. There is a robust integration with tools like Macromedia Flash, to allow for higher degrees of interactivity and linking.

Check out the demo of this technology at .

2. Talk About the PAIN or GAIN Rather Than Learning Process. The training industry doesn't always talk about its product in a compelling way. When you ask learners why they would want to take a piece of training, they will usually talk about 2 reasons:

PAIN: They want to get skills, information or processes that will LOWER THE PAIN they are experiencing. This pain could be the inability to do a function on their computer program, the difficulty they are having with the team members, the poor performance review they fear they may get or the recent quality control rejection of a product. When we address and affiliate with PAIN REDUCTION, we are closer to the nerve of learners.

GAIN: They wan to get skills, information or processes that will INCREASE THE GAIN. This gain could be a higher sales commission or salary, a greater satisfaction with customer interaction, a career opportunity, or a better performance review. When we address and affiliate with GAIN, we are closer to the nerve of learners.

Yet, so much of our training dialogue is about courses, events, and curriculum. When we talk about "putting our courses on-line" this doesn't always get a great response from the workforce. However, if we talk about giving them access to PAIN REDUCTION at their desktops (eg. Immediate Problem Solutions on Your Laptop) or GAIN at their workstations (eg. Examples of Successful Selling Pitches On-Line), we get a different reaction. Remember, stay focused on PAIN or GAIN.

3. Growth of On-Line Registrations for Training & Conferences. We have seen an enormous movement towards the use of on-line registrations for learning events. This phase of e-commerce, focused on doing our core transactions for registration for learning events has been soaring in the past few months. Learners as customers are getting comfortable with the idea of conducting their registration transactions on-line. New tools for on-line registrations are hitting the market and organizations are adding it to their internal and external sites. We have been amazed at The MASIE Center with the rate of shift in this area. Every day we get about 10 to 12 registrations for TechLearn over the internet. The key to a good on-line registration process includes:

* Provide as much information as possible for the learner. Expand the content way beyond what they might get in those all too often mailed brochures. Consider adding audio or video segments, handouts from the events and deeper lists of previous attendees and benefits.

* Provide people with multiple options about payment, if this is applicable. Some folks do not want to give credit card information over the phone. We offer an option to register and then we call for your credit card numbers. Include the widest set of billing and bill-back options.
* Confirm with multiple methods. We now use an email response, a fax confirmation and a follow-up physical packet.
* Experiment and get user feedback. We just added the email response based on comments from a few colleagues who wanted to get the information in a printable format.
* Target multiple decision makers. Use the flexible nature of the web site to offer more than just marketing information. Be generous with content and also address the different levels of decision making, including the information needs of the approving managers.

Even though we haven't sent out a brochure, we already have 872 registrations for our TechLearn '98 November Conference ( . About 63% of our registrations are now coming via on-line format and the percentage grows every week. Why, we might even save some trees and cut back on the normal deluge of conference brochure mailing. Wouldn't that be nice?

4. Help! Input for New Free Resources on Vidcon Learning. In a few weeks, we will be launching a new web site and free on-line newsletter called VICON LEARNING. This site and newsletter will focus on the technologies of conducting video conferencing for learning. We have an intern from Cornell, Laura Tocco, who is reseaching and developing this site. She would love to get any ideas for content and Frequently Asked Questions that you would like to see on this site. If you could send her a quick note with your ideas and feedback for resources that would better help you understand and implement video-conferencing for learning, email it to Thanks for your help. We will make an announcement of the url in about 15 days.

50 - Always On Learning Signal via Cable Modems; Skills for On-Line Trainers: Linking; Tips for No-Show Students

1. Always On Learning Signal via Cable Modems. Over the past several months, we have had a cable modem at the Masie household. This wasn't an easy sell at first, as our office is loaded with bandwidth, in all shapes and forms. But, in the name of "research" and my fascination with gadgets, we sprung for the $49 a month cable modem hookup. At speeds between 400 kps and 2 mps, this thing really zings (most of the time). But, what has been most interesting is the impact of having an "Always On" internet connection in the house.

Last week, my wife and I came back from a jazz festival where we heard a musician and could not agree on how old he was. Several minutes after coming in the door of our house, we were looking at his bio (he was ten years older than either one of us guessed), listened to clips from other albums, and were considering ordering the CD. Every day we find ourselves wandering over for that well talked about "just-in-time-learning-session". It is incredible how the "Always On" connection changes your use. We find ourselves learning on demand every day. As cable modems become more available and cheaper, and as ADSL matures as a high bandwidth delivery system, we will start to view the IP signal of the internet as an "Always On" learning utility in our homes. Imagine its impact on every aspect of home learning, from workbased, to home schooling, to homework support, to e-commerce and hobby related learning. Hmmmm.

2. Show & Tell Displays and Problem/Solution Sessions. We are very excited to announce a unique way for you to become involved in learning with your fellow training and technology colleagues. At TechLearn '98 (Orlando in November), we will introduce the "Show & Tell Displays" and bring back our popular, "Problem/Solution Sessions". These are neat ways to share an approach to learning, training, knowledge management or technology. The Show & Tell Displays will provide participants with almost 100 approaches to solving organizational challenges. The Problem/Solution Sessions will provide 50 brainstorming and problem sharing opportunities. We invite the readers of TechLearn Trends to volunteer for these activities. You will not only share your experiences with the folks at TechLearn, but we will also post these ideas and approaches on our web site for the industry to share. Just go to: and get the details.

3. Skills for On-Line Trainers: Linking. How do trainers increase the sense of resources that they share with the learners? How do they use linking, to everything from web sites to key resources, as a core of their approach to training. That is one of the most critical questions dealt with in our popular Skills for On-Line Trainers Seminar. Here are some tips from the class:

* Develop a group of web pages, located on the intranet, aimed at different types of learners. For example, I may get some folks that want examples from other companies, not just ours. I would have a few pages, already posted, that could be the basis of a link for each of these learners. Over time, trainers will have dozens of links that can be strategically deployed.
* Develop an on-going intranet for each class, live or on-line. We use this in our seminars. One of my staff builds real-time pages, based on questions and answers from the group.
* Create Knowledge Maps of key people in the organization. Draw routes to colleagues that have resources and are willing to share them with learners.

(Skills for On-Line Trainers will be offered next in Washington, DC in August - )

4. Tips for No-Show Students. We often focus on "punishing" the no-show student. In fact, it is rarely their fault. We found that 74% of no-shows were triggered by the manager or supervisor of the learner. I believe that we need to focus on how do we reach the no-show with alternative learning strategies. When someone cancels from a class, let's send them a wide range of resources that might be more available. They may have a smaller question than the agenda of the class or they may be on a mission critical task that keeps them from the classroom. Rather than looking at how do we levy no-show fines, let's concentrate on how we can provide them, and their manager, with alternative learning strategies. Whenever I have done this, I always end up seeing the learner in the future at another event.

49 - Special Report from Washington, DC - Federal Learning Initiative Briefing

1. LearnBots: Searching for Learning - In a recent focus group with corporate learners, the concept of a LearnBot was raised. The group brainstormed their needs in the learning arena and quickly "invented" the idea of a wizard that would automate a number of the dimensions of their quest for knowledge. Here is what they wanted:

* A friendly icon on their desktop, with intelligence and access to a deep set of data on their needs as learners, which would go out and get them the learning they needed. We dubbed this learning agent a LearnBot.
* LearnBot would look for learning in a variety of places. It would search formal on-line courses, go to intranet and external sites and be deeply linked into the knowledge management process of the organization.
* LearnBot would also add a learning perspective to traditional search engines, revealing which sites found during a search were offering content maximized or ideal for learning.
* LearnBot would take care of the registration and reminding process, so a worker could maintain involvement in a wide range of courses and on-line universities.
* LearnBot would learn from the reactions and critiques of other learners, within the organization and externally. It would find out if other folks found a specific piece of learning helpful.
* LearnBot would have a note taking capability, to allow small segments of learning to be gleamed for on-going access and linger value.

LearnBot does not exist today, but this group of learners really wanted it. Why? They felt that on-line learning would not be a series of structured courses, but rather a level of access to knowledge on demand. They wanted to be able to frame their searches for knowledge based on their desires for learning (eg: Find me a small video briefing on economic development in Ireland for a non-economics major!). And, they wanted to spend the majority of their time learning vs. administrative and accessing tasks. Are you listening developers? These were well-funded organizations ready to buy. Build us some LearnBots!

2. The Hidden Exit Costs of Learning Technology Choices. With the daily announcements of new products from the learning technology industry, there is a growing concern about the hidden costs of exit. Organizations considering major investments in authoring systems, delivery systems, on-line universities, media servers, video conferencing technology or other learning technologies need to plan for the almost inevitable need to switch platforms or systems. Some of this is natural and will be made painless by vendor supplied upgrades. The growing work on technology standards in our field will help in other instances. But, as sure as the stock market rises and falls, there will be continued flurry of mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, strategic shifts and plain failures that will force organizations to bear the cost of leaving a technology.

One interesting exercise to consider is to calculate the Cost of Exit (COE). What will it cost the organization, if the supplier of this technology ceases to exist or if the technology platform is made obsolete? How much effort and resources would it take to re-purpose the content or shift to a new hardware platform? While precise numbers are almost impossible to calculate, it is value to do the exercise. Ask your vendor what their strategy is to lower your exposure on COE. Push for compliance with standards, as a hedge against high COE costs. We don't mean to raise COE as a reason to delay a product selection, but add it to your awareness as your plan your learning technology choices.

3. Federal Learning Initiatives Push Forward. The Department of Defense, Department of Labor and the White House sponsored a gathering of government and industry leaders recently in DC. I was honored to be asked to facilitate this meeting, keynoted by Dr. Henry Kelly from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. There were over 50 agencies represented and most of the major learning technology players. The issues of standards, emerging models of learning and collaborative strategies were the core of the meeting. It was exciting to see the levels of cooperation that are occurring between agencies as they face the same challenges as corporations in preparing for new learning delivery systems. Follow the work of these groups at

4. TechLearn '98 On-Line Seminar to Start in 3 Weeks. The more than 820 registrations in our TechLearn '98 Conference to be held this November, will start an on-line component via the internet in just three weeks. TechLearn is much more than a conference. The four days in Orlando are the core of the experience, but there will be a pre- and post- conference on-line seminar provided for all registrants in the program. The first course will focus on the Decisions for Learning! This will be delivered and facilitated over the internet and will start in the middle of July. If you have not already registered for TechLearn '98, go to and sign up today. Details for the on-line seminar will be sent to registrants on July 15th.

5. Skills for On-Line Trainers: Diagnosis of Confusion. How do you read the eyes of your learners when you can't see their faces? That is one of the most critical questions dealt with in our popular Skills for On-Line Trainers Seminar. Here are some tips from the class:

* Use value continuums to help learners define and declare their confusion levels. Ask learners to rank their levels of confusion from 1 to 5, rather than asking if they are confused in a binary, yes or no.
* Ask for understanding first before confusion. When chatting with a learner, ask them which elements of the concept they understand, then follow with their arenas of confusion.
* Leverage peer learning groups. A peer developed "Mind Map" can be used to help small groups of learners chart their knowledge comfort, changing those topics that are still fuzzy to another color.

48 - Special Report from The Hague, Netherlands - Technology & Learning '98

1. Harvard Manage Mentor: On-Line Management Resource A number of large corporations are looking towards Harvard Business School Publishing to jump start their provision of on-line resources in the management skills arena. Harvard Manage Mentor is an on-line resource, delivered over corporate intranets that include management tips, tools and checklists, including relevant articles from Harvard Business Review. Their business model is to lease access to this collection, focusing on topics like coaching, hiring, time management and setting goals, to the organization on a site license basis for a minimal fee for user. There is also a capacity to add corporate resources. You can check out an on-line demo of this service at

2. School of the Future Visited. While in Netherlands this week, we had the opportunity to visit the site of a new institution in Hertogenbosch. The Dutch government has commissioned the creation of a School of the Future, to create prototypes for how the next generation will learn and study. Focusing on the age range of late teens and early twenties, the School of The Future will feature the latest in learning technologies and collaborative processes to extend the power of education. They are in the final stages of construction on a building site that would make all of us training professionals jealous. It will contain a blend of learning lab setups, technology hosting facilities for distributed events and models for coaching and simulation.

The director of the School of the Future, Ian Ginn, detailed their desire to be a spoke in a worldwide hub of research and development for learning and technology. We made an on-the-spot arrangement to bring Ian and the School to the TechLearn '98 Conference in November via video. We'll tour their new facility which will have just opened in November and look at the state of learning technology in Europe. You can check out their emerging web site at and see a picture of the building as it nears completion.

3. IT Training Industry Booming in Europe. I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Technology and Learning '98 Event in the Hague. The learning marketplace is booming. The same key issues face learning organizations worldwide: doing more with less; extending the reach of classrooms and figuring the PLUS and MINUS of on-line learning. On the second day of the Conference, there was a special symposium for IT Training Companies in the Netherlands. Over 100 entrepreneurs attended a frank dialogue about the future of computer training. The skills gap is live and well in their country and their organization, VOI, is focused on coordinating the country's training marketplace to address the future issues. Thanks to SPC Training for hosting me in their country and helping to bring together these marketplace meetings.

4. WTMT: "Worthless to Me Tomorrow" Added to Expanded List: In our last TechLearn Trends, JITNOT (Just in the Nick of Time) made its debut. Dawn Adams from Asymetrix has written in with three additional phrases that would suggest the crazy times we all work in: CUIY: Could've Used It Yesterday; ADMI: Almost Didn't Make It; WTMT: Worthless To Me Tomorrow

5. Sybase Launches Next Generation Learning System: Sybase has launched a new learning architecture and delivery model for training. I had a chance to preview it in Holland and was impressed with the structure and ease of use that is embedded into this new technology. Rapid development is also a core element in their model. The model assumes a pre and post-class on-line component and a technology facilitated in-class component. Check out a demo at Sybase's web site and follow the path to Next Generation Learning at

6. Host a Regional Meeting for TechLearn LIVE! Broadcast in September! The second TechLearn LIVE Satellite Broadcast will be hosted at more than 300 sites around the world on September 10th. Consider hosting a 3 hour meeting at your site. If you have access to a satellite disk (KU, C Band or Digital) or a video conferencing setup, you can be the local site for a gathering of training, learning and technology colleagues. Last April 1st, over 17,000 folks attended one of these sessions. We anticipate over 25,000 participants this Fall. @e are asking local contacts to host an additional one hour roundtable on learning and technology issues and concerns. Organizations may also sign up to receive this on an in-house basis as well. There are NO costs or fees charged. To sign up, just go to We will post a list of sites in the middle
of July.

47 - JITNOT: Just In The Nick of Time Training!; Print a Personalized Newsletter from the Intranet/Internet; The Training Room of the Future!; Rotating Notetakers in Classrooms

1. JITNOT: Just In The Nick of Time Training! You have probably heard the phrase, JIT, which stands for Just in Time. Yesterday, while presenting at the Lockheed Martin Training Conference, I heard a great new twist on this phrase. Candice Phelan, Manager of Corporate Training and Development at Lockheed Martin has coined the phrase: JITNOT - Just in the NICK OF TIME. It describes the rapid development pressure that training departments are under in meeting the needs of business units. I smiled at this one!

2. Print a Personalized Newsletter from the Intranet/Internet. We are still a long, long way from the paperless office. In fact, targeted printing is a great way to extend on-line knowledge transfer. HP has released a new utility that can be used to create daily or weekly personalized print newsletters for each learner. HP Web PrintSmart takes selective HTML content and creates readable formats. We think a utility like this can be easily used in the learning community. Check it out at

3. The Training Room of the Future! We were recently hosted at Steelcase, a major designer of office furniture systems. Their training room would be the envy of every training manager, with awesome flexibility in the seating, A/V and ambiance. Our assignment was to help brainstorm what the training room of the future will require to leverage changes in learning technology and training models. They are building a new training center and are interested in hearing from other corporations that are building "out of the box" training facilities. If you have built an interesting training center and would be willing to share your experiences, send me an email at This is a great topic for a dialogue, so we are adding a brainstorming session at TechLearn '98, where all participants will get a chance to design the learning facilities of the future.

4. Rotating Notetakers in Classrooms. Here is a simple idea to create learning reference content for members of your next class. Make the taking of notes a collaborative, rotating process. Each learner is given a one hour period to take very detailed notes, for the rest of the class. This can be done in long-hand or with a rotating laptop. The content can be edited by the trainer and the results can be printed out, posted as a website or sent as an email. The detail and perspectives that come from an intense hour of note taking in a longer class will create a wonderful set of resources for the learners.

5. AOL Buys ICQ, Collaborative Market Gets Hot! AOl purchased the product line of ICQ, from Mirabilis. They paid hundreds of millions of dollars for this new product which has 0 profits to date. Why? ICQ is used to create instant chat and web presence sensing between remote users. Millions of users have already downloaded this utility. Watch for the marketplace of collaborative technology to soar in the next 24 months. Info about ICQ is at

6. Four Groups to Co-Host TechLearn '98: We are proud to announce that four groups will be co-hosting TechLearn '98. Each of these groups will have a co-sited conference at the event in Orlando in November. ISA (Instructional Systems Association), CEdMA (The Computer Education Management Association), On-Line Learning Council and The TechLearn Collaborative (50 Organizations Collaborating Together). In addition, a wide range of companies are scheduling trainers conferences at TechLearn '98. To register for TechLearn '98, just go to

46 - Special Report from ITTC Conference, Newport, RI

1. Turning Conference Rooms Into Technology Learning Centers. There are only a few classrooms in any company, but there are hundreds of conference rooms. Imagine a technology that would affordably turn these rooms into hubs for on-line and distance learning and collaboration. I recently visited Intel headquarters in Oregon with our chief technologist, Matt, to get a briefing on their new product line aimed at conference rooms. The latest Intel Team Station System for conference rooms has a range of interesting features, including the ability to use 3 different transports (ISDN, Dedicated Lines and IP), function with a blend of internet/intranet collaboration as well as videoconferencing and also be used as a presentation tool for single room events.

The ability of organizations and training vendors to use this genre of technology to provide scheduled and impromptu distributed learning sessions is exciting. The price point of this system, which allows speeds of 384 kps and high bandwidth IP video, is in the $9,000 to $14,000 range. We were impressed with the ability of meeting participants to "send" presentation documents to the conference room and to use the IP connectivity for pre-meeting and runtime meetings, reserving the higher speed video for prestige events. Check our their site at

2. Next Wave of Computer and IT Training Topics. I just delivered the opening presentation at the ITTC Conference in Rhode Island. This is the 21st year of this user run conference for the computer and IT trainers in the Northeast. It is intriguing to notice several changes, including the shift of a large, majority segment of instructor led training to outsourced business partners. Many colleagues that used to work for banks, insurance companies and other organizations in the New England area are now doing similar jobs for private training centers and other learning service providers. Here were the topics that I focused on as the next wave of computer training we will see in the next 12 months:

* Document Management with Intranet Connectivity. The upcoming release of next versions of office suites from Microsoft and Lotus both focus on user capability for the creation, publishing and management of information on corporate intranets. For example, Office 9, Microsoft's upcoming release, gives users enormous web document publishing and sharing capabilities. Training will be needed in both procedures and processes for leveraging this exciting capability.

* E-Commerce Demands Training. Every business unit will be in the e-commerce business. Not just the retail version of on-line selling. Think of the wide range of business unit transactions that can be moved to browser based access. This will require a wide scale skill building effort to create, manage and quality control internal e-commerce.

* Departmental Enterprise Databases and Development: There will be a great demand for business units to have access to IT skills to manage the departmental side of enterprise wide databases. This will drive the demand for more application developers with core business skills.

These topics will be the focus of the *** Computer Training @ TechLearn '98 *** focus are at our November Conference. IT and computer trainers will be able to refocus for the next waves of training opportunity and demand.

3. Accounting and Consulting Giants Get Serious About Training Business. What we used to refer to as the Big Six is focusing deeply on the training business. For example, yesterday Deloitte Touche announced that Dave Ehlen, the former CEO of Wilson Learning Worldwide would head their Training Services Group Integrated Cost Reduction Strategies. Pricewaterhouse Coopers has unveiled its on-line training and knowledge management tool, along with a services focus to help clients implement enterprise wide learning. More major announcements are planned for the next several months from every major consulting and accounting group.

4. TechLearn Focus Topics Announced The detailed curriculum development for TechLearn '98 kicked into high gear this week with the announcement of a wide range of Focus Topics. Each of these Focus Topics will be led by a corporate or governmental learning manager and will feature discussions, panels, simulations and problem/solution sessions. Here are a sample of Focus Topics:

* Skills Gap @ TechLearn '98: Focused on meeting the rapidly growing gap between available and required skills in the workplace.
* Government @ TechLearn '98: Focused on the learning needs of Federal, state and local government, military and intelligence community training managers and developers.
* On-Line Learning @ TechLearn '98: Focused on the difficult decisions of when, how, and when not to use on-line learning as part of a corporate training methodology.
* Knowledge Management @ TechLearn '98: Focused on the intersection of Knowledge Management and Training in the organization.
* ROI/Assessment @ TechLearn '98: Focused on a series of simulations and discussions of effective and proven assessment and ROI strategies.
* International Training @ TechLearn '98: We are pleased to announce that Khaled Al-Zamel from Saudi Arabia will lead a global dialogue on how training differs as we move around the globe.
* Learning Careers @ TechLearn '98: Focused on the development of a career plan for learning and training professionals as we move into the digital age.
* Training Marketplace @ TechLearn '98: Focused on the changing world of buying and selling learning and training products and services. Special price and budgeting simulations and studies.
* Benchmarking @ TechLearn '98: A detailed process to compare your organization's implementation of varied learning approaches as compared with over a thousand other companies and agencies.
* Failures and Disasters @ TechLearn '98: Yes, we are going to go public with a variety of failed projects and corporate efforts. Learning professionals must learn from our common mistakes!
* Orientation Prototype @ TechLearn '98: We will be designing over 100 new models of how to conduct employee orientations using emerging technologies.
* Classrooms and Technology @ TechLearn 98: The classroom is here to stay! How can technology supercharge and extend the classroom learning and training experience.
* Philosophy & Methodology @ TechLearn '98: Organizations and learning professionals are developing and adapting philosophies and methodologies to leverage technology in the organization. Here is a chance to reflect and expand your approaches.

To reserve your space at TechLearn '98 and to be eligible for the free
on-line class for all participants that starts on July 15th, go to


45 - The Quiet Bandwidth Revolution & Learning; Training Warning: Highlight Hotel Charges for Connectivity; Let's "SIM" It

1. The Quiet Bandwidth Revolution & Learning. Bandwidth is becoming less of an issue! Over the past year, the issue of bandwidth has quietly become less of a hurdle for the delivery of on-line learning. At work, bandwidth is steadily increasing. Organizations are stepping up to the bandwidth challenge by adding more access to the Internet, using proxy servers and smartly managing intranet based content collections. Mobile and home based workers are also experiencing greater bandwidth through the rise of services like Sprint's new Integrated On-Demand Network and cable modem technology. Even 56K service over dial up connections is more available with cleaner lines and fewer busy signals.

Combine this with ever increasing competencies in the compression arena and new formats for predictive or planned downloads, and the issue of bandwidth isn't as much of a hurdle as it was a year ago. We still don't have full motion video quality available and there are some dark spots on the bandwidth map, but let's appreciate how far and fast we are moving in this area.

2. Training Warning: Highlight Hotel Charges for Connectivity. Training departments need to warm their travelling employees about the risks of being "scammed" by hotels charging outrageous rates for local calls by laptop users logging in to corporate networks or the internet. While in San Francisco, I recently stayed at the Holiday Inn on California Street. I dialed up a local access number for 96 minutes of network access. Upon checkout, there was a $111 charge on my bill. The hotel charges for local access, which costs them 9/10 of a cent per minute, more than $1.00 a minute. There is a small type warning on a card in the room about local charges being billed at current rates plus a surcharge, but this is outrageous! Training departments should add this as an item for their orientation for mobile workers. From now on, all MASIE Center employees will ask for the specific charges for the local access number when checking in. And, we won't be staying at that hotel for a long time. Buyers beware!

3. Let's "SIM" It .. Predictive Simulation for Learning. Soon, we will add the phrase "let me SIM it" to our jargon. Imagine having the ability to simulate a decision, task or approach PRIOR to implementation. For example, a manager is about to have a difficult conversation with an employee. What if they could "SIM" it, either by calling a SIM desk at the HR department or running a simulation program on their desktop. Imagine a worker having access to hundreds of simulations that would allow them to see the varied predictive consequences of different actions. Spreadsheets, with pivot tables, to allow for easy mixtures of numerical "what if's" would be one form of a "SIM". Procedural or behavioral simulations would allow employees to practice an action prior to taking a risk. Pilots could take a couple of quick "SIM" sessions for landing at an unfamiliar airport on a cockpit computer, to build their knowledge and confidence base. Simulations can also provide a wonderful portal for learning. We are predicting that the predicative simulation market will be a major arena for development in the next 24 to 36 months.

4. ASTD Report: Asking Key Technology & Learning Questions. The ASTD Conference in San Francisco has just finished. Over 7,000 training professionals from around the world gathered for an intense week of seminars, workshops, expo walking and coffee pot dialogue. Here are some observations gleamed from conversations with colleagues:

* They are almost overwhelmed by the number of new technology offerings being targeted at the training community. More than 80% of the booths in the expo were offering technology solutions or products. A key question on the minds of managers I spoke with was: How do we make a LEARNING decision about using technology.
* The international marketplace for learning and training is HOT! Thousands of the participants were from overseas. Training is alive and well in the international community and core learning programs and technologies are being invented for export from places like Israel, India and Ireland.
* Computer training is being integrated into mainstream training. A good number of the computer trainers that we have known for years are now housed within their core corporate training departments. As a large majority of the teaching of computer courses is outsourced, the coordination of IT training is being driven into mainstream organizations.
* "How do we blend approaches?" While there is a great interest in the use of on-line learning and other learning technology, a big question on the minds of attendees was how to blend diverse methods into a unified learning offering. The conversation was not about authoring processes as much as it was about creating new models including both classroom and technology mediated learning.
* Evaluation and ROI were hot topics. Training departments are being asked to develop clear metrics for the evaluation of the impact of learning investments. Knowledge Management projects are increasing the pressure for these numbers. It was one of the hottest, best attended set of sessions at the event.

5. TechLearn '98 To Being Early with On-Line Learning Class. In a desire to "walk the talk" of multi-method learning, TechLearn '98, our annual conference, will begin several months earlier, in the form of an on-line class. "Key Decisions for the Future of Learning" is an on-line, interactive learning experience, that will be taught by Elliott Masie, starting the week of July 13th. It will contain dozens of hours of content, including benchmarking surveys and multi-media streamed seminars. The course is free to registered participants in TechLearn '98, which will be held in November in Orlando. A second class on "New Roles for Training Professionals" will also be provided to TechLearn registrants, starting in October. For information and registration: (Note: attendance is limited, over 700 participants are already signed up.)

SURVEY ON GENDER VOICE PREFERENCE: We have had over 1,400 responses to our latest survey. The results will be posted in the next few days. If you have not added your views to this survey, please go to: