Subscribe: Learning TRENDS


23 - Skills for On-Line Trainers: Expanding the View; Learning Update from The White House and Pentagon

1. Skills for On-Line Trainers: Expanding the View ---- Training people in a classroom and training them on-line are two similar, yet distinctly different skill sets. Over the past eight months, The MASIE Center has been developing an analysis of the evolving roles of On-Line Trainers. Here is an executive summary of the skills:

a) Engagement Strategies - engaging the learner in the content and process of the on-line class.
b) Content Delivery - skills for preparing and delivering learning content to the class, focusing on questions of When? What? What Style? How Much? and How?
c) Remediation Skills - when they are confused, how does the training know and respond.
d) Collaboration Strategies - building collaborative relationships amongst the learners and facilitators, including the difference between mediated and unmediated collaboration.
e) Linking - expanding the learning content collection through linkage to private and public collections of additional material.
f) Facilitation - "facil" means easy.. how to make the learning process easier or smoother for the learner. Strategies for intervention
g) Reflection - how to get the learner to internalize and "work" the content as part of their reflection process.
h) Accountability - strategies for providing accountability for the learner for workplace learning via on-line methods.
g) Assessment - building assessment processes into learning without demotivating the learner.
i) Contracting for Learning - articulating the roles and expectations of the on-line learning process.
j) Virtualization Decisions - what aspects of physical classrooms can and cannot be virtualized: doughnuts? supportive conversations? sidebar consulting?
k) Live vs. On-Demand - when should on-line learning be conducted in a live (synchronous) vs. on-demand (asynchronous) fashion.
l) High End vs. Fast Food Training - using ranges of content, from fully authored simulations to just-in-time content.
m) Appropriate and Inappropriate Content for On-Line: which topics are ideal and which topics are totally inappropriate for on-line delivery.
n) Typing vs. Talking - the differences of typing and talking, implications for "cognitive rehearsal" in each style.
o) Personality Issues - dealing with assumed roles and on-line "acting out"
p) Technical Support - strategies for low-overhead technical support, to avoid turning on-line trainers into technical help desks!
q) Trainer Development - processes to build and expand on-line trainer skills, including strategies for using non-classroom trainers in on-line teaching roles. Plus, staying current in a rapidly changing time.
r) Scalability - how large and how far reaching can on-line classes be, without sacrificing quality or overwhelming "digital" trainers.

In the next 2 weeks, The MASIE Center will announce a new 2 day course that I will be teaching entitled: Skills for On-Line Trainers. Sessions will be offered in cities across the United States and overseas, as well as offered on an in-house or licensed basis. If you would like an early announcement of this, please send a note to

2. Learning Update from The White House and Pentagon: Last week, we met with technology and learning leaders at both The White House and Pentagon. The President's memo on Technology & Learning has created great support within both Federal Agencies and Corporate Training Departments. The Pentagon's ADL efforts are most impressive and wide reaching. Check out their web site at: Their commitment to build collaborative efforts for the learning and technology fields will push our field forward in the months ahead. More to follow!

3. Coming Up! TechLearn Trends is going to provide Corporate Tours for its readers. We'll do a behind-the-scenes look at the training and learning operations of major organizations. The first one will be coming in our next edition, a look at IBM's Education & Training operation.

Correction: We made a mistake in our Early Glance! of DataBeam's new product in a recent TechLearn Trends report. It is called EventTools and can be found at

Tip: Readers can go directly to our Learning in the Digital Age video on-line by going to the Eloquent Page: Check out the Gallery for the 36 minute segment.

22 - Develop Once - Use Many: Approach and Request

(Dear Readers: We are packing up to head for a stop in Washington, IBM in Atlanta and then the Training '98 Conference. If you are in Atlanta at that show, please stop by our booth after my keynote on Sunday Night. Watch for several major announcements during the week of new products and services. We will summarize them in a TechLearn Trends. Warm regards, Elliott Masie)

1. Learning in the Digital Age: We decided to "walk-the-talk" and provide an on-line video presentation of "Learning in the Digital Age", our new book to be published this fall by Jossey Bass. Watch a unique presentation model, using the Eloquent technology, of the video, rolling transcript and slides from this speech. Just go to to see the presentation. This is a 36 minute, text searchable audio-video presentation.

2. Early Glance: Meeting Tools from a Service Provider: We take a look at DataBeam's new Meeting Tools products. These allow you to host an on-line event (from a class to a meeting) using a service provider, without making a large technology investment. Go to for screen shots and details.

3. Develop Once - Use Many: Approach and Request: One of the major trends that is underway is a movement towards joint and rapid development of learning material that can be deployed in both a classroom and technology delivered format. We are advocating a Develop Once and Use Many Model. This means that the Instructional Design process proceeds without reference to the delivery system. Then, the content is "coded" or "authored" in a fashion that can be used and deployed easily for both classroom, intranet and CD ROM content. We are looking for a few places that are currently using such a program as an example site for one of our readers. If you are doing this process of development, would you please send me an email at

4. People on the Move! John Farrell, General Manager of IBM Education and Training has announced the appointment of Tom Ruttkamp to Chief Executive Officer of Catapult, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM Corporation. Ruttkamp will also have global responsibility for the end-user training segment. Tom is one of the most experienced folks in the IT Training field and brings a strong IBM perspective to his new role at Catapult.

Carolyn Rose, has been appointed CEO of a new training and certification venture, USWeb Learning. Carolyn was the leader of Novell Education and a pioneer in the areas of training and certification. USWeb Learning will emphasize a vendor-neutral curriculum that focuses on professional Internet skills and knowledge

5. Wall Street Focuses on On-Line Learning! We are getting about 2 calls a day from Wall Street companies and publications focusing on the Learning Marketplace as a hot area for investment and expansion. The public success of several IPO's in this area (CBT Systems and Learning Tree) as well as the investments by Knowledge Universe in PPI have put the spotlight on the training marketplace, with special emphasis on the On-Line Learning segment. We will have the Wall Street perspective included in our upcoming Busine$$ of On-Line Learning Conference to be held in Seattle on March 30 and 31st. (See for details.)

6. The Softer Side of IT Training: My current column in Computer Reseller News points towards the opportunity to blend Business, "Softer" and IT Skills. Locate it on the CRN Site:

21 - Books on Tape Growing Rapidly as Learning Tool; Coping with No-Shows in Training Events

1. Books on Tape Growing Rapidly as Learning Tool: ABC News has reported a 20% growth in the books on tape marketplace. Commuters, travelers and others are gobbling up taped editions of books in all categories, from fiction to business topics. Tom Clancy has even written a new book that will ONLY be released on tape. Training departments should take note! This should be added to your menu of delivery systems. Off the shelf training topics as well as easy to produce in-house training tapes can be made available to your workforce. Consider sending a "pre-work on tape" to attendees of upcoming learning events. We have used this model for our conferences with great success. Also, keep an eye on the internet delivery option for books on tape. ( is a venture into this area.

2. Research on Training Trends From Hill Associates: Thanks for TechLearn Trends Reader Rob Lauer, for pointing us to a recent in-depth survey on training demand and delivery approaches. This study was conducted by Hill Associates and was conducted by telephone in late 1997. Hill Associates published the bulk of this study at

3. Coping with No-Shows in Training Events: This is a growing problem, even in times where the demand for training is rising. Organizations report no-show rates from 5% to 20%. In some organizations they have taken to over-booking to compensate for no-shows. Keep in mind that most no-shows are NOT the fault of the LEARNER. We have found that the bulk of no-shows are triggered by managers and supervisors, making a last minute decision that the cost of absence from the office is too great. Focus your no-show prevention efforts on the managers.

Some tactics that seem to work include: greater amounts of contact with managers prior to the course, focusing on learning objectives and benefits to the organizational; telephone confirmations to managers 2 weeks out, which can be combined with needs assessment; greater levels of tuition for repeat no-show departments; a one to one conversation raising the trends of no-shows issues. We have found that many managers are not aware of the true cost of no-shows. We would be interested in hearing readers's comments on no-shows.

4. 320 Attend TechLearn Announcement - Wednesday Session Still Open: We had an overwhelming turnout to our telephone conference announcement last week. The 25 minute telephone conference included a listener survey on change rates and a quick overview of the TechLearn program and process. If you missed this or would like to join us for the next call, it is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 11th at 2:04 PM (Eastern Time). Just go to and reserve a space on the call - instantly receive the dial-in instructions.

5. MASIE Center Trip to Middle East, Asia & Australia Planned: I am honored to be presenting keynote speeches at several international training, learning, technology and HR conferences in the month of March. We are interested in meeting up with TechLearn Readers as Cathy and I travel to United Arab Emirates, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China. If you are in these regions and would like to get together for a chat about learning and technology send an email to The 2 conferences include: Abu Dhabi: and Australia AITD Conference (send email to for contacts)

20 - Microsoft Releases Seminar Online; Training Demand Survey - Preliminary Results; Business Marketplace of Learning Expanding Rapidly!

Dear Readers: This issue contains the results of our most recent 3 Minute Survey. We want to turn these around rapidly, so today you'll get the first level analysis...more to follow next week. Next week we'll be meeting with the learning leaders at the White House, Pentagon and CIA. I'll write a perspective on the D.C. technology learning push in the near future.
Yours in learning, Elliott

1. Microsoft Releases Seminar Online...New On-Line Learning Program. Microsoft has a new and exciting FREE set of on-line learning seminars, that are now in public beta. We interviewed Brad Brunell, Group Manager for Seminar Online and Distance Learning. This is a powerful use of the internet to deliver rapid and multi-media learning. Check out our Early Glance at

2. Training Demand Survey - Preliminary Results! Over 700 organizations world-wide have responded to our recent 3 Minute Survey on Demand for Training and Learning. Notice that the largest increase in demand is for
On-Line Learning and CBT...while at the same time demand for Classroom Training is also on the rise. Here is the first set of data:

Based on 700+ Responses from Organizations

In 1998 what are the changes (if any) in demand for these types of learning activities in your organization:

Demand for On-Line Learning Programs (delivered via intranet or internet through browsers):
INCREASE: Large (30%); Moderate (27%); Small (23%)
DECREASE: Large (0%); Moderate (0%); Small (1%)

Demand for CBT (Disk or CD ROM Based)
INCREASE: Large (21%); Moderate (33%); Small (21%)
DECREASE: Large (1%); Moderate (1%); Small (1%)

Demand for Classroom Training:
INCREASE: Large (18%); Moderate (27%); Small (16%)
DECREASE: Large (2%); Moderate (9%); Small (9%)

INCREASE: Large (8%); Moderate (23%); Small (24%)
DECREASE: Large (1%); Moderate (2%); Small (4%)

INCREASE: Large (3%); Moderate (18%); Small (19%)
DECREASE: Large (2%); Moderate (5%); Small (4%)

INCREASE: Large (18%); Moderate (26%); Small (22%)
DECREASE: Large (0%); Moderate (1%); Small (1%)

(We will issue further analysis, broken down by country and size of organization in the near future. You can still add your company's data by going to )

3. Business Marketplace of Learning Expanding Rapidly! The learning marketplace and the business of on-line learning is expanding rapidly. As the above survey indicates there is great demand and enormous confusion in the marketplace as a flurry of new opportunities and services are launched. We will be addressing these issues at The Busine$$ of On-Line Learning: The 3rd Annual On-Line Learning Conference to be held in Seattle, Washington on March 30 and 31st. There are only 103 spaces left for this event. Check it out at

Reminder: If you would like to participate in Friday or next Wednesday's free telephone call about TechLearn '98 just go to to reserve a line.

18 - White House Announcement about the Federal Government's Approach to Technology & Learning

Dear TechLearn Trend Readers:

The following annoucement was released this morning by the White House. It relates to the Federal Government's approach to Technology & Learning. I have been in dialogue with a number of the advisors at the White House on this effort and will send a full report to TechLearn Trend readers in a few days.

Yours in learning,
Elliott Masie


Enhancing Learning and Education Through Technology The Federal Government continually invests in training its employees. Federal agencies have an obligation to provide the best training for their employees at the lowest possible cost. Federal agency training programs should be model users of new technologies to enhance learning. Many agencies are already improving training by using new technology effectively, but more can be done. New instructional technologies can also make education, at work and at home, easier and more convenient for all American workers. Federal programs that provide financial support for lifelong learning should adapt to the new oppor-tunities technology provides.

A Federal Government-wide effort is needed to explore how Federal programs and initiatives can better support the use of technologies for lifelong learning.

Therefore, I hereby direct as follows: 1. The National Economic Council (NEC), in consultation with the Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC) as established by Executive Order 13011 of July 16, 1996, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), shall investigate how to make full use of emerging technologies to improve the cost-effectiveness and the quality of Federal training programs. Specifically, I direct that within 6 months from the date of this memorandum the NEC, in consultation with CIOC, OPM, and OSTP, provide me a plan identifying areas in which technology-enhanced training and learning may complement conventional Federal training and learning.

The plan should describe how the agencies, when feasible and appropriate, will: (a) make full use of best commercial practices when purchasing instructional software; (b) work with businesses, universities, and other appropriate entities to foster a competitive market for electronic instruction; (c) develop a model technical approach to facilitate electronic instruction building on existing agency efforts, such as the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative Partnership; and (d) develop and support a program of research that will accelerate the development and adoption of new instructional technologies. 2. The Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Labor shall work together to promote adoption of the best new ways of using technology to enhance training and education in programs that provide Federal support for education and training. 3. The NEC, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget, the OSTP, and other appropriate Federal Government entities, shall develop a national strategy to promote high-quality education and training opportunities that can be offered in a manner that is efficient, affordable, and convenient.

Industry, universities, labor unions, and other stakeholders should be consulted in the development of the strategy. The strategy shall be completed within 6 months of the date of this memorandum.


19 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology

TO: Training & Technology Colleagues
FROM: Elliott Masie
RE: Invitation: TechLearn '98 Program Announcement Conference Call
February 6th or February 11th @ 2:04 PM Eastern Time

Dear Colleagues,

Join me in a 25 minute live telephone press conference to hear the details of TechLearn '98 (November 15 to 18, 1998 in Orlando, Florida). We will announce:

TechLearn '98 Program Focus: (Facing The Skills Gap, Learning in the Digital Age, Next Wave of On-Line Learning and A Fresh Look at Technology Training)
Keynote Speakers: (including General Colin Powell,USA (Retired). Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, PBS Star of Stress: Loretta LaRoche, Don Tapscott, Elliott Masie and many more)
TechLearn Task Forces: (Knowledge Management, On-Line Learning, A Fresh Look at IT Training, Developing Organizational Skills, Balance! for Training Professionals)
The Year Round TechLearn On-Line Courses for Attendees!
Special Disney Activities at TechLearn '98
Co-Hosted Conferences in 1998: CEdMA and ISA
Early Reservation Reward: 25 TechLearn Dollars (for books, tapes and party refreshments)
Update on TechLearn LIVE! Broadcast on April 1st.
You will be able to ask questions during the briefing and join in an instant Benchmark Survey using the touchpad keys on your telephone.

There are 2 times for this teleconference: Friday, February 6, 1998 or Wednesday, February 11, 1998. You will need to make a telephone call to our conference line in Virginia in the United States. Just go to

to get details and reserve a place on the call. This page will give you the telephone number and password. See you on the call!

17 - The Price of Training is Changing!

Dear Readers: This is the week of visits to The MASIE Center. We're hosting folks from Allen Communication (Designer's Edge), Audible and Eloquent. This gives us a chance to see new and emerging products before
and as they hit the marketplace. We will provide screen shots, perspectives and previews of these products in our new Early Glance! feature. Regards, Elliott Masie

1. A TechLearn Early Glance!: New Quick HTML On-Line Learning Authoring Tool. Allen Communications showed us their new Net Synergy tool for the easy creation of HTML, browser based learning content. It is an add on to their Designer's Edge pre-authoring tool. We have a write up and look at screen shots at our Early Glance site:

2. Flash! Compaq Buys Digital. If you don't get a chance to look at breaking news during the day, check out the hot off the press release about the merger of Compaq and Digital. .

3. TechLearn '98 Task Forces Forming: We are building a series of 20 task forces to work on critical issues at TechLearn '98 (Orlando, Florida - November 15 to 18). These task forces will include: Skills Gap!, New Roles of Trainers, Creating Organizational Learning, Management Issues, Beyond Computer Training, Knowledge Management - What Does It Mean?, Training Burn-Out, Learning on the Road and a host of other topics. If you would like to propose a topic or volunteer to lead one of these task forces, please send an email to As always, TechLearn will be designed from the ground up to map to the interests of the learning, training and technology attendees.

4. The Price of Training is Changing! We've noticed the price of training (both products and services) in great flux in the past six months. There are areas where the demand is driving per day costs much higher. On the other hand, on-line learning content is struggling to maintain price points, as the value points of web delivered content are falling. What do you think? Go to our on-line chat room at and join the conversation. This topic will be a major focus of our Business of On-Line Learning Conference to be held in Seattle on March 30 and 31st. Details at

Registrations are now open for the next Road to On-Line Learning LAB & Seminar to be held in Saratoga Springs, New York on April 14 and 15th. This is an intensive, 14 hour lab and seminar that has been attended by over 1,200 technology and learning professionals. It is a VENDOR-NEUTRAL event. For registration information:

16 - Get Ready for MetaTags; Tips for Balance! Staying Fresh as a Trainer

To TechLearn Trends Readers: I've been travelling a lot these first weeks of 1998. Keynotes at IBM and Oracle Education Meetings and future of learning sessions at a number of Fortune 500 Companies. Learning and technology will be hot topics in 1998, the skills gap is growing and the pressure to align business issues and training is increasing. We'll cover a few major companies' efforts to re-design learning in future issues of TechLearn Trends... Regards, Elliott Masie

1. Get Ready for MetaTags...The Scanning Codes for Learning. By the end of 1998 there will industry agreement on a metatagging standard. There are a number of standards groups that are now working on the development of a simple way of placing a tag on each element in a learning plan, for ease of storage, use, reuse and even sale. Think of it as a sort of scanning barcode. These standards would allow you to 'tag' each module, content piece, picture and question. The tag would contain information about the type of element, context of use, copyright ownership and even expiration date. Corporate specific elements could be added as well.

These tags would be placed using a wide range of tools from Authoring Systems, to HTML editors and even word processors. It would then be very easy to reassemble content, as objectives changed, mix content from various sources and even track usage on a very module level. There are still a number of organizational and ownership issues to be worked on with tagging. But, it is coming and will be on the radar screen of training organizations by the end of 1998. (Note: Standards and Tagging will be discussed at our upcoming Business of On-Line Learning Conference in Seattle on March 30th and 31st and on the TechLearn LIVE! broadcast on April 1st. for details.)

2. KnowledgeSoft Acquires Acquires Kobixx Systems. KnowledgeSoft, one of the major players in the learning management systems field has acquired Kobixx Systems to broaden it's internet delivery capabilities. See their
site for information:

3. A Teacher's View of Teaching On-Line: Check out a teacher's interesting perspective on their experience of teaching an on-line learning class. at

4. Regional TechLearn Network Meetings to Be Held! A large number of TechLearn Trends readers have asked about organizing regular local meetings of folks interested in training and learning. Many of the host sites for the TechLearn LIVE! free satellite broadcast will be serving as hubs for regional TechLearn Network meetings. If you would like to be a host site go to: We anticipate several thousands attendees are regional meetings throughout North America and overseas. Later in February we will post a listing of all local sites if you would like to attend.

5. Tips for Balance! Staying Fresh as a Trainer: Whenever I have to teach a course that I have taught a zillion times before, I do these prep activities to stay fresh and prevent burnout: a) I change the sequence slightly. b) I add a new activity, even if the course was great the time before. c) I update my content with an additional resource, handout or web page link. d) I change my location in the room...moving my teaching position to a new default position. e) I take an instructional risk. When we feel like the class is getting to be old or boring, our learners have felt that for some time already.

6. Registrations are now open for the next Road to On-Line Learning LAB & Seminar to be held in Saratoga Springs, New York on April 14 and 15th. This is an intensive, 14 hour lab and seminar that has been attended by over 1,200 technology and learning professionals. It is a VENDOR-NEUTRAL event. For registration information:

15 - ASTD Survey Highlights Training Patterns By Sector

1. We rarely endorse a piece of software. But, I found one that has changed my approach to writing, design and planning. MindMan is an inexpensive (under $100) application that embodies the "mind-mapping" approach to laying out information. You can use it to take notes in a non-linear fashion, to build a course outline in a non-sequential order and to look at the whole picture of a concept or project.

The best example that I can give is our actual use of this software. Take a look at our TechLearn '98 Planning Guide in this format: This version lives on our intranet and has internal drill down for text and links. This grid has allowed the key planners to build our curriculum in a non-linear, deeply visual fashion. I am also using it for course planning and meeting note taking. The software can be downloaded from the developers and tested. Their site is

2. ASTD Survey Highlights Training Patterns By Sector: In The 1998 ASTD State of the Industry Report, ASTD reports what recent research reveals about companies' investment in workplace learning and the effect that has on performance. The data are from ASTD's Human Performance Practices Survey, conducted recently in partnership with the Times Mirror Training Group, Development Dimensions International, the Forum Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Data was collected from 540 randomly selected firms with 50 or more employees. Industry-by-industry highlights from the survey include:

Extraction and construction -- These are the mining, oil exploration and extraction companies; refineries; chemical plants; construction companies; contractors; and stone producers. These companies have few internal trainers and use a lot of apprenticeships and union-delivered training. They experienced notably improved performance in 1995 and 1996.

High technology -- These are pharmaceuticals; computer and communications manufacturers; biological and physical researchers; and software designers. These companies represent the leading edge in training, compensation, and quality practices. They have large internal training staffs and spend the most money per employee of any industry group. They also use learning technologies to deliver training more than other companies in other industry groups.

Finance, insurance and real estate -- These include banks and other credit institutions; insurance companies; securities brokers; and real estate companies. They spend a lot of money on training and have a lot of in-house trainers. They do a lot of computer, sales and product training and are heavy users of computer based training. Business services -- This is a diverse industry group made up of business- to-business and professional service companies. Possibly due to their diversity, they don't have consistent or exceptional practices, except for a larger-than-average use of computer based training and computer training.

Heavy manufacturing -- This industry group is comprised of metal fabricators; mills; foundries; and manufacturers of machines, including turbines, industrial equipment, motor vehicles and aircraft. They are complex workplaces with heavy use of high performance work practices, quality initiatives, and apprenticeships. A large portion of total training expenditure goes to external providers, including educational institutions. Heavy users of computer based training, these companies predict the largest increase in total and outside training expenditures.

Light manufacturing -- These are manufacturers of food and beverages; textiles; furniture; fabricated wood; plastics and medical instruments; and paper and pulp mills. These companies are most dependent on outsourcing, with the largest percentage of total training expenditure going outside and the second largest percentage of outside dollars per employee. Their use of delivery technologies isn't heavy, though they predict more use of computer based training and intranets in the future.

Transportation, communications and public utilities -- These are the power, water and gas utilities; trucking and warehousing companies; and telephone companies. With a lot of safety, technical, and customer service training, these companies have higher-than-average expenditures. They're characterized by leading-edge training practices and a high use of computer based training and other technologies.

Health care -- This industry is made up of hospitals; clinics; doctors' offices; and home care companies. They train a large number of employees in advanced work practices and safety and quality training. However, expenditures for training, and outside training in particular, are low. They seldom use delivery technologies for training, using instead non-training employees and product suppliers. As a whole, they have experienced performance problems and a recent decline in training expenditures.

Customer service -- These are the retail stores; restaurants; hotels; and other nonprofessional consumer services. These companies have a large percentage of part-time employees and low average salaries. They teach primarily customer service and orientation training. They have the lowest training expenditures of any group and are light consumers of outside
training services and training technologies.

SOURCE American Society for Training and Development

3. Registrations are now open for the 1998 On-Line Learning Conference, focused on the Business of On-Line Learning. If you are a developer or vendor of on-line learning training and learning materials this is an executive, interactive briefing and industry gathering. To be held in Seattle, Washington on March 30 and 31. Details are now on-line at

4. Correction: The correct URL for CBT Systems is

14 - Learning Piano Via CD? Disk vs. Mr. Nunzio; IBM Increases On-Line Learning Efforts; Training Professionals Need Balance!

1) . Learning Piano Via CD? Disk vs. Mr. Nunzio. One of the questions that I am often asked is "can people learn artistic skills via computer?" Well, some of the best research is done on oneself. My wife and I bought a piano for Chanukah/Christmas and I added a MIDI port. This allows me to hook up our baby grand to a PC and send notes back and forth. So, I ventured out and purchased a CD-ROM based program called Learning to Play the Piano.

In the weeks ahead I will report on my progress or lack of progress. First report is that I was struck by the memory of my accordion teacher from age 8 to 13. Mr. Nunzio was a large man, with a large presence. Would my CD based teacher be able to match the impact of Mr. Nunzio? Early reports are that only about half of the Nunzio characteristics are present.

The CD is demanding. (Nunzio was extremely demanding!) It makes me practice each scale and concept. And, it matches each piano stroke to the assignment.

The CD gives instant feedback. (Actually, faster than Nunzio, which may be a bad thing.) It tends to interrupt my tentative attempts with more feedback than I need.

The CD provides no fear. (I was afraid of Nunzio, big time.) I've actually skipped several lessons and have had to fear of the look on Nunzio's face. How do we build accountability into on-line learning? Perhaps an on-line relationship with a real or virtual Nunzio?

The CD provides a great deal of sequential choice. (Nunzio was the master of scope and sequence!) I actually didn't know what the pedals were for on the bottom of our new piano, as I had skipped the intro section.)

I'll give our TechLearn Trends an occasional update on our efforts. Oh, we are also working with a few teenagers on the new Driver's Education CD from Sierra.

2) Partnerships and Acquisitions in the Learning Marketplace! There have been a slew of announcements in the past few weeks concerning the technology and learning marketplace. Here are a few of the important ones;

Asymetrix Learning Systems is continuing it's growth through the purchase of two more learning development companies. Asymetrix as acquired Communications Strategies, Inc (CSI) of Fort Worth, Texas and Graham Wright Interactive of Atlanta, Georgia. These two groups will grow the services component of Asymetrix, which owns the Toolbook and IconAuthor series of tools.

CBT Systems and Executrain have entered an agreement for distribution of product. Executrain has a retail training center presence throughout North America and will provide a salesforce effort for the distribution of CBT Systems technology delivered learning products to their corporate customers. It is another example of the convergence of the business efforts at the juncture of multiple methods of delivery. and

3) IBM Increases On-Line Learning Efforts: I had the privilege of giving the keynote at the Skills Conference for IBM Education and Training last week. I was struck by the depth of commitment that IBM is making in the development of on-line learning as an internal and external resource. Leveraging off their work in the E-Business sector and the Learning Space products from their Lotus division, IBM is gearing up a wide range of products and services to assist organizations in developing on-line learning strategies.

4) Training Professionals Need Balance! We need to balance so many forces. We need balance in our own lives (for health and sanity), in our efforts to balance the needs of learners and the organization, as well as balance in the mixture of old and new training methods. The MASIE Center is making an organizational commitment to focus on Balance! for Training Professionals in all of our events. At the TechLearn '98 Conference we will have a series of sessions aimed at personal, professional and organizational balance. If you would like to assist with this task force, drop a note to

Registrations are now open for the 1998 On-Line Learning Conference, focused on the Business of On-Line Learning. If you are a developer or vendor of on-line learning training and learning materials this is an executive, interactive briefing and industry gathering. To be held in Seattle, Washington on March 30 and 31. Details are now on-line at

We are also accepting registrations for TechLearn '98 at

13 - Training Professional Preferences

Over 1,200 training professionals indicated their own preferences for learning in a recent MASIE Center TechLearn Trends Survey.

When asked how they would choose to learn to use a new piece of software, here is what they choose:

26% .Attend an 8 Hour Instructor led class
25% .Take a structured on-line or CBT course
30% .Figure it out yourself
12% .Ask a peer to coach you
7% .Read a book about the topic

There was a 10% difference in how women and men reacted to this question. 21% of men selected the class while 30% of women chose to go to class. 35% of men would figure it out themselves, while 26% chose this method.

When asked how they would learn a business skill such as Effective Management, their choices were:

59% .Attend an 8 Hour Instructor led class
10% .Take a structured on-line or CBT course
2% .Figure it out yourself
9% .Ask a peer to coach you
20% .Read a book about the topic

There were no significant differences between men and women on this question.

When asked how they would like their teenager to learn Defensive Driving Theory, here are their choices:

59% .Attend an 8 Hour Instructor led class
28% .Take a structured on-line or CBT course
.5% .Figure it out yourself
5.5% .Ask a peer to coach you
8% .Read a book about the topic

Once again, no significant differences between men and women on this question.

Complete results are available at
The survey is still on-line and accepting results:

Analysis and discussion to follow. If you would like to join a discussion about these results, please go to: We plan on extending this survey to over 12,000 additional responses, including non-trainers.

12 - 10 Training & Technology Predictions for 1998

Just one topic this issue and a very happy holiday greeting from the staff at The MASIE Center. See you next year, Elliott Masie.

10 Training & Technology Predictions for 1998. Each year The MASIE Center takes out it's training and technology crystal ball and predicts a few of the trends on the horizon. Here are our picks for 1998 (in no particular order)

Skills Gap Grows: The rate of technology absorption within our organizations will create a skills gap of even larger proportions than reported by the media. Watch for serious slowdowns in the ability of organizations to implement new technologies unless they can find ways of rapidly growing new skilled employees.

On-Line Learning Shifts to Interaction: The next strong demand from users of on-line learning will be for higher levels of interaction and simulation. Learners may reject static courses with a bit of chat. They will want on-line learning to be more a virtualization of a coach than a teacher.

In-Class Use of Learning Technology to Soar: Trainers will reach out and embrace the use of technology in the classroom. Exercises and activities will include more technology as will pre- and post class technology outreaches.

Authoring Systems in the Business Units: Business units are the next wave of authoring systems purchasers and users. Watch for a demand from business units to mount quick courses and learning content on their intranets, without having to go through central training departments. Look for very easy, highly templated and non-instructionally appearing authoring front ends.

Home Servers To Blossom: As more devices become internet enabled, watch for the rise of low cost home servers. These devices will serve as the hub for multiple devices and will allow for downloading at off hours and mixed media usage. These servers, combined with web/television combinations will help launch a vital push in the home based learning market.

Web Word to Ebb in Learning Language: Watch for corporate rejection of the phrase web or web-based training. Webs sound like things to get caught in rather than corporate valued resources. Also, web-based training brings up images of computer-based training. Newer phrases to include on-line learning, intranet resources or just ´┐Żlearning".

Trainers to ReTool: Look for serious re-tooling of training professionals. As technologies become more prevalent in our organizations, the need for human contact and facilitation is also growing. Watch for trainers to be deployed outside of the classroom to add the interaction aspect, as well as reskilled in the art and science of on-line learning.

Middle Level Technology to Grow: Watch for the growth of a middle level technical role in organizations. These people will live in business units and be charged with the organization and delivery of content. They won't have either the trainer or techie title, but will need to know both areas. Middle level technical staff will watch the business unit's intranet content and enterprise databases.

Communities of Interest to Grow: Look for a focus of building and maintaining communities of interest for professionals. Using technology, these communities may cut across departments (eg. people interested in corporate intelligence) or even across companies ( eg. what we have historically seen as association memberships.). Communities of interest will be facilitated by collaborative technologies such as video conferencing and push based publishing. Events such as conferences will be more and more focused on community building.

Larger Classes and Shorter Lengths: Watch for a break in the tradition of the constant teacher/student ratio. Look for much larger classes for some topics, followed by technology enabled one to one coaching and mentoring. Likewise, look for pressure to reduce the length of classes to one half day for many topics now taught in a two day format. More information transfer via technology, more interaction in the actual class event.

If you care to add to the list or to send comments: mail me at

11 - China's Workers Take Learning Very Seriously!

1).Class Size: A Fixed or Moving Target? My recent column in Computer Reseller News focused on the assumptions of the training industry when it comes to class size. I ranted about the need to think more flexibly when it comes to class size, location and process. While this article is targeted at training vendors, it will provoke some interesting dialogues with trainers in general. Check it out at:

2) China's Workers Take Learning Very Seriously! We recently received a press release from Guangzhou, a region in China. The news was a survey of adult learning processes. "Over 60 percent of the region's workers reported taking a vocational course in their spare time", was the headline. I emailed the press attache and here is a follow-up blurb from our correspondence:

"With the reform of employment, more and more workers in the southern coastal city have changed their concept of "life-long employment" -- a practice in the past planned economy. Workers organized book-reading societies, knowledge competition and symposiums for themselves."

"In addition, concerned governmental departments supported various vocational courses for in-service workers and layoffs. More than 20,000 laid-off workers, who are about 45 years old, have had the opportunity to learn more skills and found new jobs.The city's young workers also favor self-study programs to improve their educational level."

Yes, the entire world is focusing on the issues of skilling for a new economy. This is a wonderful artifact of that process.

3) TechLearn LIVE! April 1st Broadcast - Reception Sites Grow! We have had a wonderful response from the TechLearn Trends readership and the list of satellite reception sites has grown for this FREE global symposium on learning and technology. We now have sites in 35 states and 6 international locations. If you would like to have your corporation or local group sponsor a TechLearn LIVE gathering in your community, just send me a note to The spirit of this event is to Think Globally and Network Locally!

There still a few seats available in our January 1998 session: The Road to On-Line Learning LAB & Seminar to be held in Saratoga Springs, New York. See for details.

10 - Knowledge Management: Get Ready for This Phrase!; I-Candy - Possible Intranet Advertising Device for Learning!

1) Knowledge Management: Get Ready for This Phrase! In 1998, there will be at least a dozen new buzzwords. One phrase that WILL impact training and learning professionals is Knowledge Management. This phrase is now on the lips and organizational charts of the big six accounting and consulting companies, as well as key players like IBM and EDS.

Knowledge Management is the strategic efforts of an organization to improve individual and departmental capture and use of knowledge. It spans the technological efforts (eg. groupware, enterprise data warehousing), the staff development efforts (training, mentoring), the organizational development efforts (benchmarking, best practice capture) and innovative approaches to capturing key information from staff and customers.

Training departments are going to be targeted by Knowledge Management task forces. This may or may not be friendly fire! The question that will be asked is how you are enhancing the intellectual capital of the enterprise. And, how your training efforts can be leveraged for a wider knowledge management efforts.

To bone up on Knowledge Management, here is a great list of web sites:

2) I-Candy - Possible Intranet Advertising Device for Learning! On-Line Learning will borrow many of its new techniques from the world of on-line advertising. Both fields share a common goal, to engage the user, to capture their attention, to convey information and to stimulate an action (in one instance buying, in the other learning.) I-Candy may be the next implementation.

Developed using Shockwave, these are interactive icons (ads) that give the user an interactive experience, without sending them to another site. Advertisers are realizing that people may not want to leave a site but are open to simulation and messaging from a small icon. These I-Candy icons can even be interactive games that engage the user for a few moments.

I can imagine an organization developing an I-Candy icon that would pop up and provide an instance of learning reinforcement or even a pop quiz on an area of competence. Watch for these in the next six months.

3) Hosting Sites Needed for TechLearn LIVE! on April 1, 1998. The MASIE Center is seeking host sites for our global free conference on technology and learning, TechLearn LIVE! If you have a conference room with satellite downlink (or even videoconference capacity), consider hosting TechLearn LlVE! in your area. The time is 12 Noon to 3 PM Eastern Time. We will provide you with all of the materials to help facilitate a local gathering of professionals exploring the TechLearn challenges. If you are interested, please send an email to

4) URL Added for Book: Here is the address for the book we mentioned in the last TechTrends: TechnoStress: Coping with Technology @ Work @Home and @Play: Information on on-line ordering available at

There still a few seats available in our January 1998 session: The Road to On-Line Learning LAB & Seminar to be held in Saratoga Springs, New York on January 12 and 13th. See for details.

9 - McDonalds Honors Technology & Learning; Presentations over the Net

1. McDonalds Honors Technology & Learning! Last night, I had the honor of presenting the keynote speech at McDonalds Corporation's Tribute to Technology & Learning. 150 training and technology professionals from organizations throughout the Chicago area gathered at Hamburger University for an evening of dialogue and partying. Organized by Diane Cain, McDonald's Director of the STASS Institute for Computer Learning, the proceeds from the formal dress party benefited the Ronald McDonald House and the American Technology Honor Society. Diane's staff reached out to include members of Chicago Board of Education in the festivities to build the corporate-school connection. What a great idea for a holiday party!

2) Book Suggestion: TechnoStress! Here is a great book that will get you and your colleagues thinking about the impact of technology on our lives, families and organizations. The authors, Michelle Weil and Larry Rosen even address the role of training and learning intensity. Information and on-line ordering links at: TechnoStress: Coping With Technology @WORK @HOME @PLAY

3) Presentations over the Net: Eloquent Ships Presenter 3.0 Here is a cool new tool to present presentations over the internet. Even at low bandwidth levels, users can view a video of the presenter, view the presentation slides and follow along with a transcript. The transcript is searchable by phrase, so the presentation can be viewed in linear or user driven order. Check it out at

There still a few seats available in our January 1998 session: The Road to On-Line Learning LAB & Seminar to be held in Saratoga Springs, New York. See for details.