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Online Learning News – 14 December issue


A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc. (Lakewood)
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1999 Vol. 2, No. 38


For leadership, customer loyalty, sales performance and teamwork training, turn to AchieveGlobal at


1. Forecast fest: What next?
2. Money to burn: Your ideas
3. Skinflints! Here are more cheap training sites
4. Win Ben Stein's Money at TRAINING 2000
5. Is online right for you?
6. Window shopping: Dream monitor?



What does life in the next few years hold for trainers? Here are
three predictions from Eric Parks ([email protected]), a Fair
Oaks, CA, Web-based training designer:

o Knowledge now meant for internal salespeople will push out to
resellers, and knowledge now for resellers will push out to
customers. Companies will push Web-based customer training as
a competitive advantage. Parks sees online training given away
free with most products in the future.

o Development cycles will collapse. "I can remember having four
to six months to complete a two-hour program," says Parks.
"As a Web developer, I typically have five to eight weeks to
complete a two-hour program." Development cycles, he says,
will shorten by 20% every year to two or three weeks by 2004.
This will entail more template-based designs, fewer custom
graphics, and more reusable learning objects. Instructional
designers will become coaches, facilitators, and editors for
subject-matter experts who do their own design.

o Voice-prints and other technology to insure that online
learners don't cheat on tests will rapidly improve. Online
assessment with hyperlinks to learning resources will be
readily available. Assured that cheating is difficult or
impossible, companies will implement mandatory competency
programs. Sales reps won't be able to sell a product until
they're certified to do so. In training, a specialization in
assessment-test design, development and validation will

Parks' Feb. 23 session at TRAINING 2000 will be on delivering
learning via extranet, another area of anticipated fast growth.
Register for the Atlanta show at

ONLINE LEARNING NEWS ASKS: What specific development for trainers
do you see looming? Respond to [email protected]. Please
include your name, title, organization, what it does, where it is,
and a phone number at which we can reach you. Your subject line:
Forecast Fest.



When learners spurn the online training delivery you think would
work well for them -- what do you do?

Don't panic. This is one you've been through before, says Paul C.
Braswell ([email protected]), manager of instructional
design with WBT Systems in Waltham, MA.

Workers used to say, "We don't need training." Today's version
for learners resisting online delivery, says Braswell, is: "We don't
need it -- this way."

For training managers who want to try online delivery,
surmounting resistance is tough because, Braswell says:

o Trainers still don't always do a good job of justifying the
need for ANY training, whatever the delivery mode.

o Trainers have made progress with technology, "but we
still have a ways to go before we can say that everyone
has been exposed to and has become comfortable with
online training and electronic performance-support
systems," Braswell says.

o Trainers too often propose online learning or electronic
performance support before grasping learner needs and what
intervention is best. He sympathizes with learners claiming
online delivery is unnecessary. "At times," he says, "they may
be right!"

o Many organizations don't allow workers time for training. And
when employers pipe learning to the desktop, they still expect
workers to answer e-mail and phone calls.

o Online learning can be available 24 hours a day, seven
days a week -- but the workday is too full as it is. Sure,
people can learn after work hours. "But wait," says Braswell.
"Isn't that work?"

o Organizations have proven processes for developing instructor-
led training. But many organizations are not sure how to
modify those processes for online learning and performance

o We still lack convincing evidence that online learning
is more effective than traditional learning.


Braswell's advice: Know the business you're trying to train. Know
its training needs. Prove the need for training. Then prove that online
training is best -- if it is.

His suggestions:

o Study alternative delivery modes for learning and performance

o Determine the performance problem: Skill deficit? Motivation?
Environment? Incentive? Read "First Things Fast: A Handbook
for Performance Analysis" by Allison Rossett (Pfeiffer & Co.,
1998, $40).

o Select training delivery that makes the most sense for your
business. If you know the problem is a lack of skill,
knowledge or information, then online learning or performance
support should be considered ...

o ... especially if rapid distribution helps your time to
market, speed to performance or customer satisfaction.


Consider online delivery, says Braswell, if one or more of these
apply to your situation:

o Large number of learners.

o Learners widely dispersed.

o A need for uniformity in content.

o Emphasis on retaining knowledge vs. being able
to reference information later.

o Need for frequent updates to content.

o High employee turnover.

o High cost of classroom delivery.

If online delivery can run the gauntlet of these criteria, says
Braswell, "then people will not be able to say, 'We don't need



"First Things Fast," the title of the book Paul C. Braswell
recommends above, is also the title of a Feb. 21 presentation at
TRAINING 2000 in Atlanta by the book's author, Allison Rossett.

Rossett, educational technology professor at San Diego State
University, will make the case that performance analysis is the
first step in any intervention.

You can register for the Feb. 21-23 TRAINING 2000 show at



Someone asked about curriculum-development and needs-analysis
courses, but fast, before available training funds dry up Jan. 1.

Several of you suggest Langevin Learning Services Inc. of
Manotick, Ontario (

Linda Higgins ([email protected]), program developer
with the Institute for Business Performance in San Jose, CA,
points to a three-day instructional-design course for new
designers the first week of February in Washington, DC, followed
by a one-day needs-analysis course.

Mary Russo, ([email protected]), a trainer with Chubb Corp. in
Warren, NJ, likewise suggests Langevin -- "in my opinion, the best
provider of courses in needs analysis and curriculum development,"
says Russo.

Adds Russo: "The underlying requirement in their sessions is
practicing the techniques during the course so that you leave with
complete examples relating to your line of work."

Go to needs analysis and to curriculum development,
says Russo.

Readers also suggested:
http://www.allencomm.comfor Designer's Edge and Quest

And a vendor offers:



Someone asked about using "hot spots" -- areas on photos or videos
in Web-based training or computer-based training that link to
other pages or other media.

Clicking a hot spot on a photo, for example, may activate an audio
recording or animation that further enlightens a learner.

Robert Sugarman (rcspsi, president of RCS Performance
Systems Inc., a Buffalo, NY, training firm, claims he has been
"effectively using hot spots on photos for trainee interactions
since 1983."

Sugarman continues: "Now we are mostly using Toolbook II for this
type of training, but we have learned how to extend the
capabilities of its widget that provides hot-spot responses."

Raymond Sugel Sr. ([email protected]), a training
officer at at Bank One in Chicago, says Authorware and Dreamweaver
with Attain Objects are among authoring tools that let you add hot
spots to still photos.

"The video clips may be a different matter," Sugel says. "Although
I've never tried hot spots with video, I would think that it
wouldn't be too difficult."

Once you've got the basics, you can program hot spots to do
"almost anything the program can do," says Sugel. Ask learners,
for example, to click on the hot spot when a certain character
appears in order to start a video.

Sugarman of RCS Performance Systems, however, urges caution in
using hot spots on video clips themselves. "You may," he warns,
"be applying pressure and distracting the learner."



You skinflints! You're still suggesting cheap or free software-
training sites.

Sheri Robert ([email protected]), manager of projects and
technology for American Retail Credit Services LLC in Pembroke
Pines, FL, says Ziff-Davis University has "a whole bunch of self-
study tutorials and instructor-led programs which are either free
or very low cost" at

Richard Harknett ([email protected]), information-
technology training manager with Barclays Private Bank Ltd. in
London, suggests

"They cover the MS Office products, Unix, Corel, Lotus, Macintosh,
Novell programming, Internet, Visio, DTP, ACT and QuarkExpress,"
says Harknett. You need an Acrobat reader to view the training
sheets, he cautions, "so it may be slow on a standard modem."

And a vendor suggests



Since we seem to have drifted into a kind of cash fixation in the
foregoing, now would be a good time to note that Ben Stein of TV's
"Win Ben Stein's Money" will host a version of his game show just
for conference attendees at TRAINING 2000 Feb. 21.

Conference planners will draw the names of contestants for that
evening's game sometime shortly before the festivities. At
stake: $5,000.

Register for TRAINING 2000 at More
information will be forthcoming about your opportunity to sign up
to win some of Stein's stash.


WRAPAROUND MONITOR. If you like big monitors, and we do
mean big, take a look at this three-screen 48-inch-wide PV290
wraparound model from Panoram Technologies Inc. of Maidenhead, UK.
Cost: $27,000.

POWERPOINT CREATURES, you can order 10 new animated templates at
this site for $99 each.


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