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Online Learning News – 14 March issue


A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc. (Lakewood)
Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2000 Vol. 2, No. 51


Novell delivers two key pieces of Net Services: NDS eDirectory for
Windows 2000, NDS eDirectory for Linux:


1. Her new cable modem: All deliberate speed
2. Keep KnowledgePlanet in your scope
3. When seeing is believing
4. Assume II: Maybe, no, yes, yes
5. You be the judge -- but hurry
6. Cries for help: Online copyright?
7. Window shopping: More pajama factor


Wendy Webb ( [email protected] ) leaned back in her chair,
noticed a cobweb on the ceiling, walked downstairs to the kitchen
to get a broom, brought it back to her second-floor home office,
and swept the cobweb away -- all in the time it took the Disney
site to load.

But, says the associate editor of Technology for Learning
Newsletter, her new cable-modem connection to the
Internet means that average sites load faster, and 200-page,
graphics-heavy files arrive like lightning.

Do this for us: Read Wendy's reaction to her new connection
in the new Web-only Training Directors' Forum Newsletter at

Then tell us:

Q Does speed matter to e-learning?

Q What can you do in terms of hardware, software, and connections
to make your e-learning run faster?

Q How can e-learning work even with slow processors and
slow connections?

E-mail your responses to [email protected] . Your subject
line: All Deliberate Speed.

Very important: Please include your name, title, organization,
its location, what it does, and a phone number at which we can
reach you.



A new merged company bears watching.
( of Reston, VA, builds
e-learning communities with Web-based job-performance modules,
personalized learning experiences, tracking, and content-creation
services. results from the merger of KnowledgeSoft with
two Knowledge Universe companies -- MindQ and Knowledge Universe
Interactive Studio.

The business has $30 million in venture funding from Knowledge
Universe and others.

KnowledgePlanet CEO Alan Todd "is doing some of the best thinking
around learning and competencies for organizational performance in
the new economy," says e-learning researcher Brandon Hall of
Sunnyvale, CA, editor of Technology for Learning Newsletter. "He
talks execu-speak."

The venture funding is likewise noteworthy. "This group has
been resource-limited," says Hall. The $30 million, he adds,
"will give them what they need to do the software development
they want to do." subscribers select services to create private
e-learning communities. KnowledgePlanet applications can manage
competency requirements and performance objectives, delivered to
the workers' desktops.

The site stores personal learning profiles and tracks level of
instruction based on individual need. The site will also suggest
and deliver learning materials for an individual.



How important is rapid prototyping of your training and
performance support? In some cases, if they can't see a prototype,
they won't have a clue -- and your idea is dead.

So says Paul E. Gerle ( [email protected] ), senior
trainer with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Tampa, FL.

At a former employer, Gerle used rapid prototyping to promote new
ways of supporting the sales force with just-in-time information.

"I used rapid-prototype development techniques to show off what
we could do," says Gerle.

To wit: Gerle prototyped a database on company products, services,
and competitive information, with a user-friendly interface. A
salesperson in a hotel room could query the database via laptop
for key information the night before a sales call.

"Imagine the difficulty selling the idea of this new tool had the
managers not been able to see, touch, and play with an actual
prototype," muses Gerle.

With the prototype before them, their reaction, says Gerle, was:
"Wow. I didn't know we could do this. Let's move forward with full

Concludes Gerle: "Describing the product, verbally or via a formal
proposal, would not have communicated the utility of the solution
as effectively as actually seeing a prototype in action."

Letting project approvers actually experience the product," says Gerle,
"made all the difference."



What can we assume about online delivery?

A reader who is poised to try online delivery of training listed
four assumptions and asked for your responses. We ran some last
week ("What you can -- and cannot -- assume," Mar. 7).

Here's one more, from S.K. Dapoz ( [email protected] ),
a Webmaster at Indiana University's business school in

IU's business school launched its first online courses in 1998 and
an online MBA program last year (see

One by one, here are the reader's assumptions and responses from

ASSUMPTION: Students in their 20s and 30s will have an easier time
regardless of content.

Maybe. In any case, set up a help desk, says Dapoz, to keep
learning online "a productive and engaging experience."

ASSUMPTION: Certain kinds of content lend themselves to an online
format -- information rather than interaction-based material.

Wrong, says Dapoz. Online interaction works. IU developed a
split-screen discussion forum function that lets students post to
"pro" and "con" sides of the same question, and respond to other
student's remarks. The instructor can also respond to any remark.

ASSUMPTION: Have someone present to keep the technology running so
the instructor can focus on class material.

"Yes!" says Dapoz. Good tech staff lets faculty focus on
content. "Most faculty here," Dapoz adds, "are not invested in the
level of knowledge about Web-site creation that it takes to build
a successful course online."

Dapoz's tech-support team has grown from one to six people: a
project manager, a Web-site designer, a help-desk specialist, and
two part-time Web-site builders.

ASSUMPTION: You should offer students access to the instructor
between classes -- by phone, fax or e-mail.

"Yes," says Dapoz, "and I would add to that list the use of small
chat groups live online." If chat groups get too big, assign
learners to chat groups of four or five, and set times for each.



The Brandon Hall of Fame Awards program seeks judges. Apply by
Wednesday, Mar. 15, at

The awards program recognizes excellence in CD-based and
online-learning initiatives.

An application form for judges is at the site. So is a form for
contest entries. Deadline for entries is April 21.

Winning entries will be showcased at OnLine Learning 2000,
in Denver Sept. 25-27 (
and in Technology for Learning Newsletter, which Hall edits

Judges will receive a certificate, credit on the awards Web site
-- and, adds Hall, a Sunnyvale, CA, researcher, "have the chance
to see exceptional training courses."



Readers, can you help your peers with these questions?


"Our faculty is struggling with copyright issues in putting
courses online. We are part of a statewide consortium, and
students from multiple universities may enroll in our courses.
There is some grant funding involved.

"Who has ultimate copyright rights? The courses were developed to
be taught synchronously, and are only being adapted to be put
online. They are not new courses. Can you give me some direction?"


"Our client has a Lotus Notes environment on its wide-area
network with more than 100 geographically dispersed nodes, and has
asked us to develop online training. Can courses authored in
Authorware and ToolBook run under Notes? Or must a Lotus-
proprietary system be used?

"Due to bandwidth constraints, the courses will likely be
downloaded to local PCs and run locally, with performance
data sent back to the server. Can this be handled easily from within
Notes, or should it be designed as a separate activity?"


"I would like to know what people recommend as a good online
software program to get me started in having my courses online.
Each course has a section with notes and will have a test at the
end of each section."

OLL News readers: Can you offer guidance? Please send your
response to [email protected] . Include your name, title,
phone number, organization, its location, and what it does. Please
use the matching subject line.


Your colleagues may have some ideas for your online
learning-related quandary. Please send your question to
[email protected] . Include a distinctive subject line.



FOR EARLY RISERS. We include this synchronous learning op
to emphasize what will be a flash point in real-time online
learning -- the pajama factor. TrainingZone, an information
service from Sift Group plc of Bristol, United Kingdom, generously
invites the Western Hemisphere to its free midday Tuesday training
discussions -- midday in the U.K., that is. This week's workshop
will be a discussion of training-management issues and ideas. The
session begins at 13:00 Greenwich Mean Time. In North America,
that's 8 a.m. Eastern Time, 7 a.m. Central, and 5 a.m.

MEANWHILE, AT YOUR LEISURE, here's one you can do any
time of day to prepare for Training Directors' Forum Conference
in Phoenix June 4-7. This site now features a complete list of
keynote and breakout sessions, and a personal conference-planning


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