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Online Learning News – 16 May 2000 issue

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A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc.

Tuesday, May 16, 2000 Vol. 3, No. 8
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Click on http://www.TrainSeek.comfor the most
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THIS WEEK:

1. IBM's Mindspan: Instant global e-learning?
2. Swing: You're all over the floor
3. Finish? Why?
4. Pointers: ToolBook and Director
5. Tracking learning at Eddie Bauer
6. Cries for help: Broadband wireless?
7. Window shopping: Eight KM must-knows

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I.B.M. STORMS INTO E-LEARNING

IBM Corp. thundered into the global e-learning fray
Monday with launch of its Mindspan Solutions unit
( http://www.ibm.com/mindspan).

The new business, IBM says, will help customers plan,
design, create and deliver e-learning via Internet,
intranets, extranets, satellite, broadcast, interactive
TV and CD-ROM.

IBM will leverage its global presence in selling
Mindspan's end-to-end services to big users who need
help with product introductions, regulatory compliance,
supply-chain training, enterprise resource-planning
implementation, and employee orientation.

Big Blue says its worldwide foothold will let it
customize e-learning country by country.

Instant global reach makes IBM a "formidable" player
in e-learning, agrees Technology for Learning Newsletter
Editor Brandon Hall.

Companies now are looking beyond pilot programs to
address "mission-critical" learning initiatives, Hall
adds. End-to-end solutions such as Mindspan will get
attention from organizations seeking a quick rollout.

Lotus LearningSpace 4.0, released in the United States
at the same time by IBM's Lotus Development Corp. unit,
will be a Mindspan cornerstone.


LEARNING FROM MISTAKES

IBM says Mindspan will take advantage of LearningSpace's
live-collaboration feature to address one flaw in
e-learning -- isolation.

IBM picked up that lesson during internal rollout of a
management course called Basic Blue for Managers.

"You don't think we've made a couple of mistakes?" quips
James Sharpe, director of e-learning with IBM Learning
Services in Marietta, GA.

With Basic Blue, the miscue was initial overemphasis on
self-paced courses. "We built all this content," says
Sharpe, "and nobody used it."

Subsequently, Sharpe adds, "we decided on a blended
solution -- incorporate classroom to motivate students
through the process."

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AT THE HOP -- AND ALL OVER THE FLOOR

Can you teach swing dancing online? We asked for your
professional opinion, in preparation for the swing-dance
party at Training Directors' Forum Conference in Phoenix
Monday evening, June 5.

You're all over the floor on this one.

Shelly Yergensen ( SYERGENS@Gentner.com ) votes yes.
"Anything that has been successfully taught with a VHS
tape and a VCR can be taught online, swing dancing
included," avers Yergensen, trainer with Gentner
Communications in Salt Lake City.

On the other hand: "If your Internet connection is slow
you will likely learn the jitterbug instead of swing,"
deadpans Dave Birckelbaw ( dbirckelbaw@srminc.com ).

Birckelbaw, practice manager at St. Paul, MN,
information-technology consulting firm Shared Resource
Management Inc., also worries that learning online
"doesn't allow you to look at your feet."


THE 'FEEL' PART

Stephanie Wilson ( stephanie.l.wilson@intel.com ) thinks
you can indeed teach swing online -- "but why would
someone ever want to attend?" she asks.

"And I don't think that time-to-proficiency would be
nearly as fast as having a real-person instructor."

Wilson, instructional designer and evaluation specialist
with Intel Corp. in Rio Rancho, NM, offers this
analysis:

o Swing dancing involves rhythms. "You can pipe
the music over the Internet, but having a coach
to provide immediate feedback on whether you've
got the beat or not is difficult over cyberspace,"
she says.

o Swing dancing requires a partner, preferably an
experienced partner. "It is a 'feel' thing, and
I think that's hard to quantify in words and
diagrams and pictures," says Wilson -- who says
she "didn't get it until I felt it with a really
good dancer."

o Swing dancing is social. "Part of the joy of a
live class is dancing with other people who can
give you encouragement and feedback," says Wilson.

In short, it could work -- "but I sure as heck wouldn't
pay for it," snaps Wilson, "and I wouldn't use it if it
were free."

Online support would be helpful, she concedes, for
experienced dancers who want to pick up new steps. Says
Wilson: "They've already got the 'feel' part down."

More about this later. Meanwhile, you can register
for Training Directors Forum Conference at
http://www.trainingdirectorsforum.com.

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VISA'S HOCK WILL KEYNOTE AT T.D.F.

Dee Hock, founder and chairman emeritus at Visa U.S.A.
and Visa International, will speak on "The Rise of the
Chaordic Organization" at Training Directors' Forum
Conference June 6 in Phoenix.

Hock's subject is how organizations can replace
command-and-control structures with "purpose, principle
and people" on the Visa model.

Hock will speak in place of Leif Edvinsson, CEO with
Universal Networking Intellectual Capital. Edvinsson
canceled because of another commitment, say conference
planners.

Register for Training Directors' Forum Conference at
http://www.trainingdirectorsforum.com.

_____________

FINISH? WHY?

Do learning portals work? Or does the dropout rate that
seems to plague e-learning render learning portals
ineffective?

That's what a reader asked. One response: "The reasons
for low completion rates for self-directed learning are
numerous," says Nancy Bartlett ( Nbartlettbha@aol.com ).

Among them: Bad match of content to learner, inadequate
time-management or organizational skills on the part of
the student, learner isolation, lack of support, and lack
of motivation.

Bartlett, analyst in Lexington, MA, with research firm
brandon-hall.com, says she's completing research on use
of digital-collaboration tools.

"What we found was that completion rates and student
satisfaction increased significantly when the learner has
the opportunity for human-to-human interaction," says
Bartlett -- that is, when the learner gets tutoring,
discussion boards, chat or full learning communities.

But how can e-learning be effective if learners don't
finish courses?

"E-learning presents a unique issue," retorts Bartlett.
"What does it mean to complete a course?"

Here's what she means: If e-learning lets learners
quickly pick up what they need to know to do their
jobs -- why should they complete the entire course?

"With e-learning," Bartlett concludes, "we need to
develop new metrics."

_____________

FINDING MISSING GRAPHICS IN TOOLBOOK

A reader asked about missing graphics in developing
Web-based training with ToolBook.

The version of NT at the reader's organization won't
allow use of the accompanying Instructor tool from
click2learn.com inc. of Bellevue, WA.

"I am running into problems when I am exporting modules
for the Web -- error messages about not finding graphic
files," reports the reader. "When I go through the
module, though, the graphic cited is not in the module."

Readers to the rescue: Dawn Adams ( Dawn.Adams@ey.com ),
a training manager for Ernst & Young LLP in Cleveland,
says:

o Long file names with spaces can cause problems.
Check your directory structure and put graphics
in a folder just below your application's folder.
For example, if your ToolBook file is in a folder
called Courses, create a folder within Courses.
Call it Graphics, and move your graphic files to
that folder.

o "If you're not using Instructor, are you using
Assistant?" asks Adams. ToolBook is a generic
name for several versions of the software from
click2learn.com inc., she notes.

o Check the ToolBook knowledge base at
http://www.click2learn.com(select Services,
then Support). "The knowledge base contains a
lot of technical information that is searchable,"
says Adams.

o Finally, subscribe to the ToolBook listserv at
http://www.biocom.arizona.edu/tbook. "All the
worldwide ToolBook experts monitor this list,
including click2learn folks," says Adams. "And
they generally respond quickly to these types
of questions." Or check the ToolBook newsgroup,
alt.multimedia.toolbook, on Usenet.


TRY PLATTE CANYON

Another reader, Dian Carity ( dian_carity@efunds.com ),
recommends Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Co.
( http://www.plattecanyon.com) of Colorado Springs,
CO, which specializes in ToolBook applications.

"Terrifically knowledgeable and helpful," assesses
Carity, senior education consultant and computer-based
training developer with eFunds Corp., a Milwaukee
bank-software maker.

Platte Canyon offers "reasonably priced support" -- and
is "very tolerant of us ToolBook users stumbling around
out here!" Carity quips.

_____________

MORPHING SHAPES IN DIRECTOR

How would you make Director better? One reader "would
like to see Director more easily create shapes" -- lines,
squares, circles -- "that change size and color
dynamically based on mouse movement."

"Quite doable," responds Alan Levine
( alan.levine@domail.maricopa.edu ), instructional
technologist at Maricopa Community Colleges in Tempe,
AZ.

You may need to program such capabilities yourself,
Levine cautions. "It is not often built in as a button,"
he says. "You have to code it yourself or find some
pre-built code."

You can, Levine says, "change the size and shape and
color of circles, squares, and lines from the Tool
palette, and tie it to mouse position, mouse movement
from a previous position, the time of day, data retrieved
from a Web server, etc.

"You can also dynamically change the appearance of
vector shapes (Director 7+) as well as imported Flash
media (Director 7+)."

How? Levine suggests these sites:

http://www.director-online.com/
http://www.behaviors.com/
http://www.mediamacros.com/

Or post a question on Direct-L, the Director listserv:
http://listserv.uark.edu/archives/direct-l.html.

Finally, check Maricopa's own DirectorWeb:
http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/director/.

Director, from Macromedia Inc. of San Francisco, creates
rich-media presentations and games.

_____________

TRACKING AT EDDIE BAUER U

How do you know your managers have learned what's in
those three-ring binders?

Eddie Bauer University (EBU), the education wing
at Seattle-based retailer Eddie Bauer Inc., measures
performance of store managers via intranet.

The initiative addresses a key challenge for retailing
-- helping managers find ways to reduce front-line
employee turnover.

More about the Bauer approach is at
http://www.trainingdirectorsforum.com. Click
Training Directors' Forum Newsletter Online.


MR. EVALUATION HIMSELF

Speaking of evaluation, Donald Kirkpatrick, originator
of the four-level approach to evaluating training, will
lead a post-conference session June 7 called "Evaluating
Training Programs: The Four Levels" at Training
Directors' Forum Conference in Phoenix. More information
is at http://www.trainingdirectorsforum.com.

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CRIES FOR HELP: BROADBAND WIRELESS -- WHEN?

"I'm an architect and campus planner who works with a
wide range of educational clients planning facilities and
technologies for at least five years from now.

"I've heard speculation about broadband wireless, but
I'm skeptical that, in an educational setting with so
many users in close proximity, it'll be proven any time
soon.

"How many years from now do readers think it'll be
before we have dependable wireless transmissions in
classrooms and computer labs, making it unnecessary to
run copper cable and fiber all over the building?"


READERS? If you can answer that one, please respond
to justask@lakewoodpub.com . Your subject line:
Broadband Wireless -- When?

VERY IMPORTANT: Include your name and title, your
organization, its location, what it does, and a phone
at which we can reach you.


ARE YOU STUCK?

Your colleagues may have some ideas for your
online-learning quandary. Please send your question to
justask@lakewoodpub.com . Please include a distinctive
subject line.

_____________

WINDOW SHOPPING: K.M. MUST-KNOWS


http://www.lakewoodconferences.com/kmwp/

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT. Saul Carliner's report,
"Eight Things That Training and Performance Improvement
Specialists Must Know about Knowledge Management," is at
this site. Carliner, who teaches information design at
Bentley College in Waltham, MA, will host an "Online
Learning Consumer Report" panel at Training Directors'
Forum Conference in Phoenix June 5. Register at
http://www.trainingdirectorsforum.com.


http://www.streamingadvantage.com

SCREAMING ABOUT STREAMING? Akamai Technologies
Inc. of Cambridge, MA, and Microsoft Corp. offer free
half-day seminars on streaming media. The site lists
dates and cities.


http://www.TrainingTool.com

BROWN BAG. Webaroni Inc. of Broomfield, CO, offered
this site recently in response to a reader question some
time ago about how to do lunchtime Web presentations.


http://www.insite.se

STUCK IN THE '70S? Insite, a Gothenburg, Sweden,
firm invites a look at its site in response to the
reader who asked guidance in writing simulations for
training -- guidance more recent than that in the 1970
publication the reader has at hand. Insite provides
virtual-reality simulations and multimedia for
interactive-training applications.

_____________

.. AND FINALLY
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WHO'S FLYING FREE to Phoenix? Richard Gieser, that's
who. The director of product training with Optum Inc.
of Costa Mesa, CA, won our drawing for two free
air-vouchers for travel to Training Directors' Forum
Conference June 4-7. Aren't you going? Register at
http://www.trainingdirectorsforum.com/register_form.wcs
_________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________
DO YOU HAVE GREAT E-LEARNING? Brandon Hall wants
to hear from companies that demonstrate excellence
in technology-based training across the enterprise: What
are you doing, and how? Participating organizations will
receive a complimentary copy of the executive summary,
and may be included in our Benchmark Study to identify 10
World-Class Examples of Enterprise Wide e-Learning. Go to
http://www.internetconnect.net/~bhall/benchmarking/benchmarkingform/
to complete the questionnaire.
______________________________________________________

IT'S WEEKLY. IT'S FREE! To receive OnLine Learning News,
go to http://www.lakewoodconferences.comand click "Free
Online Newsletters" and complete the form.

____________
Copyright 2000
Bill Communications Inc.

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