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Online Learning News – 19 November issue


A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc. (Lakewood)
Friday, Nov. 19, 1999 Vol. 2, No. 34

Help us revolutionize learning! Share your expertise at Hungry


1. Don't know how? Own up ...
2. ... And no bozos
3. How laptops help training
4. Online at any speed: Your ideas
5 Art-safety courses
6. Cries for help: Foiling cheaters? Tracking training?



An independent consultant designing classroom and then online
courses for a client asked readers for recommendations on
resources "to educate me on designing for distance education."

Curt Crandall (, publishing and training
manager with Anaheim, CA, directory publisher Digital Graphics
ADvantage, has a cold-slap-in-the-face response:

"In my opinion, consultants who take on projects and learn about
it at the clients' expense don't do the field a service,"
Crandall admonishes.

"The ethical thing to do," he adds, "would have been to tell your
client you don't know anything about distance learning and offer
to decline to bid on that portion of the contract."

ONLINE LEARNING NEWS SAYS: Ouch! That's straight from the


Q Is it ever in the client's interest for a consultant to learn
a new skill on the fly as a project proceeds -- and the
client pays?

Q What are your examples of learning on the client's dime that
worked well for the client?

Q What are your examples of learning on the client's dime that
DIDN'T work well for the client, and maybe shouldn't have

Please respond to Include your name,
title, organization, where it is and what it does, and a
phone number at which we can reach you. No attachments,please,
but include a Web-site address if you like. Your subject line:



Here are more responses from readers about how to delve into
online design:

Remember cultural differences around the world, advises Deborah
Evelyn (, senior course developer with
relationship-management software maker Clarify Ltd.
( in Reading, England.

Evelyn advises:

o Don't use slang. "I had to have 'sticker shock' and
'bozo' translated for me," says Evelyn.

o Don't use brand and company names that are not
international. "When you visit your bank" is OK. "When
you drop into Starbucks" is not. McDonald's? "Now,
'MacDonald's' would be OK, I guess," she muses.

o Dollars are not the only currency.

o Some of those previewing your course should be from
other countries. "If your material is going to be
translated," says Evelyn, "then this is vital."


Another suggestion for learning online-course design: Brandon
Hall's "Web-Based Training Cookbook" (John Wiley & Sons,
Inc., 1997, $50).

Hall's Feb. 21 address at TRAINING 2000 in Atlanta is on "Best
Practices in Multimedia and Internet Training." Register at

More book suggestions for online-course design:

o Dick Hannasch (, senior training
consultant with Principal Financial Group, a Des Moines, IA,
financial-services business, suggests "Teaching and Learning
at a Distance: What It Takes to Effectively Design, Deliver,
and Evaluate Programs," Thomas E. Cyrs, editor (Jossey-Bass,
1997, $23).

o Hannasch also suggests "Technology-based Training: The Art
and Science of Design, Development, and Delivery," by Kevin
Kruse and Jason Keil (Jossey-Bass, 1999, $40).

o Jeffrey Presseau (, an online-learning
project manager and senior staff specialist with United
Airlines Inc. in Elk Grove Township, IL, suggests "How to
Design Self-Directed and Distance Learning: A Guide for
Creators of Web-Based Training, Computer-Based Training, and
Self-Study Materials" by Nigel Harrison (McGraw-Hill, 1998,



How do laptops change training? We've been following that
question as the price gap between portables and desktops

Douglas A. Davis (, customer-training manager
for Rexroth Corp.'s Indramat division in Hoffman Estates, IL,
lists these factors:

o Constant changes in class scheduling and cancellations make
it too difficult for his training coordinator to keep up on a
desktop because she sometimes leaves early to meet her
responsibilities as a single mother. Now she takes a laptop
home with her.

o Davis's six instructors need computers to train customers in
how to use the electronic controls and machine-tool servo
drives the company makes, so trainers take laptops for their
road classes. But instructors even use a small laptop, the
Toshiba Portege, for classes at the home facility.

"We decided to use laptops in our classes, instead of desktops,
because they take up less room on the table during a class," says
Davis. "Desktops require a monitor, and monitors take up too much
space on a table. Not to mention that they are an obstruction for
the students."



Someone asked about online-learning software that allows user
access via a variety of connect speeds, from modem to T1.

Eric L. Tompkins (, who works in conference
services and distance education at the extension center of the
University of California in Riverside (
suggests Rotor Communications Corp. (

UC Riverside last month delivered two courses to learners in
northern California, Massachusetts, Singapore and Hong Kong, says
Tompkins. Connections ranged from 28.8-kbs modem to T1 lines. The
software functioned behind a firewall as well. "We blasted
through all those barriers and put on a fantastic class," exults

And a vendor suggests:



Someone asked about Web- or CD-based courses to train artists in
safe and environmentally sound means of handling and disposing of
art materials.

Jim Clauson (, senior course developer with
Breakthrough Systems of Kingston, TN, suggests Envirowin
( Clauson calls Envirowin "an OSHA-
based training-software group that offers free safety and
environmental-art downloads and pay-for-CD art collections.

And a vendor suggests:



Can you help? Please e-mail with your
idea. Please use the correct subject line, e.g. Foiling

Please include your name, title, organization, where it is,
and what it does. Please also include a phone number at which
we can reach you to confirm information.

No attachments, please. But include a Web-site address if it
will be instructive for readers.


"If you are training students via electronic means, how do you
ensure that the test is really being taken by the registered
student? In our organization it has become an issue because
students have been found to be cheating. What really ensures that
the registered student is actually taking the test without


"I am looking for some suggestions as to what is the best
training-tracking software available. I have been looking at
recommended resources, but would like some input from people
using specific software. One that I have reviewed and
findinteresting is the Training Management Software designed for
Microsoft Windows 95. If anyone would be willing to share
information I would greatly appreciate it."



Up next: TRAINING 2000 with Nobelist Desmond Tutu, MIT's Nicholas
Negroponte, anthropologist Jennifer James, Fortune's Tom Stewart
and TV's Ben Stein. Register at

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Copyright 1999
Bill Communications Inc.


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