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Online Learning News – 19 October issue


A news and idea service of Bill Communications (Lakewood)
Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1999 Vol. 2, No. 30

Macromedia adds life to the Web. Visit us in Booth #407 at
the OnLine Learning '99 Expo (


1. Lavender slacks: Tech as accessory
2. Live from OnLine Learning '99
3. What's your Big Unanswered Question?
4. Trainers and SMEs: Peace!
5. Still more about Gooey



Her new lavender laptop matches her slacks, Gloria Gery
quipped -- and she couldn't help but find a lesson in that
observation for attendees at the OnLine Learning '99 show in
Los Angeles Monday.

Gery's lesson: When matching learning and learning delivery,
the means of delivery should be the accessory. Learning comes

Conference host Gery, who opened the show at the Los Angeles
Convention Center, cautioned the estimated 4,500 attendees
not to turn to e-training for its own sake. "The biggest
risk," said the Tolland, MA, consultant, "is falling in love
with the messenger."

In short, don't let the flashy means of tech-delivered
training blind you to the end: delivering learning.

Other pitfalls Gery listed: Isolating learning from business
goals and "defaulting to the familiar" -- relying on old
classroom or text-based, page-turning models of learning,
rather than building new structures to match here-and-now
learning needs.

Done right, tech-delivered learning will be revolutionary for
training, said Gery. "People won't have to know anywhere near
as much as they used to know to begin work," she said.

If online learning fulfills that promise, workers can rely on
just-in-time training and performance support to help them do
their jobs. Classroom would become less of a job-training


Other speakers picked up the same theme:

o Learning mega-entrepreneur Michael Milken pointed to the
widening breach between well-educated and poorly educated,
and exhorted the learning professionals at the conference to
find ways to close the gap using online learning.

Milken, chairman of Knowledge Universe Inc. of Redwood City,
CA, singled out health care as an obvious target for online
dissemination of learning and information. The sector is
approaching 15% of the U.S. gross domestic product, said
Milken, but is behind the curve in tech-delivered training.

Meanwhile, Milken said, the long-term shape of online
learning has yet to come into focus. "The leaders in this
industry in five years," Milken told attendees, "might not
even be in this room today."

o Robert Jecmen, vice president with Intel Corp. and head
of its mobile-computing unit, reported a sharp shift at Intel
toward laptop computing and away from desktops: 80% desktops
in 1998 to 45% this year, and a projected 70% laptops by the
end of 2001.

Mobility, says Jecmen, boosts productivity as workers haul
laptops to conference rooms for collaboration and work at
home or in other locations.

Moreover, mobility is getting less expensive. The cost for an
organization to support a laptop now is scarcely more than
the cost of supporting a desktop, claims Jecmen: $5,000 for a
laptop and $4,300 for a desktop.


In a bit of cyber-dazzle, Jecmen and an assistant conducted a
wireless laptop-to-laptop transfer of what they said was a
5-megabyte file. It took about 40 seconds.

Such transfers now are possible for properly equipped
computers within about 10 meters of one another, Jecmen said.

Classroom teachers, he said, could use so-called Bluetooth
technology ( for such wireless
transfers to zap assignments or readings to laptop-equipped
students in an otherwise traditional classroom. Bluetooth is
an industry collaboration.

All told, fashion could be a good metaphor for this show --
if the PC is going out of style, as Michael Hawley claims. "I
think the personal computer has passed its peak," the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology gadget guru told

Hawley drew repeated laughter with his accounts of far-out
initiatives his students dream up -- such as avacados that
have been laser-engraved with instructions on how to make

But he's serious about the PC being passe: Some handheld toys
now have more computing power than the Apollo moon lander of
30 years ago, Hawley claims.

He thinks that highly portable devices, not just toys, will
soon deliver more information faster than we get via desktop
or laptop.

If that happens, we may all be carrying a color-coordinated
learning tool in the back pocket of our pants -- and training
would be a very different practice indeed.



A discussion on "Mismanaging Intellectual Capital and How to
Avoid It" will be broadcast live from OnLine Learning '99 in
Los Angeles Wednesday. To participate in the free event, go

The webcast, from 12 noon-1 p.m. Eastern time (9-10 a.m.
Pacific) will include Training Magazine Editor Jack Gordon;
knowledge-management specialist Tom Davenport, who teaches
management-information systems at Boston University in
Wellesley, MA; and Lois Bartelme, vice president with
LIVEware5 Inc. of Cedar Rapids, IA.



Are you attending OnLine Learning '99 and Performance Support
'99 in Los Angeles? If so, tell us this:

Q What's the best piece of practical advice about online
learning that you've picked up at the show?

Q What's the biggest remaining unanswered question about
online learning for you?

E-mail your response to [email protected]. Please
include your name, title, organization, what it does and
where it is.

Text only, please. No attachments. Your subject line: What I
Learned. Or, My Big Question.

We'll publish some of your responses in OnLine Learning News.



Winners of the 1999 Multimedia & Internet Training Awards
announced at OnLine Learning '99 in Los Angeles Monday are
listed at

Some of the winners are conducting demonstrations at the



Is working with subject-matter experts a prime source of
chafing for online-training developers? Yes, wrote developer
Patti Shank in Technology for Learning Newsletter
( last month.

"We ed-tech types have a certain expectation of SMEs," she
growls. "Gimme the content and leave me alone."

We asked TFL readers to respond. Dennis Gale
([email protected]), an instructional-programs developer with
Muscatine, IA, tire retreader Bandag Inc.
(, agrees that SMEs and developers
get into scrapes -- always have, and likely always will.

"The issue is not the medium, but the development process,"
says Gale, a 20-year training veteran. He offers these

o Minimize power struggles with a project-team meeting
up front. The project leader should lay out the roles
and responsibilities of team members, and clarify the
skills and experience of each. "The initial meeting can
lend credibility to all project members," says Gale,
"and help take personalities out of the picture."

o Explain the development process to SMEs, but don't use
trainer-speak -- "competencies," "cognitive learning
objectives," and "performance-based skill mastery."
Such expressions confuse the uninitiated. Speak in
everyday language.

o Be clear about target learners. This helps SMEs
distinguish among "need to know," "nice to know"
and "tell them everything." What skills do learners
have already? What do they need to know? How much time
do they have to learn new skills?

o Give credit. Learners should know who's on the project
team. Recognition can be as simple as a dedication page
in your manual or Web document.

Giving credit helps assuage a persistent SME fear, says Gale:
If they show others how they do what they do, their jobs will
be at risk.



A reader reports trouble removing Gooey after trying the
software and deciding not to use it.

We've reported earlier challenges with this software ("Gooey
sticks on your firewall," Sept. 21). Gooey is designed to let
visitors to a Web site text-chat with one another in real

If you need guidance concerning Gooey, contact On Freund
([email protected]) of the technical support team at Hypernix
Technologies Ltd. ( in Tel Aviv,



TRAINING 2000 brochures are ready. You can request one at

The big show in Atlanta Feb. 21-23 features South Africa's
Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, Nicholas Negroponte of
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cultural
anthropologist Jennifer James, Fortune magazine columnist Tom
Stewart, and 200 breakout sessions.



Productivity Starts Here! LIFO Training from
Atkins Performance Improvement Programs.
Go to http://www.stuartatkins.comto find out whats new.

IT'S WEEKLY. IT'S FREE! To receive OnLine Learning News,
please go to fill
out the form; or e-mail [email protected] with
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up for two, free online e-newsletters!"

If you prefer NOT to receive OnLine Learning News,
Or e-mail [email protected] with "unsubscribe
ONLINE-LEARNING-NEWS" in the subject line.

Copyright 1999
Bill Communications Inc.


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