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Online Learning News – 21 December 1999 issue


A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc. (Lakewood)
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 1999 Vol. 2, No. 39


What next? TRAINING 2000 with Nobelist Desmond Tutu, Fortune's
Tom Stewart and TV's Ben Stein. Go to


1. Trainer 2000: What's on your skill list?
2. About online instruction: Aaargh!
3. More money-to-burn ideas
4. Online surveys, tracking training
5. Cries for help: Training course = college course?



Not long ago we asked for your ideas on what skills the trainer of
2000 needs.

Tech-delivered training skills? Sure -- but there's more, says
Christine Brinkley ([email protected]), a trainer with
Sapient, a Cambridge, MA, e-services firm.

Adds Brinkley: "To say that all trainers are going to need authoring
and HTML skills is to misunderstand -- that online learning can only
be implemented effectively if it is offered as one component of a
larger effort to train them on specific skills."

Brinkley envisions online delivery as part of a package that
includes standup training, discussion groups and coaching.

"Moreover," she adds, "most of online learning is outsourced.
Corporate trainers might use authoring skills to customize some
courses, but their knowledge of HTML is not nearly as important as
basic business and consulting skills."


"Trainers must be able to talk persuasively to executives about
the business needs for training or other performance-improvement
measures," Brinkley continues.

"Trainers must be systems thinkers. They need to understand all
aspects of the business and how their interventions will
interface, support, and perhaps negatively impact other programs
in place."

Successful trainers, Brinkley predicts, will have an
organizational development background and "intellectual

Another take: HTML (hypertext markup language), the universal
computer-coding language of the Internet, shouldn't be a priority
for everybody.

"I would subtract HTML skills from the list unless you already
have the experience," offers Leonard Patterson
([email protected]), a training consultant with USA Group
of Indianapolis, which makes and services student loans.

"I think it would be far more valuable to have extensive PC skills
and be able to manipulate the packages that we have access to,"
says Patterson.


Some of you point to the fundamentals: Essential for trainers is
"education in how adult learners learn and process information,"
says Jill Ullmann ([email protected]), documentation and training
specialist at Monmouth (IL) College.

And, Ullman adds, "background in instructional design would assist
trainers in knowing if the instruction they are providing is
relevant to the group they are training.

Of course, trainers must not lose touch with constituents. If
constituents stay low-tech, trainers must as well, suggests
Kristina Broomhall ([email protected]).

The software trainer with Bank Market and Technology Consultants
Inc in Westminster, CO, acknowledges that trainers must stay on
top of new technologies.

But, Broomhall adds, with many organizations "still trying figure
out how to integrate their traditional training with online
learning, trainers may find themselves swinging back and forth
between the two teaching methods."

In short, don't leave trainees behind who aren't ready to leap
online. "I am consistently stumbling on people who still use paper
ledgers," says Broomhall, "and they like it."



Here's some screwdriver-in-the-back-pocket common sense -- and a
followup question -- about the relative merits of online learning
vs. live classroom learning.

"Saying CBT is more effective than instructor-led training is like
saying that a Phillips screwdriver is better than a flat-blade
screwdriver," suggests Hank Penner ([email protected]). "It
depends on the application. The tool must meet the application as
well as the human using it."

Penner, senior instructor with Fisher Rosemount Education
Services, a Marshalltown, IA, maintenance and engineering training
firm, thinks CBT works well for learning to use computers.

But in other areas, he's not so sure. "To define active learning
as clicking a mouse is a stretch," he says, "unless mouse-clicking
is the learning objective."

Penner's question: "I would be interested in hearing about
applications that are outside of computer-related training topics,
where CBT has been applied successfully."

"And," he adds, "is CBT only for the 20-something generation that
was raised with the computer?"


OLL News says: Send your responses to [email protected].
Please include your name, title, organization, where it is, what
it does,and a phone number at which we can reach you. No
attachments, please. Your subject line: When DOES Online Work?



Still on the subject of instructor-led vs. online learning:

An instructor adds what no computer-based training can, contended
reader Lynn Wood ([email protected]), information-
technology trainer with oil-pipeline maker CSOL in Aberdeen, UK,
when last we talked about the merits of CBT vs. live ("Good CBT:
'like touching a hot iron,'" Nov. 22).

In response, Patti Shank ([email protected]) has this cool-
headed reaction: "Aaaaarrrrgggghhh!!!!"

Er, maybe we'd better let Shank, an Aurora, CO, Web-based training
developer, have the floor for a moment:

Online learning, Shank says, CAN be instructor-led. She points to
higher-education institutions and other organizations using real-
time, instructor-led cyber classrooms.

Moreover, in such environments the instructor is able to pick up
signals as to whether attendees have not understood material. The
instructor can also foster discussion and offer resources.

"In fact," Shank says, "an online instructor can personally
respond to more people. Only a few can speak up in an in-person

Finally, Shank lists these benefits of the asynchronous component
of an online class -- that is, the parts of the class when
learners and instructor aren't online at the same time.

During such times, says Shank, participants:

o Have time to think before speaking.

o Can help each other and critique each others' work.

o Aren't limited by time or location.

o Don't have preconceived visual cues about other participants.



Here are two sessions at TRAINING 2000 in Atlanta -- live and
instructor-led -- that address the debate about when to use
online delivery, and when not to:

o "Measuring the Effectiveness of Online Learning" is a one-day
pre-conference workshop Feb. 20 with Sam Shmikler, president
of the Periscope Organization, a Redwood Shores, CA,
distributed-learning firm.

o "Fulfilling the Promise of Online Learning" Feb. 21. Kevin
Oakes, president of Click2Learn Inc. of Bellevue, WA,
(formerly Asymetrix Learning Systems Inc.) talks about what
still has to happen for online learning to live up to its
advanced billing.

Register for the Feb. 21-23 TRAINING 2000 show at



Where can you find needs-analysis and curriculum-development
courses, but fast? Someone asked where to turn for that training
before funding dries up Jan. 1.

Several of you said last week that you like Langevin Learning
Services Inc. of Manotick, Ontario (

More ideas: Doug Lested ([email protected]) recommends
Friesen, Kaye and Associates of Los Angeles, Ottawa and
Toronto (

"Several staff and I have taken two of their courses, Designing
Instruction and Managing the Training Function," says Lested,
training coordinator with Quintiles University at Quintiles Inc.
in San Diego, CA. "They were highly knowledgeable and
competitively priced."

Meanwhile, Bill Pauluh ([email protected]), a video and
multimedia producer in the corporate education department with
printer and copier maker Konica Business Technologies Inc. in
Windsor, CT, cuts to the chase:

Instead of looking for a course in online design, he suggests
going to the Allen Communication site and downloading a free demo
of its Designer's Edge design tool for trainers

The Allen Communication site also has a PDF version of a
Designer's Edge 3.0 tutorial.

Finally, vendors offer:



Someone asked about online surveys. Julia O'Connor
([email protected]), president of Trade Show Training
Inc. in Richmond, VA, suggests this site cosponsored by the
University of Virginia:



Someone asked about tracking training. A vendor suggests



"I need to know what is the difference between designing an online
training course and designing an online college course. Is there a
template that will help me in designing these two?"

If you can offer any wisdom for this reader, please send your
response to [email protected]. Please include your name,
title, organization, where it is, what it does, and a phone number
at which we can reach you. No attachments, please. Your subject
line: Training vs. College.




Also at TRAINING 2000: Anthropologist Jennifer James, MIT's
Nicholas Negroponte, and improvisational humor with Player's
Workshop of The Second City. See


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