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Online Learning News – 22 August issue


A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc.

Tuesday, August 22, 2000 Vol. 3, No. 22

Smart companies get it. Check our specials on Lotus
Domino R5 certification:


1. You and e-stories
2. Online for cheap
3. Call-center CBT
4. Collaboration cases
5. Registration software: What you like
6. Colors again: Get businesslike
7. Cries for help: Pricing? Usability for kids?
8. Window shopping: Proposals, please, for OLL Euro


Help learners make their point -- and get ready
to redirect ramblers, warns Rebecca Everett
( [email protected] ).

That's her response to our query on how you
use storytelling in e-learning ("Storytelling online,"
Aug. 15).

Stories do work "in any media for all learners, in my
experience," says Everett, a San Diego coach, trainer and
speaker -- with these caveats:

o Anecdotes or stories work best when they are
"simply stated and wholly relevant."

o Alternate between stories about yourself and
stories about others, Everett says -- so you
don't seem "self-focused."

o When others share stories online or in
conference calls, "as moderator, I often find
I have to restate the point of a student's story,"
says Everett.

o Ramblers? "I interrupt with a question
to get it back on track -- more than once if
necessary," she says.

o To counter rambling, she asks specific
questions: "Does anyone have an incident
to share about a time when you were interrupted
in a presentation?"


Jennifer Jozwiak ( [email protected] ) tells stories
when she responds individually to her students'
"quick-writing journal" -- an e-mail journal they must
complete in 15 minutes.

Jozwiak, an English-as-second-language and basic-skills
instructor at Santa Ana (CA) College and California State
University in Long Beach, says her stories are
"definitely short and to the point."

"Normally," she adds, "I don't share a story with the
whole group unless I'm standing in front of them in

Mike Kern ( [email protected] ), a Madison, WI,
trainer, helped create a combined print and online
project that uses e-stories.

A fictional time-travel story first appeared in a
magazine called "Student Leadership," which targets
college students.

The story now is also at:

The site invites readers to respond to the tale.

Kern is working on "a more interactive online version"
that lets students explore motivations and conflicts and
see what happens if characters make other choices.

Kern -- finishing graduate studies on digital
storytelling techniques in learning -- finds promise in
the use of "very realistic stories to provide simulations
for soft-skill training."


Spark knowledge in your employees.
Element K, the knowledge catalyst.


A reader asked about cheap online delivery.

Try Blackboard (, suggests
Bill Hess ( [email protected] ).

His cost: "$100 for a one-year lease," says Hess,
continuing-education instructor at Rockingham Community
College in Wentworth, NC.

Hess teaches medical terminology on the Internet using He also offers a two-week Internet course
for teachers on how to use Blackboard.



Where do you go to find off-the-shelf computer-based
training for call-center agents -- training that focuses
on problem-solving and critical thinking.

Some responses to that reader question:

o Mary Ellen Knowles ( [email protected] ),
manager of the City of Los Angeles Information
Technology Agency, points to SkillSoft Corp.'s
( call-center courses,
listed at $100 each.

o Vendor Viviance AG (
of St. Gallen, Switzerland, is developing a
Web-based "facilitative-selling" course "which
might be very similar to the computer-based
training course geared towards call-center
agents in problem-solving critical thinking,"
says Jean-Marc Grand, the firm's vice president
for international business development.

o Vendor C3i Inc. (
of San Francisco says the call-center Web-based
training it is developing for another client
may apply to the questioner's needs as well.



How do you use collaboration software?

We asked you to name your tool of choice and describe
how you use it ("Collaboration Quest," July 11).

Here's some of what you said:

Grady Batchelor's ( [email protected] )
experience with collaboration is in college teaching
and corporate training.

His tools: FirstClass ( from
Centrinity Inc. in Markham, Ontario, and WebBoard from
O'Reilly & Associates Inc. (
of Cambridge, MA.

Batchelor, an Omaha, NE, consultant, likes FirstClass's
"overall ease of use" and its integration of synchronous
and asynchronous collaborative tools.

Ease of setup and a "clean interface" make the tool
"ideal for delivering training and college courses,"
he says.

FirstClass "is both client-based as well as Web-based,
so users can choose which interface works best for
them," Batchelor adds.

A FirstClass license is on a per-user basis -- $8 per
user at the 1,000-user level for a college.

WebBoard's "simplicity and overall ease of use" fit it
for teaching courses that are "truly interactive," says

Instructors can track learners' usage and "page"
learners to chat, and create discussions.

Bring in Classroom for WebBoard by Corgisoft
(, says Batchelor, and
you can add journaling, online testing on the fly,
even a gradebook.

WebBoard and Classroom are "so easy anyone can set it up
and be teaching within a few hours," says Batchelor.

WebBoard's cost: $1,799. Corgisoft's Classroom is $600.


Another take: Ralph Schiavone ( [email protected] )
uses collaboration software to create a synchronous
training classroom for employees at five sites.

His software preference is Microsoft Corp.'s
NetMeeting, with Web-based videoconferencing using
Polycom Inc.'s ViewStation FX ($15,000).

A key advantage: Collaboration lets each of his five
groups see and hear the same information and messages at
the same time.

And the immediate feedback of collaboration is "very
useful," says Schiavone, learning-systems consultant
with Malcolm Pirnie Inc., a White Plains, NY,
environmental consulting firm.

What would Schiavone improve?

Sound and images in videoconferencing are "still not
completely 100% there over T1 lines," says Schiavone
-- but, he adds, it's "certainly more than acceptable."

In contrast, consultant Batchelor is critical of video.
It is, says Batchelor, "the most ineffective use of the
Web to date."

Users' attention span, Batchelor argues, is too short to
maintain their attention for more than a few minutes
-- "unless the topic is something they can simply listen
to and not have to watch and interact at the same time,"
he says.

Here are vendor responses:

Stephan Hagege ( [email protected] ) says his company
uses collaboration software to support field agents in
large territories.

"We present the collaboration and e-mail management
tools that Cisco offers online, using an Internet
connection and a dial-in line," says Hagege, education
specialist with Cisco Systems Inc. in Research Triangle
Park, NC.

That, Hagege adds, "really wows people, as we can use
our product to sell our product."

Cisco also uses collaboration software -- its own
Customer Interaction Suite -- to support its
technical-response center.

Customers can reach live support by clicking a button
on the support page. Or, if customers call in, Cisco can
use its collaboration tool as well.


Another vendor, Julie Gibson ( [email protected] ),
has used collaboration for online teaching, managing a
user group called LinuxChix, distributing a family-will
bequest, and running asynchronous meetings.

Gibson uses PageSeeder (,
for which she is product manager. PageSeeder is from
Weborganic Systems Pty. Ltd. in Sydney, Australia.

A paper she presented on collaboration is at:

And Gibson's public sites are:


Jaron Lanier, lead scientist with the National
Tele-Immersion Initiative, will give OnLine Learning
2000 participants a peek at emerging collaboration
technology in his keynote address Sept. 27 in Denver.

Go to http://www.onlinelearning2000.comfor information
about the show.



A reader asked about training-registration software that
accepts electronic or manual registration, creates
confirmation letters, and tracks extranet hits for

Steve Morse ( [email protected] ) suggests Pathlore's
Registrar (

"They have really set the standard for
training-management software," says Morse,
training manager with Walbridge Aldinger Co.,
a Detroit construction-management firm.

Another suggestion: Susanne D'Eustachio
( [email protected] ) points to Gyrus Systems
Inc.'s Training Wizard 2001 (

"Of the registration systems I evaluated, Gyrus is
the most easy to use and functionally diverse," says
D'Eustachio, manager of learning and knowledge sharing
practices with SCT Corp., a Malvern, PA,
information-technology firm.

Keith Dudding ( [email protected] ),
instructional designer with investment-services provider
Edward Jones in St. Louis, suggests TrainingServer Inc.

Vendors suggest:

Finally, confident niche player Philip Baruch points
to these big vendors:

Baruch, product manager with MaxIT Corp. of
Jacksonville, FL, then suggests his own firm's software
for businesses with fewer than 2,000 employees.

EZTracker ( from
MaxIT, starting at $589, tracks and schedules training,
manages curriculum, and allows user customization.



Here's one more point of view on whether your
intranet-training design should match your
information-technology department's intranet look ("The
color of peace: Work it out with IT," Aug. 8).

In a word: Get businesslike, says Steve Swain
( [email protected] ), sales and marketing vice
president with e-learning firm Badiyan Inc. of
Bloomington, MN.

A color-crossed reader asked what to do about IT's
demand that training's button colors and navigation stick
to what was already on the intranet.

Swain notes that the reader cited specific learning
reasons for wanting buttons a certain color and the
navigation flowing a certain way in the training area.

What, asks Swain, are the business reasons behind IT's
demand for consistency?

"Learning reasons," he contends, "are business


This OnLine Learning 2000 pre-conference session
(additional cost) addresses the subject of interface

o "Improving e-Business Sites with
Performance-Centered Scripts and Designs"
Sept. 24 features Bill Miller, user-interface
design specialist at broker Edward Jones.

And in the conference proper:

o "Design Principles Even Einstein Didn't Think
About" with consultant Dawn Adams, Sept. 25.

Check http://www.onlinelearning2000.comfor more
information about the Sept. 24-27 show.



Readers? Can you help on any of the following questions
from your peers?

training in a recorded e-learning format and selling
that package to the customer? What pricing strategy
are you using?"

NO-DOZE SLIDESHOW TIPS? How do you prevent
PowerPoint presentations from becoming "the
technological version of the standup lecture?" asks a

"Can anyone provide tips and/or recommend sources of
information on a more effective use of PowerPoint that is
consistent with instructor-led, participant-centered

USABILITY FOR KIDS? "Could you refer me to sites that
might have some information on usability testing of Web
sites -- educational or otherwise -- for kids?"

PEDAGOGICAL MODEL? "Our company is beginning to help
another company in the use of online-learning content
for their employees, and we would like to know if anyone
could recommend a pedagogical model or techniques for
building interactive synchronous or asynchronous

"This company has 5,000 employees nationwide, and they
require continuous training in some areas."

Readers? If you can help, mailto:[email protected]
with your ideas under the appropriate subject line, e.g.
Usability for Kids.

Please include:

o Your name and title.
o Your organization's name.
o Your location -- what city, suburb or town?
o Briefly, what your organization does.
o A phone number at which we can reach you.


Your colleagues may have some ideas for you. Please
mailto:[email protected] and describe your dilemma.
Include a distinctive subject line.



PATHLORE AND THE NAVY. Pathlore Software Corp.
of Columbus, OH, announced that the U.S. Navy will
use Pathlore's Learning Management System to help deploy
"one of the military's largest-ever online training and
education initiatives." The Navy Learning Network (NLN)
will use the Pathlore product to provide 24-hour access
to 400 courses for 1.2 million Navy personnel and
Marines, including reservists and civilians.

PROPOSALS WANTED. VNU Learning seeks proposals
for breakout sessions at OnLine Learning 2001 Europe,
set for Feb. 13-14 in London. Proposals should cover
European-specific e-learning projects. VNU seeks case
studies, panels, learning differences and strategic




Go in-depth on e-learning.
Register for pre- and post-conference
workshops at OnLine Learning 2000. Go to and
click Schedule-Program, then click Workshops.

To receive OnLine Learning News, go to
click Free Online Newsletters.

The OnLine Learning News team: Becky Wilkinson,
Steve Dahlberg, Terrie Maley, Leah Nelson, Andrew
Cleveland, Julie Groshens, Gloria Gery, Brian Ruhl,
Susan Rogers, Rich Alden, Ernie Leidiger,
Betsey Groshens, Phil Jones, Marc Hequet.

Please mailto:[email protected] with questions or

To advertise, mailto:[email protected] .


Copyright 2000
Bill Communications Inc.


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