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The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE – Issue 1



LearningWIRE - Issue 1
16 January 1998

A FREE electronic newsletter for net enabled people
engaged in training, learning, coaching and staff development.

Copyright (C) 1998 Sift plc. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
long as attribution is given.

In this issue:

  • Welcome editorial
  • 1998 predictions
  • Training site review: The Biz Training and Development Site
  • The elusive Enterprise network
  • A glimpse at TrainingZONE
  • About Sift
  • Subscription information

WELCOME to the very first issue of LearningWIRE. My plan is for this electronic newsletter to become a free, indispensable update on all matters of interest to people engaged in training, learning, coaching and staff development.

LearningWIRE is edited by Tim Pickles of the UK-based Framework consultancy and training network. It is distributed by Sift plc, a leading internet resource company based in Bristol, with a mission to create easily accessible professional communities using the Web as their main resource medium. We welcome further content for LearningWIRE from readers and contributors.

Together, we are about to launch TrainingZONE on the Internet. TrainingZONE will provide an ever-expanding resource of information, news, tips, techniques, links, discussion groups, and learning resources of interest to our target audience of trainers, learners, coaches and managers. Access to TrainingZONE will be free and unrestricted. More glimpses of TrainingZONE are available later in this newsletter. We plan to keep you regularly informed through future issues of LearningWIRE. If you like what you see, please stay registered. Send me an email with your ideas for future content or contributions.

••• We would really appreciate your support by forwarding this newsletter to any of your friends and colleagues who may be interested, and suggesting they subscribe (at no cost!). •••

With very best wishes for 1998,

Tim Pickles
[email protected]

1998 predictions

It seems a pretty good custom to start a new year with resolutions and predictions, so what better way to launch LearningWIRE than to offer you some 100% guaranteed (:-) ideas for 1998. The first few relate to the world of training and development; the final ones relate to computing and the internet:

  1. We're going to hear a lot more about the 'New Deal' - and it won't all be good news.
  2. Individual learning accounts (ILAs?) will make a tentative first appearance.
  3. NTOs will start to produce a barrage of paper to increase their visibility (National Training Organisations if you didn't know)
  4. UK Internet connectivity will continue to grow by at least 150% over the year.
  5. Microsoft will face even more legal challenges to its empire building.
  6. UK ISPs will diminish in number as rationalisation and aggregation begin - but will mine and yours stay in business!?

    and finally,

  7. We'll all get even more fed up of TLAs (those friendly little three letter acronyms!)

I'll revisit these predictions towards the end of the year and report on their outcomes.

Training site review: The Biz Training and Development Site

Each issue of LearningWIRE will review a web site of interest to people engaged in staff development and learning. We aim to both inform you about sites you might want to visit, and warn you about any potential limitations.

Reviewed sites are graded according to their Relevance and their Friendliness; star grades range from * to *****.

All the best sites will be directly accessible from TrainingZONE, and will be included in the local area search engine offered by TrainingZONE.

This week's review is of the training and development site run by The Biz

The Biz is a sort of Yellow Pages site providing gazetteer information about commercial and public services provided by those organisations seeking listings. There is an extensive sub-section devoted to Human Resources, covering many topics such as recruitment, payrolling, etc. One such topic deals with Training and Development and provides a database of further headings covering such areas as professional bodies, awarding bodies, business schools, publishers, language training, management training, etc. I checked out the Management Trainers and found around 20 companies (mostly English based), only two of which I had actually heard of!

If you want an extensive professional directory, The Biz site provides loads of information. It's somewhat unclear how organisations and companies get to be listed with The Biz and whether listing is a subscription service. Several of the databases require further building to be really useful.

The site is built on a tree-hierarchy principle. Nothing wrong with that, but I found there were so many levels that I was becoming frustrated at the time it took to reach the information I sought. Perhaps more use of page anchors would help. Alternatively, don't bookmark until you reach the last level you require. The absence of big graphics is a definite plus for fast loading. A good site search engine finds things reliably.

Usefulness: ***
Friendliness: ***

••• Suggestions for future sites to review (large or small, commercial or personal) are always welcome. Please send your suggestions to the editor. •••

The elusive Enterprise network
For several weeks I've been searching for a handy way to electronically access the nationwide network of Enterprise Companies (TECs in England and Wales, LECs in Scotland). It's surprisingly hard.

Charged with promoting inward investment, skills training, quality standards and the like, you would have thought that these flagship organisations would have jumped at the opportunities presented by the Internet. To date, I can only find around 50% of the TECs and LECs with sites - and some of those are little more than a page with their addresses and phone numbers.

Even more surprising, I can't track down an official, comprehensive directory of the whole Enterprise Network. The best I can offer you are at:

but both of these exclude the Scottish LECs. To find them, try:

If you've found a better way, please let me know! And whilst we're about it, has anyone found a good information site for the national programme of Investors in People? (It's certainly not at

A glimpse of TrainingZONE

TrainingZONE will be a community web site providing access to a very wide range of resources, directories, news, information and links of interest to trainers, coachers, learners and managers. It will have a distinct UK bias in its content. There are presently around 20 features of the site under development. The following examples are intended to whet your appetite:


We are designing fully searchable directories with separate databases of:

  • trainers and consultants,
  • conference, exhibition and training venues,
  • forthcoming courses and conferences.
Users will be able to enter and edit their own information into these directories. If you want your data under any of these headings including from the launch, please send full information to the editor now.

A free discussion area for users to request and offer coaching and advice on any subject of interest to them.

Toolkit library
Perhaps the most innovative area of the site – and certainly the one with the greatest added value - will be an expanding library of training and learning resources for you to access, download, customise and use in your own work. We're always on the lookout for new tools, techniques and activities to include in the library, so please let us know if you would like to contribute.

We plan to launch during February and will keep you updated on progress through LearningWIRE.


Tim Pickles
[email protected]

About Sift

Sift plc is a leading developer of online communities. Based in Bristol Sift has developed AccountingWEB for professionals in the accountancy profession. At the 1997 Online Information Exhibition at Olympia, Sift were voted European Information Product of the Year (and also runner up as Internet Product of 1997). You can visit this site at:

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Editor: Tim Pickles ([email protected])
Sift plc., 33 Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1HT
Tel:+44 (0)117 930 8881 Fax:+44 (0)117 930 8887

Tim Pickles ***** Designing professional toolkits ***** The learning community


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