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The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE – Issue 12



LearningWIRE - Issue 12
22 June 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:

  • Latest news stories
  • New discussion areas
  • The art of systems thinking
  • World Cup France 98

This issue part sponsored by

Pavilion Publishing - leading publishers of training resources, journals and manuals - and organisers of major national conferences - for professional in health and social car

'Toolkit for Trainers' - the international bestseller, now available in five foreign language editions. Order on-line quoting LW11 for 10% discount.

Sift - Building internet communities for professional groups. "We scour the net so you don't have to"


Recent News Stories

A few of the news items in the last issue had inaccurate links due to a typing error. My apologies for the frustration this caused. As well as some recent news stories, I'm reprinting all the ones from the last issue as well.

A new Institute of Continuous Professional Development is to be launched on 1 July 1998 to promote the practice of lifelong profesional learning. Applications from founding members are currently being accepted.

If you favour the idea of CPD (as we do!), you may be interested in the video based continuous professional development materials for groups including lawyers, surveyors, finance professionals and others are produced on a monthly subscription basis with written support materials; these materials have been recognised by the professional institutes for CPD purposes.

On a related theme, 'The Dawn of the Learning Age' is a major conference devoted to learning technologies and a lifelong learning exhibition. It's scheduled for the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glagow in early November.

The internet is starting to have a significant impact in the way distance learning is delivered

The UK government has announced that in future all teachers must become competent with information and communications technology, and know how to apply it in the context of their subject

Discussion on the approaches which trainers use to select an appropriate method to foster learning

Fenman publish three new videos promoting learning review meetings, with accompanying manual by Peter Honey

Finally, full details of the forthcoming 27th International Federation of Training and Development Conference to be held in Dublin from 20-23 July can be found at

New Discussion Areas

During June, we've added a couple of new Discussion Conferences to TrainingZONE.

The Parenthood Education conference concerns the fast developing practice of education about parenthood in schools as part of the Personal and Social Education curriculum. This conference forms part of a hosted site within TrainingZONE for the Parenthood Education network, but is open to all users.

A new conference on Health and Social Care issues is being launched shortly through a partnership with Pavilion Publishing who will be moderating the conference. Again, it is open to all users to contribute and respond to the issues posted. We will shortly be publishing a selection of free downloadable resource materials from Pavilion titles within the new Toolkit area within TrainingZONE.

Access the discussion conference area from

or direct at

The Art of Systems Thinking

Contributed by Bruce Britton mailto:[email protected]

Many trainers will be familiar with Peter Senge's very influential book on organisational learning entitled 'The Fifth Discipline'. The fifth discipline identified in the title is that of systems thinking and those who have dipped into his book will be familiar with his diagrams and examples of systems approaches to complex organisational problems. Two web sites may be very helpful in enabling both newcomers to systems thinking and those more familiar with the concepts to get to grips with this powerful learning tool. The web sites, in their different ways, also illustrate just how useful the internet can be in providing high value information.

The System Dynamics in Education Project (SDEP) is a group of students and staff in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachussets Institute of Technology working under the guidance of Professor Jay W. Forrester, the founder of system dynamics. SDEP have produced an excellent series of self-study guides that use modeling exercises and selected literature to provide a resource for learning about the principles and practices of system dynamics entitled 'Road Maps'. Road Maps is an ongoing project but the first seven chapters are complete and available at:

You will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat to read the documents but the Road Maps site will be able to help you download the necessary software if it isn't already installed on your computer. OK, the design is not flashy, but the content is excellent.

  • Content ****
  • Design **
If you have ever wanted to try setting up your own simple systems models (like those in 'The Fifth Discipline') but thought that the software would be too expensive, don't despair - the Internet has come to the rescue courtesy of the Vensim web site:

At the Vensim site you can download for free a basic systems modelling program (for PC or Mac) which will enable you to get to grips with a wide range of simple and more complex systems from learning cycles to worker burnout; from procrastination to managing projects! The program itself involves a fairly steep learning curve but is certainly worth the effort. The Vensim site is utilitarian but it is the free software that justifies the high content score.

  • Content ****
  • Design **
Finally, if you are interested in finding out more about systems thinking, have a look at the excellent 'The Art of Systems Thinking' by Joseph O'Connor and Ian McDermott - they are the source of the web addresses above.

World Cup France 98

Has anyone else noticed how much faster their dial-up access to the Internet becomes when there is a live game being shown on TV? Thanks to Ben Heald for the following tips for anyone stuck at work during a game.

The Official World Cup Site - a vast site full of things.

Goal of the Day - Soccernet: A daily video clip of the goal of the day. Just about watchable down an ISDN line but don't try otherwise.

Yahoo Guide to the World Cup

Has anyone found a good 'Not the World Cup' website?

That's it for this issue. Hope you're enjoying the new TrainingZONE website as we add new features to it. Do let me know your reactions and ideas.

Tim Pickles,
Editor, LearningWIRE and TrainingZONE
mailto:[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, and BusinessZONE. 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).

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Editor: Tim Pickles mailto:[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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