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The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE – Issue 2



LearningWIRE - Issue 2
30 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.p>

In this Issue

  • Editor’s welcome
  • The problem with Internet addresses is ...
  • News from the learning front
  • Site review : Department for Education and Employment
  • National Training Targets
  • Scottish Learning Fair
  • Another glimpse at TrainingZONE
  • Internet Explorer 4 frustrations
  • About Sift
  • Subscription information


A huge thanks to all those readers of our first issue who emailed in with comments. We know that some recipients got odd linebreaks, and that some email programmes didn’t like various keystrokes; we’ll try to fix these problems in this and laterissues. Your positive suggestions are duly noted and I’ll do my best to cover some of these ideas in future issues. I very much
want to make LearningWIRE responsive to current issues of interest to trainers, learners and coaches with net access. So, if you’ve any suggestions to make, wire me: we’ll use them either here or on the main TrainingZONE site.

This issue has quite a ‘learning’ focus with news and web site information about current developments in the broad field of encouraging adult learning. If you’re particularly interested in techniques and toolkits, watch out for the next issue due in a fortnight.

Tim Pickles
Editor, LearningWIRE [email protected]

...they’re so hard to find! Have you noticed how many TV programmes now include a web address in their closing credits? News programmes, current affairs, documentaries, investigative programmes, even some sports programmes. All publish their web address to encourage viewers to find more information. Tune in to the radio and you’ll find dozens of stations and programmes giving out their email addresses every ten minutes in order to become more interactive with their listeners.

And yet...the other main information media steadfastly refuse to include Internet addresses in any really useful way. It’s the print publishers that really annoy me. Sure, they publish an email address for letters alongside the fax and phone numbers. Some publications are actually published on-line and you can read
complete and identical text on your browser. Try, for example, (free registration required)

and if you want good coverage of computer issues, try

BUT, there I am, reading an interesting feature in a printnewspaper or journal which I want to follow up ... and there’s NOweb reference - even though it’s obvious that somewhere there is loads of information on just that topic posted on an Internet site.

I suppose too many of the print publishers are worried about readers drifting to the Internet and ceasing to buy their publications. As if this drift isn’t occurring anyway! Book publishers fall over themselves to provide bibliographies at the end of each volume without this detracting from the original sale of the book. A good bibliography actually enhances a book’s value. Newspaper and journal publishers need to see that adding web links to their stories and features would be an added value which would benefit their readers

This week my postbox has been filled with announcements about learning initiatives. First off came advance notification of Adult Learners’ Week which this year is 16-22 May, and entitled ‘Live and Learn!’. There’s lots going on in what is now billed as an ‘annual learning festival’ with TV and radio links, help lines, competitions, advice, taster sessions and lots more. More information available at:

This site primarily relates to England and Wales. The Scottish and Northern Ireland counterparts do not yet appear to have web-based information.

Whilst we’re on the subject of semi-formal education, this seems a good opportunity to review some sites of relevance.

Each issue of LearningWIRE will review a web site of interest topeople 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 Usefulness and theirFriendliness. 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 site run by the Department for Education and Employment:

The Labour Government’s commitment to making policy and decision-making more open led it to publish more information on theInternet. Whilst some of these pages are little more than token attempts to increase public information, many - including that run by the DfEE - provide excellent examples of relevant and informative sites.

You can access the Government’s front door at:

but it is far more helpful to go direct to the main alphabetical index of around 150 topics, each with direct links, at:

This page is one of my main bookmarks.

Several Government Departments have made only limited use the Internet so far, but the Department for Education and Employment is a notable exception. Their main site is at:

with a series of training-related pages at:

From here, trainers and coaches will find an intelligently arranged list containing many sites of interest. I particularly enjoyed the pages on changes to the National Record of Achievement (a subject to which I shall return in a later issue), resources for Lifelong Learning, National Training Targets, Millenium Volunteers, GNVQs, Leonardo da Vinci programme, and developments in Further Education. However, there are around 40 other topics.

Much of this information is relevant whichever home country you live in. However, if you want to find specific national information you should check out:

with a chatty welcome from Donald Dewar (although the site still needs building further), or

for information relevant to Wales and Northern Ireland.

For the DfEE site, my own ratings are:

Usefulness ****
Friendliness *****


+++ Suggestions for future sites to review (large or small,commercial or personal) are always welcome. Please send yoursuggestions to the editor at [email protected] +++

Late last year, the government launched a consultation paper regarding revised national targets for workforce education and training. The present targets (last revised in 1995) can be found

The consultation paper is entitled ‘Targets for Our Future’considers many aspects of workforce training including the development of key skills, and the adoption of Investor in People status by organisations. Somewhat surprisingly, I’ve not yet found the consultation paper on the Internet, although a December press release on training for young people is highly relevant and can be found at:

Jo Clifton of Devon Associates writes:

‘Would consultants and
trainers working with the voluntary/public sector in Scotland be interested in participating in this promotional event, provisionally arranged for 26 August in Stirling. Preliminary meeting on 9 February.’

Contact [email protected] for more information.

Development work on the site is continuing. In the last issue I mentioned the various free Directories. As well as indexing, linking and searching all the major web sites of interest to trainers, learners and coaches, we also plan to provide you with a range of other embedded links to, for example:

  • a newswire feed for all the latest world news
  • UK weather update
  • travel information
  • and other matters of general interest.

+++ If there is a link you would like to see or be able to search from TrainingZONE, please let me know. +++

Macintosh users have long become accustomed to waiting for software adaptations for their platform. Microsoft launched IE4 amidst a blaze of publicity last October and promised ‘a Macintosh version within 13 weeks". Times up, and on 6 January Microsoft duly launched this version. You can download from their site at

if you’re prepared to tie up your phone line for a couple of hours or more.

There’s also been some hype about a Macintosh Commemorative Edition of IE4 which is bundled with various other goodies and is available for postal delivery by CD to your front door for $4.95. But, when you log on to order at

you discover it’s only available in the USA and Canada. There is no European distributor yet. RAGE !

LATE BREAKING NEWS: IE4 for the Mac and NT4 is now available in the UK. Demon are one of the main distributors. Their customers
receive free CD copies in early February. Press reviews suggest that the Mac version requires just 5MB RAM compared with the minimum 8MB RAM for Wintel machines. Argh well, perhaps there is some justice after all!

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

N.B. If you were the original recipient of this message, you do not need to follow these subscription instructions as you are already subscribed to the newsletter. However, if someone has forwarded this newsletter to you, please do follow these instructions.

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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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