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The TrainingZone LearningWire – Issue 28


The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE - Issue 28


22 December 1998
The Learning Community
Copyright (C) 1998 Sift plc. All rights reserved.
This material is distributed free to trainers, learners, managers
and coaches. It may be reproduced in any medium for
non-commercial purposes as long as attribution is given.

Editor's Note
As a little seasonal relief, I hope you enjoy our backwards review of 1998 and forward guessing for 1999.

Thanks to the many (and growing) body of subscribers, browsers and users. We welcome all your interest and feedback throughout the year. LearningWire is now one year old (first published 15 January 1998) and TrainingZone has been live for seven months. It's been remarkable progress since then. We hope you like the results. There's plenty more developments in the pipeline for 1999.

The next edition of LearningWire is scheduled to appear early in January. Meanwhile, if you've got any news or browsings to report, please keep it flowing in.


....from all at TrainingZone and Sift, the Parenthood Education Network (microsite) and the Institute of Continuing Professional Development (microsite).

Tim Pickles,
Editor, LearningWIRE and TrainingZONE
mailto:[email protected]



We're keen to expand our subscriber list even further to widen the breadth and depth of news and resources to bring you.
The CHALLENGE is to send us the longest list of new and legitimate email addresses for inclusion in the free distribution of LearningWire.

Prize: An advance disk copy of the entire text of the forthcoming 'Toolkit for Managers' due to be published around Easter 1999. This is a companion volume to the international best-selling 'Toolkit for Trainers' (anticipated retail price = £95)

1 All email addresses should be listed on one email.
2 All listed addresses must be genuine and relate to people
and organisations interested in training, learning, coaching
and organisational development.
3 Multiple addresses within the same organisation are valid
if each relates to a different recipient.
4 No acknowledgement will be sent.
5 The editor's decision is final.

Closing date for entries: 20 January 1999

Send all entries to mailto:[email protected]


How well did we do with our predictions for 1998?
In LearningWire Issue 1 published on 16 January 1988, we chanced our arm with seven predictions for the year now ending. This seems like a good time to check on their accuracy:

1 We're going to hear a lot more about the 'New Deal'
- and it won't all be good news.

Well, the New Deal has certainly been in the news. Reports
have been generally favourable, although uptake is probably
less than its promoters might have wished.

2 Individual learning accounts (ILAs?) will make a tentative
first appearance.

Since further details were announced in the Chancellor of the
Exchequor's Budget in March, there have been some pilot
initiatives and further progress is expected soon.

3 NTOs will start to produce a barrage of paper to
increase their visibility (National Training Organisations
if you didn't know)

There are now around 60 National Training Organisations (an
increase of approximately 18 during the year) - and yes they
have started to be busy publishing and raising standards,
networking and creating new services.

4 UK Internet connectivity will continue to grow by at least
150% over the year.

Latest figures suggest at least 9 million people have
Internet access in the UK - up from around 4.5 million in
January. That's approximately the same number as mobile phone
owners in the UK - and they've been around for twice as long.

5 Microsoft will face even more legal challenges to its
empire building.

The anti-trust suit is now well launched in the US although
some parties to the case are showing signs of cold feet.

6 UK ISPs will diminish in number as rationalisation and
aggregation begin - but will mine and yours stay in business!?

Little sign of serious rationalisation yet. You still have a
choice of around 150 ISPs in this country. However, some
shake out is occurring. Demon is now owned by ScottishTelecom.
Netscape is being taken over by AOL. Major high street names
such as Dixons and Tesco are launching ISP (free) services.

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



Clive Shepherd of Fastrak Consulting predicts:-

1. Classroom training remains strong but with changes in nature.
The development of online technology may seem at first to
threaten the existence of classroom training, but in fact it
seems to clarify its unique benefits. People need people,
particularly when there are problems to be solved, options to be
debated and attitudes to be influenced.

What we don't need are inflexible, lengthy, didactic, tutor-
centred events with the primary aim of imparting knowledge
from A to Z. What we desparately need more of are short,
flexible learner-centred events that provide an opportunity for
discussion problem-solving and practice in a relaxed and safe

2. The move online gains momentum.
If we don't acquire knowledge and basic skills in classrooms,
then we're more likely to be looking online for the solution
than to familiar off-line media like workbooks, video and
CD-ROM. The online bandwaggon is unstoppable, even though
existing methods still have formidable advantages in terms of
portability and multimedia capability. The online arguments -
easier accessibility, maintainability, greater modularity and
lower costs - are capturing both the imagination and the

3. Performance support moves to centre stage.
There are already serious doubts about the suitability of the
desktop as a place of learning. The interruptions, the lack of
privacy and the immediacy of more urgent priorities all
contribute to an atmosphere that is less than ideal for
learning. On the other hand, the sheer colume of information
required to carry out tasks effectively is growing rapidly. This
information can not all be learned.

The answer is not training at the dektop but performance support
- online, when it's needed. This can take many forms -
information databases, wizards, templates, expert systems, even
customised screen savers - just enough information,
just-in-time. Online learning will have it's place, at quiet
times or in quiet places.

4. Multimedia takes a backseat until bandwidth increases.
Remember multimedia, the buzzword of the mid 90s, the next big
step in computer technology. Well multimedia happened, but
primarily in the home. Corporate applications have been limited
to CD-ROM-based training - away from the desktop - and the
occasional venture at point-of-sale.

Multimedia at work is dormant until bandwidth increases. When
video and audio can be handled comfortably by corporate
networks, intranets, online learning and performance support
will all take a leap forward, adding the vital human touch to
our network communications.


Peter Honey - consultant, author, publisher - and co-author of the new Declaration on Learning, predicts:-

- I predict steady, incremental growth in learning.

- There will be increasing awareness of the need to learn -
anywhere, anytime.

- Learning will become even more 'respectable'.

- We'll have the first attempts at learning-related pay i.e.
rewarding people for effort invested in the learning process -
regardless of the outcome. People will see that they are paid to
apply past learning appropriately and to continue to learn as the
best investment for the future.

- The IPD Conference at Harrogate will become slightly less
didactic and more of a participative learning experience!
(This will be an AMAZING breakthrough).


Ben Heald, Commercial Director of Sift predicts:

Free access to the net
The best example of this is a new service from Dixons in the UK that is entirely free. With one of the main costs of running an Internet access business being the need to bill many customers small amounts, Dixons have taken the seemingly radical, yet simple, step of not doing any billing! The second significant cost saving has been to price customer support at £1 per minute!

Internet based training programs
Many US universities now offer elements of their courses over the Internet. There is obviously tremendous scope for professional bodies and companies to offer these programmes on intranets.

Internet banking
65 percent of banking institutions say they will give small businesses online access to their bank accounts in the next twelve months, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young. What's more, the latest versions of Microsoft Money and QuickBooks can be linked to Internet bank accounts. Type "Internet banking" into Yahoo and you'll see the range of institutions that are offering banking services online.

Ever more content
Many traditional business publishers are in the process of reconfiguring their information for delivery over the Internet. For example publishers that sell printed reports at $100 a shot, are now deciding how much to sell the individual chaptes; or alternatively how much to charge for use of the content for a defined period (say 24 hours). This will lead to information currently available on CD-ROMs and other subscription based newsletters to be made available on both publishers sites and also relevant sites for the industry.
Microsoft Office 2000 - Next year's Office suite is set to integrate the web even further into the way we work. Check out what's coming on the Microsoft site.

Don't keep sending me things through the post
One of the major benefits of the Internet for membership organisations is the opportunity to cut mailing costs by allowing members to 'opt-in' to email delivery of member communications. The easier stage is collecting email addresses from members; the difficult bit is integrating this with the back end so that those that have opted in don't get sent the physical version.
Boring but important - Probably the biggest influence next year is nothing to do with either technology or new products. As more people come to the net and incorporate it into their lives, businesses will have the justification to use it as a way of advertising, marketing, and generally running their organisations.

Digital TV
is coming, but it will be far more consumer than business focused for a long time yet. Don't expect to find serious business information on your TV for a while.

(Extracted from material first published in NetWatch magazine)


About Sift
Sift plc is a leading developer of online communities. Based in
Bristol, Sift has developed AccountingWEB for the accounting
sector, and BusinessZONE (for the SME market).
At the 1997 Online Information Exhibition at Olympia,
AccountingWEB was voted European Information Product of the
Year (and also runner up as Internet Product of 1997).

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