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The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE – Issue 3



LearningWIRE - Issue 3
19 February 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

  • From the editor
  • Site review: Big Dog's Human Resource Development Page
  • TrainingZONE
  • National Grid for Learning
  • Browser Wars
  • Macintosh OS 8 update
  • And finally ... Zippergate
  • About Sift
  • How to Subscribe

From the editor

Thanks for the continuing positive email comments. To clarify some of your points - yes, LearningWIRE and TrainingZONE are the launch names for the pre-trialled Toolkit site. We very much like the idea of a Toolkit since it sums up the essence of how many trainers and facilitators see themselves and their skills. The Toolkit name will be retained in the Library area of the TrainingZONE site providing an expanding menu of freely downloadable resource materials for you to use. We settled on the LearningWIRE and TrainingZONE names to give a broader appeal to the whole network community which we are trying to create and support.

This issue includes an interesting site review of an American digest of tools and techniques. It also offers one or two more gossipy features just to liven up your day. Do keep those comments and suggestions flowing in. I am looking for some interested volunteers to do short guest reviews of Internet sites. Could that be you? Drop me an email.

Incidentally, our initial mailing list has grown considerably by readers using their Forward command to send this electronic newsletter to friends and colleagues. Encouraging them to subscribe helps us to build an effective and interactive net community and potentially feeds more useful information into the site. For information on How To Subscribe, see the final section of this newsletter.

Tim Pickles
Editor, LearningWIRE
[email protected]

Site review: Big Dog's Human Resource Development Page

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 Content and their Design. 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 Big Dog's HRD page. How can you resist a name like that? You have only got to see it in a directory to want to go there! It certainly beats most website names I have come across for generating interest. The name alone gets this site an extra star in my ratings.

Big Dog is actually Don Clark who lives and works in Washington. According to his own blurb, he does not work as a trainer but handles inventory control with the Starbucks Coffee Company. What I like about this site is that it shows just what an individual, working on their own and using their internet homepages, can offer in the way of shareware resources. He maintains several pages but all the human resource and training materials can be found from

Within this site is the complete text for two instructional books which will interest many leaders and managers. Don provides a complete manual for a systems approach to training at

He defines training as 'learning that is provided in order to improve performance on the present job'. Personally, I would offer a wider definition beyond anyone's present job, but I like Don's focus on learning. If you are into systems thinking, this is a good guide to assessing learning needs and implementing effective practice. If you're not into systems thinking, it could be worth looking anyway. Don's second text related to leadership training can be found at

Don allows free use of his materials for instructional purposes provided copyright is acknowledged and there is no profit derived. His resource collection page is somewhat limited but I have used the paper on Mentoring, and another page on Project Management looks to contain useful material on critical path methods.

The Review and Vendor sites are primarily American in origin and the search engine simply defaults to Yahoo. However, Big Dog's page of links is extremely interesting. Here is an extensive, alphabetical index of links to some really useful sites. I am busy following up the links to material on Learning Organisations, Teamwork and 360 degree Feedback. You can find the links at

For the Big Dog site, my own ratings are:

Content ****
Design ****

--- oOo ---

+++ Suggestions for future sites to review [large or small, commercial or personal] are always welcome. Please send your suggestions to the Editor at [email protected] +++


+++ People + Events + Venues + News + Coaching + Products + Resources + Links + Views + Directories + Forums + Build-your-own-website + Libraries + LearningWIRE + Archives + Newswire + Travel + Publishers +++

  • FREE
  • UK related
  • Fully searchable
  • Enter and amend your own information on-line
  • Local area search engine guarantees high quality matches
... coming soon

National Grid for Learning

Last month saw the launch of the Grid, heralded in Labour's election manifesto. Most of the attention has focused on connecting all 33,000 schools in the UK [around 3,500 have Internet connections at present]. What has been considerably under-reported is the intention to connect all the public libraries, colleges, universities, museums and galleries to the Grid as well. There is an excellent information site [with personal introduction from Tony Blair!] and response form at

The plan is to achieve a complete Grid within five years. Personally, I think it will happen quicker. The Internet is such an amazing resource that as people wake up to what is available on the net, they want it - and now! Within the UK, connectivity is doubling around every nine months. Currently there are estimated to be around 4.5 million connections. At that rate of growth, everyone could be connected within three years. We also need a high level of connectivity to stop the new division between the haves and have-nots in Internet access.

Set-top boxes are beginning to appear in the shops connecting televisions to the Internet. The transformation of televisions into computer screens will continue apace. By making the box into a network computer [i.e. without the need for a hard disk, but capable of accessing all the necessary programme software through the phone line] the new technology will become a 'must have'.

To kickstart the National Grid for Learning, 1998 has been designated UK NetYear with impressive sponsorship from software companies and The Daily Telegraph. You can find out more at

Browser Wars

My reading of the press commentary on Microsoft's legal battles varies between hooked interest and apathetic disgust. Recent figures show that Netscape has a [declining] 55 per cent share of the browser market whilst Microsoft has reached 40 per cent share from a standing start. Netscape posted a profits warning in the last quarter trading, whilst Microsoft stepped in to support troubled Apple with its 8 per cent share of the operating systems market.

Last week Netscape announced that it was making Netscape Navigator and Netscape Communicator Standard Edition free. It also announced that computer manufacturers, internet service providers, print and electronic publishers would be allowed to publish and distribute these products for free. These are clearly intended as moves to challenge the ever-growing might of Bill Gates. The browser market needs competition to stay creative - so good luck to Netscape in these actions.

Macintosh OS 8 update

If you are a Mac user [- and you will have detected by now that this Editor is a fan -], you may want to know that Apple has released an update to its latest System 8. At present OS 8.1 only works with the American versions; European versions should be available around April. The upgrade is free to existing users of OS 8 either via the internet download or [for a small price] on CD-ROM. For more information, check

And finally ... Zippergate

Another week, another scandal. Zippergate is upon us - and yet again the Internet is reinventing how we follow these things. You mean, you haven't been to the 'All the President's Women' page yet? Just one link for you - to an incredible page from Total News.

(Thanks to Ben for that one)

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

How to Subscribe

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.

If you find this newsletter interesting please tell your friends and colleagues. Invite them to subscribe by forwarding them this e-mail. To subscribe by e-mail, send a message to

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and in the BODY of the message type:

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for example:

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To remove yourself from this mailing list, send a message to

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Editor: Tim Pickles [email protected]
Sift plc., 33 Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1HTM
Tel:+44 (0)117 930 8881 Fax:+44 (0)117 930 8887
Tim Pickles ***** Designing professional toolkits ***** The learning community


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