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The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE – Issue 4


------------------------------------------------------------------ LearningWIRE - Issue 4 2 March 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 - UK Internet penetration - Site review: Association for Management Education and Development - STOP PRESS: Consultation paper on Lifelong Learning - Browser tips - TrainingZONE - Site review: Railtrack - About Sift - How to Subscribe >From the editor --------------- Here's the fourth issue of LearningWIRE with more useful information for people engaged in staff and organisational development. This time I'm looking at a site which could be useful but isn't (- well, at least it means you're warned before you visit it); but to make up for this, I'm also reviewing one of the most useful UK sites on the whole Net - and not just for trainers. Perhaps the concept of 'learning' will start to really take off with the inclusion of a Learning Curve pavilion in the Millennium Dome. I hope it will reflect current thinking about lifelong learning, personal responsibility, new technologies, varied styles, evolving roles, etc. On the other hand, if the Dome becomes associated with a national flop, the whole concept could sink without trace. I do apologise for the delay in sending out the last issue. We're trying to publish every two weeks. The last issue got delayed when the mailing list was moved to a different server. Hopefully, this issue will reach you just a week after the last one. Tim Pickles Editor, LearningWIRE UK Internet penetration ----------------------- Last year, UK internet connections were reported as increasing at a staggering 12% per month. The latest quarterly survey from Durlacher gives the following figures for the growth of the Internet in the UK: - 39% of small and medium enterprises have established an Internet presence; - 81% recognise that the Internet will be an intrinsic part of their business's future; - 5 million people at work use email; and - 3.1 million have an Internet e-mail address. Whatever you think about the absolute accuracy of these figures, the growth is incontrovertible. It's really quite simple, as trainers, facilitators and managers, we are going to be dealing with people who expect to be able to communicate with us electronically. Increasingly, we will be buying and selling products and services on the Net. At their Online Sales site, MAP give a league table of UK ISP live memberships. Site review: Association for Management Education and Development ----------------------------------------------------------------- Each issue of LearningWIRE reviews a web site of interest to people engaged in staff development and learning. I 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. --- oOo --- The Association for Management Education and Development [AMED] is a professional network for people concerned with individual and organisational development. Their web pages can be found at the rather nifty URL: but if you want to go straight to anything useful you need the ANET pages. (Whilst I assume ANET means Association Net, there was no explanation.) You can find this main index at This is primarily a site for the membership with only limited Information of interest to the informed browser. The site has mounted background papers on strategy, accounts and ethical policy but you have to dig deeper to find anything useful about what the association actually does. I did discover that membership currently costs 87 UK pounds per year. However, the discussion pages and even the news pages had blocked access without entering membership details and a password. I think this is somewhat short-sighted. It's fine to bar non-members from contributing to discussions and news but it didn't encourage me to want to join. AMED has initiated a useful Learning Exchange Trading Scheme [LETS] which allows members to provide support and services to each other on a non-monetary basis. It would be interesting to hear from any readers who are members about how this is going. My browser found the site had too many GIFs and applets which took A disproportionate amount of time to load. The site managers say it is still being re-designed, and my conclusion is that it requires both simplifying and giving additional useful content to become a bookmarkable site for most people. My overall 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 +++ STOP PRESS: Consultation paper on Lifelong Learning --------------------------------------------------- Just as I was putting the finishing touches to this issue, I received news of the publication of the government's consultation paper. In fact three different papers have been published. Two respond to Committee reports on the future of Further Education and Higher Education. The third relates to the Learning Age. These are important papers. They include proposals relating to, amongst many other thing: employer-provided training, self- provided training, the future of FE and HE, the University for Industry. You can find further information at This is a consultation paper and, in keeping with its excellent policy of electronic awareness, you can send responses by email direct to the government from When I've looked at the proposals in more detail, I shall report further through LearningWIRE. Browser tips ------------ It might seem obvious, but it's surprising how many people don't think of this. The reason why so many pages take so long to load onto your screen is because of the size of the graphics, not the volume of text information. Since it's often the text which you want to read and not the graphics to view (unless, of course, you're wanting to admire the pictures in the National Gallery), you can stop the graphics from loading onto your screen by switching them off. Go to your browser's Preferences folder, find the appropriate Display or Content section, and uncheck the Graphics box. Simple. Your pages will now load many times faster on the screen. By the way, if you're designing your own web pages, it helps to Always include an Alternative Label for each inserted graphic. The Alternative Label is what shows up on the page if the reader's browser has graphics switched off. By using intelligent Alternative Label names, the reader can work out which graphics are clickable images and what they still do! TrainingZONE ------------ +++ 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 Site Review: Railtrack ---------------------- Not the most obvious web site for the training community - but Incredibly useful. As a green-conscious traveller, I try to use the train whenever possible. The railway line does pass the end of our garden and the local station is three minutes walk away. The whole Railtrack site is an impressive example of clear, simple, effective design: In a recent poll conducted by Net magazine of around 40 movers and shakers in the UK internet world, over a quarter said this was their most useful site. The bit you really want is at You are presented with a simple form. Type in your start point, your destination, date of travel and preferred time either for departure or arrival, and within seconds you get the quickest recommended route and times together with options for earlier and later trains. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Worth my monthly dial-up fee on its own. I shall never use the dreadful National Rail Enquiry Service again. The only improvement would be if you could book tickets on line as well. My overall ratings are the best yet for any site: Content **** Design ***** 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 and in the BODY of the message type: subscribe learningwire youre-mailaddress for example: subscribe learningwire To remove yourself from this mailing list, send a message to and in the body of the message type: unsubscribe learningwire youre-mailaddress ------------------------------------------------------------ Editor: Tim Pickles 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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