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The TrainingZone LearningWire – Issue 60


The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE - Issue 60
2 August 1999
The Learning Community
Copyright (C) 1999 Sift plc. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
long as attribution is given.

From the Editor
This week we've introduced new software programmes into the way LearningWire is distributed. The new system has been specifically designed to make our contact with you more user-friendly.

At the top of this email the mailing address which we hold for you is now displayed in the "To:" line. Should you wish to Unsubscribe, or change your membership, this is the address we require. Details of how to add or remove a subscription are provided at the end of every LearningWire.

Tim Pickles, Editor



AMED Conference
The Association for Managment Education and Development

Working Communities : The shape of future organisations

Key themes - colloborative working, knowledge management,
ethics and governance
25/26 August 1999, Cranfield School of Management


LearningWire currently reaches over 2,800 organisations every week.
Put your message before this focused audience of people
engaged in training, learning and development.

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Training versus learning: how important is human contact?
This issue has been a recurring theme for me throughout this year, and various events and articles have helped to bring it into sharper focus. Some time ago I ceased to refer to 'Training' as it carried implications of a passive process to which people were subjected. My preference has been to refer to 'learning' - a more proactive process in which people choose to engage for their own development. I now tend to talk with clients about 'learning needs analysis' and 'learning resouce centres'.

At the same time, the rapid growth of technology-based training / learning has also influenced the debate. This was brought into sharper focus for me at the recent Training Solutions Show with its emphasis upon computer and internet solutions to training needs. Individualised computer-based training is undoubtedly cost effective in terms of time (both for the employer and the staff member); it can be individualised, allowing people to learn at their own pace; and it can be delivered to uniform standards across an organisation. However, I'm still looking to read an extensive body of evaluative research into the longer-term impact of CBT on staff performance. My experience of tutor-led training is that participants value the human interaction which is implicit in group learning situations. It is interesting that at the same time as technology solutions are expanding fast, there is a parallel growth in coaching and mentoring approaches - which rely on direct human contact for their effectiveness.

My thoughts were crystalised by an article in the 15 July 1999 issue of 'People Management' magazine written by Howard Hills and Peter Francis in which they explore the value of interaction in learning:

"Across the country, flip charts, laser pointers and overhead projectors are being consigned to the scrapheap. Banks of quiety humming computer terminals are taking their place as businesses make huge investments in technology to delivery training .... but there is a stron argument that computer-based methods do not result in real learning. The reason is that learning requires social contact. People tend to see using technology ... as a solitary experience which takes places away from the real job - therefore it doesn't apply to what happens in the workplace."

This is an excellent and throught-provoking article. IPD members can read the full text online in the archive area of
It's strengthened my commitment to the concept of learning, rather than training - and it will certainly influence my discussions with clients about the best way forward in their staff development. Just at the time when we start to recognise the importance of diverse methods in our training and learning repertoires, why are many organisations investing in another 'single-approach' solution? We know that people have different learning styles which influence how they like to learn. An obvious implication is that we need to offer a diverse range of learning methodologies. This might make it more problematic to ensure consistency of standards, but that should become the next problem to tackle, not an obstacle to diversity.

If you'd like to respond or debate these issues, this Opinion Piece article has been posted at
and you can read the reactions of others, and add your own.

Please contact the Editor if you would like to contribue your own Opinion Piece to LearningWire

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WebWatch brings you information about useful and relevant resources from
other Internet sites around the world. Unless otherwise linked, all the
following stories can be found at

Facilitators: what would you do if...?
A nice feature on the Facilition Factory website is this conundrum page. A dilemma is posted on the page with several options as to how the skilled facilitator might respond. You then get to choose and vote on your preferred course of action - and compare your solution to the choices of others who have complete the poll. Nice idea!

Transactional Analysis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming sites
The special feature in the last issue of LearningWire, written by guest editor Garry Platt, ellicited much favourable comment. If you're interested in incorporating these approaches in your work, this is an excellent directory of relevant links. If you missed it, we've republished the text as a separate story at

Training City
This is a website run by a training and consultancy company which offers a range of training in voice and data communications. Some of their material is available for free on the site and you can get a good idea of what else is on offer.

Business on the Internet
The Bnet website provides online business management information and will be of interest to many commercial organisations. A UK-based site, it offers latest market trends information, marketing strategies, benchmarking and quality issue information. It also has a personnel section with some current employment information and a limited amount of directory training information including a small directory of training providers and forthcoming events.

Training Directory update
Since its launch in April 1999, the UK Training Directory is making progress in its bid to offer a selection of 100,000 training courses. Already there is information about 22,000 events loaded on their servers which enable you to search through the directory to find courses at an appropriate level for your needs. A useful service, although several other companies are also competing to occupy this kind of directory service. Worth watching

Gower launches online Learning Resources Centre
UK publishers Gower have launched an online resource centre showcasing their various training and learning resources. You can browse through some of the materials, find a range of other links, and join an email newsletter service. By completing an information form, you are given access to a choice of several resources completely free.

Learning Resources International
LRI provide a service to design and set-up learning resource centres as well as creating customised resource-based materials.

McGraw Hill launch online learning site
Another publisher, McGraw Hill has joined the ranks of those offering online training from a dedicated website. At present there are 20 courses on offer with tutor and email support, mostly in the area of computing and programming.

Further information about all these sites, and hundreds of others, can be found at

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Latest News
Here's a quick guide to some of the other news stories posted this week at:

Explore Your Values
The latest publication from Peter Honey is a 100-page guide including checklists, activities and self-study material on exploring your own values, attitudes and beliefs - and the impact and influence they have on your own work.

Lifelong Learning newsletter
The latest issue of this digest from VUP contains synopses of current articles and several related book reviews.

Communications and development consultants sought
The Communications Initiative - which supports development initiatives around the world in partnership with organisations such as UNICEF - is seeking a larger pool of consultants to work on development and communications assignments in various countries. If you have experience in this field, you might want to submit your details. For more information, read

Job vacancies at the UfI
The University for Industry central offices will be in Sheffield. Their website is currently advertising several vacancies in the area of information and communications technology staff

All the above News stories can be found at

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New Toolkit Resources
We've recently added several new resources to the TrainingZone Toolkit
Each of these is a free downloadable Microsoft Word file which you can use in your own training and development work.

Learning Methods
The Knowledge Shelf Life Tornado
The 'shelf life' of knowledge has been getting shorter throughout this century as technology develops and our knowledge and understanding expands. The Tornado is a simple model developed by the Campaign for Learning for demonstrating how the pace of learning is increasing fast.

Towards Lifelong Professional Development
A detailed paper by Graham Guest setting out key issues for the future development of lifelong learning and continuous, first presented at the Institute of Fire Engineers conference, 1999.

Choosing and contracting training consultants
All you ever wanted to ask and know in this useful and extensive guide to finding and using a training consultant from Frank Ashton, a training consultant himself with plenty of experience.

Management development
Supervision tools
A complete resource manual on developing supervision skills for managers, complete with explanatory text, models, ten activities and various resource sheets. Can be used for training purposes or for self-development. First produced for Darlington Council Social Services Department.



Would you like to publish some of your training and
development resources and ideas? We accept members'
contributions for publication in the Toolkit. Details at


Product reviews

Managing Continous Professional Development in Schools
A new book on the subject of CPD in one context is reviewed on the VUP website

Why teams don't work
A review of an interesting topic book posted to the Linkage Inc website

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Getting involved

A new weekly series of tips for getting even more out of your community

9 Write a short Opinion Piece to appear in LearningWire and
provoke debate amongst other readers. Send contributions to

10 Join in the discussion on a range of other topics, or post your
own ideas in the Discussion Forum (register at TrainingZone first)

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About Sift
Sift plc is the award-winning UK developer of online communities bringing
you TrainingZone, AccountingWeb, BusinessZone, Travel Mole and LawZone.

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Editor: Tim Pickles
Sift plc., The Mill House, Redcliff Backs, Bristol BS1 6LY
Tel:+44 (0)117 915 9600 Fax:+44 (0)117 915 9630


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