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The TrainingZone LearningWire – Issue 73


The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE - Issue 73
1 November 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.

Reflections on IPD Harrogate '99
After four exhausting days at the UK's largest event for HR and training professionals, let's try and present some of the more immediate reactions. First off, it's a rather disjointed event. The Conference, as ever, is a large affair attracting a range of speakers some of whom genuinely have something engaging and refreshing to say (I particularly liked the renewed emphasis upon the value of human contact in employee relationships in the workplace); on the other hand, several speakers reiterated some well-worn messages. If you want to check out the reports of what was said in the various sessions, the revamped People Management website is carrying journalistic reports which will be added-to throughout the coming week. Click on the Conference Reports icon at
Meanwhile, at least one person has become seriously annoyed at the comments of one of a new IPD Vice President and is questionning whether the IPD is really going in the right direction; this was a theme explored in one of TrainingZone's online workshop also held last week.

What of the exhibition itself? With nearly 350 exhibitors, it's difficult to form an overall impression. The exhibition occupies all five halls at Harrogate which makes for difficulties in moving around inside the venue (and a nightmare for loading and unloading outside!). As you would expect, there were a lot of training and consultancy providers on display, and most of the large HR and software companies were also on view. For me, the main themes of the exhibition included:

* The inexorable growth in online learning provision, with huge
competition between the growing number of providers - and still
insufficient emphasis upon the importance of human contact and
real personal support to sustain motivation for this form of
* The emphasis upon change management - called different things
by different providers - as the real challenge of business
development in the next decade, and the range of fix-it solutions
on offer from different consultancies.
* Some refreshing new angles on bringing genuine interaction into
learning and team development, with a range of new games, role
plays, simulations, creative activities and challenges into
the learning environment.
* The sporadic development of e-commerce in different forms, from
online booking of courses, product catalogues, and the sale of
information, often without really addressing the key issues of
how people will find the e-commerce site in the first place, and
how a relationship with the electronic customer will be built and
sustained over time.
* And finally, just the sheer variety of services on display. It's
difficult to forget the glazed look of so many visitors as they
wandered the exhibition aisles bemused by the random juxtapostion
of high tech, professional institute, health care, consulting,
and software servicing operations.

Around 7,000 people are thought to have wandered through the Halls. It would be fascinating if we could electronically 'capture' the value of business transacted at the event, or the number of positive leads generated.

A particular welcome to all those visitors who 'signed up' for TrainingZone and LearningWire at the exhibition; we hope you enjoy this service.

If you were there - or even if you weren't - it would be interesting to hear your reactions and thoughts which we can collate and post as a news story for TrainingZone.

Tim Pickles, Editor
mailto:[email protected]


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3,700 professionals engaged in training, learning and development request this newswire. You too can advertise here.

Get Noticed!
TrainingZone launched four new features last week which you can immediately use.

Whatever your involvement in training, development and HR, you can use the new online Directories - for training and consultancy Providers, for Venues, and for Suppliers. These Directories are completely free to search. You can also enter and maintain your own comprehensive details, including a description of your services and a hyperlink to your own website - all at NO cost.

Training and Consultancy Providers, go to

For Venues, go to

Service Suppliers, go to

Also launched last week is the new Training, Development and HR Shopping Mall. A range of publishing and multimedia companies have taken shops in this online retail area where you can easily browse and purchase goods and services for your work. Another ten companies are about to join the Mall as there is no cost for establishing a shop presence here. It's quick and easy to search for products across all the shops and initial interest has been very positive. Why not take a look yourself?

Don't forget to complete the current survey into the different forms of staff development in use in your organisation. Cast your vote - and check the results of previous surveys at


WebWatch brings you information about useful and relevant resources from other Internet sites around the world.

Learning Styles software
Psi-Press retail a software version of the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles questionnaire. They now sell a version for inclusion on company intranets and have provided a demonstration version to illustrate how this works. It's available as a download with one or two features disabled for demonstration purposes.

How to be an online tutor
A couple of users have pointed out this useful little book written by Julie Duggleby and published last year by Gower. We're trying to obtain a review copy in order to bring you a fuller assessment, but meanwhile you can read further information about the contents and approach on the Gower Training website.

A Web visitor writes: "Objectives...The more I read, the more I'm confused. They can sound like goals, specific tasks, or dreams. Is there a better way to write objectives?" You can contribute to this week's interactive discussion at

Cheaper UK phone calls to the Internet?
There are persistent reports in the press that BT is about to announce a new pricing structure for phone calls made to the Internet. This is in response to the campaign being waged for free calls, and the discount pricing now being introduced by service providers such as AOL. It's widely recognised that online call costs are a major deterrent to more widespread Internet use in the UK, so fingers crossed ....


MIND MAPPING S/WARE - the brilliant MindManager is available
for just 89.95 GBP (plus p+p and VAT) from ILLUMINE LTD, who
specialise in training for THINKING, LEARNING & CREATIVITY.
"..this product is superb" Tony Buzan, Originator of Mind Maps
For your FREE trial copy contact [email protected] or
01753 719926 or visit our web site


Any Answers?
There's a steady flow of questions to the interactive Any Answers? area. Most questions receive between one and ten replies. All replies are automatically forwarded to the person posting the question. Can you help with any of these new questions?

** Can you provide any information about the Graduate Apprenticeship
scheme? asks Jane Creaton

** Do you have experience of induction programmes in the HE sector?
asks Sharon Challis

** Help sought with research into initial vocational training

** Do you have any information on the NVQ in Port Security? asks
Jackie Clifford

** Can you suggest ways of identifying possible risks in a project
plan? asks Steve Brand

** Can you recommend resources to liven up IT training classes?
asks Nici Aldridge

** What tips and resources would you suggest for novices to online
learning? asks Chris Fardon

To view each question and post your response, just go to

Please keep sending new questions to the Editor
mailto:[email protected]


Special Half-Price Offer
You can obtain full company reports on ANY UK company direct
from the TrainingZone website. They're invaluable for
researching a prospective client. Company reports are
available at half-price until 30 November


HR News
Please send all relevant HR news postings to Cecilia Bingham
mailto:[email protected]

Pension scheme administrators beware
Late payment, or non-payment, of employees' contributions deducted from payrolls is a criminal offence - and there are no excuses.

Has 360 degree feedback run amok?
Despite the attention given to 360 degree feedback, there has been much more discussion about how to implement such programs than about why organizations have rushed to join the bandwagon or even what they expect to accomplish. Are companies doing 360 degree feedback simply because their competitors are? What evidence exists to suggest that 360 degree feedback prompts changes in managers' behavior? This article explores the outcomes that organizations can realistically expect and provides recommendations for implementing innovations such as 360 feedback to best ensure improvements will be realized and the process will be a success.

A quick look at interviews
Worth a look whether as a refresher or a very basic introduction to recruitment interviewing.

New thinking on office design
Although chiefly aimed at those in education, Horizon On-Line often covers issues of interest or concern to HR managers. A contributor to this week's TRDEV-L digest highlighted the question of office design in the era of virtual communication.

Can they read your mind?
Under the title "You don't have a glass head!", James J. Carabetta, Director of Human Resources for the Fosdick Corporation, reminds HR managers of the need for transparency in our dealings with staff and colleagues.

Sickness absence: cost and hassle
Genuine or "swinging it", sickness absence costs business collectively billions of pounds, and can be crippling for small firms and tightly knit teams. See how some organisations are tackling the problem.

National Stress Awareness Day
It's Wednesday, 3rd November). This annual event is organised by International Stress Management Association (UK) and is sponsored by Royal and Sun Alliance Healthcare and Assistance. The theme this year is aimed at workplace stress and encouraging employers to take action to minimise the effects of stress.

Health in the workplace
Organisations with "wellness programmes" have lower absenteeism, fewer work injuries and higher productivity. From this week's T&D Extra, some tips for managers - American vocabulary, but universal relevance.


Other News

The Learning Agenda - barriers to learning
A major report from the Industrial Society is based on research into the current learning and development situation in a range of organisations and focuses on some of the institutional and organisational barriers to the creation of a truly effective learning culture. We've not yet found the full report available on the Internet (it retails for around 25 GBP), but there are summaries available.

Learning Direct factsheets
Learning Direct has taken nearly a million phone enquiries from people seeking to find training and learning opportunities. The system now has national call centres in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It's probably the largest database of courses and learning resources in the country. You can hardly miss the advertising for the phone number - but if it has passed you by, it's 0345 100 900. The Learning Direct website now includes a series of ten downloadable factsheets which answer many of the questions people ask about both learning, funding, access and related matters.

NTOs are 'the key to lifting skill levels'
In a recent speech to the National Training Organisations, lifelong learning minister Malcolm Wicks argued that these 80-odd organisations, covering development standards in virtually every sector of the economy, were crucial to the push to increase national skill levels.

Training - too little, too late!
New research by the Industrial Society and Training magazine points to major fault lines in the way training is delivered, including: 'Too Little' - only one third of course attendees feel training has made a big difference to their performance. 'Too Late' - over a third of trainees (38 percent) have never been asked by their personnel/training department if the course was useful; and 'Too Lightweight' - only 2 percent of employees attending training courses say their training has broken new ground. While over 50 percent say they learnt very little as they already knew "most" or "quite a lot" of the content.

The future of Learning Organisations
The European Consortium for Learning Organisations has issued a call for papers around this title for its conference in May 2000 to be held in Germany.


Best Training and Learning Website 1999

Make your nomination for this award at


for all the latest product and services reviews

'The Feedback Game' and 'The Feedback Game Manual' - best selling game created by Peter Gerrickens is reviewed by Leslie Rae


To read the online version of LearningWire Issue 73, with activated hyperlinks, paste this link into your web browser:


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


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Editor: Tim Pickles mailto:[email protected]
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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