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Training Directors Forum e-Net – 22 September


A discussion-driven e-mail newsletter for training managers
Wednesday, Sept. 22, 1999 Vol. 1, No. 27


1. IT training: Yes, it counts
2. Slow and go: Cautious online progress
3. Training for good PR
4. Challenges: Evaluating, tracking and visuals



Demand for skilled information-technology professionals stands at more than 1 million worldwide and will get worse -- so gear up your IT training, says International Data Corp., a Framingham, MA, research firm.

IDC estimates the shortage of IT professionals will exceed 1 million in Europe alone by 2002. In the United States, companies will be trying to recruit 850,000 IT workers the same year.

IDC says the shortage of IT talent stems from lack of training rather than a lack of qualified people in the IT industry.

So what helps recruit and retain IT workers? Last week, we reported on a survey that said only 4% of chief information officers viewed training as a means of keeping IT workers.

Some IT pros say training should rank higher with CIOs. "I am a big fan of personal days and bonuses," says Max Clark ([email protected]), information-systems architect with Yipinet LLC of Marina del Rey, CA.

"But training offered by the company promotes a sense of job security," he adds. "and with the company spending time and money to train their IT staff, we know that we are important."

What kind of IT training most benefits IT workers -- and the organization?

"Maybe it's just my ego, but I don't like being lectured to," says Clark. "So I am a big fan of 'on-your-own' training."

That doesn't mean a strictly go-it-alone approach. "In order to make this work," says Clark, "you need a group of people taking similar training to support each other."

"And most importantly," he adds, "there has to be an outlet to an instructor or someone similar with knowledge of the subject matter for questions."


Another response: "Training CAN help retain IT workers, but only to a point," says William L. Stanglin ([email protected]), training officer at the State of California's Teale Data Center, an info-warehouse in Sacramento.

Younger workers, Stanglin observes, tend to stick around for "basic training" and then move on -- for money and creative reasons. Senior workers stay put, he adds, because of time they have already invested.

Stanglin says younger workers want training in cutting-edge IT to prepare for career advancement. Senior workers, meanwhile, prefer refresher and skills-upgrade training to stay current in their specialties.

"Senior workers only go for new technologies training," says Stanglin, "if their current technology is being replaced."



Training managers are indeed slow to adopt online learning, says former training manager Charlene J. Reiss ([email protected]) -- victims, she says, of "analysis paralysis."

She joins a discussion in this e-mail newsletter and its sibling publications about whether training managers are overcautious in offering online learning.

They are, she says. "By the time they analyze something, another technology is out," says Reiss, a New York City training consultant and former learning-technology manager with PaineWebber Inc.

Try small projects, she urges. "Label things a pilot, and people are going to be more forgiving. You won't be branded with having made a mistake.

"Start small and be clear that you are testing the possibilities for both learning integrity as well as technical fit in the organization," says Reiss.

Involve stakeholders in evaluation and measuring results, she urges. "This approach only works for smaller-scale experimentation," Reiss cautions. "The decision-making process for the use of enterprise-wide learning systems tends to be slow due to the investment required and impact on the entire firm."

Another response: Look for tech vendors who know at least as much about learning as you do, suggests Joseph R. Maher ([email protected]), CEO with VuCom New Media Inc. ( of Troy, MI.

"There are so many technology companies out there that understand technology," says Maher, "but know very little about the essentials of learning.

"They may have great technology to deliver, but it may be totally ineffective in the learning process."

Too many vendors, Maher charges, are "caught up on the whirlwind of presenting new technology, just because it's new and exciting and they think it might work."



Someone asked about how to train retailers in the concept that involvement with the community is good business.

Reader Tita Beal ([email protected]), a training designer in New York City, says she designed a human-resources program for a major bank to help it retain top people during the early '90s recession when there were few raises and promotions to hold the best and brightest.

Says Beal: "We came up with something that might help motivate managers: a career-development plan that encouraged managers and specialists to speak to community organizations and do volunteer work as budget advisers and management coaches."

The motivators for doing this:

o Visibility to senior management that could lead to
promotions and favorable lateral moves. The visibility
came through corporate-newsletter coverage of their
volunteer work, meetings with senior management on
public-relations strategy, and participation in a high-
level management committee and advisory group on
corporate communications.

o Participants gained points on their annual performance
appraisal for contributing to bank PR while developing
their own leadership and management skills through
community work. "These points gave an edge," says Beal,
"when the few available raises and promotions were handed



Can you help? Send your response to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, organization, what it does, where it is, and a phone number at which we can reach you. Please use the appropriate subject line (e.g., Who's Evaluating How?).


"I'm curious what everyone is doing for evaluation of training programs. Do you use a four-level model? What model do you prefer? Kirkpatrick? CIRO? Bell System approach? Saratoga Institute? IBM? Xerox? CIPP? Or some homegrown model? Has anyone modified one of these models for computer- based training?"

TDF E-NET SAYS: OnLine Learning '99 Oct. 17-20 in Los Angeles will feature several sessions on evaluating online training. More information is at


"I have a keen interest in adult education, especially how adults learn via conventional education sessions. I am trying to track down research on the effect of static visual displays, e.g. PowerPoint or other presentation software, on an adult's ability to recall and construct knowledge. Would you have any resources available?"


"I'm inquiring about experiences with choosing and implementing a training-tracking and administration tool. Are some better than others? Are there any suggestions, lessons learned or watch-outs to be aware of?"

TDF E-NET SAYS: Readers, let's hear your responses. Meanwhile, check http://www.brandon-hall.comfor Brandon Hall's assessment of training-management tools.

At OnLine Learning '99, Hall, a Sunnyvale, CA, consultant, will offer a one-day pre-conference workshop Oct. 17 he calls "Best of Class: Online Training and Training Management Software." You can register for the show and the workshop at


Are you stuck? Maybe your peers have some ideas on how to get you out of a tough training-management spot. E-mail [email protected] with an account of your challenge. We'll post it here, without your name, and invite readers to offer their thoughts. Please use a distinctive subject line.



Go! OnLine Learning '99/Performance Support '99 Oct. 17-20 in
Los Angeles. Register at

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Copyright 1999
Bill Communications Inc. (Lakewood Publications Inc.)

Distributed by MessageMedia Inc.


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