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WOLCE 2000 is on its way!


TrainingZONE has been positively bombarded with information about the forthcoming World Open Learning Conference and Exhibition (WOLCE), so here are some edited highlights for members to focus on.

The event, which takes place on 4 and 5 October at the NEC in Birmingham, is being staged in association with the British Association for Open Learning (BAOL) and the Forum for Technology in Training, with support from Personnel Today magazine, and consists of an exhibition, conference and seperate awards ceremony. At least 3,000 visitors and delegates are expected to attend this, the seventh annual event.

This year, the conference will contain three streams: online learning; effective implementation of open learning, and challenges for training and development. Seminars will be running across both days of the event, with speakers to include Canadian Ian Rose, who will explain how global organisations have delivered best practice in learning to increase their competitive advantage; Dr Anne Wright, chief executive of the University for Industry and Dr Paul Taylor from the University of Salford.

There will also be an industry debate in the form of a Provider's Forum, with contributions from Vaughan Waller, chairman of the e-Learning Network, Brian Merison of BAOL, John Knell of The Industrial Society, Kathy Macchi of V-SPAN and Paul Palmarozza of Intellexis International on the likely future development of the online learning market.

This year's event will also feature an enlarged networking area in the form of a "Network Cafe" for seminar speakers to meet with delegates after the workshop sessions, and for vistors to meet with other visitors to discuss open learning-related topics.

The exhibition has already attracted 110 exhibitors – making it the biggest WOLCE ever. A long list of exhibitors includes InterWise, Prime Learning and, TADS, Fenman and Video Arts, but to check out a full listing of the exhibitors, see the WOLCE website. Visitors will have free access to a series of product demonstrations of new open learning materials that are being given throughout the two days of the event.

Finally, The WOLCE Open Learning Awards ceremony on 4 October will be celebrating the best designed and most effective open learning materials which have come on the scene in the last year. The awards being presented include Bespoke Product of the Year, Generic Product of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to the Open Learning Industry and Learning Resource Centre Manager of the Year.

Details of those shortlisted for awards can be found on the website. Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be on hand to give a speech at the awards, which are being made in association with the British Association for Open Learning (BAOL). Other sponsors for awards include SkillSoft, Xebec McGraw-Hill and LearnDirect.

TrainingZONE hopes to be able to report on all the news from the event for those who can't make it to the NEC. For more information about WOLCE and the WOLCE Open Learning Awards call Olivia Loxham on 020 8394 5171 or visit


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