Online Learning News - 11 January 2000 issueby
A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc. (Lakewood)
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2000 Vol. 2, No. 42
What next!?! TRAINING 2000 with Nobelist Desmond Tutu, Fortune's
Tom Stewart and TV's Ben Stein. Go to http://www.training2000.com
1. What stumps newbies
2. Training: Not the only way
3. Unmotivated dropouts? Circular logic
4. Big-picture motivation
5. Cries for help: Standard tool? Evaluation site?
6. Web hype is a drag -- queen
7. And speaking of accessories ...
WHAT STUMPS NEWBIES -- AND VETERANS AS WELL
What puzzles those who are new to development and delivery of
Some of the same things that still puzzle online-learning
veterans, says Saul Carliner ([email protected]).
Be ready for these points of confusion, cautions Carliner, who
teaches human factors in information design at Bentley College in
o Online delivery is about more than training. Carliner discerns
these functions as well: education (distinct from training),
performance support, knowledge management and collaboration.
o Dozens of unfamiliar terms -- and those terms aren't entirely
consistent in their meaning. Are "Web-based training" and
"computer-based training" the same thing? Sometimes.
o Most large businesses now have intranets and Internet
connections. But online learning requires a separate set of
technology (mostly software) to create and deliver it.
RISE OF THE SLACKER
Even those familiar with learning technology are sometimes
blind-sided by rapid developments, says Carliner. Key changes in
the past year include:
o Proliferation of Web-based training, and the number of
companies offering their services in moving training to the
o Growth of knowledge management, which lets workers learn what
they need to know on the spot, sans training. "With the growth
of online learning comes the growth of informal learning --
learning that happens outside of a formal context such as a
classroom or a scheduled course," says Carliner.
o A shortage of "content people" who can work at a high level
designing "learning campaigns" -- a series of interrelated
interventions that promote the desired performance.
o Rise of the online slacker. Merely putting content online
doesn't ensure that people learn it. Learners blow off
courses. That puts a premium on marketing online learning to
learners, retaining learners, and evaluating effectiveness of
online learning. And it points up that learning requires a
variety of interventions -- not just courses.
Carliner will address these issues at TRAINING 2000 in Atlanta
during his "Online Learning Primer" at 4 p.m. Feb. 19, a free
event before the official conference opening. Register for the
show at http://www.training2000.com.
WELCOME, NEW READERS!
Welcome to our e-pub! OnLine Learning News is a discussion-driven
weekly e-mail newsletter for learning-delivery professionals. It's
OLL News lets you hear from experts and your peers on what
e-learning means for you and your organization.
Monday's announced massive merger between AOL and Time Warner
accentuates the importance that business attaches to electronic
delivery of information. That includes training and education.
More information about OLL News is in the footer. Again, welcome!
TRAINING: NOT THE ONLY WAY
Training is not the only way to get workers up to speed, argues
Gloria Gery, a Tolland, MA, performance-support specialist.
"Trainers need to stop confusing the activity with the goal," says
Gery, who will preside at Training Directors' Forum Conference
( http://www.trainingdirectorsforum.com) in Phoenix June 4-7.
"People get very locked in on the means, rather than the end.
Learning and performance are the goals. Training is not the only
Gery says more in the current issue of Training Directors' Forum
a Web-only publication.
DROPOUTS UNMOTIVATED? THAT'S CIRCULAR LOGIC
Is motivation a key factor in the effectiveness of online
learning? Can you motivate online learners who aren't self-
motivated? "Absolutely!" to both, says vendor Bryan Polivka
Unmotivated adult learners don't grasp what's in it for them,
argues Polivka, chief learning officer at training provider Caliber
Learning Network Inc. of Baltimore. Or, he adds, what's in it
for them is of insufficient value.
Clarify the value of the learning right from the start, says
Polivka, "as part of the content, part of the marketing. You take
care of the value and the perception issues, and you'll strain out
those for whom the content really is not appropriate."
Keep 'em busy. "People can process many things simultaneously,"
says Polivka. "If you assume they're going to focus on the one or
two things you give them, you're not asking too much of them --
you're asking too little.
"It's deadly. It'll bore them to tears. Keep it active, and give
them multiple things to do. Always. Embrace multitasking."
Provide access to other learners, instructors, subject-matter
experts, and reps of the sponsoring organization, Polivka urges.
Without it, learners will feel isolated -- "and you'll end up with
the problems of computer-based training and CD-ROM," warns
Polivka. "It only works when there's a teacher in the room to make
Finally, appeal to all the learning styles -- visual, auditory,
tactile, whole-to-part, part-to-whole.
"If you don't take care in these areas, you'll find that even
highly motivated people will drop out," Polivka predicts. "It just
doesn't work for them in the format you're using, and they won't
"You may even find yourself assuming that because someone dropped
out, therefore he or she was not motivated. A tempting
justification, but circular logic!"
Here's how learning specialist and computer-based training designer
Bob Gamble ([email protected]) motivates the 70,000
employee learners at First Union National Bank in Charlotte, NC.
o Show learners how the new skill will help them and the
organization -- how it fits into the big picture. "In training
we wrote for the operators of our huge check-sorting machines,
we show them where they fit into the flow of checks
throughout the Federal Reserve districts and the entire
banking system," says Gamble. "We show the learners, in actual
dollars, how they affect our revenue and profitability. We
make sure that they understand how important their jobs are."
o Use real people. Gamble inserts photos of real workers in his
computer-based training, and gives them credit. He also uses
them as subject-matter experts, asks them technical and
content-related questions, and invites them to review the beta
o Make it fun. Use humor. Provide interaction every seven or
o Get high-level management support. "We demonstrate our training
to management using high-profile rollouts, and show
management, in real dollars, how the training will save their
departments money," says Gamble. For the check-sorter
training, he held a discussion forum covering the training's
projected effectiveness and incentives for completing it.
NEW GUY AT T.F.L.
Bill Communications Inc. (BCI) of New York and Web-based training
guru Brandon Hall of Sunnyvale, CA, announced they would combine
their online-learning newsletters.
The Lakewood Report on Technology for Learning, a BCI publication;
and Hall's Multimedia & Internet Training Newsletter will become
one publication effective with the February issue.
The combined publication, which will carry both names during a
transition period, will provide readers with case studies and
practitioner expertise that TFL has delivered for five years.
Researcher Hall, who will be editor, brings an extraordinary
breadth and depth of knowledge about technology-delivered
Hall's Feb. 21 session at TRAINING 2000 is "Best Practices in
Multimedia and Internet Training." To register, go to
CRIES FOR HELP: AUTHORING? EVALUATION? TRACKING?
STANDARD AUTHORING TOOL? "I want to make some of my
training Web-based. I want to use lots of graphics. Also, I want
to test students, and to tally and analyze their mistakes in order
to improve the courses.
"From looking over links I found in OnLine Learning News, I
gather I need an authoring tool for asynchronous learning. And I
gather the most common are ToolBook, AuthorWare, Quest,and
"Which is best, i.e., the industry standard? Is there a most-used
authoring tool for Web-based asynchronous learning? "
EVALUATION SITE? "Can anyone recommend a site that might
offer an evaluation instrument for an online course? I'm looking
for a straightforward, one-page form that could be filled in
online to help us respond to feedback from finishing students."
TRACKING ATTENDANCE? "I have an urgent need to track
attendance at three seminars simultaneously for approximately 200
persons per seminar. I would like to interface the information
with Access database. It will also be used remotely where there is
not the availability of a computer on site, so the information
needs to be stored and uploaded. Any suggestions on what to use?"
NOW WHAT? "We have contracted with an outside vendor to
provide Web-based training for our customer service reps. Our
management is now asking us how we would like to continue in the
future. We have a rapid-application tool from the vendor that we
can use for short modules and courses, but we need to look at how
our instructional design group needs to be organized. Do we need
programmers, project managers, multimedia experts, and graphic
artists? Or do we need instructional designers who can use the
rapid-application tool and contract out the big work?"
If you can offer any wisdom, please send your response to
[email protected] . Include your name, title, organization,
where it is, what it does, and a phone number at which we can
reach you. No attachments, please.
Use the appropriate headline (e.g., Standard Tool?) as your
subject line, please.
ARE YOU STUCK? Your colleagues may have some ideas for your online
learning-related quandary. Please send your question to
[email protected] . Include a distinctive subject line.
WEB HYPE IS A DRAG -- QUEEN
Web-based conferencing is about to become way hip: WebEx Inc.
( http://www.webex.com), the San Jose, CA, Web-meeting firm,
has hired statuesque celebrity cross-dresser RuPaul Andre Charles
to promote its Web-meeting business.
The Los Angeles model says he does indeed use WebEx -- to view and
discuss sketches of dresses with his New York clothes designers.
The rangy pitch queen, who also promotes cosmetics and shoes, will
certainly draw attention to the idea of Web conferencing -- so
this may be as good a time as any to broach the subject with your
Provided, of course, your boss is cool with a six-foot-seven-inch
transvestite spokesmodel. Seven feet, in those shoes.
SPEAKING OF ACCESSORIES ...
For a CNN Interactive story on the Xybernaut MA IV wearable
computer with head mount, voice control and arm-strap keyboard, go
Performance-support consultant Gloria Gery of Tolland, MA,
suggests a look.
... AND FINALLY
Also at TRAINING 2000: Anthropologist Jennifer James, MIT's
Nicholas Negroponte, and improvisational humor with Player's
Workshop of The Second City. See http://www.training2000.com.
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