Online Learning News - 29 February issueby
A news and idea service of Bill Communications Inc. (Lakewood)
Tuesday, Feb. 29, 2000 Vol. 2, No. 49
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1. Don't dump classroom
2. Critical success factors
3. You have a new job
4. Flunking chunking
5. CBT for Lotus
6. Window shopping: Learning as marketing
In your drive to make online work, don't dump classroom.
That's the warning from readers in response to our question last
month about whether online learning by itself can change learner
behavior ("Classroom or online? Neither, alone," Jan. 25).
"Online learning is a valuable medium," says Scott Stein
( [email protected] ). "But without structured classroom
learning, most people do not discipline themselves to do it and
learn from it."
Claiming that online will replace classroom "is saying that human
nature will change," argues Stein, a trainer with Booher
Consultants, a corporate-communication training firm in Dallas.
Online's promise may tempt organizations to lean too far away
from the tried and true.
"Managers see it as a way to cut costs," Stein says, "and they
naively believe that it will produce the same results as
structured classroom training that holds people accountable in
each session," Stein says.
In short, don't count on online learning as a sure-fire
replacement for classroom. Stein says he saw computer-based
training fail at a former employer, "but they pushed ahead with
more CBT anyway, because it was the wave of the future and it was
Some practitioners do make online work by inserting elements of
classroom. Vendor AdvanceOnline Inc. says it builds "instructor
mediation" into its online courses -- for example, requiring
This lets students apply course material to everyday work
situations, says Monte Rosen ( [email protected] ), marketing
vice president with the Seattle safety trainer.
AdvanceOnline courses may also require an instructor to certify
learners after hands-on instruction -- particularly important with
safety training, says Rosen.
Students "can learn some concepts online," Rosen concludes, "but
you want to make sure they can demonstrate a particular skill
before fulfilling the training requirement."
OLL News says: Balancing classroom against online learning will
be the subject of a panel discussion at Training Directors' Forum
Conference in Phoenix June 4-7.
Moderator for the panel, entitled "Technical Revolution or
Organizational Rebellion? An Online Learning Consumer Report,"
will be Saul Carliner, who teaches information design at Bentley
College in Waltham, MA. More about the conference is at
YOUR CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
What are the critical success factors for online learning? What
must happen for online learning to be effective?
That was our question to you last week. Two early responses:
o Management support. "Carefully assessing and understanding the
existing culture and climate supporting or impeding learning
will allow you to strategize solutions up front," says Lillian
Swider ( [email protected] ), president of training
vendor LPS Associates in Cranford, NJ. To wit: "If you are
having trouble getting managers to support taking time away
from work to attend classroom training," Swidler asks, "what
do you think will happen when they need to support learning at
o Great courseware helps, to be sure. But Bryan L. Austin
( [email protected] ), a senior vice president with
e-learning provider eMind.com LLC of Batavia, IL, cites six
more critical success factors. Among them: Defining goals and
objectives, building awareness, and establishing value for
To read Associate Editor Wendy Webb's complete Technology
for Learning Newsletter story on your critical success factors:
BY FRIDAY, go to http://www.trainingsupersite.com/tfl,
click Subscriptions, fill out the form, and click Submit.
If you do that by Friday, you will receive the April issue with
Wendy's critical-factors story. The issue is yours to keep even if
you choose not to subscribe.
A NEW TOP LINE IN YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION
Managing intellectual capital has become an important part of a
That was the message from Tom Stewart, a Fortune magazine editor,
in remarks to participants at TRAINING 2000 in Atlanta last week.
Knowledge content of all work is rising, said Stewart. Oil-rig
workers on 12-hour shifts in the North Sea spend only two of those
hours with a wrench in their hands -- and 10 hours monitoring
Intellectual capital is difficult to measure, but it represents an
overwhelming share of corporate assets, Stewart told trainers.
Moreover, intellectual capital resides in workers' heads -- and
corporate assets in workers' heads are dangerously portable.
Workers leave, and take skills and experience with them.
That makes knowledge management a priority for training managers.
"Knowledge management is not imperative for its own sake," Stewart
argued. "It's imperative because it's what we do."
Putting himself in a trainee's shoes, Stewart said, "I will be
impatient, maybe even resentful, about training that ties me to
your company. Training has to change."
o Focus less on curriculum and content. Focus more on action
and networking. General Electric trains by putting teams to
work on actual business problems, said Stewart. The benefits
are twofold: Even if trainees leave GE after such training,
the company gets useful work out of them. Second, team
learning by doing builds relationships -- bonding workers to
one another and deterring them from moving on.
o Focus on training and support for the next generation of
leaders. Identify, train and try to keep the best of your
employees. "Too much training is aimed at turning C-plus
employees into B-minus employees," Stewart said. "Kill it."
Chunking training into five- or 10-minute nuggets of online
content has its advantages.
Well-conceived bite-sized modules let employees access only the
training they need immediately. Moreover, chunks are reusable as
modules in other courses.
Camille Price ( [email protected] ), however, raises some
caution flags about chunking.
"If self-directed learners don't know what the complete process
looks like, how can they pick out which steps from the list they
need to learn in what sequence?" asks Price, director of
consulting services for Allen Communication, a Salt Lake City
software and courseware-development business.
Price details her concerns in a Training Directors'
Forum Newsletter story by Editor Dave Zielinski at
OLL News asks: When doesn't chunking work? Read Dave's story.
Then tell us your experience with chunking, for better or for
worse. Respond to [email protected] .
Please include your name, title, phone number, organization, its
location, and what it does. Your subject line: Flunking Chunking.
C.B.T. FOR LOTUS
A reader asked about launching a pilot version of a computer-based
training program to teach information-technology skills through
The reader is using LearningSpace to build a collaborative
learning environment around the computer-based training.
"We have an urgent need for a high-quality computer-based training
package to train our staff in Lotus SmartSuite Millennium Edition
products (especially Lotus 1-2-3)," the reader says.
Vendor Mark Haswell ( [email protected] ),
product-marketing manager with Individual Software Inc. of
Pleasanton, CA, says his firm offers courseware for training in
Other vendors invite a look at:
CRIES FOR HELP: CAN WE ASSUME ... ?
A reader with a not-for-profit education organization floats this
"I am a relative newcomer to technology and will be teaching a
distance-learning class in the fall. I'm interested in gathering
information about what makes for a successful experience for both
student and teacher.
"At this point there is not enough data to know the age range of
students who will be taking the class.
"I am looking for assistance on where to go to find out what is
known about long-distance student learners. I have some
assumptions, which may be way off the mark."
Our reader's assumptions are:
o Students in their 20s and 30s will have an easier time
regardless of content.
o Certain kinds of content lend themselves to this format --
information rather than interaction-based material.
o Have someone present to keep the technology running so the
instructor can focus on class material.
o Offer students access to the instructor between classes
-- by phone, fax or e-mail. "Some students could not complete
the course if there was not personal contact," our questioner
OLL News asks: Off the mark? Or right on? Readers, please send
your response to [email protected]. Include your name,
title, phone number, organization, its location, and what it does.
Your subject line: Can We Assume ... ?
Here are more reader questions. Respond with your ideas to
[email protected] . Please include the same identifying
information as in the previous paragraph, and use the appropriate
following subject line.
WHERE TO PUT THOSE COMPUTERS? "We are purchasing
computers for manufacturing personnel to use in accessing
training. Does anyone know of data that would tell us where we
should put the computers to increase usage? Is at or near the
workplace better than in a building a few miles away?"
SAP WEB-BASED TOOLS? "I'm looking for information
regarding the training of SAP end users. I know about SAP
Knowledge Management Solution. But I'm looking for any other
Web-based tools that I could use."
SALES-PROSPECT MANAGEMENT? "Our training department
is looking at introducing a prospect-management course
for our business-sales channel. The reps work in the telecom
industry and are responsible for aggressively going out and
finding new accounts. They work on a 30-day sales cycle and
often find that their greatest challenge is prospecting for new
accounts. Training is looking to help support them with a dynamic
course or workshop. Any ideas?"
OLL News says: A San Francisco firm called Salesforce.com
launched an online sales-support business last week, creating what
CNET News calls "a David-and-Goliath battle of the Silicon Valley
That positions Salesforce.com to go toe to toe with software giant
Siebel Systems Inc. in providing tools that let sales reps track
leads, keep customer accounts, prepare reports, and check on their
performance as compared with peers.
Salesforce.com, ( http://www.salesforce.com) is Web-based service
for which customers pay about $50 a month for the first five users
and $50 a month for each additional user.
In contrast, Siebel ( http://www.siebel.com), of San Mateo, CA,
partners with application service providers (ASPs) that host the
company's software for customers.
OLL News readers: Do you have additional guidance for the reader
asking about sales-prospect management? Please send your response
to [email protected]. Include your name, title, phone
number, organization, its location, and what it does. Your subject
line: Sales-Prospect Management?
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.
WINDOW SHOPPING: LEARNING AS MARKETING
TRAINING AS MARKETING. notHarvard.com of Austin, TX,
launched a business-to-business "eduCommerce" service that
creates online courses for businesses wishing to use such free
online education as a marketing tool to draw consumers.
... AND FINALLY
Windows 2000: The most tested and acclaimed business operating
system is here. Training resources are at http://www.microsoft.com