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The TrainingZONE LearningWIRE - Issue 1

16th Jan 1998
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LearningWIRE - Issue 1
16 January 1998

A FREE electronic newsletter for net enabled people
engaged in training, learning, coaching and staff development.

Copyright (C) 1998 Sift plc. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
long as attribution is given.

In this issue:

  • Welcome editorial
  • 1998 predictions
  • Training site review: The Biz Training and Development Site
  • The elusive Enterprise network
  • A glimpse at TrainingZONE
  • About Sift
  • Subscription information

WELCOME to the very first issue of LearningWIRE. My plan is for this
electronic newsletter to become a free, indispensable update on all
matters of interest to people engaged in training, learning, coaching and staff

LearningWIRE is edited by Tim Pickles of the UK-based Framework
consultancy and training network. It is distributed by Sift plc, a leading internet
resource company based in Bristol, with a mission to create easily
accessible professional communities using the Web as their main resource
medium. We welcome further content for LearningWIRE from readers and

Together, we are about to launch TrainingZONE on the Internet.
TrainingZONE will provide an ever-expanding resource of information, news, tips,
techniques, links, discussion groups, and learning resources of interest
to our target audience of trainers, learners, coaches and managers. Access
to TrainingZONE will be free and unrestricted. More glimpses of
TrainingZONE are available later in this newsletter. We plan to keep you regularly
informed through future issues of LearningWIRE. If you like what you see,
please stay registered. Send me an email with your ideas for future
content or contributions.

••• We would really appreciate your support by forwarding this
newsletter to any of your friends and colleagues who may be interested, and
suggesting they subscribe (at no cost!). •••

With very best wishes for 1998,

Tim Pickles
[email protected]

1998 predictions

It seems a pretty good custom to start a new year with resolutions and
predictions, so what better way to launch LearningWIRE than to offer you
some 100% guaranteed (:-) ideas for 1998. The first few relate to the
world of training and development; the final ones relate to computing
and the internet:

  1. We're going to hear a lot more about the 'New Deal' - and it won't all be good news.
  2. Individual learning accounts (ILAs?) will make a tentative first appearance.
  3. NTOs will start to produce a barrage of paper to increase their visibility (National Training Organisations
    if you didn't know)
  4. UK Internet connectivity will continue to grow by at least 150% over the year.
  5. Microsoft will face even more legal challenges to its empire building.
  6. UK ISPs will diminish in number as rationalisation and aggregation begin - but will mine and yours stay in business!?

    and finally,

  7. We'll all get even more fed up of TLAs (those friendly little three letter acronyms!)

I'll revisit these predictions towards the end of the year and report on
their outcomes.

Training site review: The Biz Training and Development Site

Each issue of LearningWIRE will review a web site of interest to people
engaged in staff development and learning. We aim to both inform you
about sites you might want to visit, and warn you about any potential

Reviewed sites are graded according to their Relevance and their
Friendliness; star grades range from * to *****.

All the best sites will be directly accessible from TrainingZONE, and
will be included in the local area search engine offered by TrainingZONE.

This week's review is of the training and development site run by The

The Biz is a sort of Yellow Pages site providing gazetteer information
about commercial and public services provided by those organisations
seeking listings. There is an extensive sub-section devoted to Human
Resources, covering many topics such as recruitment, payrolling, etc.
One such topic deals with Training and Development and provides a database
of further headings covering such areas as professional bodies, awarding
bodies, business schools, publishers, language training, management
training, etc. I checked out the Management Trainers and found around
20 companies (mostly English based), only two of which I had actually heard

If you want an extensive professional directory, The Biz site provides
loads of information. It's somewhat unclear how organisations and
companies get to be listed with The Biz and whether listing is a
subscription service. Several of the databases require further building
to be really useful.

The site is built on a tree-hierarchy principle. Nothing wrong with
that, but I found there were so many levels that I was becoming frustrated at
the time it took to reach the information I sought. Perhaps more use of
page anchors would help. Alternatively, don't bookmark until you reach the
last level you require. The absence of big graphics is a definite plus for
fast loading. A good site search engine finds things reliably.

Usefulness: ***
Friendliness: ***

••• Suggestions for future sites to review (large or small, commercial
or personal) are always welcome. Please send your suggestions to the
editor. •••

The elusive Enterprise network
For several weeks I've been searching for a handy way to electronically
access the nationwide network of Enterprise Companies (TECs in England
and Wales, LECs in Scotland). It's surprisingly hard.

Charged with promoting inward investment, skills training, quality
standards and the like, you would have thought that these flagship
organisations would have jumped at the opportunities presented by the
Internet. To date, I can only find around 50% of the TECs and LECs with
sites - and some of those are little more than a page with their
addresses and phone numbers.

Even more surprising, I can't track down an official, comprehensive
directory of the whole Enterprise Network. The best I can offer you are

but both of these exclude the Scottish LECs. To find them, try:

If you've found a better way, please let me know! And whilst we're
about it, has anyone found a good information site for the national programme
of Investors in People? (It's certainly not at

A glimpse of TrainingZONE

TrainingZONE will be a community web site providing access to a very
wide range of resources, directories, news, information and links of interest
to trainers, coachers, learners and managers. It will have a distinct UK
bias in its content. There are presently around 20 features of the site
under development. The following examples are intended to whet your appetite:


We are designing fully searchable directories with separate databases

  • trainers and consultants,
  • conference, exhibition and training venues,
  • forthcoming courses and conferences.

Users will be able to enter and edit their own information into these
directories. If you want your data under any of these headings
including from the launch, please send full information to the editor now.

A free discussion area for users to request and offer coaching and
advice on any subject of interest to them.

Toolkit library
Perhaps the most innovative area of the site – and certainly the one
with the greatest added value - will be an expanding library of training and
learning resources for you to access, download, customise and use in
your own work. We're always on the lookout for new tools, techniques and
activities to include in the library, so please let us know if you would
like to contribute.

We plan to launch during February and will keep you updated on progress
through LearningWIRE.


Tim Pickles
[email protected]

About Sift

Sift plc is a leading developer of online communities. Based in Bristol
Sift has developed AccountingWEB for professionals in the accountancy
profession. At the 1997 Online Information Exhibition at Olympia, Sift
were voted European Information Product of the Year (and also runner up
as Internet Product of 1997). You can visit this site at:

Subscription Information

N.B. If you were the original recipient of this first message, you do
not need to follow these subscription instructions as you are already
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Editor: Tim Pickles ([email protected])
Sift plc., 33 Corn Street, Bristol BS1 1HT
Tel:+44 (0)117 930 8881 Fax:+44 (0)117 930 8887

Tim Pickles ***** Designing professional toolkits ***** The learning community


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