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Taking stock and moving onlinepixel.gif (807 bytes)

Predictions for intranets in 1999
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Predictions for training in 1999
pixel.gif (807 bytes) Predictions for training in 1999
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1. Classroom training remains strong but changes in nature
The development of online technology may seem at first to threaten the existence of classroom training, but in fact it seems to clarify its unique benefits. People need people, particularly when there are problems to be solved, options to be debated and attitudes to be influenced.
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What we don't need are inflexible, lengthy, didactic, tutor-centred events with the primary aim of imparting knowledge from a to z. What we desparately need more of are short, flexible, learner-centred events that provide an opportunity for discussion, problem-solving and practice in a relaxed and safe environment.

2. The move online gains momentum
If we don't acquire knowledge and basic skills in classrooms, then we're more likely to be looking online for the solution than to familiar off-line media like workbooks, video and CD-ROM. The online bandwaggon is unstoppable, even though existing methods still have formidable advantages in terms of portability and multimedia capability. The online arguments - easier accessibility, maintainability, greater modularity and lower costs - are capturing both the imagination and the budgets.

3. Performance support moves to centre stage
There are already serious doubts about the suitability of the desktop as a place of learning. The interruptions, the lack of privacy and the immediacy of more urgent priorities all contribute to an atmosphere that is less than ideal for learning. On the other hand, the sheer colume of information required to carry out tasks effectively is growing rapidly. This information can not all be learned.
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The answer is not training at the dektop but performance support - online, when it's needed. This can take many forms - information databases, wizards, templates, expert systems, even customised screen savers - just enough information, just-in-time. Online learning will have it's place, at quiet times or in quiet places.

4. Multimedia takes a backseat until bandwidth increases
Remember multimedia, the buzzword of the mid 90s, the next big step in computer technology. Well multimedia happened, but primarily in the home. Corporate applications have been limited to CD-ROM-based training - away from the desktop - and the occasional venture at point-of-sale.
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Multimedia at work is dormant until bandwidth increases. When video and audio can be handled comfortably by corporate networks, intranets, online learning and performance support will all take a leap forward, adding the vital human touch to our network communications.
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Happy New Year!

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                                                     Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1998. All rights reserved.                              Last revised 29/11/98