This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

May 23, 2000

Proliferation of Distance Learning

222 days until January 1, 2001

Employers and employees are caught on the horns of a dilemma. Growth-training and education-is vital in the corporate world-probably more important today than ever, given the velocity of change and turbulence in the workplace.

Employers want their people to be highly competent, highly proficient. Workers want to learn and grow-to perform better in their present jobs and to stay marketable. Staying marketable seems to be one of the key values for today's workers. They want the power to choose where they work by having the skills and knowledge to qualify for their chosen job.

The problem? Demands of our work leave little time to attend seminars--even across town. The solution: distance learning. Using technology, people learn valuable information without leaving their homes, offices, stores, plants, warehouses, etc. In the comfort of their workplace, home, or other location, they can participate in training delivered remotely.

The technology is not new. School systems and corporations have used distance learning for a number of years. But now the technology is becoming more sophisticated and more available to the general business public. There are a number of variations on the theme, but most of the alternatives enable people to learn without travel. Some programs are based on gathering people at central locations for seminars delivered by satellite downlink.

Videoconferencing continues, though the technology isn't perfect yet. And it's expensive. Costs are a significant issue in distance learning. Web-based programs are popping up all over the place as entrepreneurs and venture-oriented institutions leap into the fray. The limitations of the technology-and access-restrict participation to those who are able to be on-line and on the telephone at the same time. Programming ranges from simplistic presentations with little imagination to very elaborate multi-media shows.

But many employees--in all fields--often do not have access to computers. To make learning available to everyone, a new provider will offer courses by telephone only--four weekly one-hour sessions comprise each course. Fees are low. Teleclasses emphasize participant involvement, enhancing learning. Discover more about this option and how it works at You can register for July classes today.

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