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									                Technology Department Training Plan

                        August – December 2009




Draft Version 1.0
Submitted August 15, 2009
Document Owner: Valerie Beyers, Assistant Manager of Customer Services
Table of Contents
Overview .................................................................................................... 3
Background ............................................................................................... 3
Plan Objectives ......................................................................................... 4
Technology Training Catalog August – December 2009........................ 4
Training Registration Process: An Interim Solution .............................. 8
2010 and Beyond: Opportunities for Improvement ................................ 9
Attachment 1 ........................................................................................... 12
Attachment 2 ........................................................................................... 17




                                                      2
Overview
The Technology Department for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS)
provides technology training services to over 7,700 internal customers located in 80
facilities across the county. Currently these services focus primarily on designing,
delivering, and evaluating classroom training and documentation for standard desktop
software applications such as email and Microsoft Office as well as in enterprise
systems for student and finance/accounting data in a hybrid environment with a mix of
Mac and Windows computers. The training audiences are mainly non-instructional staff
although demand for instructional staff training has increased over the past few years
with the implementation of online parent-teacher conferences and the anticipated rollout
of a new student data system and online teacher gradebook.

One of the Technology Department’s goals for the 09-10 school year is to provide a
streamlined approach for HCPSS employees to access information about courses and
how to register for classes. This document details what can be accomplished between
now and the end of the current calendar year as well as ideas about future
opportunities. It includes the following information:

      Description of current services and processes
      Plan objectives
      Proposed training catalog September – December 2009
      Changes to the current registration process
      Future plans

Background
In the past the past five years, HCPSS has implemented new systems for email and
student data as well as an integrated system encompassing finance, human resources,
and payroll data. The existing hybrid environment of Macs and Windows computers
requires many HCPSS employees as well as technology trainers to be computer
platform “bilingual”. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation and its emphasis on greater
accountability for individual student performance in the public K-12 classroom means a
greater focus on accurate and timely student data entry into various computer systems.
School and Central Office staff often need to manipulate this data using spreadsheets,
databases, and reports so that administrators and senior leadership may analyze and
improve overall school performance. In addition, ongoing advances in 21st century web-
based technologies and their use in knowledge management and collaboration tools in
the workplace has highlighted the need for the Technology Department to focus on
professional development and certifications for its own staff as well as new education
opportunities for all HCPSS employees.

Current Technology Department training resources include three technology trainers,
subject-matter experts on the Help Desk, and an assistant manager with the majority of
classroom training and documentation provided by the three trainers. The combined


                                           3
training work experience of these resources is over 75 years in the public and private
sectors.

Training is delivered via traditional means: classroom, documentation, and occasionally
one-on-one in special circumstances. Available training classes in standard desktop
applications (e.g., Microsoft Office, CLC) and legacy student data systems are
publicized via email. Class dates and times for the current Aspen pilot are arranged in
advance with each pilot school’s contact person. HCPSS employees are directed to use
a link to Test Pilot to sign up for these classes. The data is then exported from Test Pilot
to an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of class registrations. Individuals are notified by
email that they are registered for a specific class. Trainers collect names of people who
show up for class, mainly for those courses where a system’s login and password
information is distributed in class.

Plan Objectives
The majority of technology training resources August through December 2009 will be
allocated among the Aspen Pilot, the expansion of pickAtime into 30 elementary and
one middle school, and the requirement to continue ongoing monthly classes to meet
the needs of the HCPSS audience in desktop software for IFAS, CLC, and MS Office.
Given this, the objectives of this plan are to:

      Document the comprehensive list of training courses offerings August –
       December 2009
      Analyze current registration issues and design an interim solution to improve the
       logistical process
      Identify opportunities to improve technology training across the system

Technology Training Catalog August – December 2009
The priority for technology training for August through December 2009 is to offer
courses for the new student data system, Aspen, for the pilot and implementation
(assuming a “go” decision) phases and in the parent-teacher online conference
scheduling program pickAtime. There are approximately 30 elementary schools and one
middle school that have not used pickAtime in previous school years. Training for
school staff and teachers at these schools as well as refresher training for the rest of the
schools will need to be scheduled, primarily in October to allow schools to prepare the
system for parents to use beginning in early November.

Most of the courses listed in the catalog and documentation (quick reference guides and
references guides) have already been designed, developed, and implemented.

NOTE: There are three critical training areas for IFAS that are currently being discussed
that will require additional courses and/or documentation to be designed, developed,
and implemented before the end of the calendar year: Employee Online, Basic
Computing Skills, and retooling of several IFAS courses offered to new employees.

                                             4
Once the analysis is complete and decisions made about how and when to roll out
these courses and/or documentation, these will be added to the course catalog.


                            TRAINING CATALOG
    Month                  Courses                     Comments
August 2009       Aspen Pilot:           1. Aspen classes are pre-
                  Fundamentals           scheduled for pilot schools.
                  Teacher Basics         2. Mac School and SMS classes
                  Register/Enroll        are advertised via CLC email to
                  Attendance             numerous school user groups
                  Conduct                (e.g., HS Data Clerks). CS staff
                  Walk In Scheduling     contacted every school by phone
                                         in late July to determine how many
                  Mac School:            new staff or transfers required
                  Basics & Attendance    training in legacy student data
                  Behavior               systems.
                                         3. The number of IFAS classes for
                                         custodians is determined based on
                  Chancery SMS:          new hires and transfers tracked by
                  SMS Basics             Custodial Services.
                  Register/Enroll
                  Behavior
                  Teacher Basics (VES
                  only)

                  IFAS:
                  Purchase Orders for
                  Custodians
                  Account Manager
                  Training
                  Purchase Order Stores

                  CLC:
                  CLC Basics for
                  Custodians




                                          5
September 2009 Aspen Pilot:                 1. Possible Aspen pilot topics
               To be determined based       include Advanced Reporting and
               upon feedback from pilot     Advanced Queries and possible
               group and Functional         refresher training.
               Team                         2. Microsoft Office classes listed
                                            here will be offered one time
                Microsoft Office:           during the month. Specific topics
                Word Document               determined based upon previous
                Formatting                  year’s demand at this point in the
                Word Tabs and Tables        school year.
                Mail Merge                  3. CLC classes listed here will be
                Excel Essentials            offered one time during the month
                Excel Database              except for the CLC Essentials that
                PowerPoint Essentials       will be offered twice to
                                            accommodate intake of new
                CLC:                        employees at start of school year.
                CLC Basics for              4. IFAS classes listed here will be
                Custodians                  offered one time during the month.
                CLC Essentials              As noted previously, these
                CLC Calendars and           courses, designed primarily for
                Contacts                    new hires and transfers, are under
                                            review.
                IFAS:
                General Stores
                Custodial Stores
                Purchase Order Stores
                IFAS Advanced
                Account Manager




                                        6
October 2009    Aspen Pilot:                   1. Aspen Pilot training corresponds
                Grading for Office Staff       with interims for the first marking
                Grading for Teachers           period.
                                               2. PickAtime will be rolled out at 30
                pickAtime                      additional elementary schools and
                Basics for Teachers            one middle school beginning in the
                Basics for School Staff        fall. At the elementary level, these
                                               classes are usually attended by
                Microsoft Office:              two to three school staff or
                Word Mail Merge (PC)           administrators per school (e.g.,
                Word Mail Merge (Mac)          teachers’ secretary, principal’s
                Excel Essentials               secretary, and AP). At the middle
                Excel Beyond the Basics        school level, either the data clerk
                Excel Formulas                 or guidance secretary attends the
                Excel Database                 training.
                PowerPoint Beyond the          3. Microsoft Office classes listed
                Basics                         here will be offered one time
                                               during the month. Specific topics
                                               determined based upon previous
                                               year’s demand at this point in the
                                               school year.
November 2009   Aspen Implementation:          1. Assuming a “go” decision is
                ES Principals Training         made for the Aspen rollout,
                                               implementation training will begin
                Microsoft Office:              the week of Thanksgiving with
                Word Styles                    customized training for ES
                Excel Essentials               principals.
                Excel Pivot Tables
                Excel Macros
                Excel Database
                PPT


December 2009   Aspen Implementation:          1. The current Aspen plan calls for
                Fundamentals (ES & CO          four elementary schools to go live
                departments such as            per day between December 2 and
                Administration, Student        December 17. ES teachers will be
                Services, PPWs,                trained in January 2010. Because
                Psychologists, etc.)           of the number of schools being
                Register/Enroll                transitioned in a short period of
                Attendance                     time and the schools being closed
                Conduct                        for the holidays at the end of the
                Scheduling                     month, no other technology
                                               training courses will be offered
                                               during December.


                                           7
Training Registration Process: An Interim Solution
As described in detail in the Background section, the process for communicating course
titles and class dates and times is done for standard desktop software classes and
legacy student data systems using monthly emails sent out prior to the last week of
each month for classes being offered the following month. Registering for a class is a
simple process for employees; they use the link in the email to go to a Test Pilot site to
sign up for one or more classes. Test Pilot includes a description of each course
offering as well as any recommended pre-requisite courses. They are notified by email
when they have been registered for a specific class.

There are several strategic and logistical issues associated with the current process:

      Courses are not associated with professional development plans. In the absence
       of a systematic training needs analysis to identify technology skills and
       knowledge gaps among employees, the current approach is one of “spray and
       pray”. This is less true with projects such as the Aspen Pilot where school and
       training staff do some basic assessment of which classes school administrators
       and staff should attend.
      Employees can only self-assess their readiness for a certain class with pre-
       requisites versus taking an online assessment.
      There is no evaluation of training effectiveness, using Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of
       Evaluation (an accepted practice in instructional programs) beyond Level 1
       (reaction) evaluations. Levels 2 (change in knowledge) and 3 (change in
       behavior) evaluations would allow senior leadership to determine how effective
       training programs are. Level 4 measures return on investment, a step most
       organizations find hard to determine.
      There is no public calendar or catalog in a centralized location that employees
       can access to see current training offerings.
      Employees are not reminded of upcoming classes for which they have signed up.
       This contributes to high no-show rates for certain classes and weakens the ability
       to enforce the existing cancellation policy published on the HCPSS intranet.
      There is too much manual labor involved in processing registrations done on
       Test Pilot and keeping up with additions and cancellations from both the
       Technology Department and employee sides.

For the short-term, the logistical issues associated with a public calendar and course
catalog and no-shows are ones that can be readily addressed by the end of September:

    Modify existing Technology Department’s intranet pages to include a public
     calendar and catalog
    Include this link in the department’s communications about training and help desk
     announcements

                                            8
    Add a step to the registration notification process where employees are sent
     reminders by phone or email about classes for which they have registered

The other strategic and logistical issues identified above should be included in a
systemic effort to improve professional development for both technology and soft-skills
training. The next section identifies additional challenges that must be addressed in the
coming years.

2010 and Beyond: Opportunities for Improvement
Ultimately, the bottom line for all Technology Department training initiatives is to
connect the outcomes to student achievement in the classroom combined with prudent
use of system budget and resources. There are many opportunities for improvement in
how technology training services are analyzed, designed, delivered, implemented, and
evaluation across the district. The table below is a high-level look of some of these:

               Opportunities                                       Comments
Collaborative strategic planning (vision,       One top priority that should be addressed
goals, objectives, and plans) with the          is a comprehensive training needs
Office of Professional Development              assessment (TNA) of the knowledge and
(OPD), Office of Media and Educational          skills that staff need to do their jobs
Technologies (OMET), and Human                  effectively and efficiently. We have an
Resources (HR)                                  existing template (TNA done for ES
                                                teachers’ secretaries in 2006) we could
                                                use to jump start this effort. A meeting with
                                                OPD will be scheduled in September to
                                                discuss common strategic goals and
                                                objectives such as a learning management
                                                system.
Better integration with HCPSS standards         The ADDIE model is currently used by the
to guide improvement found in Bridge to         training staff. We need to understand how
Excellence: Goal 2 such as the Plan, Do,        this fits into the PDSA cycle so there is
Study, Act (PDSA) cycle                         one methodology for PD programs across
                                                HCPSS, i.e., what is the evaluation
                                                component of PDSA?
Analysis of Learning Management System          See Attachment 1 for a preliminary list of
(LMS) requirements                              ideas. OPD will be setting up a demo of
                                                eSchool’s ERO in the near future.
Preparation for upgrades in desktop             The Microsoft Office suites for the Mac
software and operating systems                  and Windows on the market now (and in
                                                the future) require separate classes since
                                                the GUIs are different. Additionally, at
                                                some point in time, Microsoft will force
                                                computer manufacturers to ship machines
                                                with only the Windows 7 operating system.
Distance Learning                               This is a term used to describe training

                                            9
                                             delivered synchronously and
                                             asynchronously using a variety of tools
                                             such as television, the Web, and mobile
                                             devices. What is HCPSS’s overall vision
                                             and strategy for distance learning? How
                                             does the Granicus project owned by
                                             Television Services fit into this? What
                                             training offered now could be moved out of
                                             the classroom and used for new employee
                                             orientations? There is value-add to
                                             recycling these programs since HCPSS
                                             hires new employees at different times of
                                             the year. Often employees who arrive
                                             during the school year are not given the
                                             same training opportunities as those who
                                             begin during the summer. What
                                             technology courses and presentations
                                             could be delivered via Elluminate?
Better understanding and use of              See Attachment 2. Regarding current
Web2.0/3.0 and related tools and             Web2.0-type projects, the training staff is
technologies                                 developing short movie tutorials for the
                                             Aspen Pilot. A key component of this
                                             project will be to evaluate its effectiveness,
                                             i.e., if we build it, will they come? There
                                             are situational barriers to using online
                                             tutorials in the schools where staff may not
                                             have uninterrupted access to view tutorials
                                             and to practice skills. We have also
                                             developed several pages of resources and
                                             links on the HCPSS intranet for employees
                                             to use. In addition, we will be offering
                                             additional Conversation with Colleagues
                                             sessions about Web2.0 and developing
                                             courses in 2010 for safe computing
                                             guidelines and effective online searches.
Increased focus on HCPSS enterprise          The pros and cons for continuing the
systems                                      classroom delivery of MS Office courses
                                             need to be analyzed and evaluated. There
                                             are online subscription services (e.g.,
                                             Atomic Learning) many organizations use
                                             in lieu of classroom learning. Again, we
                                             need to explore the situational and cultural
                                             barriers for distance learning.
Technology training and mentoring for        These could be modeled on existing
senior leadership                            programs developed in the private sector.
Level 2 & Level 3 evaluations of training    To evaluate if training increased an

                                            10
programs    employee’s knowledge of a particular
            subject and actually changed on-the-job
            behavior, there are a variety of methods
            we could use including:

                   Sending post-training surveys
                   Offering ongoing, sequenced
                    training and coaching over a period
                    of time
                   Conducting follow-up needs
                    assessment
                   Organizing focus groups of
                    participants and
                    supervisors/managers




           11
Attachment 1
ONLINE TRAINING SITE/LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM IDEAS

Basecamp Writeboard dated Dec. 2008
Participants: Carsten Nilsson, Valerie Beyers
====================

The Challenges:
Early adopters are usually the most influential group when it comes to
changing people's behavior . . . who should be in this group? Let's
not do the "spray and pray" approach.
Website development – resources
Website storage/server space
Website name, URL and alias
How do we advertise the new site?
How do we analyze how many people use the new site and who they are
(internal or external users)
How do we evaluate if site is useful beyond number of traffic hits -
feedback from pilot group of users
Budget
Hardware
Software
Ability to track hits on site; external and internal users (software?)

Scope and Sequences:
Talk to customers as we are out/about in schools to find
out how website could meet their needs. We think we know how it will
meet theirs and ours. Let's vet our options.
Start small with focus on Admin Computing, specifically CLC. Has to be
something that meets immediate needs of end user community. CLC is #1
enterprise app.
Expand to other systems: IFAS, X2 Aspen, ODW, MacSchool, SMS, Grade
Transporter (legacy apps with us for a few years)
Milestones:
Vendors:
Cost:
Resources

Pages
Pick a style
Background
Logo (Custom training Logo?)
Nav bar
Tabs?
Meta tags

                                          12
Site map and search feature

Class Calendar (Monthly Calendar view AND List view)
1. Class name
2. Date and Time
3. Location
4. Instructor name
5. Objectives
6. Intended audience
7. Pre-requisites
8. Button for registering (using HCPSS email address as unique
identifier)
9. Ability to show “class full” if the class size is
exceeded
10. Page must show Technology Dept. Training contact info

Class/Workshop list
1. Class/workshop name
2. General information about the class (This workshop will teach you
how to...)
3. Date and Time
4. Duration
5. Location (map and directions?)
6. Class Size
7. Intended audience
8. Pre-requisites
9. Goals
10. Objectives
11. Trainer name
12. Downloadable Agenda and Objectives?
13. Recommended next class (After this class, you may want to learn
how to …)
14. Page must show OIT Training contact info

Class/Workshop Roster
1. To show list of registered users
2. View roster by Class/Workshop name
3. Ability to also show waitlisted users
4. Ability to check “attended” (check box)
5. Ability to remove user from the roster (remove button)
6. Ability to add a user to the roster (“Add” button or
“email” field)
7. Ability to show Class/Workshop info a.Class/Workshop name b. Date c. Time d.
Location e. Instructor
8. Roster fields a. User Name b. School c. HCPSS Email Address d. Work
phone e. Other phone

                                          13
Registration Page
1. Ability for user to select multiple classes before submitting the
registration
2. Use email address as login (unique identifier)
3. Prompt for user info if user is registering for the first time
4. Ability to send confirmation to user upon registering a. Show
classes the user is in b. Show classes for which the user is
waitlisted
5. Page must show OIT Training contact info

Clients/Audience page (collected at user’s first sign up)
1. Name
2. HCPSS email address (unique identifier)
3. School
4. Job title/work function (drop down list??)
5. Work phone
6. Other Phone (home/cell)

Statistics Page
1. Fields a. Class name b. Location c. Date d. User name e. School
name f. School Level g. Job title/work function (based on drop down
list entries??) h. Attended (yes/no)
2. Filter by a. START and END dates b. Attended Yes/No c. School name
d. School level e. Class name f. Instructor g. Location
3. Sort options a. Date b. User Name c. Class name d. Instructor e.
Location

Training Documents
- Searchable Online (CGI) database?
- Copyright info
- Online evaluation (login?)
- Training Tracks (e.g. for new-hires; CLC, Word Basics, Excel basics)
- Tip of the day (database driven?)
- HCPSS staff login?
- Trainer login to access training files
- External resources list, e.g. Microsoft.com
- Training Needs – request form
- Contact us – response form
- Map and directions
- "What’s new” list or conference info
- Site map?
- Trainer bios? With pictures
- Shared training email, e.g. training@HCPSS.org?
- Shared training phone line?



                                             14
General Questions
1. Do we need to adhere to HCPSS website branding guidelines?
2. Do we need use copyright protection?
3. We will need to be sensitive to users with disabilities (ADA?) and
color blindness. Use www.AskBobby.com site to evaluate.
4. Discuss how we plan to track classroom training attendance, e.g.
total registered, show. no show, by user type, school, sc...
5. Discuss how we can track traffic on the page if there's even a need
for this.
6. We will need a search feature and/or searchable training
documentation database.
7. Misc. pages: Online eval, Statistics, Links to other resources,
Site map, Trainer Bios page?
8. Discuss training document output type (PDF files?)
9. Get software for creating movie tutorials (e.g. Captivate)
10. Get software for creating and maintaining web site, e.g.
Contribute.
11. Will users need to login to access the site or will it be able to
external users?
12. Discuss how we market the new site and how user will find our
site. And why users will return to our site.
13. Setup Training server and redirect from HCPSS Intranet
14. Define content of each page (fields, buttons, nav bar, tabs,
background, metatags, search bar and more)
15. Define pages (Index, Training class list, Calendar, Documents and
Tutorials, Needs Assessments page, Contact Us, and more)
16. Each member must review about 5 training websites to gather ideas
and samples for the new Training website (Training Website
Discussion)

From meeting on 12/8/08
1. Need Help Desk reference.
2. Instead of Trainer Bios, add a OIT Training group member photo with
labes (names).
3. Nice feature: Top 10 Downloaded training documents.
4. Ability for users to access training files (single location for all
training files)
5. Issue: Storing docs in DR forces the user to login to DR every time
they download a training doc.
6. Issue: A decision needs to be made whether we use Copyright
protection or not.
7. Need Pop-Up Blocker info (e.g. press Ctrl and click link)
8. Decision was made to use PDF file format for training docs.
9. Need link to "Download Adobe Reader".
10: Decision was made how to organize training docs
A. By application, then topics and app version

                                         15
11. Issue: Need ability to search for files (is a database for storing
the docs required or can a search appliance be used?).




                                             16
Attachment 2

All Aboard! The Web 3D Train Is Leaving the Station
By Anders Gronstedt
http://www.astd.org/lc/2008/1208_gronstedt.htm

Whether you are just starting a blog or entering a virtual world, there is still time to get on board with the
future of learning.

Put your ear to the tracks, and you'll hear the rumbling of a freight train coming toward you. It's Web 2.0, and
it's driven by the sound of millions of conversations across the blogosphere, the growing hum of business
podcasts, and the steady accretion of institutional wisdom on corporate wikis. Right behind it is the Web 3D
train, fueled by the booming populations pitching their tents in the virtual archipelagos of Second Life.

A new breed of game-savvy and socially networked employees are pouring into the workforce, and this new
generation of workers wants to be engaged, in control, and a part of a compelling storyline. They expect
greatness and will abandon you en masse if you cannot inspire them. You’ll never know what hit you unless
you start innovating and rewriting the playbooks for frontline communication. Now.

When you listen in on your e-learning courses, do your hear monologues? Are they still overcome with death-
by-PowerPoint, newsletters that can cure insomnia, videos that bring all the drama and thrill of C-SPAN, and
media files that are rammed down a one-way track from your department to your employees? The best that
can be said about most learning programs is that they give people the sensation of a coma, without all the
worry and inconvenience.

The future of learning and development is about doing. It’s about simulating and engaging, not watching,
reading, and listening. It's about conversation and application, not a sage-on-a-stage. It’s about peer-to-peer
sharing, not top-down dissemination. And ultimately, it's about fostering commitment, not compliance. While
you’re contemplating whether to offer podcasts or dive into virtual worlds, your employees are already there.
They role-play in Second Life, listen to podcasts while driving, build best-practice wikis, rant on their blogs,
and ―poke‖ their Facebook buddies.

The train is leaving the station. And your refusal to board might be taken as arrogance, technophobia,
stupidity, or all of the above. Whether these things are actually true is irrelevant when the next generation of
talent is leaving you for competitors who may already have planted their flag in the virtual world.

Many companies have already found a balance between training delivery and technology:

         Computer storage leader EMC is cranking out five to 10 podcasts a week and two to three vodcasts
         weekly to its employees, who subscribe to their favorite casts through an RSS feed and listen from
         their PDAs while driving to client meetings.
         Intel’s internal Wiki, ―Intelpedia,‖ has amassed 5,000 pages of content and garnered 13.5 million
         page views in a little more than a year.
         Sales reps at Ericsson role-play their way through customized virtual scenarios with full-motion
         video, professional acting, and story-centered, character-rich dramatizations that help them sell
         consultatively to real customers.
         Serena Software has instituted ―Facebook Friday,‖ requiring each of its 900 employees to spend an
         hour every Friday updating their Facebook profiles in recognition of its value to recruitment and
         brand building.
         Sun Microsystem CEO Jonathan Schwartz is getting rid of his office and cutting down on travel,
         finding that he communicates more efficiently from his kitchen table by writing blog entries that are
         translated into 10 languages and reach more than 50,000 people a day. He’s setting an example for
         the more than 4,000 Sun employees who are also blogging.



                                                          17
Web 3D
Web 2.0 is already old news to some companies who are betting that the future of online interaction won’t be
built on flat, static webpages, but rather in traversable 3D spaces. IBM has 25 islands in Second Life, and
15,000 of its employees already have Second Life accounts. A number of other companies conduct meetings,
training, job fairs, and new hire orientations in Second Life or other virtual world environments.

The unique value props with virtual worlds include

    •   the ability to visualize 3-D objects, facilities, and phenomena and to manipulate scale and perspective
    •   role playing
    •   visualization of data
    •   low cost
    •   a platform for multiplayer games and simulations
    •   collaboration.

But let’s cut to the chase. The real value prop is that virtual worlds are more fun than just about any other
form of learning. Finally, a break from the drudgery of staring at your phone while talking to disembodied
voices on a conference call or watching static a PowerPoint during a webinar. In the virtual world, you can
―see‖ the meeting in an immersive 3D environment. You can see who is talking; you can express yourself
through the customization of your avatar; and you can gesture, dance, or ride a horse.

The bureaucratic class
We can argue about whether it's self-indulgent or not, but the cold fact is that the new generation doesn’t care
why you're still doing things the old-fashioned way. For the talented young workers who represent the
lifeblood of a forward-looking company, it's often as simple as asking, ―do they or don't they use Web 3D for
training?‖

A large majority of companies do not. Research suggests that more than two-thirds of all companies are
blocking access to social networking sites, wikis, blogs, and video and photo-sharing sites such as YouTube
and Flickr. An even larger majority of companies block access to Second Life.

For this reason, it's critical that you don’t let your legal or IT departments intimidate you. The bureaucratic
class in your company—in IT, legal, human resources, and other functions—are frequently vested in the
status quo instead of change, in the past rather than the future, and in preventing mistakes instead of creating
opportunities. If left unchecked, they can suck the life out of a company and frighten away a generation of
digital natives.

Skunk-work approach
Whether you’re working for a company that is stuck in Web 1.0 trying to move to Web 2.0, or in the flatland
of blogs and wikis trying to move to Web 3D, don’t approach progress as a threatening transformation.
Instead, set up a ―skunk work‖ project. Start with something cheap like a wiki or a meeting in a virtual world.
Eventually, you'll want a robust build-out, but for the time being, these are channels that can be productively
employed for very little money (making them ideal ramp-up and case-building applications).

Test it. Solve specific problems, and get immediate feedback. Build internal success stories. Iron out kinks
early, and create a groundswell of support and an army of evangelists. Think big and act bold, but start small.
Aggregate upwards and outwards to generate scale and drive the organization toward enterprise-level
adoption.

The hard part about Web 2.0– and Web 3D–powered training isn’t technology—it’s attitude. You have to
loosen up, lighten up, and shut up. Don’t join the party wearing your faculty cloak. Join as a participant. You



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have to trust the audience members, some of who possess knowledge and expertise that surpasses anything a
communication organization can hope to master.

Let them teach each other. No one has better credibility than a successful peer. Your approach will be more
productive if it's more fun, more interactive, more conversational, and more like the computer games, blogs,
and podcasts that the iPod generation is already interacting with in its spare time.

Consider some examples. Paul Steinberg, who spearheads Intel’s Second Life community activities for third-
party developers, appears as Lynx in the virtual world (fluffy tail, whiskers, and all). Podcasts developed for
Ericsson include interviews conducted by a comic relief character, Sir Basil Grey, the dean of her majesty's
roving field correspondents. The Nike Sports Knowledge Underground (SKU), an online learning
environment for retail employees, plays the urban subway system metaphor to the tilt, with each station
representing a training activity.

Who said training for the digital age has to be modeled on a boring, ancient, Fordian industrial approach? If
such anecdotal evidence is not convincing enough, check out Ed Castronova’s latest book Exodus to the
Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality. He has put together a persuasive case that we're
entering a ―fun economy,‖ where the real world may begin to model its institutions after virtual worlds
because the general populace finds them more fun.

Communication departments that use new technology to deliver the same old straight-laced pronouncements
have to brace for a train wreck as digital natives enter the workforce. Instead of using new technology to
complement and supplement traditional newsletters and meetings, these organizations need to rethink
learning. Imagine the possibilities if new-generation information and service workers can learn the skills they
need in a context that's actually energizing.



The New Communication Manifesto for the Digital Generation
Legacy dogmas                                    New realities

Watching, reading, and listening                 Doing, simulating, and engaging
Telling                                          Conversation and application
Sage-on-a-stage                                  Ubiquitous training
Command and control                              Guide and nurture
Top-down                                         Peer-to-peer
Father knows best                                Harnessing collective intelligence
Plan and execute                                 Release early and often, perpetual beta
Cautious and safe                                Wacky and rebellious
Ask for permission                               Ask for forgiveness
People going to training                         Training going to people
Interruptive distractions                        Teachable moments
Appointment-driven                               On-demand
Captives in meetings                             Communications in context
Graphic design                                   Game design
Efficiency and cost control                      Effectiveness and growth
Replicating communications with new              Reinventing communications with new
media                                            media
Compliance                                       Commitment




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Anders Gronstedt is president of the Gronstedt Group, which helps companies improve sales and workplace performance through
podcasts, simulations, and virtual worlds. He is the host of the popular weekly ―Train for Success‖ meetings on Thursdays at noon EDT
in Second Life; anders@gronstedtgroup.com.




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