Traditional education institutions are recognizing the competition.
The world's body of knowledge is said to double every 10 years. How do you keep up with it all? Seminars,, and in-house training programs (and executive education for the select few), used to be enough. But to provide more education in less time, many organizations are using distance learning to bring live training to employees' desktops. It can broaden the reach of traditional and reinforce what is taught there.
Traditional education institutions are recognizing the competition and the larger market out there and are providing an increasingly wide range of online courses. An excellent directory of online courses can be found at www.mindedge.com. The major universities providing distance learning programs in hospitality and meeting management can be found at my Web site: www.corbinball.com/tips.list.corbinslist.htm#p2.
SeminarSource (www.seminar source.com) and similar companies take the content presented at meetings and deliver it to nonattendees' desktops on demand, using streaming video, audio, and high-resolution PowerPoint slides. The company's SeminarCast CE version allows learners to access each continuing education session and then take the required tests and evaluations without leaving their home or office.
Eloquent (www.eloquent.com) provides an online streaming media solution like SeminarSource's, with video, audio, and slides on demand, but it also offers a searchable, full-text transcript. Learners can participate in threaded discussions, and speed control lets them listen to a at twice the normal rate without the “chipmunk-like” increase in pitch.
Innovative Resources and Recordings (www.irri.com) provides high-quality CD-ROM and streaming video recordings. This solution is lower tech and less costly than online tools, as it usually forgoes the video portion of the presentation in favor of audio, high-resolution slides, and searchable scrolling text. It takes some turnaround time to produce the text transcript, but the final product makes a much better distance-learning application than audiotapes alone can provide.
Blackboard (www.blackboard.com) provides an extensive set of tools for Web-based instruction that replicates many aspects of the traditional school room. Features include a customizable home page, a course catalog, course announcements, course notes/documents/syllabus, online testing and surveys, class chat rooms/threaded discussion boards, and lots of academic online resources.
Click2Learn (www.click2learn.com) provides a similar set of tools that are targeted more toward the corporate environment. These also use live webconferencing tools.
ElementK (www.elementk.com) provides an extensive catalog of online office productivity, computer skills, and other work-skills courses.
We will see more companies like these in the future, not only extending the scope and range of traditional religious meetings, but training those who could not attend.
Corbin Ball, CMP, is a consultant, writer, and speaker on events and meetings technology. With 20 years' experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide save time and improve productivity. He can be contacted at www.corbinball.com.
Use online distance learning tools to deliver meeting content to nonattendees' desktops on demand.
Deliver CD-ROMs and streaming videos recordings of sessions less expensively than Web-based products.
Use Web-based instruction that replicates many aspects of the classroom — or try a product that's streamlined.