Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio December
BY Bob Walters
MIGRATING TO ELECTRONIC EDUCATION
Convenient, cost-efficient and practical ways to bring training
and certification to the Web
For organizations that have to continuously
train employees, electronic tools are definitely the way to go.
If you are looking to the Internet or CDs as a delivery device
for educational programs, it is important to identify precise goals
before investing in the migration process. Do you want to provide
convenient access for research or for testing and certification? Do
you want to put your conference proceedings online? Do you need
full-motion video? Each of these scenarios has a different set of
options there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
Following is a look at two evolving trends: building online
libraries of information, and automating testing and study
The single most important aspect of meetings is education providing
a forum for the exchange of new ideas, research and learning. Most
organizations have a wealth of information they haven’t been able
to make available online. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to offer
individuals, possibly for a fee, the ability to search your
technical journals, presentations and publications using a
sophisticated engine that would conduct a search across all
Most organizations that publish their documents to the Web do so
in .pdf files a very flexible compression format that lets others
either read, download or print the documents as long as they have
Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free at www.adobe.com. The main
limitation of Acrobat is that a sequential search only can be
conducted on the contents of an open document; the capability to
search across the entire library currently is not available.
Granted, a more sophisticated search requires that someone index
the documents, but several tools are available that index every
word in a document or publication and provide the ability to search
across multiple documents or libraries. One such tool is the
Libronix Digital Library Systems (www.libronix.com), which has been used extensively
in biblical and religious research.
Many organizations have a certification process that involves a
structured study program followed by a test. Consider the meetings
industry’s Certified Meeting Professional program as an example.
Classes are offered to help applicants brush up on the areas
covered by the exam, but for many, time or distance constraints
make it impractical to get there.
Moving such programs online could eliminate travel time and
reduce study time by allowing individuals to focus on those areas
they need to study. The program also would be available to a wider
An example of this type of program can be previewed at
TheAcademy.com (www.theacademy.com). Online are examples of the training
and certification programs for the Cruise Line International
Association and the Airline Reporting Corporations. TheAcademy.com
offers services to build and administer online courses and also has
a student-monitoring module.
Helpful information for setting up an online educational program
also is available at the Teaching Portal (www.teachingportal.com).
Another option for offering electronic education is to put
classes on CD. The American Society of Association Executives has
just introduced a new program called Essentials of the Profession
(www.asaenet.org/essentials), which consists of a series
of study modules that can be purchased either as books or on CD.
The program has a library of more than 500 questions, and each
question is tied to a reference point in the study guides.Bob
Walters, based in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, is the
founder of Phoenix Solutions and developer of MeetingTrak
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