Fahy, Patrick J.
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Current Web-based training (WBT) is based upon systematic research and experience with strategies for improving learning and instruction, beginning in the early part of the 20th century and continuing to the present. Use of the World-Wide Web for delivery may improve access to training, but the effectiveness of the resulting training and the usefulness of the outcomes is chiefly dependent upon the quality of the instructional design and the completeness of the support package provided. Factors that impact WBT quality, and which must be addressed in design and implementation processes, include assessment and accommodation of trainees previous learning experiences, training expectations, and overall readiness for new training; availability and familiarity to trainees and trainers of appropriate delivery technologies; presence of technical support; opportunities for interaction with the trainer and other trainees; the preparation and practices of trainers; corporate support and recognition; trainees capacities and expectations for independent and self-directed learning; and the presence of relevant, quality online training materials. WBT creates changes and may thus produce stresses in the training environment, as well as efficiencies. Reduction in travel and subsistence requirements means cost savings, but may also be seen by trainees as depriving them of opportunities to meet with each other face-to-face; self-pacing means trainees may proceed independently and at their own rate, but also that group support may be reduced (unless a cohort model is adopted); use of the Internet for delivery of training materials may foster trainee independence, but may also result in confusion for some trainees used to print materials and a paced, group delivery model; trainers no longer have to lecture as materials (always high quality, and often multimedia-based) are prepared in advance, but some may resent the loss of their role at center-stage; trainees are more responsible for their own learning, which may reflect the autonomy of adult responsibility common in the other areas of their lives, but this may be different from the expectations of some for how training should be conducted. To achieve the efficiencies and advantages well-designed and -managed WBT may offer, adopting organizations must make adjustments. Managers may need to show concrete support for online training by permitting trainees to use corporate resources during company time, to assure access to adequate bandwidth. Trainers may need to master new skills and be willing to adopt new roles less concerned with information dissemination and more involved with meeting individual trainees expressed needs. Trainees themselves may also need new skills, and may need to exercise more independence and selfdirection in their learning. As technologies become more available to support WBT, and as more models of successful WBT are available, the commitment to this delivery model is predicted to continue to grow. The previous corporate experience of the productivity paradox in relation to computers, in which some succeeded in improving productivity while others did notand some even experienced productivity losseswill need to be avoided, especially in relation to promising innovations such as reusable learning objects. Similarly, arrival of the noncommercial new Internets in Canada and the United States constitute a fresh start, an opportunity to demonstrate the value of these resources for academic and research purposes. 2 Choices of the right technologies, effective use of these choices, attention to security and privacy concerns, adequate training and support of users at all levels, assurance of timely and convenient technology access, and