In the last decade, we have seen technology bring worlds and people together in a manner which existed only in our parents and grandparents imaginations. Within little more than a generation, we have moved from an era where it took a letter week to reach its destination, to one in which the click of a button can transfer information anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes. It is this same technology that has revolutionized training and development programs. This information and communications technology, which encompasses the Internet, Intranet, and CD ROMS, is not a passing fad promoted by Bill Gates or his counterparts, but rather a resource of tremendous possibilities.
It is perhaps in business and industry where this information and communications technology has had the most impact. Not only has technology "changed the nature of work but has also become the essential tool by which people in the professions, industry and commerce maintain their knowledge and skills" (Working Smarter, p.
1). In today's ever changing work environment, the value of a knowledgeable, competent workforce is tremendous, and the role that technology plays in producing these capable employees should not be underestimated. Hence, "the time has come - not for talk - but for replacing our blackboards, movie projectors, cassette recorders, televisions and VCRs with the sophisticated educational technology now available" (Tomei, 1996, p. 53). After all, statistics already indicate that "people learn 30% more in 40% less time at 30% less cost by using computer-assisted tools" (Computers, 1998, p. 1).
But if you're anything like me, you'll probably need more than just statistics to prompt you into replacing your trustworthy, although outdated training methods with this new, and perhaps even a bit threatening, technology. You're probably asking yourself, "What exactly is this technology? What makes it such...