Training is a large cost in any corporation.
Enormous amounts of training need to be done in
any company, particularly large ones. The costs
associated with training are not only
financial-they are the time devoted to training,
and perhaps equally important, the time and
money wasted if a company doesn't
properly train its employees.
Training needs to be done to
orient new employees to the corporation
itself-things such as teaching about corporate
procedures, where to find information, how to
fill out forms, rules that managers must follow,
and other similar orientation issues.
Another level of training has
to do with how to use particular pieces of
software at the corporation-for example, how to
use the accounting system or a database.
The most complex level of
training incorporates not just how to use
software or how to follow procedures, but how to
actually do business at the company. For
example, many companies put new sales employees
through a substantial amount of training that
encompasses teaching about the industry in which
the salesperson is selling, information about
the product to be sold, as well as specific
sales techniques to be used.
Training is not just for new
employees-it needs to be an ongoing process. New
products and goods to sell mean people need to
be taught about them. New software and business
procedures require that people be taught how to
An intranet can help with all
these kinds of training. It can cut costs, save
time, and ensure that people get better
training. On the simplest level, Web pages can
be built to train people. The Web can be used as
a multimedia training tool by including
pictures, video, audio, with the text. It can be
interactive as well-people can answer questions,
take tests, and try out procedures.
More revolutionary will be
intranet-based multimedia applications.
Videoconferencing will allow trainers to teach
people across the entire intranet. People won't
have to be physically in the same room; instead,
they can be seated at their PCs. And they'll be
able to interact and ask questions using the
technology as well.
With whiteboard applications
(in which people can see what is on each other's
computer screens), a teacher can demonstrate how
to use a particular piece of software, and
everyone connected can see on their computer
screen what the instructor is doing, and can ask
questions by doing things such as circling a
portion of the screen, and asking questions
Streaming video and audio
technologies (which allow people to watch videos
or listen to audios without having to wait for
them to completely download) can be used for
training as well. The ultimate training tool,
however, may be virtual reality. A virtual world
is built that someone can walk through and
interact with in the same way as with the real
world. Virtual reality has been used by the
airlines and the military, for example, to train
Training employees is a major
cost to many corporations. All employees require
training on an ongoing basis-training for
mundane things such as how to fill out new forms
and procedures, to more sophisticated things,
such as being given information about new goods
and services the company sells. Multimedia on an
intranet can be a very effective training tool.
- It can be expensive for
CyberMusic to fly instructors across the
country to teach small classes-many
instructors need to be paid, in addition to
travel costs. With intranet videoconferencing,
however, a single instructor can teach a class
live, and people across the intranet and
across the country can follow along on their
computers via desktop-to-desktop
videoconferencing using a videoconferencing
program like CU-See-Me. With CU-See-Me, people
log into servers called reflectors, and can
then participate in a videoconference. They
can be seen and be heard by the instructor,
and so can ask questions as well. CyberMusic
uses videoconferencing to train its sales
employees on sales techniques.
- Sometimes, particularly
with a sales staff, it can be difficult to
make sure that everyone can participate in a
videoconference at the same time.
Additionally, people may at times want
refresher courses when a trainer isn't
available. To solve the problem, CyberMusic
videocasts training videos across the
intranet, using streaming video technology.
Anyone who wants to watch a training video can
click on a link on a Web page to a video clip,
and they can watch the training video at their
own leisure. The video clip is played from a
streaming video server.
- Audio technology can be
used for training as well-in particular one
called RealAudio. People can click on a link
on a Web page, and when they do so, they will
hear an audio clip. The clip can also display
HTML Web pages as it plays the audio clip. In
the case of CyberMusic, RealAudio is used to
teach its employees what records are in their
catalog. People can click on music clips from
all their recording artists, and as they
listen, can view Web pages with pictures and
information about the artists. The audio clips
are played from a RealAudio server.
- For in-depth training on
how to use a particular piece of software,
CyberMusic uses whiteboard applications.
Whiteboard applications allow many people to
view what is on each other's computer screens.
An instructor can teach, step-by-step, how to
use a piece of software, and everyone
connected to the whiteboard can see what he is
doing on their own computer screen. The
instructor can also mark up the screen, and
everyone connected can see what he is marking
up. CyberMusic uses whiteboard applications
for training its accounting department how to
use a new accounting system. CU-See-Me
reflectors allow for whiteboard applications.
- Virtual Reality has long
been used in training applications-notably by
airlines and the military in training pilots.
In virtual reality, virtual worlds are built
that people can walk through and interact
with. At CyberMusic, virtual reality is used
to teach recording engineers how to handle a
recording session. A world has been built in
which engineers have to not only handle the
technical aspects of how to use the recording
hardware, but even have to contend with rock
artists gone awry, intent on destroying the