REN nyhetsbrev nr. 16, 2004 - Site Display Name

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REN nyhetsbrev nr. 16, 2004

16. august 2004
1: Endringer i REN administrasjonen
2: RSS - “The Web’s Next Big Thing”
3: Virtual Models of European Universities
4: e-Learning White Paper 2004/2005 (Japan) Just Been Published
5: Nytt og nyttig
6: På kalenderen
1: Endringer i REN administrasjonen

1. august pakket RENs prosjektleder i det siste året, Trond Markussen,
sammen sine eiendeler og familie og flyttet tilbake til Norge etter et godt
år i San Francisco. Han er nå tilbake i kompetansemiljøet i DnB NOR.
Veslemøy Barnes har tatt over prosjektlederansvaret for REN og alle
henvendelser vedrørende nettverket skal rettes til henne på Vi har imidlertid gjort en del, som vi håper vil
ha en positiv innvirkning på den gaglige delen av nettverket. For å veie opp
for en faglig prosjektleder i San Francisco har vi knyttet til oss noen
fagpersoner som vil ha hjelpe til med å skrive nyhetsbrev og rapporter, samt
hjelpe til med å arrangere medlemsmøter og studieturer. Vi har vært så
heldig å knytte til oss Clark Quinn fra Ottersurf i San Francisco området.
Clark, som har vært foredragsholder ved 2 av våre studieturer, vil
presentere seg selv i en artikkel han har skrevet for dette nyhetsbrevet.
Fra Japan vil Kimihiro Iwao, som jobber som spesialrådgiver for Innovation
Norway i Tokyo, følge det japanske og asiatiske markedet for e-læring. Fra
England vil Arne Tonnin fra Innovation Norway i London følge det europeiske,
med hovedvekt på det engelske markedet. Arne er også kjent i vårt nettverk
siden han arrangerte vår studietur til London. Trond Markussen vil fortsatt
bidra litt, mer som en faglig koordinator og støttespiller i tillegg til
nyheter og oppdateringer fra Norge. Vi er glade for at vi nå har anledning
til å rette fokus også utover det som foregår i San Francisco området, og
gleder oss til nyheter og faglig stoff fra andre kanter av verden. Vi tar
selvfølgelig i mot synspunkter på de artikler som blir skrevet og håper vi
kan holde en faglig diskusjon gående. Tips til nyhetsbrev og møter tas
selvfølgelig også i mot med glede og entusiasme.

2: RSS - “The Web’s Next Big Thing”

Hi, I’m Clark Quinn of OtterSurf Laboratories, and I’m your new US
correspondent for Innovation Norway’s REN newsletter.  I have big shoes to
fill, following Trond Markussen’s fine work, but I’m not going to try to
emulate what’s come before and instead will take my own approach to deliver
“interesting articles” that “include interpretation”. To help explain what
you see in the latter, I want to provide a bit more background to understand
what drives my comments, and the filters that color what I say.
Learning technology is my passion; helping people accomplish their goals is
a calling worth pursuing, and I’m a boy who likes toys.  I made the
connection as an undergraduate, and ended up doing a senior thesis project
with my advisors on email to conduct classroom discussion.  As this was in
1979, I can truly say I’ve been doing elearning for 25 years! My first job
out of college was programming educational computer games, before returning
to graduate school for a Ph.D. in applied cognitive science.  Since then I’
ve had the good fortune to be able to stay at the cutting edge (such as
recent work in mobile solutions), and work across sectors including
business, education, government, and not-for-profit.  I’ve also played a lot
of roles, including programmer, designer, manager, and academic.  I’ve
designed and developed a wide variety of innovative (and, thanfully,
successful) elearning solutions, including intelligent systems, web
conferences, games, and performance support solutions.
I hope to cover most of these topics and more, depending on what’s happening
and interesting, but this week I want to start by focusing on the recent
trend towards RSS (Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication).  An
example of how it has reached primetime is the fact that Apple is building
it into the next version of their browser, Safari
(  MediaThink calls it “The
Web’s Next Big Thing” (
RSS is a technology that allows people producing content (news, blogs, etc)
to stream out titles and summaries of their latest offerings (and archives
of past offerings). This allows a RSS reader application to automatically
search for topics of interest, and filter, to bring only those articles to
you.  As a reader, it’s the customized newspaper you were promised years
ago. As a content-producer, it’s a direct channel to your self-selecting
I’d heard about it, and understood it conceptually, but hadn’t tried it so I
did a web-search and downloaded an RSS feeder
(  It came with a number of feeds already,
but I added a couple of blogs I know to see that I could indeed customize
it…it was all too easy, and it is pretty impressive.  Interestingly, in the
Edu-RSS feed, one of the 10 links was 7 Things RSS Is Good For”
(  But don’t take my word for it,
try it yourself!
What’s this have to do with learning?  Lots
(!  Imagine students
blogging through an RSS-tagged application.  Their ongoing reflections are
immediately available to the instructor in one place.  Similarly, they can
read each other’s, and the instructor’s, comments.  Sure, it could be done
in email, but this maintains the learner’s ongoing thoughts more clearly.
Further, learners could be tracking the latest discussion in a field,
hearing what practitioners are actually talking about.  Learners can use it
for project research too.  Self-learners, including instructors, can use it
to keep up with their chosen field.
A tool that lets us selectively track areas of our own interest is what will
keep us from drowning in a sea of information.  RSS has potential, and being
relatively new, there’s more still to be found.
I realize I may have made a false assumption; I assumed you know what blogs
are.  If not, a briefly a blog (short for web-log) is “a website which
contains periodic, reverse chronologically ordered posts on a common
 webpage” (from They’re currently hot
(, and
they have educational functions, as implied above, for letting learners and
instructors capture their ongoing thoughts as a form of reflection
I don’t want to talk about blogs much (as I hope it’s old news), because the
other topic I want to cover is another web tool, wikis.  Wikis are “a
website…that allows users to add content…but also allows that content to be
edited by other users” (  Note that the
wikipedia is a wiki itself!  The interesting opportunity is that wikis can
serve as a collaboration space. Not just for reflecting, but actually
allowing learners to work together to create a shared understanding.  Some
rather academic thoughts can be found at
(  I like this:
Godwin-Jones (2003) suggests that wikis may be ideal for building
communities of practice by creating a collective repository of expertise in
a subject area, which is refined over time by the contributions and
problem-solving of interested individuals. It is this function that
distinguishes communities of practice from other online communities, such as
chat groups or bulletin boards.
Consequently, wikis also can serve as an active working group collaboration
tool, an expert learning tool.
That’s enough to start; I hope you find this of interest.  Feedback is
welcome.  By the way, I’ll be at both Training Fall, VNU’s conference that
incorporates what used to be their Online Learning conference, and at
TechLearn.  The former is in San Francisco, near Innovation Norway’s west
coast office, the latter in New York.  If you’re going to either, let’s make
plans to meet.

3: Virtual Models of European Universities

Nylig har den europeiske kommisjonen fått overlevert en bestilt rapport med
"Virtual Models of European Universities" som tittel. Rapporten analyserer
bruken av IKT som verktøy for universiteter i EU. Over 200 universiteter
deltok i undersøkelsen, og det viste seg å være grunnlag for å dele disse
inn i fire hovedkategorier avhengig av hvor avansert bruken av IKT var. Det
viste seg at UK og Spania hadde flest avanserte aktører, mens Tyskland og
Spania hadde flest som hørte til i den andre enden av spekteret. Majoriteten
av universitetene som deltok i undersøkelsen tilbyr i dag ett eller flere
fag som e-læring.

Noen av konklusjonene var at nødvendig infrastruktur og kompetanse i mange
tilfeller ikke er på plass for å ta e-læring i større grad i bruk, men at
utbredelsen vil øke i kommende år om universitetenes prioriteringer blir
tatt til følge.

Se følgende linker for mer info:  (artikkel)  (rapport)

4: e-Learning White Paper 2004/2005 (Japan) Just Been Published

Japan’s Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry (METI) published August
4th an industry analysis report in the Japanese e-learning market titled,
“e-Learning White Paper 2004 / 2005.”  This publication had been formerly
published by Advanced Learning Infrastructure Consortium (ALIC), country’s
largest e-learning-related associated, but METI took over the role to edit
from this year.

METI analyzes the future growth of the nation’s e-learning markets in the
fields of corporate educations, colleges and special training schools,
higher educations, and K-12 (elementary to high schools) summarizing the
forecasts seen from the students’ point of view.  The overall trend suggests
that Japan’s e-Learning market will as a whole grow to a 249.1-billion-yen
($2.2 billion) industry by 2005.  And it will further grow to the size of
JPY400 billion ($3.9 billion) in 2008, then to JPY520.2 billion ($5 billion)
in 2010.  However, this forecast indicates a 30-percent decline from the
previously forecasted size last year, which was JPY700 billion ($6.8
billion) for 2010.  METI attributes this decrease largely to the changes in
survey methods from those performed by ALIC to those practiced by the METI
that has rather focused on small- to mid-size industries than had done by
ALIC before. Still, METI comments, “The market appears to be approaching
matured conditions, particularly in the fields of higher educations and
large-size corporations.”

In Japan, generally the large corporations hold a high penetration rate of
in-house e-Learning systems.  The “Giants” category, such as the companies
with more than 5,000 employees, has a 61-percent penetration rate; mid-size
category comprised of those with 1,000 to 4,000 employees has a 32-percent
rate.  On the other hand, just 17 percent of small-size companies that have
300 to 999 employees adopt e-learning training systems.

By type of industry, information and communication services category has a
50-percent penetration rate of e-learning corporate training systems. This
is followed by general IT industry and the energy industry who both have a
40 percent rate.

More of the currently adopted e-learning systems involve video-based
materials, but a considerable number of manager-level workers engage in WBT
(web-based training) systems.  METI accounts for this trend as WBT’s high
flexibilities in time that more fit with managers’ tight schedules.

The white paper also reports some results from the interviews with companies
that have not adopted e-learning systems yet.  It reveals that 66 percent of
those companies responded that they could hardly coordinate universities and
corporations in terms of use of e-learning systems.  59 percent are
skeptical actual effectiveness of trainings through e-learning.  48 percent
testified that they come up with too high costs of constructing the
materials for the e-learning systems.

The report also shows that 79 percent of corporate users are wishing
improvements in content and quality; 70 percent wished to establish the
methodologies to evaluate learners with regard to their improvements before
and after taking e-learning educations.

METI points out one major weakness associated with today’s e-learning
vendors in Japan that they tend not to indicate the effectiveness of
e-learning clearly enough when they market their products to the institutes
and the corporations.  And, based on this point of view, METI suggests on
necessity of instructional designs and their concrete analyses and


5: Nytt og nyttig

Ny satsing på e-læringsnettverk i Storbritannia

REN nyhetsbrev nr. 14 presenterte historien om hvordan den påkostede
storsatsningen UKeU forliste tidligere i år. Det viser seg likevel at dette
havariet ikke har skremt de ansvarlige fra å satse på e-læring for høyere
utdannelse. Joint Information Systems Committee, en samordnende komité for
strategisk bruk at IT i utdanning, har nettopp kunngjort en satsning på
e-læringsnettverk til £12 millioner. Finansieringen kommer i stor grad fra
Higher Education Funding Council for England, hvilket også var tilfellet for
UKeU. For den nye satsningen blir vekten imidlertid lagt på samarbeid og
lokal forankring på en helt annen måte. For mer informasjon se:

1st SCORM Assessors Appointed

(Related website: )

Japan e-Learning Consortium (eLC), the largest business consortium for
e-learning vendors in Japan, has appointed the first qualified assessors of
SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) compliant systems, who are
expected to evaluate the compatibilities of e-learning contents within
SCORM-standard systems that will enhance the mutual distribution of the

SCORM Qualification system has been established since July this year aiming
to promote training of vendors and engineers who assess compatibility of the
systems with SCORM standard based on thorough knowledge about SCORM standard
and content mutuality.  The qualified SCORM assessors will officially be
enlisted by eLC.

Below are the members who have been accepted as the first SCORM assessors:
1.      Tsuyoshi Abe (Aura co.,ltd.)
2.      Yasunobu Arakawa (NRI Learning Network)
3.      Satoshi Arita (Hitachi Information Academy)
4.      Naoki Ikebe (Proceeds, Inc.)
5.      Hiroichi Kanazawa (Human Science)
6.      Akihiko Kume (NEC)
7.      Shingo Shibata (Compaq)
8.      Katsuyoshi Shimazaki (Ask)
9.      Hiroyuki Sekine (Unisis)
10.  Naoko Takahashi (NTT Resonant)
11.  Naoto Fujii (Noosite)
12.  Ryoko Mashijima (Fujitsu Learning Media)
13.  Hiroshi Miyauchi (Sangyo Institute of Management)
14.  Kuniji Yonera (Hitachi Electric Service)
15.  Tetsuya Shigeki (Fujitsu Learning Media)

US e-Learning Industry Seen by The Top Japanese e-Learning Businessman

(Original Article: Mainichi Online News

Despite the sluggish sentiment in Japanese e-Learning market, Mr. Hidemitsu
Komatsu, Chairman of Japan e-Learning Consortium, discovers the e-learning
businesses in the United States growing and even becoming as the tool to
enhance productivities in the real-world working environment.

Back in May this year, Mr. Komatsu visited the American Society for Training
& Development (ASTD) and several universities, institutes and corporations
in New York and Washington, D.C. areas.  Komatsu got a first impression that
the businesses in the US were rather goal-oriented and highly signified on
results what betterments have been achieved through the e-learning
educations.  This norm rarely exists in Japanese e-learning market today.
Thus, Mr. Komatsu says the business people in Japan should first realize the
fact that the individual attempts to receive education in order to be able
to handle their jobs better than before.  Mr. Komatsu says that Japan is
traditionally lacking in this natural attitude, and tends to look for new
systems without much consideration.

Taking up a case of USPS (United States Postal Services) as an example, Mr.
Komatsu illustrates the Japan’s major weakness in comparison with the U.S.
corporate e-learning activities.  What Japanese corporations should look
upon the US market is the practical valuation and planning of the e-learning
trainings for the employees, and the idea of performance-based educations.
Thus, Japanese corporations should logically review what might be necessary
to improve the employees’ performance, what will be the possible outcome if
the company does not educate its employees, how their competency would be
influenced, what if the employees do not know how to use their own
competencies, etc. – this all has to be cleared prior to talking about
adopting e-learning educations.


Report from e-Learning World 2004 in Tokyo

(related website:

The largest e-learning tradeshow in Japan “e-Learning World 2004” had been
held from July 28th through 30th in Tokyo, where 150 companies participated
from Japan and other Asian countries that comprised a total of 300 booths in
the hall.

At the beginning of the exhibition, Mr. Toshio Okamoto, Professor at
University of Electro Communications, delivered an opening remark saying,
“We are all now being tested whether or not we can make our businesses
profitable.  According to the report by IBM, our country’s level of
e-learning completeness is in the twenty-third place among other countries
in the world.  However, I hope this tradeshow would trigger awareness of
e-learning within the country.”

Comparing with the last year’s tradeshow even, which exhibited more of LMS
(Learning Management System)-based solutions, this year’s event signified on
concrete proposals to apply e-learning systems to companies and institutes.
Fujitsu Learning Media ( said,
“e-Learning is just a physical set of tools, and it does not instruct the
people how to utilize it effectively.  Therefore, the users themselves
should think about how to utilize it to improve their business activities.
One way to achieve this is to consider human-resources administration a part
of their business strategy, and thereby the company can strategically plan
their employee trianings in order to strengthen their required competences.
Hitachi Electronic Service
( says, “Not just to pay
attention to solutions, users might have to clearly develop their evaluation
procedures.  Without them, any e-Learning systems are just symbolic, merely
an adornment of the company’s wealth.”

Meanwhile, a new wave of technology is steadily emerging as a new style of
e-Learning solution that involves the wireless Internet.  Currently, most of
the mobile-based solutions are simple as users answer multiple choice
questions over the mobile Internet distributed by the servers.  Terra Inc.
( aims to design mobile contents that
offer the users interesting subjects that they might want to study
instantaneously.  Some of their subjects include TOEFL, TOEIC, or GMAT

Påminnelse om medlemsmøte i Tromsø 25. august.

Jeg tar med en liten påminnelse om vårt neste medlemsmøte, siden det er
flere som har hatt ferie og ikke helt har våknet etter late dager med
fortjent avslappning og hvile. Se våre medlemssider for fyldig program og
praktiske opplysninger.

6: På kalenderen

Online Learning Conference & Expo, San Francisco, California, October 11-13,

European ASTD Conference in Copenhagen 6. til 8. oktober.
ePortfolio: Transforming individual and organizational learning.  Konferanse
La Rochelle, Franrike 28. og 29. oktober 2004. De er også interesert i
mulige foredragsholdere. Konferansensens språk er engelsk.

For mere informasjon ta kontakt med:

Veslemøy Barnes
Research and Educational Network (REN)
Innovation Norway
20 California Street 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-4833
Tel: +1 415 986 0770
Fax: +1 415 986 7875