Tata Interactive Learning Forums Explore Themes

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<p><strong>London &mdash; Nov. 30</strong><br />The Tata Interactive Learning Forums (TLFs), held recently in Chicago and Boston, debated key issues in learning and learning technologies in the corporate and academic worlds.<br /><br />Organized by Tata Interactive Systems (TIS), a global provider of custom e-learning design/development and organizational performance improvement, the forums included two tracks, focusing on higher education and corporate training.<br /><br />&ldquo;One of the biggest challenges facing training and educational professionals today is the application of technology to increase learning efficacy, bond the learning community together and facilitate the dialogue between them,&rdquo; commented Sanjaya Sharma, CEO of TIS. &ldquo;As technological and economic changes continue to redefine the dynamics of learning, there are more questions than there are answers.&rdquo;<br /><br />Among the highlights of these one-day conferences was a demonstration of an immersive simulation &mdash; by Colonel Stephen G. Visco, dean of distance learning at the USAF Air War College &mdash; built by TIS, which deals with issues of responsibility, accountability and ethics, as well as the military decision-making process.<br /><br />Another key theme of the TLFs was the growing use of electronic performance support systems (EPSS) to improve time to competency, productivity and worker accuracy.<br /><br />Dr. Allison Rossett of San Diego State University, author of best-selling business books; a board member of the E-learning Guild; and a noted authority in the field of e-learning, explained that, while all performance support is provided “just in time,” some performance support is also “just for me” &mdash; delivering solutions geared to who I am, what I need and what has happened to me in the past.<br /><br />Fellow speaker Anita Pai, of ICICI Prudential, a financial institution in India, outlined how her organization is using an EPSS, produced by TIS, to continue to stay competitive in the Indian life assurance market. She said, &ldquo;The EPSS reduces dependency on senior professionals to handle complex service requests; it releases specialists&rsquo; &lsquo;bandwidth,&rsquo; and brings standardization, consistency and efficiency in service delivery India&rsquo;s and, as an added bonus, has reduced the cost of training our employees.&rdquo;<br /><br />In addition, Dave Vance, former president of Caterpillar University; the “CLO of the Year” in 2006; and a board member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), not only shared his knowledge on making the right training decisions, but also conducted an interactive session where the TLF delegates played one of TIS&rsquo;s suite of business simulations &mdash; TOPSIM &mdash; to determine efficient and effective training interventions for their organizations.<br /><br />Vance explained, &ldquo;The keys to implementing effective learning in your organization are to align your strategy to business goals, in concert with the goals&rsquo; owners and addressing all business priorities.<br /><br />Among the other speakers at the event were Dr. David A. Foster, dean of advanced program development at DeVry University Online, who discussed the future of online course provision within higher education, and John F. Ebersole, president of Excelsior College and a past president of the University of the Continuing Education Association, who discussed improving student retention through the use of e-learning &mdash; particularly for students who lack self-confidence and have weak “traditional” academic skills.<br /><br />In addition, Stephen Laster, CIO of Harvard Business School, explained to delegates that within higher education, costs are increasing, budgets are shrinking, and there is increasing demand for distance learning. He added that globalization is changing the nature of collaboration; collective intelligence is pushing the boundaries of scholarship; and the assessment of new forms of learning is challenging.<br /><br />TIS plans to stage further TLFs around the world over the next 12 months, bringing together thought leaders and decision makers in the training and education industry from across the globe to gain new perspectives on learning and share success strategies, as well as network informally with other industry leaders. </p>

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