Training the Internet Trainer: Toward a Systematic Approach

John Makulowich
Writers Alliance, Inc., USA

Abstract

Increasing use of the Internet by a widening spectrum of society creates continuing demand for professional Internet training. However, the author found little evidence that Internet trainers currently follow best practices, such as performing pretraining analyses, conducting multilevel evaluations, and pursuing follow-up studies on training effectiveness and transfer. To correct this situation, this paper presents a proposal for a rigorous and systematic approach to Internet training that complies with generally accepted practices of professional trainers.

To determine the extent to which individuals who offer Internet training follow generally accepted practices within the professional training community, as promoted, for example, by the American Society for Training and Development, the author conducted research based on his own instruction, observation of other Internet trainers, and a review of Internet training literature. He found (1) a low incidence in the literature on Internet training of key training concepts, such as measurement, evaluation, proficiency, competence, analysis, assessment, effectiveness, transfer, quality, and objectives; and (2) scant attention given by Internet trainers to rigorous (that is, measurable) or systematic (that is, disciplined) approaches to training.

The author's research covered selected Internet-accessible archives, databases, and reports, including the Internet/BITNET Network Trainers archive containing 6,159 records (e-mail messages from June 1992 to the present, updated weekly); the UnCover database containing references to 17,000 general, trade, and technical journals; and training-related papers presented at the Internet Society Conferences from 1993 to 1995.