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November 19, 2006

Distance Learning Association Conference

Last week I had a pleasure of attending tri-state Distance Learning Association 4th Annual Conference & Expo ( PA/DE/NJDLA). One thing that surprised me most: number of attendees who came looking for vendors providing pre-packaged distance learning courses. Not that I didn't know about the trend beforehand, but as always, it's better to see once. Among the vendors, those who had pre-packaged modules were surrounded by really interested crowd whenever there was a window between talks. At this point I did not noticed overwhelming bias towards SCORM – compliant modules. However, it seemed to be a definite plus for those searching modules for web delivery. Everybody and his grandmother has a LMS nowdays and it looks like a no-brainer to select SCORM – compliant modules that can be used with that LMS. There are, of course, more than one side to this medal. If I was making a living teaching a set of courses in a regular class setting, I would be a little nervous. On the other hand, as often, “if you can't beat them, join them”. Now seem to be a great time to convert existing classes to e-learning format and capitalize on existing knowledge. Of course you are running the risk of cannibalizing some of existing business, but given forethought , negative effects can be minimized, while expanding potential audience and staying on top of the events might be a very positive outcome.

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Alex Heiphetz received Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Pittsburgh. After working for a consulting firm he started an independent company in 1997. Delta L Printing specializes in business services to training companies and educational institutions: training management software, publishing, audio and video production. Dr. Heiphetz can be reached via e-mail at alex.heiphetz@deltalprinting.com or through the company web site www.deltalprinting.com.

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