Education

A familiar name succeeds online: The AMA Web site

If you're looking for a Web site that provides a wealth of professional development opportunities, Kevin Eikenberry has found one for you. Check out his review of the American Management Association's Web site.

Whether you’re a training manager or a trainer, you have probably heard of the American Management Association (AMA). But did you know that they were only a click or two away? The AMA Web site now brings their management know-how directly to a screen near you, and, as a training professional, you can only benefit from checking out this organizational powerhouse on the Web.

What will you find?
The first thing you’ll notice about this site is that it is BIG! From the home page alone there are 12 sections to visit. They are:
  1. AMA Around the World
  2. Customer Service
  3. Membership
  4. Register Now
  5. Seminars
  6. Corporate Solutions
  7. Conferences and Special Events
  8. Industry-Specific Solutions
  9. AMACOM Books
  10. Research Reports
  11. Self-Study
  12. Operation Enterprise

Because of the breadth of the site, this review will focus on the sections of most interest to trainers and training managers.

Better than getting direct mail
If your mail looks anything like mine, you receive many flyers and brochures promoting training workshops and seminars. Some of those come from AMA or the training companies they own. While the direct mail approach is sometimes serendipitous, this site is a much more effective tool for learning about AMA’s seminars and providing info on a local workshop for a critical business need. They list seminars in 24 different categories, in areas as far-reaching as Treasury Management, Marketing Management, Leadership Skills, and Human Resources and Training.

Each seminar description is complete and impressive. As I viewed the site in December, most seminars had dates selected throughout next year. The size, financial stability, and planning of AMA is especially useful for arranging those training needs far into the future. Additionally, as far as I could tell from my exploration, all AMA courses award Continuing Education Units (CEU) credits; an extra bonus for those in some professions. AMA courses are well described and offered regularly. They are not, however, the cheapest seminars you will find. I found them to be at the high end of market rates. (For example, a 3-day seminar on Effective Presentation Skills is listed at $1,445.)

You can also search from this long list of seminars. The results of my searches will give you an idea of the number and focus of seminars offered. I searched under the following terms:
  • Project Management: 240 found
  • Planning: 77 found
  • Leadership: 43 found
  • Feedback: 21 found
  • Software: 7 found

Corporate solutions
Along with offering public seminars, AMA offers consulting services and on-site delivery of their seminars. If you have a large group in need of a specific training intervention, this section of the site is helpful. One interesting page in this section is the On-Site Top 20, which is a list of their most popular seminars offered specifically for an organization.

Self-study
Along with on-site and public seminars, AMA offers a wide range of self-study courses as well. This self-study section has, inexplicably, a completely different look and feel than the rest of the site. Once you get past this oddity, you may find some useful resources here for your personal or organizational use. Another usability flaw is that once you find a course you’d like to take, you can’t order it directly from the description page; instead, you must go back a couple pages to the order area.

AMA.com books
If you have heard of AMA, you probably know about their book imprint as well. From the book section you can browse, search, and buy any business book published by the organization. Books are categorized in over 20 groupings, and you have access to ample descriptions. As you would expect, ordering is easy and direct from AMA.

The rest
The site is large, as I mentioned earlier. There is, of course, a membership section if you or your organization want to join AMA. There are some other sections describing other events and materials provided by the organization. Lastly, there is a section called “AMA Around the World.” Here you find links to AMA sites in other countries.

Overall impressions
Overall, the size and resources of this site are impressive. For us, as trainers and managers, there is much to use here, especially if you utilize public seminars in your organization. I found the site to be easy to load and pleasant to look at. There were, however, sections where the look and feel changed. As a visitor, that put me off a bit. I also feel the overall navigation could improve, especially in the search areas, where it requires using the back button to get to any other section. In the end, the home of the AMA site is a home worth a visit for those of us involved in training and organizational improvement.

Kevin Eikenberry is President of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis, IN.

If you would like to comment on this article or have any questions or suggestions of other Web sites to review, please post your comments at the bottom of this page or write to Kevin.
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