There has been a lot of debate in the IT Trainer Republic about the merits and minuses of Web-based training (WBT). We’ve covered the downsides, the economic benefits, and even how to design such a program. But what if you’re not sure what Web-based training is? Or perhaps you’re interested in implementing some WBT initiatives, but are completely unprepared to take the next step. No matter your level of expertise, your search for information and resources can begin with the WBT Information Center (WBTIC).

The WBTIC offers a wealth of information and resources regarding WBT. The site is a non-profit resource for those interested in developing and delivering Web-based training, online learning, or distance education. It is divided into three sections:

  1. Primer
  2. Survey
  3. Resources

From the WBT Information Center Web site

Let’s start at the very beginning …
The Primer section includes definitions of WBT and Web-Based Performance Support Systems (WBPSS); Advantages & Disadvantages to assess your organization’s suitability for WBT based on its educational goals; Rules for Good WBT Design; and The Development Process of planning a training solution on your network. The Frequently Asked Questions segment is a must read, as it provides answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.

Can we talk?
In the Survey section, you will find the results of the WBTIC 1996 Training Survey regarding organizational plans for implementing technology-based training, including WBT. Readers may also participate in the WBT Salary Survey, as well as the self-diagnostic Site Usability Survey that questions readers about the usability of WBTIC.

Give me a “for instance”
Perhaps the most interesting area of the site is found under the heading WBT online—online samples of WBT in the Resources section. It provides Web links pertaining to WBT and WBPSS. I tested a few items from this lengthy list, and was quite impressed and amused by the How to Screw in A Lightbulb demonstration from Sage Interactive. Another interesting listing provided free online exams for over 15 certifications, a fine example of WBT.

The Resource section also provides links to articles and position papers, and tools and technologies available for building and managing online training sites. In addition, there are links to organizations dedicated to defining standards for online learning in the Standards area, and an Events list containing conferences regarding Web-based training.

The creator of the WBT Information Center Web site

The man behind the site
Tim Kilby created this plethora of information. Kilby’s Web site says that he coined the terms Web-based training and Web-based performance support system, or WBPSS, to describe two practical applications of Web technologies to solve human performance problems. His professional experience includes computer systems analysis, user interface design, media production, instructional systems design, and classroom instruction. According to his site, Kilby currently works for Hughes Training, Inc., where he develops interactive multimedia and CBT systems for public agencies and commercial organizations.

Whatever your knowledge base or informational need, the Web-based Training Information Center should certainly start your search on the right track.
Visit the site and let us know what you think. Do you have recommendations for other WBT resources? How about good examples of WBT available for public access? We want to hear from you. E-mail us with your comments, suggestions, or case scenarios or simply post your comment below.