Army picks desktop training

He decided instructor-led classes would take too long and new hires would have to wait
until the next cycle of classes to get up to speed.


As for computer-based training, many people don't bother to read through the lessons,
said Violette, chief of IRM for the Army IG at the Pentagon. And training videos would
mean buying or leasing equipment and setting aside room for viewings.


What Violette finally decided on was on-demand, interactive desktop training that let
users review information when they needed it.


The IG unit moved in 1992 to client-server computing and adopted the Microsoft Office
suite in 1996. Early this year, Violette bought MicroVideo Learning Systems Inc.'s
Microsoft Office Professional CD-ROM curriculum.


The purchase, from the New York company's General Services Administration schedule
contract, amounted to about $75,000 for 250 copies-at least one for each Army IG site.


Although Violette was sold on the training concept, he waited until the price dropped
before making the buy.


"When we first spoke with [MicroVideo], the software cost $3,000 per copy, which
was too expensive for us," he said.


When the price came down to $300 on a volume purchase, Violette and his colleagues
approved the buy.


The Office Professional course features 32-bit versions of Microsoft Access,
PowerPoint, Word and other suite applications. Each volume contains lessons, exercises and
quizzes. Each lesson has six sections-overview, basics, creating, editing, formatting and
layout-plus a full-motion video.


To cut down on viewing time, users can select from menus the parts they want from each
lesson.


Violette views the MicroVideo software
in his office on the 20-inch monitor of a 100-MHz Pentium PC from Micronics Computers Inc.
of Fremont, Calif., bought through Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s Army PC-1 contract.


His PC has 32M of RAM, 3G hard drive and 4X CD-ROM drive. However, the MicroVideo
interactive training doesn't require that much power-only Windows 95, Office Professional,
CD drive, sound card and speakers.


Violette doesn't want to limit training to the office environment.


The Army IG's licensing agreement with Microsoft lets users work on portable PCs and
home computers. IG employees at the Pentagon can sign out a portable or desktop module to
review their lessons outside. Violette expects other Army IG offices will make similar
provisions.


MicroVideo also has customers at the Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration,
Marines, Navy and Postal Service.


Contact MicroVideo Learning Systems at 212-777-9595.


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