VSJ – Feb 2003 – Work in Progress

Hakiza Nzabanita, MIAP is an IT professional who has been involved in user training, support and systems implementation with an international organisation in Africa for the past 10 years. Here, he introduces a Web-based training system that, he believes, can improve users’ satisfaction with applications packages.

Every day brings forth new technological advances that impact our lives in different ways. Developers are constantly designing applications that are able to perform more and more complex tasks. The results of software development are deeply manifest in the current degree of automation of work, information management and business transformation.

The myriad applications readily available are designed to be used in different environments such as business or at home. Despite IT marketing efforts, there is a community of dissatisfied technology users. Constant technological changes regularly impose new learning challenges on technology users, which can be a barrier to the rapid adoption of new information systems and ways of communicating and working. High learning curves, which can result from the lack of straightforward training methods for some packages, also tend to deter the adoption of certain technologies.

It is evident that the learning problem is one of the major hindrances to the emergence of a computer-based economy. Even though developers come up with products that are more and more user-friendly, users continue to encounter problems in harnessing these products. So the full potential of many applications remains untapped.

As users are unable to enjoy the full potential of products, it is unlikely that product satisfaction will reach its highest level. This challenges the IT community to develop methods for delivering effective training that will fully equip users for real productivity within a short period of time.

Web-based training is one of the most flexible training methods available today as it enables people to train at their own pace and schedule and from any location that has Internet access. Individual performance also relies on a good knowledge of computer basics, which all users do not always seek to acquire, as they tend to focus more on the application they intend to use for work or fun. With the advent of online training systems, developers can be more directly involved in the training of end-users of their applications.  When quality online training is readily available alongside each new application, users will have greater chances to become power users within a shorter time frame and overall product satisfaction for software products is likely to be enhanced.

One product that has been designed to bridge the computer skills gap is the Ziby System.

Eight years ago, the founders of ZibyCom saw the enormous need that existed for simplified computer education. Today, that need hasn’t changed much. An estimated 85% percent of people who own computers still can’t use them effectively.

ZibyCom was launched with the unique ‘Teach the World’ program on April 1, 2001 with plans to operate in two key markets. The first target is individuals and families because they should be able satisfactorily to use computers to communicate with their family and friends around the world. The second target is small-to-mid-size businesses that must have simple, affordable tools for Web site building and hosting. That is why ZibyCom offers simple, online computer education in 29 languages and easy, affordable Web site solutions.

ZibyCom offers a unique, hands-on learning system designed for the brand new user as well as for those who have spent time on computers but never felt comfortable with them. The system is designed to take people from computer ignorance to computer literacy in a very short time. The learning process focuses on the essential skills required for one to become an effective computer user. Most small-to-mid-size operations face two obstacles when they try to get their businesses or offices on the Internet. The cost is too great or it’s just too complicated. This system is meant to eliminate both obstacles.

The system is also designed to eliminate the fear factor, which keeps most people from learning to use their computers. When you are no longer afraid of your computer, you become empowered to learn. You can then learn everything that is required to know in order to become an effective computer user, without intimidating classrooms, without hectic travel or scheduling. You can learn at your own pace, on your own schedule. In fact, you can access your education or Web sites from any computer that has Internet access, from anywhere in the world, at any time, day or night. With the all new Instant Web site Builder, you can build your own Web site with absolutely no experience.

The purchase of one ZibyCom Educational/Web site package is an opportunity for everyone in a household or office to master all essential computer skills, as everyone in the household or business will have the chance to learn the computer, master the Internet, and build professional looking Web sites. That’s because in your ZibyCom Educational/Web site package you get five complete Web sites you can use for any purpose, whether family or business.

The system covers topics such as Windows, Internet Explorer, Netscape, iMac, Microsoft Word 2000, Web site building and Flash frames building. The product has been delivered to people in over 160 countries throughout the world.

You can see a complete product overview, complete with educational and Web site builder software demonstrations, in text, video and E-simulator versions at www.hanz.zibycom.com. The business overview is there too. I’d be very interested in any comments that IAP members have to offer having looked at it.

If you’d like to contact Hakiza, you can email him at hanztech@email.com.

[Interesting project or development? Let us know at eo@iap.org.uk!]

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