Google Custom Search Engine

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free Online Math Tutoring and Help

For some people Mathematics maybe complex issue event for most children from elementary school until high school were very afraid of mathematics. I think it could be possible because of they often have no clear idea of mathematical jobs and don't have enough reference to done it.
If we talk about Math (Mathematics), basically we are discussing about quantity, structure, and change. Nowadays mathematics is used throughout the world as essential and important tools in many fields like education, science, engineering, biology and social sciences.
Some people said that learn math was so difficult, so I think to help those who felt difficult on studying math, they probably need Math Help from trusted source. If those people who felt difficult to learn math get a Math Help, They will have experts' guides by an expert on math. That math expert is known as Math Tutor. It is so amazing if we can learn and study math with help from the experts and get tutorials by Online Math Tutor so we can get a sophisticated Online Math Tutoring right from the expert on math.
Nowadays the development of technology especially on management information system is so good. So with help of internet or website, we can get help on math by online. It is so amazing that we can get Online Math Help by free. Wow it is so amazing! we can get Free Online Math Tutoring from reputable and trusted source. All students that study and learn math with the help by reputable and trusted source, not just get an Free Online Math Tutoring but the students will also get Free Online Math Help.
It is so amazing, learn and study math will be easier and more fun. If you wonder how to get Math Help from the good reputable and trusted source by online, you should visit www.tutorvista.com/math-help. You can contact them and find another amazing Free Online Math Tutoring as their give as they excellent service.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mario Teguh (Super Friendship 1/5)

Watch the show of Mario Teguh Golden Ways "Super Friendship" Part 1 of 5. These video will teach us how to make super friendship and become a super person. I think this video will helps us learn about Distance Learning Business and Management easily. I upload it while I am write an article about my Diktat Kuliah Manajemen
Part 1 of 5


Part 2 of 5


Part 3 of 5


Part 4 of 5


Part 5 of 5


After you watch it, don't forget to give comment OK? Thanks.
Salam Super! Stay Super!

Monday, December 7, 2009

AUTONOMOUS FAULT DIAGNOSIS: STATE OF THE ART AND AERONAUTICAL BENCHMARK


Recently I have no ideas to post something in my blogs, because I was so busy with some job in my office. I have to go travel to Bandung and Bogor to do my job, and that was really makes me so tired. Because of that to update my blogs, I just search on the internet about some interesting article and I found this article.
This article briefly reviews the state of the art in Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI), and give some description (describes) a test-case for in-flight fault diagnosis. The main concepts are recalled, the links between the approaches are indicated and the most promising methods are highlighted. The nonlinear models of the system, its sensors and actuators are described in the second part of the article, along with fault scenarios. Constraints restrict the approaches that are applicable on the test-case and suggest quantitative indicates that can be used to evaluate fault diagnosis strategies in an aeronautical context. This is the abstract of the article that I found it on the internet. I think this article is so useful to study and to know much more about how to write a nice article to International journal and to learn about Distance Learning in Business and Management, Distance Learning Management and Distance Learning Indonesia. This article has a conclusion like I write it below:
A survey of the main fault diagnosis approaches has been conducted in this paper. A classification according to the type of knowledge available has been proposed, and the links between apparently dissimilar techniques coming from different communities have been emphasized. We defined a test-case for in-flight FDI, based on an interceptor missile with a predetermined set of sensors and actuators with no hardware redundancy. The nonlinear models of the aircraft, its components and the faults affecting them were described in detail. Finally, methods to be further investigated along with the performance criteria to compare them were set forth.
These are a few references that used on this article:
[1] G. Ducard and H.P. Geering. Efficient nonlinear actuator fault detection and isolation system for unmanned aerial vehicles. Journal of Guidance Control and Dynamics, 31(1):225, 2008.
[2] R.J. Patton. Fault detection and diagnosis in aerospace systems using analytical redundancy. Computing & Control Engineering Journal, 2(3):127–136, 1991.
[3] R. Isermann and P. Balle. Trends in the application of model-based fault detection and diagnosis of technical processes. Control Engineering Practice, 5(5):709–719, 1997.
[4] C. Angeli and A. Chatzinikolaou. On-line fault detection techniques for technical system: A survey. International Journal of Computer Science & Applications, 1(1):12–30, 2004.
[5] V. Venkatasubramanian, R. Rengaswamy, S.N. Kavuri, and K. Yin. A review of process fault detection and diagnosis Part III: Process history based methods. Computers and Chemical Engineering, 27(3):327–346, 2003.
[6] B. Dubuisson. Diagnostic et reconnaissance des formes. Hermes Paris, 1990.
[7] R.J. Patton, C.J. Lopez-Toribio, and F.J. Uppal. Artificial Intelligence Approaches to Fault Diagnosis for Dynamic Systems. International Journal of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, 9(3):471–518, 1999.
[8] H.J. Shin, D.H. Eom, and S.S. Kim. One-class support vector machines: an application in machine fault detection and classification. Comput. Ind.Eng., 48(2):395–408, 2005.
[9] R.J. Patton, J. Chen, and T.M. Siew. Fault diagnosis in nonlinear dynamic systems via neural networks. In International Conference on Control, Coventry, volume 2, pages 1346–1351, 1994.
[10] L. Gy├Ârfi. Principles of Nonparametric Learning. Springer Verlag Wien New York, 2002.
[11] V.N. Vapnik. An overview of statistical learning theory. IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, 10(5):988–999, 1999.
[12] C.E. Rasmussen and C.K.I. Williams. Gaussian Processes for Machine Learning. Springer-Verlag New York, 2006.
[13] W. Li, H.H. Yue, S. Valle-Cervantes, and S.J. Qin. Recursive PCA for adaptive process monitoring. Journal of Process Control, 10(5):471–486, 2000.
[14] J.M. Lee, C.K. Yoo, S.W. Choi, P.A. Vanrolleghem, and I.B. Lee. Nonlinear process monitoring using kernel principal component analysis. Chemical Engineering Science, 59(1):223–234, 2004.
[15] L. Chittaro and R. Ranon. Hierarchical model-based diagnosis based on structural abstraction. Artificial Intelligence, 155(1):147–182, 2004.
[16] J. Montmain and S. Gentil. Dynamic causal model diagnostic reasoning for online technical process supervision. Automatica, 36(8):1137–1152, 2000.
[17] C. Combastel, S. Lesecq, S. Petropol, and S. Gentil. Model-based and wavelet approaches to induction motor on-line fault detection. Control Engineering Practice, 10(5):493–509, 2002.
[18] S.M. Castillo, E.R. Gelso, and J. Armengol. Constraint satisfaction techniques under uncertain conditions for fault diagnosis in nonlinear dynamic systems. In 16th IEEE Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation,, pages 1216–1221, 2008.
[19] M. Basseville and I.V. Nikiforov. Detection of Abrupt Changes: Theory and Application. Prentice Hall Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1993.
[20] M. Witczak. Modelling and Estimation Strategies for Fault Diagnosis of Non-Linear Systems: From Analytical to Soft Computing Approaches. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2007

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Identifying What Management Is Needed

Nowadays, I publish this article about "Identifying What Management Is Needed" took from the Book "Tools For Managing Partnership in Development" as reference to learn Distance Learning Business and Management. 


All partnership-building and project implementation processes have certain core management needs, including:
  • Mediation between partners and other stakeholders.
  • Provision of a conduit for information and communication
  • Identification and mobilization of resources
  • A means of ensuring that quality standards are in place
  • Agreement on evaluation criteria and measures of success from th perspective of partners and stakeholders
  • A mechanism for recognizing and exposing exploitation or bad practice
Lets look in more details at two of these needs. First, mediation between partners and other stakeholders is a key need that involves:
  • Engaging them in all aspects of the partnership-building process; if necessary, facilitating partners meeting and acting as a 'go-between'
  • Monitoring and promoting the principles of equity, transparency and mutual benefit whitin the partnership
  • Developing strong working relationships with all stakeholders
  • Preparing stakeholders for the impact of any partnership activity
Secondly, acting as an effective communication conduit means that partners and stakeholders are fully informed of developments and other information affecting the partnership. It also ensures that different viewpoints, including sectoral or cultural conflicts of interest, are represented.
The larger the number of partners and/or stakeholders, the more attention will be directed to managing the process of partnership building. This is best undertaken by an individual acting as a partnership intermediary.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How To Get Your Paypal Account Verified?


As we know that Paypal is the safe way to pay online, with Paypal we could pay securely from our online purchases, send money quickly and easily, accepted worldwide, and easy to sign up and easy to use.
Having Paypal account, we have to verication our account with credit or debit card that accepted by Paypal. It could be a problem for us that might be do not have credit or debit card.
Now I am gonna tell you a little bit information how to get your Paypal account verified easily, fast and secure. To find out how to do it please feel free to click here
Good luck !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guaranteach: The Best Solution To Learn Math and Algebra Effectively

There is no overdue word to learn, that is my principle in learning the science. Possible of us is often meets with difficulty, but don't make that difficulty as burden but make as challenge to be faced. In general we often say that the science which is difficult to learn is mathematics. That thing is in fact less precisely, learn the mathematics not difficult if we learn diligently and often exercise with the problem manner.
To be able to more comprehending of mathematics hence we require tuition of mathematician able to give us Math help.  In principle learn the mathematics is learning the algebra that is studying the calculation and numbers. The Calculation form studied in algebra is like addition, reduction, division, multiplication, root, square, and others. Rather difficult to comprehend the mathematics and algebra was otherwise assisted by mathematician and algebra expert.
This matter understandable, because learning the mathematics and algebra cannot only do by individually or with only reading books. Thereby hence we require expert which give the tuition and aid to us in studying the mathematics and algebra with interest is easy to comprehend.
Not just Math help we also need Algebra help from the expert to make us studying mathematics (math) and Algebra easily.
A few days ago when I use internet in my home, I found the best solution how to get helps and guides for us to learn mathematics (math) and Algebra easily. I found Guaranteach a website that giving the aid to us in studying the mathematics, algebra, calculation, and various other sciences. Learn math and algebra with Guaranteach is so comfortable and effectively gives us Online Tutoring on studying math and Algebra, pleasant very and valuable very. Appearance of this website is very attractive and capture and also a lot of positive comment of peoples who have tried the aid learn the mathematics and algebra through Guaranteach, so they give their positive testimony about Guaranteach.
Studying on Guaranteach we do not have to pay expensive the tutor that often paid by hour like usually before. Guaranteach gives us Math Help and Algebra Help with less price just only $9.95 they will gives us Unlimited Tutorial on Math for an entire month. Wow it is incredible! I never found any Tutor like Guaranteach that will gives me Math help and Algebra Help, with less price and amazing tutoring. 
If you interest to get helps on math and algebra, I suggest you visit Guaranteach on http://www.guaranteach.com and contact them immediately. Never late to study, we have to be always improving our skills and knowledge, so we will be able to get in competition in this global market.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fight Against Illiteracy as My Social Activity as Lecturer at STIE Dewantara Bogor

As a lecturer I have three obligation, that is:
1. Teaching and Education
2. Research
3. Social Activity (Empowering people)
In this semester I give lecture to my students about Statistics and Management Information System. On Statistics class, the students are 100% fresh graduated from senior high school and I often call them regular class. On management information system class, the students are mix from regular class and irregular class; I often call them executive class because commonly the students are employee.

I make a plan in this semester I have to make at least one research on marketing (marketing research), the topics could be about positioning, marketing mix, distribution, place, pricing, or about promotion.
Now I just want to share about my experience in my social activity empowering people on Fight against Illiteracy in Kabupaten Bogor in years 2008.



This photo tell a story concerning school activity informally in a cloistered countryside in Bogor
Activity of eradication of this illiteracy entangle local tutor energies. This husband and wife spouse is local tutor which give the instruction read and write into local resident.



This photo show the activity one of the resident that trying so hard and learning to write on the black board "Good luck Grand Ma"


It’s me In this photo (wearing batik) take a photo together with the Tutor and the resident

I think enough for this time, next time Insya Allah I will continue my experience as a lecturer and I will post another story to you.
Write on Bogor, October 14, 2009 to Distance Learning Indonesia Blogs

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mechanisms For Partnership Organizations


Partnership Organizations has seven mechanisms, I know it from The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum and published in The book Tools for managing partnership in development.
That seven mechanisms are:
1. Public sector-led partnership initiative 
Structure established and (in part) funded by the public sector, with a focus on policy charges
2. Business campaign organizations 
Issue-based programme seeking to draw attention to a cause and promote charges in attitude or behaviour
3. Business coalition for social development
Membership-driven organization whose members are from business associations
4. NGO established by business
Vehicle for business to invest in social or environmental programme
5. NGO working with other sector
Organization that actively pursues its goals with partners from other sectors
6. NGO working as an intermediary
Organization that positions it self as an intermediary operating between partners and other stakeholders
7. Academia-led cross-sector initiative

Structure designed to integrate academic knowledge with practical needs and skills
Note: NGO in Indonesia known as LSM
 
How formal does a partnership have to be? There are vary opinions on this. Typically, a partnership its early stages does not require a formal contract-the relationship and collaborative work can often develop better with greater freedom to test out ideas. A simple memorandum of understanding may be sufficient in the first instance. Formal agreements are more appropriate as the relationship develops and become essential at the stage when significant resource commitments are required.


Whatever methods you choose to consult stakeholders, I suggest you to always remembering these 4 simply tips:
1. Ask clear and appropriate questions
2. Explain what you are doing and why (the reason you doing that)
3. Listen to what you are told
4. Give feedback

Friday, October 2, 2009

Planning and Resourcing Partnership (Part 1)


Partnership is a cross-sector alliance in which individuals, groups or organizations agree to: work together to fulfill an obligation or undertake a specific task; share the risks as well as the benefits; and review the relationship regularly, revising their agreement as necessary.
The process of planning and resourcing cross-sector partnerships includes:
1. Deciding what you want to do
2. Identifying partners
3. Agreeing core principles
4. Formalizing the partnership
5. Setting objectives
6. Engaging other stakeholders
7. Planning for action
8. Mobilizing resources
9. Reviewing and revising
To be continued ...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Batik is Belongs to Indonesia



Batik is belongs to Indonesia. UNESCO as an international broad also said that Batik is belongs to Indonesia, Batik is not belongs to another countries.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as President of Indonesia making decision that every October 2nd is the Indonesian Batik's day.



Lets tell to all people in the world that Batik is Belongs to Indonesia 



Do you love and like Batik like the pictures shown in this Blog? Visit Indonesia






Indonesia is a beautiful country.
Visit Indonesia, you can discover so many culture and amazing views in Indonesia. Many places in Indonesia that are so beautiful, like Bali with the beautiful sanur beach, Bandung with the awesome Gedung Sate, Jakarta with the Monas, Bogor with the food vacation, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, and so many more

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gold Is The Most Safety and Profitable Investment

Almost every country in the world had facing economic crisis, a lot of huge company could not survive and than stopping their business because the economic crisis, the impact from many huge companies stopping their business are unstable condition of their employee. They who have good investment will more stable than others that not have any preparation to face economic crisis.
We have to prepare our self if the economic crisis happen, before it happens we have to choose the best investment that can be stable and profitable in any conditions including in economic crisis condition. There a lot of investment that we can choose it, but I think investment in gold is the best way and profitable investment. According to the site http://goldcoinsgain.com investment in gold could be in gold coins that have a trusted certificate from the authorized broad in gold. I think this is really prestigious to have some of the magnificent and beautiful gold coin that shown in that site. Investment in gold is more stable than investment in other way, event in economic crisis condition the prices of gold is always going high and never down or fall like the currency. There are many types of gold bullion that we can find it and choose one or some of on the site http://goldcoinsgain.com. I suggest and give recommendation to you all, if you want to have safety and profitable investment, buy some bullion is the best way on investment. We going to be reach optimize profit in the future and more stable in any condition, stable condition or maybe in economic crisis condition. If you want to find out more information about doing investment in gold, you better visit the site http://goldcoinsgain.com, they will be helps and guides you well how to do it.


Lets prepare our self to face any condition that maybe come to us anytime with safety and profitable investment.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Normal Distribution

I know of scarcely anything so apt to impress the imagination as the wonderful form of cosmic order expressed by the "Law of Frequency of Error".
The Law would have been personified by the Greeks and deified, if they had known of it. It reigns with serenity and in complete self-effacement amidst the wildest confusion. The huger the mob and the greater the apparent anarchy, the more perfect is its sway. It is the supreme law of Unreasoned.
Whenever a large sample of chaotic elements are taken in hand and marshaled in the order of their magnitude, and unsuspected and most beautiful form of regularity proves to have been latent all along.
The tops of the marshaled row form a flowing curve of invariable proportions; and each element, as it is sorted into place, finds, as it were, a preordained niche accurately adapted to fit it.
If the measurement at any two specified Grades in the row are known, those that will be found at every other Grade, except towards the extreme ends, can be predicted in the way already explained and with much precision.


Sir Francis Galton on Lapin, Statistics Meaning and Method

Monday, September 28, 2009

ASSESSING THE SERVICE QUALITY

ASSESSING THE SERVICE QUALITY OF SELECTED COMMERCIAL BANK THROUGH THE SERVICE MARKETING MIX PRACTICE
BY DASMANSYAH ADYAS
Lecturer of STIE Dewantara


BACK GROUND
This study attempt to assess the quality of services of selected commercial banks through the service marketing mix practices as perceived by the bank clients and service providers (employees).
Specifically, the study answered the following questions:
1. How do the clients of selected commercial banks perceived the service quality of the banks through the service marketing mix practices, such as:
1.1. product
1.2. price
1.3. place
1.4. promotion
1.5. participants or personnel
1.6. physical evidences
1.7. process
2. How do the employees (service providers) rate the extent to which the service quality of their banks melt the expectations through the above-mentioned marketing mix practices.
3. Are there significant differences on the expectations and rating of bank clients on service quality through the service marketing mix practices.
Review of Related Literature and Studies
Defining quality in services is especially difficult because of intangible nature of the service offering the definition of service quality may vary from person to person and from situation to situation.
In attempt to classify the approaches to service quality, the following four categories have chosen: dimensions of service quality, gap analysis, the design approach, and direct quality of know how from good services.
Parasurman, Zeitheml, and Barry identified ten determinants of service quality that may related to any service: reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding, knowing the customer, tangibles. Later this to boiled down to five: tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy.
In evolution of marketing in customer industries, most firms pass through what is called a production stage. In this stage firms can concentrate on increasing the efficiency of their product effort the use of their experiences. Most financial institution are now in a product stage of marketing evolution, especially in Indonesia. For example, many banks have multiple automotive loans product variables rate, KPR, fixed rates etc. The obvious problem with an orientation is that consumers do not understand financial service well enough to make the choices the banks epact them to make.
Marketing mix include and all elements that may potentially satisfy the consumer and over which the firm has some level of control. Bitner’s traces evolution of service marketing mix focusing of moment of the truth or service encounter. The mix presented useful tools for effective managing and enhancing the quality of service, the author augmented the traditional four P’s of marketing mix ( product, price, place and promotion) with additional P’s of physical evidence, participant and process.

Hypothesis of the Study
There is no significant differences on the expectation and rating of the bank clients on the service quality of the banks

Scope and Delimitations
The study deals on the access meant of service quality of selected commercial bank. The Service Marketing Mix include product. Price promotion, plane, participants, process and physical evidence.
The respondents of the study are the bank clients and personnel (service-providers) of the bank. The standard used in the assessment of the service quality are the perception from both clients and personnel selected commercial bank
Method of research
This study was used the descriptive analytical approach in eliciting data for analysis. The descriptive method is believed to be more applicable to answer and investigate the perceptions of commercial banking quality services. In other words this approach presented the perception from both the provider and user about the quality service of selected commercial banks.
Statistical Treatment
The following statistical techniques were used for in-depth analysis of data and table, these are process of summarizing raw date and displaying them in compact from for further analysis. This was done in the early stage of this study. Weighted mean, this technique was used to compute the mean of data to measure the opinion of respondents in quality services of commercial banks.
Ranking, determined the relative importance of answers each respondent in the order to priority, feasibility and urgency. The highest rank is for variable with the very great extent, the lowest rank is for that of not at all extent. The kruskall-wallis test statistics, was used for testing the null hypothesis.

FINDINGS
1. The perception of clients of service quality rendered by commercial bank through the service marketing mix practices.
1.1 Products/services
The respondents stated that banks presented all indicators in services rendered by commercial banks in terms of products and services. They agreed that banks provide prompt attention and high degree of courtesy. Depositing and withdrawing are done relatively is short time. They also agreed that banks provided state-of-the-art latest/technology, and offered an array of deposit products for safe and gain full options. The majority of the banks clients agreed that credit facilities are available.

1.2 Price
The majority of respondents gave the ratings which range from 3.25 to 3.33 that is verbally interpreted as “undecided” with regard to price practices of commercial banks. The first rank, the respondents are undecided whether the low interests on loans is lower compared to other banks. The respondents also could not decide whether the low interests on loans are available and the credit offering fixed loans are available. The majority of respondents also were undecided wheatear the banks service charge are nominal or interest rates for the saving deposit are higher than other banks.
1.3. Promotions
Rank 1 indicated that the advertisement practices in banks provide essential honest and truthful information. The respondent also agree that publicity builds the image of commercial banks. The respondents also agreed threat the promotion giveaways are given by the banks.
1.4. Place
The actual places practices by banks treated by banks client as agree. The bank’s location are accessible, the branches are teller machines are conveniently located. Findings also revealed that branches and teller machines also found in relatively many cities/towns; and some of banks provide a limited parking lot.
1.5. Participant / personnel
As to the expected services of commercial banks by clients in terms of participant/personnel, the banks clients agreed that banks personnel are trustworthy and polite. The majority of respondents also agreed that banks employees are never too busy to respond to clients request, they are always willing to help clients and are cheerful to give attention to the client. The majority of the respondents agree that employees speak clearly and simply.
1.6 Physical Evidence
The actual service rendered by commercial banks in terms of physical evidence were agreeable. The first priority among five indicators is that banks premises make them feel source and safe, second, that adequate security measures are visible, the third was that automated machines are always in good condition, and that the necessary from are always available. The banks not only provide comfortable seats but also the comfortable waiting rooms.
1.7 Process
Ranked first in perceived service rendered by commercial banks in term of process in the service marketing mix practices was the commercial banks perform fast and accurate transaction. Ranked second, is up-to-minute information and current state of finances (bank balances) are provided. Ranked second, is up-to-minute information and current state of finances (bank balances) are provided. Ranked third is that monthly statements and billing notices are promptly sent and that an adequate information dissemination for clients benefit is provided.

2. Rate of the extent of service quality of commercial banks through the service marketing mix practices as perceived by banks’ personnel
2.1. Product /Services
The majority stated that the extent of customer relation for providing prompt attention and highest degree of courtesy is great extent. Depositing and withdrawing in the banks with the aid of teller are done in shortest possible time. Also the respondents agreed that to a great extent the banks offer an array of deposit products for safe and gainful options for hard-earned saving provide state-of-the-art latest technology.
And the latest was the present of services of commercial banks in term of variety products/services through service marketing mix practices.
2.2. Price
The ratings ranging from 3.20 to 3.30 involving the indicators of price practices were all verbally interpreted as lower extent that banks have provided price practices. For example, the extent indicator rank 1 which is that interests on loans are effectively lower than those of other banks is “lower extent”. The avail ability of cheap loans are lower extent. Similarly the interest rates for the saving deposit are higher than other banks to a lower extent. Likewise, the bank service charges are nominal to lower extent.
2.3. Promotions
The majority of respondents responded that the promotional practices of commercial banks have provided the essential information to their target market. The respondents also agreed that commercial banks did an honest and truthful advertisement; on the statement publicity help build the image of banks, majority of respondents agreed the present of publicity will build the image of commercial banks in the eyes of public or target market.
Rate, that they have always kept their automated machines in good conditions and that the necessary forms and comfortable waiting room are provided.
2.4 Place
The bank personnel agreed that their banks are a strategically located and easily accessible. They also agreed that commercial banks placed they branches/teller machine in convenient locations. The third indicators was that the branches/teller machines are found in many parts of the cities and towns. But the perception is that parking area is available only to a lesser extent.
2.5 Participant/personnel
The first rank under participant/personnel was that the banks’ personnel are trustworthy and polite and always willing to help the client cheerful ways and give adequate attention to the clients. This is the followed by the indicator that the bank employees are never too busy to respond to client requests and they should speak clearly and simply. Lastly, bank employees recognize their regular clients.
2.6. Physical Evidence
Majority of the respondents agreed that to great extent the banks’ premises make the client feel secure and safe, that the bank provide proper and adequate security, that they have always kept their automated machines in good conditions and that necessary forms and comfortable waiting room are provided
2.7. Process
In terms of process, the respondents agreed that to a great extent the banks performs fast and accurate transactions, and that up-to-minute-information of current state of finances (bank balance) is provided. Likewise, adequate information is disseminated for the benefits of clients.
Monthly statements of account and billing notices that the expectation are promptly sent to client are met to a great extent. However, undecided or lesser extent. However, undecided or lesser extent is exhibited in the indicator that the waiting time is very short.

3. Differences between banks’ clients perceptions and banks personnel rate of extent of service quality rendered by commercial banks
The analysis showed that there were highly significantly difference between perception and the rate of extent of service quality in term of product service quality in term of product service hence the hypothesis was rejected.
In term of price practices in the service marketing mix practices, findings revealed that there were no significant differences hence significant differences hence null hypothesis was accepted
The promotion practices showed significance differences hence the null hypothesis was rejected.
Findings, also reveal the significant differences between clients perception and banks personnel perception in term of both promotion and place practices hence the null hypothesis was rejected.
Likewise, significant differences was notes in the banks client and banks personnel perceptions in the following element of the service marketing mix practices participant/personnel, physical evidence and process, thus the null hypothesis was rejected.

CONCLUSIONS
From the foregoing findings, the following conclusions are given.
1. The Perception of clients of service quality rendered by commercial banks through the service marketing mix practices.
1.1. Product
Findings strongly indicated that bank clients are satisfied with the way commercial banks provide variety of products/services and with their high respect and courtesy.
1.2. Price
The findings indicated that majority of the banks client do not really know about the pricing practices on their respective banks.

1.3. Promotions
The respondents agreed that commercial banks render the service quality through the promotion practices.
1.4. Place
It can be concluded that the banks’ clients agreed that banks provided a good place to transact.
1. 5 Participant/Personnel
It was found that banks’ employees are helpful and trustworthy and the banks provide good service in term of participant or personnel practices.
1.6. Physical Evidence
In general, banks’ client agreed that their expectation met the actual physical evidence practiced by commercial banks.
1.7. Process
As a whole, the respondents agreed that the process of quality services of commercial banks in marketing mix practices met their expectation.

2. Rate of the extent of service quality of commercial banks through the service marketing mix practices as perceived by banks personnel.
2.1. Product
Finding strongly indicated that banks personnel rated as a great extent that commercial banks provide a variety of product and delivery it with high degree of respect and courtesy.
2.2. Price
As a whole expectation regarding the pricing practices in commercial banks as perceived by banks personnel was rated as lower extent.
2.3. Promotion
It can be concluded that banks personnel considered all indicators under the promotional practices expect “promotion/give-away are regular given” to a great extent to be observed in the banks.
2.4. Place
The respondents agreed that the indicators under place practices are observed to a greater extent except “parking area is available” which is rated to a lesser extent.
2.5. Participant / Personnel
In terms of participant personnel, the banks personnel agreed that extent of participant/personnel is an important indicator of quality service rendered by commercial banks.
2.6. Physical Evidence
In term of the element of the physical evidence, the banks personnel agreed that to a great extent they are observed in commercial banks.
2.7. Process
The respondent agreed that the extent of process as an element in the service marketing mix practices, is an important indicator of quality service rendered by commercial banks.

3. Differences between banks’ clients perceptions and banks’ personnel rate of extent of service quality rendered by commercial banks.
Respondents differ significantly in their perception of service quality rendered by commercial banks, except in the price practices no significant differences, thus the null hypothesis was rejected in all element of the service marketing mix practices except on price practices was accepted.

RECOMMENDATIONS.

From the foregoing conclusions, the following recommendations are given.
1. Use the research department to identity the quality determinant most important and needed by customer to increase the quality service standard.
2. Translate the customers expectation into clear deliverable service features, to give the best customers satisfaction.
3. Banks should inform to the customer about their price practices (service charge, interest, etc). As simply as and as clearly as possible. So the banks client will understand easily their price practices.
4. Management should build service quality environment among personnel participant to achieve the highest service quality standard
5. Conduct a periodic evaluation/assessment of the process delivery quality service system to keep the present quality standard stable and to achieve the best quality standard in the future.
6. Set up the organization of delivery system and integration into service quality standard, to give the best satisfaction to the clients.
7. Make a guideline for both banks clients and banks’ personnel about price practices in the commercial banks in clear and simple way.



Bibliography:
Bitner, Mary Jo The Evolution of the service marketing mix and the relationship to service quality, USA, Lexington Books, 1991.
Cristobal, M. Pagoso and Rizalina A Montana, Introductory Statistic ( Manila : Rex Bookstore, 1995)
Jonhston, Robert and David Lyth. Implementing The Integration of The Costumer Expectation and Operational Capability, USA, Lexington Book, 1991
Kotler, Philip, Principles of Marketing, New Jersey : Prentice Hall, Inc, 2000.
Tjiptono, Fandy dan Gregorius Chandra, Service, Quality & Satisfaction, Andi Offset,2005.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Existence of Micro, Small and Medium Business In Indonesia After Monetary Crisis In 1998

Indonesia facing a huge monetary crisis since years 1998, not just the crisis in monetary but also in any sector. Nowadays Indonesia slowly move forward and break the chain of crisis. It/s so amazing that in the crisis era, that the micro, small and medium business In Indonesia known as UMKM still survive from the storm of monetary crisis and other crisis from years 1998 till now.
Based on the research by Anuraga and Sudantoko in the years 2002 about the impact of monetary crisis in Indonesia to the micro small and medium business in Indonesia.
This research was describe about 225.000 sample micro small and medium business in Indonesia that has chosen as an indicator by the impact of monetary crisis in Indonesia. That research results was below:
1. Hanging on : 64,10%
2. Growing up : 0,90%
3. Less their activities : 31%
4. Closed : 4%
Based on data above we could know that the micro small and medium business in Indonesia, has a good condition, adaptive, flexible, and more survival in the monetary crisis.
As we all know that the impact of monetary crisis in Indonesia that has been started since years 1998, has a huge impact in any condition and any sector of Indonesian Republic.
That research could give a lot of inspiration to all, that we have to learn more how that micro small and medium business could has a good living survival in Indonesia.
Entrepreneurship is also starting to be socialize to the student at te school or at the campus. Entrepreneurship is one of the best solution to decreasing social and economic gap and can be motivating us to become the struggle businessman, that could be survive and growing up in any condition and challenges. This article it's just a simple tutorial about Distance Learning Management that I can write it down to you, so you can read it and know it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Learning Biology for Students

As a teacher and frequently give some lecture to the students, I need a lot of references to makes me perfect in the classroom facing the students. One of my favorite subjects to learn is about biology. I think Biology is really interesting to studied, because in Biology we could learn all about human, plants and animals. Learning about Biology does not enough only learn from the books, but sometimes I need more references from the internet. So, I just sit down at my chair then surfing patiently about Biology.
Lucky me, I found this website coursehero.com, at this website I can find a lot of useful information about Biology. This website has a good looking template and easy to understand the entire menu’s. I think coursehero.com will be the best Biology Homework Solutions I ever know. Otherwise coursehero.com have an interesting offers that the college can be held by the state that we can choose.
Coursehero.com gives us many benefit to study and learning about the subject about Biology, when I read more information in this website, I think coursehero.com is really useful to us to find out and join with them. For me and I am sure for any too, coursehero.com is like a modern Biology Lab for the students in any school or university.
Hopefully we can increase our knowledge about Biology with the good references and tutorial learning like coursehero.com.

If you need more information about coursehero.com, I suggest you visit their website and contact them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Statistics College Tutoring

My daily activities are as an employee and as a teacher that give lecture and tutorial about object statistics on one of famous Business School majoring in management in Indonesia. Some of my students told me that Statistics is difficult to learn and to understand, and some of them found statistics problems that not usually same as with the theory in the books or modules that I had given to them. My students often do some interaction in the class and gave me some statistics questions. It’s really interesting and awesome to have students with good attitude and thinking critical in the classroom. They told me that studying Statistics with me is so fun and not boring, because I often gave them statistics help, guides them well on every case on all about statistics.
My definition about statistics is a body of some methods and theory applied to numerical evidence in making inferences in the face of uncertainty. According to my definition above, actually in our daily activities is can not separated with statistics. Statistics can give us the answer about numerical facts, that’s the statistics answer. My definition of statistics indicates that it can be a powerful tool for analyzing numerical data. This is what makes it so crucial in the sciences, engineering, education and business.
My statistics students gave me some opinion that to learn statistics easily and up to date, they need more practice with the newest cases about statistics. As a feedback from their opinion to me, so I browse the internet with my computer than I found TutorVista.com, this website offering an incredible tutorial about statistics. Wow, I think TutorVista.com is the best statistics tutor online I ever know. In 24 hours a week TutorVista.com gives us free statistics help for all subjects, like descriptive and inferential statistics, frequency distributions and summary measures, chi-square applications, and many more. If you need more information about this website, I suggest you visit and contact them on their website.

I think enough for this time, I hope you (especially my statistics students) never give up to learning about statistics, because learning statistics is really useful to be implemented to our daily activities. With the help of TutorVista.com, I hope you can learn about statistics easily. As Florence Nightingale said, “The true foundation of theology is to ascertain the character of God. It is by the aid of Statistics that law in the social sphere can be ascertained and codified, and certain aspects of the character of God thereby revealed. The study of statistics is thus a religious service”.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Training and professional development

Training is the process of acquiring specific skills to perform a job better (Jucious, 1963). It helps people to become qualified and proficient in doing some jobs (Dahama, 1979). Usually an organization facilitates the employees' learning through training so that their modified behavior contributes to the attainment of the organization's goals and objectives. Van Dersal (1962) defined training as the process of teaching, informing, or educating people so that (1) they may become as well qualified as possible to do their job, and (2) they become qualified to perform in positions of greater difficulty and responsibility.

Flippo (1961) differentiated between education and training, locating these at the two ends of a continuum of personnel development ranging from a general education to specific training. While training is concerned with those activities which are designed to improve human performance on the job that employees are at present doing or are being hired to do, education is concerned with increasing general knowledge and understanding of the total environment. Education is the development of the human mind, and it increases the powers of observation, analysis, integration, understanding, decision making, and adjustment to new situations.
Learning theories and training

Learning theories are the basic materials which are usually applied in all educational and training activities. The more one understands learning theories, the better he or she will be able to make decisions and apply them to achieving the objectives. The behaviorists, the cognitive, and the humanists emphasize different aspects of the teaching-learning process in their approaches. While the behaviorists stress external conditions (environment) resulting in observations and measurable changes in behavior, the cognitive are more concerned with how the mind works (mental processes such as coding, categorizing, and representing information in memory). The humanists, on the other hand, emphasize the affective aspects (e.g., emotions, attitudes) of human behavior that influence learning (IRRI, 1990). In extension systems, effective training must be able to take care of all the theories of learning in order to change the action, belief, and knowledge components of a trainee simultaneously. Androgyny (a theory of adult learning) is usually used rather than pedagogy (a theory of child learning) in extension training.
Training approach

There are three approaches to training: (1) the traditional approach, (2) the experiential approach, and (3) the performance-based approach (Rama, Etling, & Bowen, 1993). In the traditional approach, the training staff designs the objectives, contents, teaching techniques, assignments, lesson plans, motivation, tests, and evaluation. The focus in this model is intervention by the training staff. In the experiential approach, the trainer incorporates experiences where in the learner becomes active and influences the training process. Unlike the academic approach inherent in the traditional model, experiential training emphasizes real or simulated situations in which the trainees will eventually operate. In this model, the objectives and other elements of training are jointly determined by the trainers and trainees. Trainers primarily serve as facilitators, catalysts, or resource persons. In the performance-based approach to training, goals are measured through attainment of a given level of proficiency instead of passing grades of the trainees. Emphasis is given to acquiring specific observable skills for a task. This performance-based teacher education (PBTE) model, developed by Elam (1971), is mostly task or skill centered and is also applicable to non formal educational organizations such as extension.


Extension personnel around the world in need of training

Worldwide, there are currently more than 600,000 extension workers comprised of administrative staff, subject-matter specialists (SMS), fieldworkers, and some multipurpose unidentified people; the Asian and Pacific countries have absorbed more than 70 per cent of them (Bahal, Swanson, & Earner, 1992). The percentage of extension personnel by position, as reported by Swanson, Earner, and Bahal (1990), was 7 per cent administrative, 14 per cent SMS, and 79 per cent field staff, with regional differences. Almost 13 per cent of extension workers are women, with significant regional differences (Bahal et al., 1992). The ratio of SMS to field staff is also low in Asia, Africa, the Near East, and Latin American countries, varying from about 1:11 to 1:14. The ratio for countries of Europe and North America varies from 1:1.5 to 1:1.6. The worldwide ratio of SMS to field staff is 1:11.5 (Swanson et al., 1990).

Deficiencies in knowledge, skills, and ability among extension personnel, particularly those of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, are remarkable. About 39 per cent of the extension personnel worldwide have a secondary-level and 33 per cent an intermediate-level education (Bahal et al., 1992). Moreover, within each region, there is a lot of variation in basic academic qualifications of the frontline extension workers, SMS, and administrators. Differences in training received are also wide. In Africa, most frontline extension workers still have only a secondary school diploma (Bahal et al., 1992). The poor educational background of extension personnel necessitates regular training.
Types of training

Training may broadly be categorized into two types: preservice training and inservice training. Preservice training is more academic in nature and is offered by formal institutions following definite curricula and syllabuses for a certain duration to offer a formal degree or diploma. Inservice training, on the other hand, is offered by the organization from time to time for the development of skills and knowledge of the incumbents.

Preservice Training

Preservice training is a process through which individuals are made ready to enter a certain kind of professional job such as agriculture, medicine, or engineering. They have to attend regular classes in a formal institution and need to complete a definite curriculum and courses successfully to receive a formal degree or diploma. They are not entitled to get a professional job unless they can earn a certificate, diploma, or degree from the appropriate institution. Preservice training contents emphasize mostly technical subject matter such as crops, animal husbandry, and fisheries as well as pedagogical skills to prepare the students to work in agriculture.

In general two types of preservice training are available for agricultural staff. These are (1) degree level (at least a bachelor's degree in agriculture or related field), which is usually offered for four years by a university or agricultural college; and (2) diploma level, which is mostly offered by the schools of agriculture for a period of two to three years. The entry point for the former is normally twelve years of schooling and for the latter ten years of schooling.

Inservice Training and Staff Development

Inservice training is a process of staff development for the purpose of improving the performance of an incumbent holding a position with assigned job responsibilities. It promotes the professional growth of individuals. "It is a program designed to strengthen the competencies of extension workers while they are on the job" (Malone, 1984, p. 209). Inservice training is a problem-centred, learner-oriented, and time-bound series of activities which provide the opportunity to develop a sense of purpose, broaden perception of the clientele, and increase capacity to gain knowledge and mastery of techniques.

Inservice training may broadly be categorized into five different types: (1) induction or orientation training, (2) foundation training, (3) on-the-job training, (4) refresher or maintenance training, and (5) career development training. All of these types of training are needed for the proper development of extension staff throughout their service life.

Induction or Orientation Training. Induction training is given immediately after employment to introduce the new extension staff members to their positions. It begins on the first day the new employee is on the job (Rogers & Olmsted, 1957). This type of training is aimed at acquainting the new employee with the organization and its personnel. Induction training for all new personnel should develop an attitude of personal dedication to the service of people and the organization. This kind of training supplements whatever preservice training the new personnel might have had (Halim and Ali, 1988). Concerning the characteristics of a new employee. Van Dersal (1962) said that when people start to work in an organization for the first time, they are eager to know what sort of outfit they are getting into, what they are supposed to do, and whom they will work with. They are likely to be more attentive and open-minded than experienced employees. In fact, the most favourable time for gaining employees' attention and for moulding good habits among them is when they are new to the job.

Foundation Training. Foundation training is inservice training which is also appropriate for newly recruited personnel. Besides technical competence and routine instruction about the organization, every staff member needs some professional knowledge about various rules and regulations of the government, financial transactions, administrative capability, communication skills, leadership ability, coordination and cooperation among institutions and their linkage mechanism, report writing, and so on. Foundation training is made available to employees to strengthen the foundation of their service career. This training is usually provided at an early stage of service life.

Maintenance or Refresher Training. This training is offered to update and maintain the specialized subject-matter knowledge of the incumbents. Refresher training keeps the specialists, administrators, subject-matter officers, extension supervisors, and frontline workers updated and enables them to add to the knowledge and skills they have already. Maintenance or refresher training usually deals with new information and new methods, as well as review of older materials. This type of training is needed both to keep employees at the peak of their possible production and to prevent them from getting into a rut (Van Dersal, 1962).

On-the-Job Training. This is ad hoc or regularly scheduled training, such as fortnightly training under the training and visit (T&V) system of extension, and is provided by the superior officer or the subject-matter specialists to the subordinate field staff. This training is generally problem or technology oriented and may include formal presentations, informal discussion, and opportunities to try out new skills and knowledge in the field. The superior officer, administrator, or subject-matter specialist of each extension department must play a role in providing on-the-job training to the staff while conducting day-to-day normal activities.

Career or Development Training. This type of in-service training is designed to upgrade the knowledge, skills, and ability of employees to help them assume greater responsibility in higher positions. The training is arranged departmentally for successful extension workers, at all levels, for their own continuing education and professional development. Malone (1984) opined that extension services that provide the opportunity for all staff to prepare a plan for career training will receive the benefits of having longer tenured and more satisfied employees, which increases both the effectiveness and efficiency of an extension service. Malone stated that "career development is the act of acquiring information and resources that enables one to plan a program of lifelong learning related to his or her worklife" (p. 216). Although extension workers are responsible for designing their own career development education, the extension organization sometimes sets some criteria and provides opportunities for the staff by offering options.
Phases of training

Training is a circular process that begins with needs identification and after a number of steps ends with evaluation of the training activity. A change or deficiency in any step of the training process affects the whole system, and therefore it is important for a trainer to have a clear understanding about all phases and steps of the training process. In the broadest view, there are three phases of a training process: planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Planning Phase

The planning phase encompasses several activities, two of which - training needs identification and curriculum development - are very important.

Training Needs Identification. Training need is a condition where there is a gap between "what is" and "what should be" in terms of incumbents' knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviour for a particular situation at one point in time. This gap is called "a problem," which usually occurs when a difference exists between "desired performance" and "actual performance." The needs identification process assists trainers in making sure that they have matched a training programme to a training problem. For example, agricultural extension officers (AEOs) have been giving training to village extension workers (VEWs), but performance of the VEWs is not improving. The reasons may be:

1. The AEOs lack subject-matter knowledge.
2. The AEOs do not conduct training well.
3. The training centre lacks training facilities.
4. The VEWs are organized not to work properly until their demands are satisfied by the government.

The first two problems are related to knowledge and skills and can be solved effectively by a training programme, but the third and fourth problems need government attention to solve.

Training needs identification is possible through different analytical procedures. The major procedures used in determining training needs are the following:

Organizational analysis determines where training emphasis should be placed within the organization and is based on the objectives of an organization. Concerning what one should do in analysing an organization, McGhee and Thayer (1961) suggest four steps:

1. Stating the goals and objectives of an organization
2. Analysing the human resources
3. Analysing efficiency indices
4. Analysing the organizational climate

The results of these analyses are then compared with the objectives of the organization. These comparisons point to specific areas in which training is needed.

Individual analysis aims at identifying specific training needs for an individual or group of employees so that training can be tailored to their needs. This analysis centres on individuals and their specific needs concerning the skills, knowledge, or attitudes they must develop to perform their assigned tasks. The possible methods or techniques for individual analysis include performance appraisal, interviews, questionnaires, tests, analysis of behaviour, informal talks, checklist, counseling, critical incidents, recording, surveys, and observations.

Group analysis includes a number of techniques in which a group of well-informed employees discuss different aspects of the organization, the employees, and the tasks to identify the major discrepancies in achieving predetermined targets for each of them with a view to assessing training needs as distinguished from other necessary changes for removing these discrepancies. The major techniques which are used in this approach are brainstorming, buzzing, cardsorts, advisory committee, conferences, problem clinic, role playing, simulation, task forces, workshops, and so forth.

Many problems exist in an organization, but some problems cannot be solved by training. After a preliminary needs analysis, which gives probable causes and solutions, the results should be verified with the concerned personnel of the organization to determine whether training is an appropriate action to solve that problem.

Curriculum Development. This is the most important part in a training programme after a need for training has been identified. The curriculum specifies what will be taught and how it will be taught. It provides the framework and foundation of training. The first phase of curriculum development determines what will be taught, that is, the training content.

Once training needs have been identified and training activities have been decided as part of the solution, a needs analysis should be done to determine knowledge, skills, and attitude requirements and performance deficiencies. The needs analysis procedure involves breaking down the "training problem" into its basic parts in different successive phases to identify and understand the important components in each phase. Ultimately it leads to identifying and understanding the training content. The training needs analysis process can be divided into three distinct analytical phases: job analysis, task analysis, and knowledge and skill-gap analysis.

A. Job analysis. Job analysis is a method of determining major areas of tasks where training may be needed (see JA Worksheet). It involves the dissecting of a job into its component events or parts. This analysis allows a trainer to better understand what an employee does in an organization. Job analysis involves the "task identification" of a particular job (Wentling, 1992). The techniques used in task identification include job questionnaire, interview, participant observation, work sampling, job audit, and small-group discussion. The following steps may provide a guide for completion of job analysis:

1. Identify the job that is to be the subject of the analysis. This involves defining the focal point for the job analysis. It may include the entire job of a group of employees or only a specific segment of their job.

2. Prepare a list of tasks which can be done following different approaches and methods. Four approaches can be used to identify job tasks: (1) expertsidentify and list critical tasks, (2) observations and interviews are conducted with employees, (3) meetings are held with group representatives, and (4) a tentative list of task is reviewed by employees and their supervisors.

3. Verify the tasks. The draft list of tasks should be verified by experts, workers, and supervisors in the analysis process. This can be done through expert review, small-group discussions, and inter views. When the tasks are verified, a final list of job tasks is prepared.

4. Determine the frequency. The workers and super visors can fill in a form indicating how frequently each task in a job is performed. Different scales such as "seldom," "occasionally," "weekly to monthly," "daily to weekly," and "daily" can be used to quantify the intensity of a task accomplished.

5. Determine the importance. Not all tasks are equally important to a job. An occasionally performed task may be very important. Therefore, a relative importance rating is useful along with frequency rating. A scale such as "marginally important," "moderately important," and "extremely important" may be used to determine the relative importance of the job tasks.

6. Estimate the learning difficulty. An estimate of learning difficulty is another dimension of the job-task analysis. It shows the trainer the employees' perception of difficulty, which may be different from the trainer's own perception. A scale such as "easy," "moderately difficult," "very difficult," and "extremely difficult" may be used to determine the difficulty indices of job tasks.

7. Calculate the total score. This can be done by simply adding the scores for frequency, importance, and learning difficulty for each task. The column for total score in a worksheet indicates the priority tasks for training if these are training problems.

8. Review the findings. The results of the job-task analysis should be discussed with significant people in the training system, including government leaders, programme directors, and others interested in related training.

B. Task analysis. The output of the job analysis is a list of broad job tasks, based on importance, learning difficulty, and frequency of doing the task. Each task is a complex set of procedures in itself, and therefore it needs further analysis to find out which specific segment of the of the task is critical in designing a training programme (see Task Analysis Worksheet). To do this, it is necessary to follow a method called task analysis, which is similar to job analysis.

Task analysis procedures include preparing a blank task analysis worksheet, writing down the name of the job at the top of each sheet, and then making copies. Each of these forms will be used for breaking down and analysing each of the most important job tasks. Therefore, it is necessary to write one important task identified for training on each of the task analysis worksheets and to list all component parts of each task on its respective task analysis worksheet. This is followed by the steps used for job analysis to find out the frequency, importance, and learning difficulty for each step of the tasks. Then the score for each component part is put in the "total score" column, and the results are discussed with concerned personnel in the organization. The job analysis and task analysis processes are similar to each other, so the model for both worksheets is the same.

The important difference between these two steps of analysis is that "the job analysis helps us identify major blocks of content to include in training; the task analysis helps us understand what comprises an individual block" (Wentling, 1992). Both are very important to the curriculum development process. What needs to be taught and what steps are involved in the process are completed by these analyses and comprise the major steps in curriculum development.

C. Knowledge and skill-gap analysis. The knowledge or skill-gap analysis is a process of determining the training needs of individual employees in relation to the important tasks-steps or components of tasks identified for training (see Skill-Gap Analysis Worksheet). The skill-gap analysis determines how skilled or proficient individual employees are on these tasks-steps or components, how much individuals differ from desired performance, and whether or not they need training. It would be a waste of resources and frustrating to the trainer and trainees to design and deliver training on topics and skills where the trainees are already able and proficient. A priority list of the tasks identified for training according to the total score in the job analysis is made. Then, the steps or components that were identified on each task analysis worksheet are listed on the skill-gap analysis worksheet. This is followed by rating each step-component in terms of the trainee's current proficiency on a scale of 1 to 5, as shown in the legend of the worksheet. Identifying the steps-components that appear to have low proficiency is required because there is a gap between what is desired and the current situation. After this, a review is done to ponder whether the gap can be decreased or removed through training or whether training is the most appropriate method. There may be some steps-components for which measures other than training are more appropriate. At this stage, key personnel such as subject-matter specialists, supervisors, and extension-training experts should discuss the findings before finalizing the curriculum. This helps to identify different perspectives and to avoid unnoticed mistakes or biases in curriculum development.

The training needs analyses provide many things to a trainer. The analyses determine the training contents and how deficient the trainees are in these contents, and the sequence of tasks provides the sequence of training activity.

Job Analysis Worksheet

Job: Agriculture Extension Officer

Tasks:


Frequency performeda


Importanceb


Learning difficultyb


Total score


Focus

1. Supervision


4


3


1


8


...

2. Conducting training


4


3


3


10


yes

3. Planning programmes


2


3


2


7


...

4. Research trial


2


2


1


5


...

.........


...


...


...


...


...

.........


...


...


...


...


...

.........


...


...


...


...


...

a 1 = Seldom


b 1 = Marginally important


c 1 = Easy

2 = Occasionally


2 = Moderately important


2 = Moderately difficult

3 = Weekly to monthly


3 = Extremely important


3 = Very difficult

4 = Daily to weekly


4 = Extremely difficult



5 = Daily






Task Analysis Worksheet

Job: Agriculture Extension Officer

Task: Conducting training

Components/steps


Frequency Performeda


Importanceb
Difficultyc


Learning Score


Total


Focus

Establishing rapport


5


3


1


9


-

Introducing the topic


-


-


-


-


-

Presenting the subject


5


3


1


9


-

Maintaining sequence


-


-


-


-


-

Maintaining eye contact


-


-


-


-


-

Using A/V aids in time


5


3


4


12


yes







-


-


-


-




-


-





-


-

Summarizing the lecture


5


3


3


11


yes

a1 = Seldom


b1 = Marginally important


c1 = Easy

2 = Moderately important


2 = Moderately important


2 = Moderately difficult

3 = Weekly to monthly


3 = Extremely important


3 = Very difficult

4 = Daily to weekly


4 = Extremely difficult



5 = Daily






Skill-Gap Analysis Worksheet

Job: Agriculture Extension Officer

Task: Delivering lecture in VEWs training

Steps-components


Level of proficiency


Is proficiency a problem?


Can problem be solved by training?

Establishing rapport


1 2 3 (4) 5


[ ]


[ ]

Introducing the topic


1 2 (3) 4 5


[Y]


[Y]

Presenting the subject


1 2 3 (4) 5


[ ]


[ ]

Maintaining sequence


1 2 (3) 4 5


[ ]


[ ]

Maintaining eye contact


1 (2) 3 4 5


[Y]


[Y]

Using A/V aids in time


1 (2) 3 4 5


[ ]


[ ]

Supplying handouts


1 2 (3) 4 5


[Y]


[N]

.........


1 2 3 4 5


[ ]


[ ]

Summarizing the lecture


(1) 2 3 4 5


[Y]


[Y]

1 = Cannot do at all
2 = Can do less than half of the task
3 = Can do more than half but less than total
4 = Can do total but cannot maintain time schedule
5 = Can do within time schedule

Selecting a Training Method

A training programme has a better chance of success when its training methods are carefully selected. A training method is a strategy or tactic that a trainer uses to deliver the content so that the trainees achieve the objective (Wentling, 1992). Selecting an appropriate training method is perhaps the most important step in training activity once the training contents are identified. There are many training methods, but not all of these are equally suitable for all topics and in all situations. To achieve the training objective, a trainer should select the most appropriate training method for the content to involve the trainees in the learning process. Four major factors are considered when selecting a training method: the learning objective, the content, the trainees, and the practical requirements (Wentling, 1992). According to Bass and Vaughan (1966), training methods should be selected on the basis of the degree to which they do the following:

1. Allow active participation of the learners.
2. Help the learners transfer learning experiences from training to the job situation.
3. Provide the learners with knowledge of results about their attempts to improve.
4. Provide some means for the learners to be reinforced for the appropriate behaviour.
5. Provide the learners with an opportunity to practise and to repeat when needed.
6. Motivate the learners to improve their own performance.
7. Help learners increase their willingness to change.

These criteria indicate that a single training method will not satisfy the objectives of a training programme.

A variety of training methods are available to a trainer. The most commonly used methods include:

1. Instructor presentation. The trainer orally presents new information to the trainees, usually through lecture. Instructor presentation may include classroom lecture, seminar, workshop, and the like.

2. Group discussion. The trainer leads the group of trainees in discussing a topic.

3. Demonstration. The trainer shows the correct steps for completing a task, or shows an example of a correctly completed task.

4. Assigned reading. The trainer gives the trainees reading assignments that provide new information.

5. Exercise. The trainer assigns problems to be solved either on paper or in real situations related to the topic of the training activity.

6. Case study. The trainer gives the trainees information about a situation and directs them to come to a decision or solve a problem concerning the situation.

7. Role play. Trainees act out a real-life situation in an instructional setting.

8. Field visit and study tour. Trainees are given the opportunity to observe and interact with the problem being solved or skill being learned.

Implementation phase

Once the planning phase of a training programme is complete, then it is time to implement the course. Implementation is the point where a trainer activates the training plan, or it is the process of putting a training programme into operation.

The first step towards implementing a training programme is publicity. Most of the well-established training centres develop training brochures which contain course descriptions, prepare an annual calendar of training opportunities, and inform concerned organizations, agencies, or departments well ahead of time about their training plans. Once the training centre and concerned organizations agree to implement training, the next step is to arrange available resources such as sufficient funds for the course and facilities for food, lodging, transportation, and recreation. All these resources need to be well managed and coordinated to run the programme smoothly.
Evaluation phase

Evaluation is a process to determine the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of activities in light of their objectives. In evaluating an extension training programme, one needs to consider that most training activities exist in a larger context of projects, programmes, and plans. Thus Raab et al. (1987, p. 5) define training evaluation as "a systematic process of collecting information for and about a training activity which can then be used for guiding decision making and for assessing the relevance and effectiveness of various training components."

Kirkpatrick (1976) suggested four criteria to evaluate training programmes: (1) reaction, (2) learning, (3) behaviour, and (4) results. Each criterion is used to measure the different aspects of a training programme. Reaction measures how the trainees liked the programme in terms of content, methods, duration, trainers, facilities, and management. Learning measures the trainees' skills and knowledge which they were able to absorb at the time of training. Behaviour is concerned with the extent to which the trainees were able to apply their knowledge to real field situations. Results are concerned with the tangible impact of the training programme on individuals, their job environment, or the organization as a whole.

Types of Evaluation

On the basis of the time dimension, evaluation may be classified as (1) formative evaluation and (2) summative evaluation. Formative evaluation involves the collection of relevant and useful data while the training programme is being conducted. This information can identify the drawbacks and unintended outcomes and is helpful in revising the plan and structure of training programmes to suit the needs of the situation. Summative evaluation is done at the end of the programme and makes an overall assessment of its effectiveness in relation to achieving the objectives and goals.

Raab et al. (1987), however, classified evaluation into four major types: (1) evaluation for planning, (2) process evaluation, (3) terminal evaluation, and (4) impact evaluation.

Evaluation for planning provides information with which planning decisions are made. Training contents and procedures (methods and materials) are usually planned at this stage in order to choose or guide the development of instructional aids and strategies. Process evaluation is conducted to detect or predict defects in the procedural design of a training activity during the implementation phase (Raab et al., 1987). Through this process the key elements of the training activities are systematically monitored, problems are identified, and attempts are made to rectify the mistakes before they become serious. Process evaluation is periodically conducted throughout the entire period of the programme.

Terminal evaluation is conducted to find out the effectiveness of a training programme after it is completed. The objectives of terminal evaluation are to determine the degree to which desired benefits and goals have been achieved, along with the causes of failure, if any. Impact evaluation assesses changes in on-the-job behaviour as a result of training efforts. It provides feedback from the trainees and supervisors about the outcomes of training. It measures how appropriate the training was in changing the behaviour of participants in real-life situations.
References

Bahal, R., Swanson, B. E., & Farner, B. J. (1992). Human resources in agricultural extension: A worldwide analysis. Indian Journal of Extension Education, 28 (3, 4), 1-9.

Bass, B. M., & Vaughan, J. A. (1966). Training in industry: The management of learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.

Dahama, O. P. (1979). Extension and rural welfare. New Delhi: Ram Parsad and Sons.

Elam, S. (1971). Performance based teacher education: What is the state of the art. Washington, DC: AACTE.

Flippo, E. B. (1961). Principles of personnel management. New York: McGraw Hill.

Halim, A., & Ali, M. M. (1988). Administration and management of training programmes. Bangladesh Journal of Training and Development, 1 (2), 1-19.

IRRI. (1990). Training and technology transfer course performance objectives manual. Manila: International Rice Research Institute.

Jucious, M. J. (1963). Personnel management (5th ed.). Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin.

Kirkpatrick, D. (1976). Evaluation of training. In R. L. Craig (Ed.), Training and development handbook. New York: McGraw Hill.

Lynton, R. P., & Pareek, U. (1990). Training for development. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press.

Malone, V. M. (1984). Inservice training and staff development. In B. E. Swanson (Ed.), Agricultural extension: A reference manual. Rome: FAO.

McGhee, W., & Thayer, P. W. (1961). Training in business and industry. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Raab, R. T., Swanson, B. E., Wentling, T. L., & dark, C. D. (Eds.). (1987). A trainer's guide to evaluation. Rome: FAO.

Rama, B. R., Etling, A. W. W., & Bowen, B. E. (1993). Training of farmers and extension personnel. In R. K. Samanta (Ed.), Extension strategy for agricultural development in 21st century. New Delhi: Mittal Publications.

Rogers, F. E., & Olmsted, A. G. (1957). Supervision in the cooperative extension service. Madison, WI: National Agricultural Extension Center for Advanced Study.

Swanson, B. E., Farner, B. J., & Bahal, R. (1990). The current status of agricultural extension worldwide. In B. E. Swanson (Ed.), Report of the Global Consultation on Agricultural Extension. Rome: FAO.

Van Dorsal, W. R. (1962). The successful supervisor. New York: Harper and Row.

Wentling, T. L. (1992). Planning for effective training: A guide to curriculum development. Rome: FAO.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Establishing a management information system

Information is a critical resource in the operation and management of organizations. Timely availability of relevant information is vital for effective performance of managerial functions such as planning, organizing, leading, and control. An information system in an organization is like the nervous system in the human body: it is the link that connects all the organization's components together and provides for better operation and survival in a competitive environment. Indeed, today's organizations run on information.

The term information system usually refers to a computer-based system, one that is designed to support the operations, management, and decision functions of an organization. Information systems in organizations thus provide information support for decision makers. Information systems encompass transaction processing systems, management information systems, decision support systems, and strategic information systems.

Information consists of data that have been processed and are meaningful to a user. A system is a set of components that operate together to achieve a common purpose. Thus a management information system collects, transmits, processes, and stores data on an organization's resources, programs, and accomplishments. The system makes possible the conversion of these data into management information for use by decision makers within the organization. A management information system, therefore, produces information that supports the management functions of an organization (Davis & Olson, 1985; Lucas, 1990; McLeod, 1995).


Basic concepts

Data versus Information

Data refers to raw, unevaluated facts, figures, symbols, objects, events, etc. Data may be a collection of facts lying in storage, like a telephone directory or census records.

Information is data that have been put into a meaningful and useful context and communicated to a recipient who uses it to make decisions. Information involves the communication and reception of intelligence or knowledge. It appraises and notifies, surprises and stimulates, reduces uncertainty, reveals additional alternatives or helps eliminate irrelevant or poor ones, and influences individuals and stimulates them to action. An element of data may constitute information in a specific context; for example, when you want to contact your friend, his or her telephone number is a piece of information; otherwise, it is just one element of data in the telephone directory.

Computers have made the processing function much easier. Large quantities of data can be processed quickly through computers aiding in the conversion of data to information. Raw data enter the system and are transformed into the system's output, that is, information to support managers in their decision making.

Characteristics of Information

The characteristics of good information are relevance, timeliness, accuracy, cost-effectiveness, reliability, usability, exhaustiveness, and aggregation level. Information is relevant if it leads to improved decision making. It might also be relevant if it reaffirms a previous decision. If it does not have anything to do with your problem, it is irrelevant. For example, information about the weather conditions in Paris in January is relevant if you are considering a visit to Paris in January. Otherwise, the information is not relevant.

Timeliness refers to the currency of the information presented to the users. Currency of data or information is the time gap between the occurrence of an event in the field until its presentation to the user (decision maker). When this amount of time is very short, we describe the information system as a real-time system.

Accuracy is measured by comparing the data to actual events. The importance of accurate data varies with the type of decisions that need to be made. Payroll information must be exact. Approximations simply will not suffice. However, a general estimate of how much staff time was devoted to a particular activity may be all that is needed.

Value of Information

Information has a great impact on decision making, and hence its value is closely tied to the decisions that result from its use. Information does not have an absolute universal value. Its value is related to those who use it, when it is used, and in what situation it is used. In this sense, information is similar to other commodities. For example, the value of a glass of water is different for someone who has lost his way in Arctic glaciers than it is to a wanderer in the Sahara Desert.

Economists distinguish value from cost or price of a commodity incurred to produce or procure the commodity. Obviously, the value of a product must be higher than its cost or price for it to be cost-effective.

The concept of normative value of information has been developed by economists and statisticians and is derived from decision theory. The basic premise of the theory is that we always have some preliminary knowledge about the occurrence of events that are relevant to our decisions. Additional information might modify our view of the occurrence probabilities and consequently change our decision and the expected payoff from the decision. The value of additional information is, hence, the difference in expected payoff obtained by reduced uncertainty about the future event.

Information supports decisions, decisions trigger actions, and actions affect the achievements or performance of the organization. If we can measure the differences in performance, we can trace the impact of information, provided that the measurements are carefully performed, the relationships among variables are well defined, and possible effects of irrelevant factors are isolated. The measured difference in performance due to informational factors is called the realistic value or revealed value of information.

For most information systems, particularly those supporting middle and top management, the resulting decisions often relate to events that are not strictly defined and involve probabilities that cannot be quantified. The decision-making process often is obscure and the outcomes are scaled by multiple and incomparable dimensions. In such cases, we may either attempt to perform a multi attribute analysis or derive an overall subjective value. The subjective value reflects people's comprehensive impression of information and the amount they are willing to pay for specific information (Ahituv, Neumann, & Riley, 1994).

Information as an Aid to Decision Making

Simon (1977) describes the process of decision making as comprising four steps: intelligence, design, choice, and review. The intelligence stage encompasses collection, classification, processing, and presentation of data relating to the organization and its environment. This is necessary to identify situations calling for decision. During the decision stage, the decision maker outlines alternative solutions, each of which involves a set of actions to be taken. The data gathered during the intelligence stage are now used by statistical and other models to forecast possible outcomes for each alternative. Each alternative can also be examined for technological, behavioral, and economic feasibility. In the choice stage, the decision maker must select one of the alternatives that will best contribute to the goals of the organization. Past choices can be subjected to review during implementation and monitoring to enable the manager to learn from mistakes. Information plays an important role in all four stages of the decision process. Figure 1 indicates the information requirement at each stage, along with the functions performed at each stage and the feedback loops between stages.

Classification of Management Information Systems

There are various types of management information systems. Mason and Swanson (1981) describe four categories of management information systems: (1) data bank information system, (2) predictive information system, (3) decision-making information system, and (4) decision-taking information system. The classification is based on the level of support that the information system provides in the process of decision making. Sachdeva (1990) comprehensively presents these four types of systems:

Databank Information System. The responsibility of this information system is to observe, classify, and store any item of data which might be potentially useful to the decision maker. Examples of the kind of data that might be recorded in such a database for a given village, region, or area are as follows:

· Number of farms
· Number of units of arable land (hectares, fed ans, acres)
· Average farm size
· Amounts of selected farm inputs applied annually
· Production per year on a unit of land for selected crops

A second example of data that might be recorded in a database (this time involving data internal to the organization) is as follows:

· Number of extension staff by category and assigned to a particular village, region, or area

· Number of work hours devoted by staff to selected concerns for a particular village, region, or area

· Total extension salary costs and other expenses by village, region, or area

· Number of demonstrations conducted for selected farm technologies by village, region, or area

· Number of on-farm trials conducted for selected farm technologies by region or area

· Number of radio, TV, and print media releases regarding selected farm technologies by time period and region or area

Figure 1. Role of information in the decision process.

Each of these databases can be summarized and converted to single tabular presentations of information of interest to management. When information from two or more time periods is compared, trends can be observed.

Predictive Information System. This system moves beyond pure data collection and the determination of trends over time. Predictive information systems provide for the drawing of inferences and predictions that are relevant to decision making. If data from the above examples were to be used in this way, it is possible to obtain information useful for making predictions or for drawing inferences. For example, tables containing the following information for a given village, region, or area might be produced:

· The ratio between the number of farms and the various categories of extension staff members

· The ratio between the amount of farmland and the various categories of extension staff members

· Amount of extension financial operating resources allocated per year to selected farmer problems or concerns

· Amount of extension financial resources, both salary and operating expenses, allocated per year to selected extension approaches to solving different farmer problems or concerns

Information obtained from these kinds of analyzes is normally summarized in a two-way tabular format. And likewise, the information often is compared over time. Managers can then use such information to make predictions, for example to forecast costs of particular undertakings for budgeting purposes or as a basis for predicting results if a given change is made, such as change in the number of demonstrations with a given change in staffing.

Decision-Making Information System. This system goes one step further in the process of decision making and incorporates the value system of the organization or its criteria for choosing among alternatives. An extension organization's values are many and varied. They include concerns for resolving farmer problems, increasing and providing for stability of farmer incomes, and improving the quality of farm life. But they also including and providing for stability of farmer incomes, and improving the quality of farm life. But they also include an intent to provide well for staff members (training, adequate salaries, etc.) and to aid in the process of bringing about rural economic development.

Table 1. Information Groups in India's Agricultural Extension System.

Levels


Groups


Types of Information Needed

Central


Extension commissioner, joint commissioners, directors, joint directors, etc. of the directorate of extension, ministry of agriculture


(1) Information on human resources, plans, and budgets for various extension services
(2) Statewide monitoring and evaluation of activities completed

State


Director of agriculture, additional director, joint directors, etc. of the state department of agriculture


(1) District wide information on extension programs, activities, expenditures, etc
(2) Research-extension linkages and coordination with other allied departments such as animal husbandry and horticulture

District


District agricultural officers (DAOs)


(1) Information on extension resources and constraints at subdivision and block levels
(2) Training requirements of staff at subdivision and block levels

Subdivision


Subdivisional agricultural officers


(1) Field demonstration programs, activities planned and implemented by subject-matter specialists (SMSs) (zone) at the block level
(2) Technical programs and constraints identified at the block level

Block (county)


Agricultural extension officers


(1) Performance of VEWs in terms of achievements in extension activities
(2) Field-level problem of assessment of beneficiaries' response to various extension programs

Information regarding these various attributes helps managers to make more enlightened decisions. Examples of ways that an extension organization uses information from a decision-making information system are as follows:

· Change in specific farm outputs (yields, practices) following selected extension activities

· Change in staff productivity following selected interventions (in-service training, better transport, etc)

· Comparison of relative costs and relative effectiveness of alternative extension delivery methods

· Analysis of economic returns to farmers who adopt recommended practices as compared to those who do not

Decision-Taking Information System. Examples of decision-taking information systems are not usually found in an extension organization. This is a decision

system in which the information system and the decision maker are one and the same. Management is so confident in the assumptions incorporated in the system that it basically relegates its power to initiate action to the system itself. Airplanes carry automatic pilot systems, which are an example of a decision-taking system. Once activated, the system itself keeps the plane on course and at the proper speed and altitude (according to parameters determined by the pilot). Another example of decision-taking information systems is found in modem factory production. In automobile production, continuous inventories of parts are maintained by computer as cars move down an assembly line. Orders are placed automatically by the computer when additional parts are needed. This is done without the intervention of a manager.

The choice of an appropriate management information system (MIS) category primarily depends on the nature of the decisions it supports. While unstructured decisions may use MIS-category (I), the highly structured ones, such as production schedules in an industry, may use MIS-category (iv). Further, Banerjee and Sachdeva (1995) observe that "as the deep structure of the decision problem becomes more and more understood, we may move to higher level of MIS i.e., from MIS-category (I) to MIS-category (ii); and MIS-category (ii) to MIS-category (iii); and so on."
Role of MIS in the management of agricultural extension programs

National agricultural extension systems, especially in developing countries, tend to be very large. For example, in India, the national agricultural extension system employs about 125,000 people. Extension managers at various levels need relevant information in order to make effective decisions. In the absence of such information, they act only on the basis of their intuition and past experience. Data that have been processed, stored, and presented properly will aid them in analyzing situations and to make effective decisions.

As suggested above, at every phase of the management process, managers need information in order to make effective decisions. This we call management information. It does not include purely functional information or technical information, such as packages of practices for rice or wheat cultivation. Management information is the information required by managers as they make their decisions, such as the number of extension personnel employed by category, their training requirements, career development plans, job descriptions, budgets, forecasts, benchmark surveys, reports on socioeconomic conditions of people served, and existing facilities (Ramesh Babu & Singh, 1987).

The main purpose of management information systems is to provide management information to decision makers at various levels in the organization. Specifically, in an agricultural extension organization, MIS is needed:

1. To plan the most effective allocation of resources, for example, the allocation of extension personnel under a T & V extension system, the need for communications and training equipment and facilities, mobility, the amounts of required operational resources

2. To choose between alternative courses of action, whether to conduct a study on the impact of the T & V system with the resources on hand or hire an expert to investigate

3. To control day-to-day operations, for example, comparing the actual results achieved and those planned under the T & V system.

Design of a MIS in an agricultural extension organization

The following are suggested steps to follow when designing a MIS for a national agricultural extension system.

Step One: Assessing Information Needs for Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation

An investigation needs to be conducted into the types of decisions that extension managers have to make. For example, village extension workers (VEWs) seek solutions to their problems from their supervisors. In turn, supervisors need to be in a position to resolve these problems and to document how problems were solved for future reference.

State-level managers also need information to resolve problems. They are concerned with implementing extension programs district by district. They need information on staffing, transport, research-extension linkages, staff training activities, and successes (or lack of them) in solving technical problems. Feedback is needed from field staff and farmers on farmer problems and on which recommended practices are helpful. State-level managers need to know something about the amounts, kinds, and combination of media support (i.e., print, radio, television) that have been used for various efforts. They need to know if external factors have limited the success of particular efforts such as supply of credit or farm inputs and they need some assessment of farmers' responses to extension programs (Raheja & Jai Krishna, 1991, p. 84).

Step Two: Deciding the Levels of Information Groups, Information Frequency, and Content

The number of information groups within an agricultural extension organization has to be decided because each group potentially will require a different type of information. As an example, in India, the reorganized national agricultural extension system can be grouped as shown in Table 1.

Data processing consists of identifying each item of data and systematically placing it within a scheme that categorizes data items on the basis of some common characteristic or feature. Data not organized into a meaningful pattern can serve almost no useful purpose to those who must use them to make decisions. A computer can help in processing the data effectively. Rao (1985) suggested the use of computers in agricultural extension in India. He proposed that computer programs be focused on district and sub divisional levels. In that way, information collected can be viewed in terms of the crops that are likely to be grown, agroclimatic conditions, soil types, irrigation facilities, resources of the farmers, and availability of various farm inputs.

Documentation (storage and retrieval) involves storing items of information in an orderly manner. Storing information means recording it on storage media from which it can be made available when needed.

Storage media are materials such as ordinary office paper, magnetic tapes, magnetic disks, microfilms, film strips, and a few other devices. Once the information is recorded on these storage media, the system can generate, on demand, information required for making decisions, solving problems, or performing analysis and computations. Information retrieval refers to the ability to take different types of data in the storage media and to array information in some desired and meaningful format. A properly designed storage and retrieval system matches the related variables efficiently and accurately. In some cases, it even suggests alternative courses of action for management to take.

Presentation of information should be in a form and format suitable to the needs of extension managers. Generally, information is presented in reports, statistical summaries, analysis, and so forth in the form of text, figures, charts, tables, and graphs. The presentation of information should be precise, clear, and appealing.

Step Three: Ensuring System Flexibility and Adaptability

Flexibility means the ability to retrieve information from a system in whatever form it may be needed by decision makers. Therefore, data need to be collected in some detail so that they can be rearranged or summarized according to the needs of managers. But system design should not be too complex because it must first serve the needs of the lowest levels of management (i.e., subdistrict) that are likely to be instrumental in collecting important components of the original data. In addition, the system also must serve the needs of the district, regional, state or provincial, and national levels. Therefore, considerable care must be taken in assessing what types of information are required by management at the different levels. At the same time, effort must be made to ensure that the information collected meets acceptable standards of accuracy, timeliness, and coverage for each level.
Need for automation

An automated MIS system contains data just as a manual system does. It receives input, processes input, and delivers the processed input as output. Some input devices allow direct human-machine communication, while others require data to be recorded on an input medium such as a magnetizable material (specially coated plastic flexible or floppy disks and magnetic tapes). The keyboard of a workstation connected directly to a computer is an example of a direct input device. Use of automation makes it possible to store immense quantities of information, to avoid many of the errors that find their way into manual records, and to make calculations and comparisons that would be practically impossible in a manual system.
Organization of a database

Data are usually generated at the field level through transaction-processing systems, but once the data are captured, any echelon along the organizational hierarchy may use them, provided that information requirements have been well defined, appropriate programs have been implemented, and a means has been arranged for the sharing of the data. This would imply that the same data can be used by different sets of programs; hence we distinguish between the database (a set of data) and the applications (a set of programs). In a decision support system (DSS), this set of programs is the model base (Keen & Morton, 1978).

The term database may refer to any collection of data that might serve an organizational unit. A database on a given subject is a collection of data on that subject that observes three criteria: comprehensiveness (completeness), non redundancy, and appropriate structure. Comprehensiveness means that all the data about the subject are actually present in the database. Non redundancy means that each individual piece of data exists only once in the database. Appropriate structure means that the data are stored in such a way as to minimize the cost of expected processing and storage (Awad & Gotterer, 1992).

The idea of a large corporate database that can be flexibly shared by several applications or model bases has been realized by means of software packages specially devised to perform such tasks. These packages, called database management systems (DBMSs), are available in the market under different trade names such as ORACLE, SYBASE, INGRES, FOXBASE, and dBASE.
Networking and interactive processing

The two principal blocks that facilitate development and use of MIS are DBMS and telecommunications. The former makes data integration possible, while the latter brings information closer to the end users, who constitute nodes in a telecommunication network. The notion of telecommunications implies that some geographical distance exists between the computer site and the users' locations and that data are electronically transmitted between them. Remote applications may be executed between two floors in the same building, two offices in the same city, two offices on the same continent, or two places on opposite sides of the globe (Martin, 1990).
System alternatives and evaluation: Centralization versus decentralization

A completely centralized information system handles all processing at a single computer site, maintains a single central database, has centralized development of applications, provides central technical services, sets development priorities centrally, and allocates computer resources centrally. The system's remote users are served by transporting input and output data physically or electronically.

A completely decentralized system may have no central control of system development, no communication links among autonomous computing units, and stand-alone processors and databases at various sites. Each unit funds its own information-processing activities and is totally responsible for all development and operation.

An advantage of centralized information systems is that they provide for standardization in the collection of data and the release of information. There also are some economies of scale. A centralized system reduces the need for multiple hardware, software, space, personnel, and databases. It may be possible to recruit more qualified personnel in a central facility.

Observations indicate that user motivation and satisfaction are increased under a decentralized environment. This is attained because users feel more involved and more responsible, systems are better customized to their specific needs, and they usually get better response time in routine operations as well as in requests for changes.

It is likely that for national agricultural extension systems, neither a completely centralized nor a completely decentralized system is desirable. While it may be useful to decentralize hardware and software resources at different locations, the development of applications and provision of technical services may better be centralized.
End-user computing

The widespread use of personal computers and computer-based workstations has brought with it the age of end-user computing. End-user computing is a generic term for any information-processing activity performed by direct end users who actually use terminals or microcomputers to access data and programs. The manager as end user may be provided with powerful software (like DBMS) for accessing data, developing models, and performing information processing directly. This has brought computing directly under the control of the end users and eliminates their dependence on the information systems specialist and the rigidities of redesigned procedures. They may now make adhoc queries of information and analyze it in various ways. They may write programs, or may often use ready-made programs stored in the computer, using the computing power of a local PC or the mainframe to which it is connected.

Figure 2. A typical MIS for a national extension system.

Illustrative computer-based MIS

A national agricultural extension system is a nationwide system managed by the national government. In India, agriculture is a state subject under the division of powers between the national and the state levels. Nevertheless, the national government supplements the financial resources of the states and provides coordination at the national level. The state's administrative machinery is divided into districts, districts into subdivisions, subdivisions into blocks. A block is a group of villages and the basic unit for the administration of an agricultural extension programme. Data collected at the block level need to be integrated at higher administrative levels to provide an integrated view at the district and state levels to support planning, monitoring, and decision making.

Keeping in view the requirements of the extension system and the budget constraints of the states, a typical design of the computer-based MIS is shown in Figure 2.

However, the actual design may vary with the size of the state and other considerations. An integrated database for the entire state may be supported by a mainframe/minicomputer at the state headquarters. Suitable programs for the analysis of data may be designed to provide an interactive decision support system at the state level. Each district and subdivision may be provided with a mini/micro computer, depending on the volume of data to be handled. The computers in the districts and subdivisions may be networked with the state computer. The local data may be stored and processed in the district/subdivision, and the shared data with appropriate level of aggregation may be transmitted to the state headquarters to update the integrated database. The districts and subdivisions would have direct access to the integrated database with proper authorizations assigned to them through their passwords. The blocks may have only the input-output terminals connected to the subdivision computer to feed data to the subdivision and make on-line inquiries as and when necessary.
Summary

In this chapter, we have defined and described the basic concepts of a management information system. The characteristics of good information, namely, relevance, timeliness, accuracy, cost-effectiveness, reliability, usability, exhaustiveness, and aggregation level, have been described. The role of information systems in the process of decision making and the value of information have been explained. Four types of MIS, namely, data bank information system, predictive information system, decision-making information system, and decision taking information system, have been presented. The role of MIS in management of agricultural extension programs and the conceptual design of a MIS in an agricultural extension organization have been described.

Basic computer concepts have been explained. The advantages and disadvantages of centralized versus decentralized systems have been examined. The need for organizing databases and their integration and the need for programs for decision analysis to evolve a decision support system have been explained. An assessment of hardware, software, and networking requirements for a typical computer-based MIS for a national agricultural extension system have been illustrated.
References
Distance Learning and Sharing Knowledege
Distance Learning and Sharing Knowledege
Ahituv, N., Neumann, S., & Riley, H. N. (1994). Principles of information systems for management (4th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Communications.

Awad, E. M., & Gotterer, M. H. (1992). Database management. Danvers, MA: Boyd & Fraser.

Banerjee, U. K., & Sachdeva, R. K. (1995). Management information system: A new frame work. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.

Davis, G.B., & Olson, M. H. (1985). Management information systems: Conceptual foundations, structure, and development. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Imboden, N. (1980). Managing information for rural development projects. Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Keen, P. G. W., & Morton, M. S. S. (1978). Decision support systems. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Lucas, H. C., Jr. (1990). Information systems concepts for management. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Martin, J. (1990). Telecommunications and the computer (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Mason, R. D., & Swanson, B. E. (1981). Measurements for management decision. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

McLeod, R., Jr. (1995). Management information systems: A study of computer-based information systems (6th ed.). New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India.

Raheja, S. K., & Jai Krishna (1991). Manual for monitoring and evaluation of T & V agricultural extension system. New Delhi: Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies.

Ramesh Babu, A., & Singh, Y. P. (1987). Management information system in an agricultural extension organization. In Proceedings of the national seminar on management of information system in management of agricultural extension (p. 1-15). Hyderabad: NIRD.

Ramesh Babu, A., & Singh, Y. P. (1990). Agricultural administration at block level: A case study. Indian Journal of Extension Education, 26 (1 & 2), 88-90.

Rao, C. S. S. (1985). Agricultural extension management system in India: Past, present and modalities in future. Indian Journal of Extension Education, 21 (1 & 2), 32-35.

Russell, H. M. (1979). A review of management information systems for agriculture. In H. M. Russell (Ed.), Information for agriculture: Proceedings of the national workshop on agricultural information (p. 41-51). Melbourne: Department of Agriculture, Victoria.

Sachdeva, R. K. (1990). Management handbook of computer usage. Oxford: NCC Blackwell.

Sanders, D. H. (1988). Computers today (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Simon, H. A. (1977). The new science of management decision. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Singh, Y. P., & Ramesh Babu, A. (1985). Basic management issues in extension. Indian Journal of Extension Education, 27 (1 & 2), 20-31.

Wentling, T. L., & Wentling, R. M. (1993). Introduction to microcomputer technologies. Rome: FAO.