Developing Professional Trainers for Fortune 500 Companies since 1969

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  • Develop Training Materials
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Contact Us...

Educational Systems
for the Future®

11415 Georgetown Cr.
Tampa, FL 33635-1560

Phone: 813.814.1192
Fax: 813.814.1194

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Fine Arts...

In support of
the Fine Arts,
we are featuring
the following piece
of fine art:

Suzin by Peter Max

Suzin III

Peter Max

21 1/4 x 29 1/4
31 1/4 x 27 1/4

Framed to
Museum Standards

Offered by:


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American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) ...

Beginning in 1978, Mountain Bell's Division of AT&T contracted with ESF to complete the following projects:

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AT&T PhoneCenter Stores...

AT&T Antitrust Suit

In 1982, an antitrust suit settlement agreement (United States Department of Justice vs. the American Telephone and Telegraph Company) required the divestiture of the Bell Operating Companies from AT&T. This Agreement changed the way Americans were able to obtain phone service. Previously, AT&T and had a monopoly on supplying service to customers and Americans leased all their phones from AT&T. In preparation for this expected divestiture decision, in 1979, AT&T developed a strategy to sell phones to the public and began an effort that ultimately would open hundreds of PhoneCenter Stores in Malls throughout the United States.

ESF Asked to Take Over Project

Another consulting group had been working with AT&T to carry out this plan, but were unable to transition from their series of objectives, outcomes and results to a viable training program. They knew what the training should entail, but had no process to produce it. In April of 1982, when AT&T knew it was due to open over a hundred stores by October, ESF was called in to rescue the effort. By that time, in addition to the consultants, a Task Force of Bell employees from around the country had been working for a couple of years at the Mountain Bell Training Center in Lakeland, Colorado.

ESF Needed to Put Support Systems in Place

When we arrived on site, in addition to developing the training materials, we had to put several support systems in place:

  • First, using our proprietary IDLS systems approach, we had to train the Task Force in how to design, develop, and validate instructional materials.
  • Then, we had to organize the typing staff and create a "filing system" on their network of computers so that they were always working on the most current versions of the modules. Before that, a typist frequently incorporated revisions into an old version of a module. Only when we proofed the module did we notice the "newest" version did not include materials that we knew had been typed and given to us previously.
  • We also had to a create a graphics department so we could insert visuals into the training materials. This included everything from setting aside a room to be used just for graphics, to buying equipment, supplies, and furniture so the artists had everything at their fingertips. Although it seems inconceivable to our younger generation, there was no way at that time to include graphics in text-based computer pages. The typists had to leave space for the graphics, which were drawn by hand, then literally pasted onto the printout from the computer. This is how the term "cut and paste" originated.

Successful Project Completed

Although hired originally to supervise the development process, the time was so tight, we had to do anything that needed to be done: develop materials, proof everything, cut and paste graphics, report weekly to management that progress was being made.

Within seven months, ESF had supervised and developed a comprehensive individualized system of instruction for all the personnel in the Bell System PhoneCenter Stores. We piloted the programs in October 1982. Over 1,500 PhoneCenter Stores in the Bell System throughout the United States benefitted from this training.

These courses included training for the following PhoneCenter Store employees:

  • Sales Personnel
  • Supply Attendant/Clerks
  • Supervisors,and
  • Greeters.

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AT&T's Training Guidelines Revision...

ESF contracted with AT&T to revise its training materials design, development, and validation Guidelines. ESF used its own proprietary IDLS process as the basis for the revisions. The entire Bell System used these Guidelines for developing their own training materials.

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AT&T's Five-Year Plan for Computer-Based Training...

Call to Take Over Failing Project

ESF was contracted by AT&T to prepare its five-year plan to use computers to assist in training its employees. The plan included the development of computer software and hardware.

ESF: Rush to Help

In the middle of December, 1981, Fred Wells, Head of Training at Mountain Bell Training Center, called ESF requesting an immediate meeting at their Lakeland Center. Although Peter was conducting a workshop at another company, Mary flew out the next day to find out what the urgent request was about. It seemed that AT&T had requested Mountain Bell to coordinate a project to develop a Five-Year Plan for Computer-Based Training within AT&T. The Task Force had worked on the project for a year and had NOT been able to come up with any report they could submit by the deadline, January 2, 1982. They had a little over 3 weeks to complete the project with nothing in hand. They asked us if we could take over leadership of the Task Force and come up with the Five-Year Plan. Of course, we said yes.

The Big Picture

Mary, who has the ability to see the whole picture immediately, gathered together the Task Force consisting of people who worked somewhere within the AT&T system as well as a few who were private consultants, and first looked at what they were currently doing (not much), and how they could best assist in the overall effort using the skills they had. Together they came up with five different areas that needed to be included in the report. Reviewing the strengths of each Task Force member, Mary assigned tasks to be completed within each area and gave tight deadlines to complete their tasks.

Mission Complete

Working right through the Christmas holidays, the Task Force completed the mission on December 31st. Peter and Mary presented the final report to the head of the Training Center. Mary did a one-page précis on January 1. The final report was sent to AT&T corporate on January 2nd, 1982.

Plan Scrapped Due to Government-Required Breakup of AT&T

The interesting part of this project was the cutting-edge ideas were never implemented because on January 8, 1982, AT&T agreed to a settlement of the antitrust suit proposed by the Justice Department. The settlement required the breakup of the Bell System which went into effect January 1984. This was the end of the monopoly that AT&T enjoyed since its origin.

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AT&T's NAPLPS Videotex Sales Training Program

In 1984, AT&T's Information Systems Services Division asked ESF to design, develop, and validate a self-instructional Initial Training Program for AT&T's national sales organization for marketing AT&T's Videotex System. NAPLPS (North American Presentation Level Protocol Syntax) is an international standard for Videotex service. NAPLPS, a graphics language for use originally with Videotex services, was an incredibly advanced (for the time) method of incorporating graphics into text-based computers.

AT&T was marketing a "Frame Creation System", which was being developed initially for the real estate industry to agents could show their clients homes throughout the area without leaving the comfort of their office.

AT&T also announced a system that could convert photos and drawings into videotex frames in about 15 seconds, and a slide-maker peripheral unit for the AT&T Frame Creation System. The slide maker could provide visuals for meetings, training programs and sales presentations, and was priced at $3,500. The Frame Creation System worked similarly to a modern graphics tablet but weighed a ton (not literally) and cost over a hundred thousand dollars. Yet it was so exciting to imagine that a product like this was on the horizon and might eventually filter down to individual users.

Modules in the Program included:

  • Videotex Applications:
    • Banking and Insurance
    • Publishing, Advertising and Direct Marketing
    • Sales Strategies
  • Product Knowledge of Videotex System:
    • ISO Levels 1-5
    • ISO Level 6, Section 1
    • ISO Level 6, Section 2
  • Selling Products:
    • Personal Styles of Buying and Selling FSC
    • Plan Sales Presentations
    • Sales Presentations Techniques: Listening, Observing, Questioning
    • The Sales Cycle
    • Leasing Programs