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Dr. Who and IBM Training

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If you could take the Tardis and travel back in time to 1963, what would television look like to the viewer, we look at these episodes today and see rickety sets and special effects that were not so special.


But travelling back in time would allow you to see this from the perspective of the viewer in 1963, picture yourself as a young boy or girl being allowed to watch the cutting edge technology of a television in your living room, imagining the possibilities of the future and being shown a time lord who can travel across time.

(This more modern shot from Dr. Who was filmed on location at IBM North Harbour Building, Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1985)

Today the 50th anniversary episode of Dr. Who is upon us and has been filmed in 3D and will also be screened on television in around 75 different countries, and on the big screen in around 400 selected cinemas crossing time-zones in 8 different countries around the world!

We have come a long way in these 50 years, from B&W film (Spearhead From Space was the first serial to be shot in colour), the BBC is still missing 97 episodes of the original series, in the 1960s and 1970s the BBC would routinely destroy TV tapes rather than archiving them, as it was thought they had no future value. When the BBC realised the value tapes of the early episodes were codenamed “Torchwood” – an anagram of Doctor Who – to protect them from being stolen. The name was then an obvious choice for the later spin-off series.


(IBM’s blue box, Watson)

Why am I writing about Dr. who in the IBM Training blog, IBM recently celebrated 100 years, and has been an industry example of the power of regeneration, since the formation of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in 1911. In the sixties Thomas J Watson Jr. realized that the future was in mainframe computers and he developed the System 360. Regeneration in the 1980s IBM invested established the IBM PC as the standard architecture. Regeneration in the 1990s developing software and hardware solutions. Today, IBMs Smarter Planet line of solutions is using data analytics to provide intelligent integrated solutions to large institutions. The excitement around present and future applications of Watson is NOW.


“IBM’s Model: Continuous Transformation… the path of innovation, reinvention and shift to higher value.” IBM’s CEO Virginia Rometty:

IBM Training has gone through it’s own transformation, partnering with four Global Training Providers to extend the reach and breadth of learning options. What you might not know is that the internal code name of this project was “Astrid”, which is an anagram of Tardis. Side Note – Fact 27 from the CBBC Dr. Who web site. “Why the TARDIS is shaped like a police box: The Doctor’s TARDIS has a broken “Chameleon circuit” which is supposed to enable it to disguise itself to blend into any environment. For example in ancient Rome, it might look like a Roman pillar or statue from the outside. However in the first ever episode An Unearthly Child, we discover that the circuit is broken and the TARDIS is stuck in the shape of a police box.”

IBM Training and the regeneration process, working with IBM Product Teams, the IBM Content Creation teams and the IBM Global Training Providers allows us to regenerate training in to a format that is relevant for learning in the 21st century, unlike our counterparts 50 years ago we are not restricted to the classroom with large cumbersome hardware having to be located in the room with the student.


The current generation of offerings from IBM Training include free to view How-To-Videos, Self Paced Virtual Classrooms, Cloud Based Labs that allow you not only to complete a workshop but to use as a sandbox to play. Experiential workshops where you to take control of a business, learning from experience rather than books. Instructor Lead Online classes that allow you to work live with the instructor and other students access the web and of course the traditional classroom based course that can be run as a public or private class, what we are also seeing is classes being run where students take a Self Paced Course in the classroom with a coach available to assist. Companies are also starting to use the flipped classroom approach, where employees are give self paced or ILO learning as homework and then bring in an IBM Coach to work with the students to drive business relevance.

So just as the BBC created the regeneration process for Dr. Who to be able to create a fresh face and a new approach, the work that we are doing with IBM Content Teams and the IBM Global Training Providers provides a fresh, relevant platform of learning for millennials and old Whovians like me. There is more to come from the regeneration of the Dr and for the regeneration of learning, but wait I hear, every “Whovian” knows, the Doctor cannot last for ever: Time Lords are able to regenerate only 12 times before they die. The BBC have cleverly addressed this in the Sarah Jane Adventures, where one of the characters asks how many times he can regenerate. The Doctor indicates that there is no limit, thus removing the previous limit..

This is true for IBM Training, with the multitude of learning resources being made available by IBM Training, IBM Training Providers, Academic Initiative, DeveloperWorks and IBM Redbooks the future regeneration possibilities are an exciting reality and there is no limit to where we are going.

Use one of the IBM Global Training Providers to ensure you are getting the quality content from IBM. The quality content, authoring tools and the new IBM Training Model validated in the Top 20 Training Companies.


Check out the IBM Training Global Search to find a learning experience for you or read the article on Skills Development: The Real Return on Investment for Business Leaders

But most of all tune in to watch history in the making

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