DYKNOW, a leader in interactive education technology, named its 2008 Advisory Board. They are: Dr. Charles Bostian of VPI-SU; Debbie Rice of Auburn,  Ala. City Schools; Elizabeth Helfant of St. Louis, Mo.; Kimberly Henninger of St. Ursula Academy in  Cincinnati, Ohio; Dr. Julia Williams of the Rose- Hulman Institute of Technology; and Dr. Vince DiStatsi of Grove City Pa.College.

Published in People on the Move

More and more companies are making sustainability a highly visible part of their corporate strategy. There are many factors driving companies to go green, from the desire to improve corporate image to competitive differentiation. But whatever the reason, the training department can be a key part of the strategy. This dovetails nicely with the overall trend in training to align learning with corporate initiatives. If your company is championing a green strategy, there is a great opportunity for training professionals to become part of the effort. Most environmental programs make employees learn new ways of doing things, but the training department itself can contribute through eco-friendly training methods. The definition of sustainability in the context of environmentalism is to make

Training's Role in a Corporate Green Strategy use of processes and materials that can be maintained indefinitely, reduce or eliminate contaminating toxins, and minimize any negative environmental impact. For instance, by reducing the use of paper, an organization contributes to the sustainability of forests. A heavy equipment manufacturer has a different view because it faces daily challenges in managing energy consumption, emissions, and complying with countless government regulations. The software company, meanwhile, may have little it can do beyond recycling, using energy-efficient computers and finding opportunities to recycle obsolete computer equipment. Regardless, the training department can contribute to improving environmental performance. The most successful green strategies produce business benefits. Finding the overlap is not difficult; many green initiatives produce cost savings. For instance, a priority of environmentalism is to produce less waste. This might mean eliminating printed materials from a training event. Cost is saved on printing and there is no waste — an easy win. In other cases, there may be a trade-off involved of up-front costs versus long-term return on investment, such as switching to longer-lasting, energy-efficient light bulbs in your training facility. Conversely, the cost of not being environmentally conscious can be enormous, because violating environmental regulations can result in costly fines. Being a good environmental citizen saves money, but when that is put to work in more productive ways, it can contribute to innovation and revenue growth. A good environmental policy allows a company to attract socially conscious investors. Proactive environmental policies create competitive advantages. Surveys have found nearly half of Americans say they have purchased a product because of its environmental qualities. This is encouraging, but remember that consumers will consider the environmental impact as one of many influencing factors. As with other business objectives, it’s important to blend the environmental message with others about the product. TRAINING’S ROLE Training can play a key role in helping support an array of environmental initiatives. Because going green requires new ways of thinking and doing, training is often the starting point for a company’s programs. Encouraging managers and employees to think creatively about environmental issues can be part of a larger change management effort. It can have a crossover effect of bringing new creativity and motivation to other areas. Any major shift in corporate behavior requires support from top management. To get senior managers started on a greener path, consider assigning short readings or video presentations to stimulate thinking. Hearing Jeffery Immelt, CEO of General Electric, talking about the early days of its green initiative may help to overcome skepticism. Managers at all levels can benefit from courses, books and videos on how to manage change and inspire teams.Training's Role in a Corporate Green Strategy The nature of the organization plays a role in what learning opportunities are provided. For companies in manufacturing, utilities or transportation, the learning often focuses on environmental safety and health (ES&H) training of front-line employees. Online courses are an efficient way to deliver these, since completions are automatically tracked in the learning management system, simplifying record-keeping for compliance purposes. Off-the-shelf e-learning courses provide everything from a general overview of government environmental regulations to the details of handling specific hazardous substances. Many courses are available in multiple languages and are designed to be appropriate for a wide range of skill levels. Some companies choose to create custom learning programs that reinforce the company brand and culture while delivering the green message. DHL Express Europe, which has been running an environmental program for more than five years, in 2006 introduced a “carbon-neutral” shipping option allowing customers to offset the emissions associated with a shipment by buying renewable energy credits (RECs). Another department that has recently become more active on environmental issues is IT. Ever-increasing power consumption and cooling requirements in data centers are taxing businesses globally. Although server virtualization and consolidation boost utilization and capacity, they also aggravate cooling problems. This hikes the cost of ensuring reliable computing systems. Moreover, some 800 million PCs that will be discarded during the next five years will add significantly to the mounting challenge. Many contain toxic materials (lead and arsenic) that can pollute groundwater if not properly disposed. —The author is vice president of corporate marketing at SkillSoft. To learn more about this topic, download “The Greening of IT,” from SkillSoft’s AnalystPerspectives series: http://www.skillsoft.com/online/Greening_of_IT_APAC/.

Published in Ideas

ENSPIRE LEARNING has purchased technology and customers from Fusion Learning Systems. Enspire specializes in video game training programs for corporate and educational clients. Fusion designs e-learning programs. Enspire CEO Bjorn Billhardt says his company is evaluating ways to combine staffs, adding Fusion has a strong technology base. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

OUTSTART and Eedo Knowledgeware have combined their operations, making the new company the largest provider of software for creating and sharing organizational knowledge through learning and social collaboration. The merged company, conducting business as OutStart, will integrate products. It’s already in the process of developing the integration between Force Ten and Participate.

CENGAGE Learning has acquired Gatlin Education Services. Gatlin will be integrated into Cengage Learning’s Education To Go (ed2go) business. Together, ed2go and Gatlin will expand service in the e-learning market, simplifying the delivery of digital education solutions to a growing audience with more selection and functionality.

JAMES BURKE’s Knowledge Web Project has selected its award-winning Enterprise Knowledge Platform, BrainEKP, to organize, visualize and share the complex web of people, technologies and ideas throughout history for public education and collaboration. Using BrainEKP, TheBrain’s Enterprise Knowledge Platform, The James Burke Institute can visualize key relationships to enhance understanding and tell a cohesive story of human innovation throughout time.

CCC INFORMATION Services (CCC) is using Saba Software’s Centra to provide its customers around the U.S. with interactive, online training sessions. Since it implemented Saba Centra, CCC is able to train customers effectively — regardless of their location — enhancing customer service while simultaneously reducing travel costs by more than 25 percent.

METASTORM’S ProVision enterprise modeling product is successfully being used in the Doctor of Management in Information Technology (DMIT) program at Lawrence Technological University. Metastorm ProVision is an integral tool in DMIT courses, including IT Life Cycle Processes, IT Systems Architecture and Modeling and Simulation. It is also used by students in the dissertation research phase of the program.

CUMMINS POWER Generation, the Minneapolis maker of electrical generators, has purchased OutStart TrainingEdge.com software to deliver on-demand training and spark collaboration in one place. Initially, the software will deliver on-demand training courses to employees, dealers and customers.

NETOP Remote Control software is being used by i_Tech Corp. to remotely connect to users located in different cities or states, letting support staff take temporary control of users’ computers to help them overcome technical difficulties. The i_Tech support staff uses NetOp Remote Control to connect to the systems of more than 2,000 host users. The software enables support personnel with prior approval to connect and manage a user’s system with full control of the network, Internet, registry and task manager.

SUFFOLK COUNTY Community College (SCCC) has selected the Desire2Learn solution as SCCC adapts to an expanding user base. SCCC chose Desire2Learn for the ability to migrate existing content seamlessly into the Desire2Learn Learning Environment, the intuitive and powerful teaching and learning tools, and the scalability of the solution to grow and evolve with SCCC over time.

GIUNTI LABS has finalized its acquisition of the Australian HarvestRoad brand, as well as its HarvestRoad Hive digital repository, TCMS Technical Content Management Systems and related Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and worldwide installation. Both the brand and IP are now fully owned by Giunti Labs.

ADAYANA and Vertex Solutions have finalized an agreement to merge. Vertex Solutions, an Adayana company, becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Adayana. This is the second time in three years that Adayana has successfully merged with and integrated a vertical-market learning-services and performance-improvement company.

PROMETRIC, a Baltimore-based provider of technology-enabled testing and assessment services, has been chosen by CERT, the official certifying authority in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to exclusively provide testing and assessment development and delivery services in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the other UAE emirates.

LEARNSOMETHING, Inc. is partnering with GMDC to provide GMDC member companies with the LearnSomething “Prepare to Sell” (PTS) programs designed specifically to improve the service skills and product and category knowledge of employees serving retail customers, and increase consumer basket size.

Published in Deals

ENSPIRE LEARNING has purchased technology and customers from Fusion Learning Systems. Enspire specializes in video game training programs for corporate and educational clients. Fusion designs e-learning programs. Enspire CEO Bjorn Billhardt says his company is evaluating ways to combine staffs, adding Fusion has a strong technology base. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

OUTSTART and Eedo Knowledgeware have combined their operations, making the new company the largest provider of software for creating and sharing organizational knowledge through learning and social collaboration. The merged company, conducting business as OutStart, will integrate products. It’s already in the process of developing the integration between Force Ten and Participate.

CENGAGE Learning has acquired Gatlin Education Services. Gatlin will be integrated into Cengage Learning’s Education To Go (ed2go) business. Together, ed2go and Gatlin will expand service in the e-learning market, simplifying the delivery of digital education solutions to a growing audience with more selection and functionality.

JAMES BURKE’s Knowledge Web Project has selected its award-winning Enterprise Knowledge Platform, BrainEKP, to organize, visualize and share the complex web of people, technologies and ideas throughout history for public education and collaboration. Using BrainEKP, TheBrain’s Enterprise Knowledge Platform, The James Burke Institute can visualize key relationships to enhance understanding and tell a cohesive story of human innovation throughout time.

CCC INFORMATION Services (CCC) is using Saba Software’s Centra to provide its customers around the U.S. with interactive, online training sessions. Since it implemented Saba Centra, CCC is able to train customers effectively — regardless of their location — enhancing customer service while simultaneously reducing travel costs by more than 25 percent.

METASTORM’S ProVision enterprise modeling product is successfully being used in the Doctor of Management in Information Technology (DMIT) program at Lawrence Technological University. Metastorm ProVision is an integral tool in DMIT courses, including IT Life Cycle Processes, IT Systems Architecture and Modeling and Simulation. It is also used by students in the dissertation research phase of the program.

CUMMINS POWER Generation, the Minneapolis maker of electrical generators, has purchased OutStart TrainingEdge.com software to deliver on-demand training and spark collaboration in one place. Initially, the software will deliver on-demand training courses to employees, dealers and customers.

NETOP Remote Control software is being used by i_Tech Corp. to remotely connect to users located in different cities or states, letting support staff take temporary control of users’ computers to help them overcome technical difficulties. The i_Tech support staff uses NetOp Remote Control to connect to the systems of more than 2,000 host users. The software enables support personnel with prior approval to connect and manage a user’s system with full control of the network, Internet, registry and task manager.

SUFFOLK COUNTY Community College (SCCC) has selected the Desire2Learn solution as SCCC adapts to an expanding user base. SCCC chose Desire2Learn for the ability to migrate existing content seamlessly into the Desire2Learn Learning Environment, the intuitive and powerful teaching and learning tools, and the scalability of the solution to grow and evolve with SCCC over time.

GIUNTI LABS has finalized its acquisition of the Australian HarvestRoad brand, as well as its HarvestRoad Hive digital repository, TCMS Technical Content Management Systems and related Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and worldwide installation. Both the brand and IP are now fully owned by Giunti Labs.

ADAYANA and Vertex Solutions have finalized an agreement to merge. Vertex Solutions, an Adayana company, becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Adayana. This is the second time in three years that Adayana has successfully merged with and integrated a vertical-market learning-services and performance-improvement company.

PROMETRIC, a Baltimore-based provider of technology-enabled testing and assessment services, has been chosen by CERT, the official certifying authority in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to exclusively provide testing and assessment development and delivery services in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the other UAE emirates.

LEARNSOMETHING, Inc. is partnering with GMDC to provide GMDC member companies with the LearnSomething “Prepare to Sell” (PTS) programs designed specifically to improve the service skills and product and category knowledge of employees serving retail customers, and increase consumer basket size.

Published in Deals

Desire2Learn Inc. launched the latest version of its mission-critical enterprise e-learning suite with new releases of Desire2Learn Learning Environment and Desire2Learn Learning Repository.

With the new releases, Desire2Learn provides solutions for clients that are intuitive yet full of features accessible to all users, flexible for clients to customize and reflect their own e-learning style, and scalable to support the largest e-learning programs.

The innovative architecture is the culmination of extensive client-guided research and development over the past few years. Key additions and enhancements include the user progress tool, schedule tool and class list. In addition, the HTML editor and chat tool have undergone extensive accessibility improvements.

For more information, visit www.desire2learn.com.

Published in New Products

The Elluminate Learning Suite includes Elluminate Live! and the Elluminate Next bundle, which combines Elluminate Plan! and Elluminate Publish!

The Learning Suite enables educators to pre-package content and activities ahead of time, deliver these interactive plans online in real time, and provide interactive recordings as post-session portable, reusable learning content.

The company’s comprehensive e-learning solution also includes a growing list of Elluminate Bridges that intelligently connect Elluminate offerings to standard commercial and open-source learning and course management systems, portals and directories. In addition, new Elluminate vOffice and Elluminate vClass provide affordable, single-room solutions for 10 to 200 users.

For more information, visit www.elluminate.com.

Published in New Products

Delivering training to an audience beyond traditional employees is one of the fastest-growing segments of the learning industry, increasing at an annual pace better than 25 percent, according to Bersin & Associates.

These external training initiatives may require the delivery of training, The Art and Science of EETcertification programs and knowledge assets to your organization’s extended enterprise of customers, partners, suppliers, channel and distributor networks, franchises and franchisees, association members, independent agents, contractors and volunteers.

There is an art and science to this concept called “extended enterprise training” (EET). It’s a model being used to great success by well-known companies like Dell, Palm and Google. Turning learning solutions into business solutions for external customers—creating learning commerce—can be a key driver of continued growth in the training department.

THE ART

The advent of on-demand learning platforms now makes it easier and more effective than ever to develop and deliver training to audiences outside the organization to stimulate customer success and increase sales.

Customer training enables buyers to best use products services. When a customer understands how to use a product and its features, that customer has a higher level of success and overall satisfaction. Customer success will also decrease questions about the product (reducing support and service costs), and may lessen the potential for product returns and enhance organizational transparency.

As complementary products or new products with additional features are introduced, a well-trained customer will be more likely to consider additional purchases.

THE SCIENCE

The operational challenge of putting EET into practice comes down to the science of effectively selecting and using the right learning platform technology. The various technology elements needed —including a learning management system (LMS), online courseware and e-commerce— are all parts of an integrated whole. Using an on-demand learning management solution, training can easily be developed and delivered to external audiences. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model only requires users to have Internet access to complete their training, providing a very flexible and scalable solution.

Other important considerations when launching an EET initiative include:

>> Listening to customers: Significant emphasis must be placed adequately understanding customers’ needs and building solutions that satisfy those requirements. Customer training may need to address a diverse audience, so it must be designed with customer input to optimize revenue and value.

>> Keeping it simple: From the LMS user interface to the ease of on-demand system delivery, organizations should make it simple for customers to access the training.

>> Focusing on flexibility and scalability: As an EET program grows and expands, needs will change. So think ahead. For example, working with an LMS vendor that has experience in delivering EET domestically and globally will have the ability to guide your organization through e-commerce challenges related to languages, currencies and international taxes.The Art and Science of EET

IN PRACTICE

A leading provider of software was looking for a learning management system (LMS) to support a training commerce initiative targeting its clients’ end users.

It needed a robust and intuitive LMS to manage online and instructor-led IT training with a robust e-commerce functionality to calculate multiple international currencies. The solution would also have to calculate domestic state taxes and international Value Added Tax (VAT) and Goods and Services Tax (GST), which are required for international transactions. Additionally, the company required a flexible system that could be integrated with its existing licensing processes and fulfillment tools. This would allow the company to improve existing business processes by incorporating the new LMS and its capabilities to streamline process workflow.

After a great deal of research, the company realized it needed a provider that could centralize instructor-led training and online learning registration, a locator map to help students select instructor-led classes offered near them, and an e-commerce system that could provide comprehensive reporting.

Through collaboration with the company, on-demand LMS provider GeoLearning was able to create a one-stop location to manage the online and instructor-led course registration needs of students. The company selected GeoLearning’s GeoMaestro LMS and training commerce solution to manage customer training on a global scale. Using GeoLearning, the company was able to offer:

>> Online and instructor-led e-learning available globally 24x7x365

>> World map for selecting classes within each student’s learning area

>> Point-and-click service for learners to find nearby instructor-led courses and register

>> E-commerce functionality capable of handling multiple currencies, credit cards and taxes

>> Integration between GeoMaestro and the company’s order processing tool, thereby eliminating highly manual work and follow-up

In the first three months, the new system hosted 36,000 online training events and registered more than 1,000 customers for instructor-led training classes globally. With the expansion of its registration program, the company has been able to release a new series of lab-based courses that are far more advanced and hands-on than the previous foundation courses.

Susan Swanson is a freelance research analyst and writer specializing in the learning and performance industry. Learn more about this initiative at the Website www.geolearning.com/alt.

Published in Ideas
McKinsey surveys show that business leaders around the world have become deeply concerned about the intensifying competition for talent. Few companies, however, make it an integral part of a long-term business strategy, and many even try to raise short-term earnings by cutting talent-development expenditures. Other factors compound the recruitment difficulties: minimal collaboration and talent sharing among business units, ineffective line management, and confusion about HR's role, not to mention challenges such as Generation Y employees seeking greater work/life balance, expansion into global markets, and the specific needs of the fast-growing category of knowledge workers.

According to the study, line managers believe HR lacks the capabilities to develop talent strategies and is not held accountable for the success or failure of talent-management initiatives. The research reveals another issue: the declining influence of the human-resources function. Only HR, though, can translate a company's business strategy into a detailed talent strategy.

HR professionals should assert their influence and provide credible and proactive business counsel and support for individual business units. 
Published in Latest News
The enterprise social software market is projected to grow 72% in 2008 according to Bersin & Associates Social Market Study. Based on information collected, the market itself will likely continue to be dominated by stand-alone social software application providers through 2009, but the other enterprise application providers (CMS, intranet, CRM, LMS, TM suites, and others) will soon be entering this space. Microsoft SharePoint deserves special attention as a major focus for growth in adoption of social software in the enterprise. Microsoft's partnerships with many of the social software providers will likely prove a winning formula for all companies involved, says the report.
Published in Latest News

Video games provide an effective way to reach customers and employees according to TJ Keitt and Paul Jackson of Forrester Research.

Serious gaming is poised to take off thanks to the rise of Technology Populism, the greening of IT, and the emergence of the Millennials. Opportunity comes from many sectors including IBM and Microsoft claims the report.

To achieve widespread adoption, the industry must deal with five issues:
1) what games should be called;
2) how slick the presentation should be;
3) how users should interface with the games;
4) how to determine ROI; and
5) determining if the technology has any limitations.

Clearing these hurdles will open the door for revolutionary uses of games, but getting from here to there will require patience. 

Published in Latest News
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