Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is Distance Learning Close to Perfection?; Computer-Based Learning Offers a Cheap Alternative to Traditional Training, but Can It Teach More Sophisticated concepts?;Information & Communications Technology

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is Distance Learning Close to Perfection?; Computer-Based Learning Offers a Cheap Alternative to Traditional Training, but Can It Teach More Sophisticated concepts?;Information & Communications Technology

Article excerpt

Byline: DANNY BRADBURY

WITH corporate money tight at present, companies could be forgiven for reining in training budgets.

After all, companies have to pay for courses and, at the same time, lose productivity due to employees being out of the office.

Computer-based training and online learning is one answer to the problem because it enables people to train in the office or at home.

Many people now draw a distinction between computerbased training (CBT) - where users study at home - and online learning, where they train in a virtual classroom with other students.

Dendrite is an e-learning software vendor which sells infrastructure software for online classrooms.

Richard Adams, vice president of global business development, believes there is a place for both online learning and CBT.

"If a company requires students to exchange information, online technology is a good step," he says. "CBT will be around for a while as it is easier to administer.

For certain types of material it can be valuable as a reference library."

CBT is a suitable medium for basic subjects, such as learning programming languages, but for complex tasks it can be difficult to source the content you want if it is canned. Content needs to change to suit the company involved.

Developing content is expensive.

One answer is to take the whole thing offshore.

Tata Interactive Systems, an e-learning content developer, has set up a number of offshore development centres. Sambit Mohapotra, who heads the company in the UK, numbers Barclays and Consignia among his clients. The company employs a team of developers who are dedicated to developing content for a particular client.

"We manage and train a dedicated team for the client which is then charged for its maintenance," he explains, arguing that it is a natural progression from an ad hoc training development scenario, where companies ask for a development team for specific one-off projects. …

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