E- learning potential fosters partnership deal

ICUS has partnered with Tactics Consulting in Australia to offer e-learning over the Internet, intranet and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol).

However, due to current interface and bandwidth limitations, the Singapore-based e-learning solutions vendor, ICUS and Tactics will use WAP to complement e-learning over the Web, rather than delivering core course content. This includes providing access to short quizzes, summaries, registration information and grades. Learners can also e-mail their trainers and search the Internet via WAP.

Dr Elizabeth Hawthorne, academic director at ICUS, cited a pilot project carried out in Singapore with Nokia, mobile carrier, StarHub, and a French business school, Insead, to offer elements of an e-business course via WAP.

"We were trying to get a sense of what the potential of the mobile phone was for e-learning, and we used it for things like short quizzes, reviews of definitions, little chunks of information. We found that it was handy and convenient, particularly for executives wanting to do quick revisions while travelling," Hawthorne said.

"Although the bulk of what we do is via the Web, at the rate technology is progressing, there will be increasing opportunity to do it via WAP." Although their focus initially is delivering e-learning over the Web, the two companies will offer e-learning via WAP to Australian organisations through mobile carriers and mobile phone vendors.

According to Brenda Tripp, director of Tactics, the Australian corporate training market is ready for e-learning due to geographically dispersed employee populations in large companies, their well-established network infrastructure; and emphasis on skills development.

Within the partnership, Tactics will work with clients in defining training needs and designing courseware, while ICUS will undertake the development of course content and course management including registration, curriculum setup and tracking of learners' progress.

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