IBM launches e-learning business unit

IBM yesterday announced the formation of a new unit to provide businesses with Internet-based educational and training activities.

Called IBM Mindspan Solutions, the unit offers businesses a range of services to plan, develop and implement educational services for their employees, including planning and design services, and content delivery.

Included in the offerings will be Lotus LearningSpace 4.0, an updated version of the Lotus technology platform, IBM said in a statement. LearningSpace provides a flexible course curriculum through individual-paced materials, with participants collaborating over an extended time period, or in live, interactive online classrooms.

IBM said it is targeting a market for online learning that will reach as high as $US15 billion by the end of 2002.

"We believe learning is becoming mission critical," James Sharpe, director of e-learning for IBM Mindspan Solutions, said yesterday in a phone interview. "There are organisations that are promoting chief learning officers or chief knowledge officers on par with other executive positions to help drive competitive advantage through learning and retention of employees."

Users can choose to have the method of delivery and content customised, Sharpe said. "We can do the design of the program; we can be the host; we can develop the content; and we can deploy it globally," Sharpe added. "It is a broad offering."

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