IBM and Lotus Boost E-Learning Efforts

SAN MATEO (05/15/2000) - IBM Corp. together with its subsidiary Lotus Development Corp. on Monday unveiled a new business unit and companion product suite aimed at the distance learning market, which may now be approaching $15 billion.

Specifically, IBM announced the formation of IBM Mindspan Solutions, a new group that will help enterprises develop e-learning applications. At the same time, Lotus introduced Lotus LearningSpace 4.0, an updated version of its electronic learning software. LearningSpace 4.0 is designed to let corporate training professionals publish online catalogs of courses and automate processes such as course registration and student tracking.

Leaning heavily on the capabilities of LearningSpace 4.0, IBM's Mindspan Solutions will team with corporations to develop content for a variety of media, including the Internet, intranets, extranets, satellites, broadcast, and interactive TV, as well as more traditional CD-ROM and audiotaped and videotaped sessions, company officials said.

IDC, a Framingham, Massachusetts-based market research firm, estimated recently that the distance learning market will approach $15 billion by 2002.

Lotus' LearningSpace 4.0 -- which will be available in 15 languages by the second quarter -- harnesses content authoring tools such as Lotus Notes and SmartSuite, Microsoft Office, and Macromedia Inc.'s software products, company officials said.

IBM Corp., in Armonk, New York, is at www.ibm.com. Lotus Development Corp., a subsidiary of IBM, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is at www.lotus.com.

Jennifer Jones is an InfoWorld senior editor.

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