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Employers & educators embrace e-learning

This article appears in the issue April 2008 [Volume 17, Issue 4]
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Organizations are counting on e-learning solutions to facilitate in-house training, to stay abreast of security issues, and to locate and consolidate knowledge.

Williams Scotsman, a company that supplies mobile and modular space, needed a way to provide compliance education, software skills and other training as the organization continues to grow. Traditional classroom training was no longer viable for the company’s five trainers because of increasingly complex, logistical issues stemming from the firm's more than 100 locations, says Ronald Hoogerwerf, senior training specialist.

Williams Scotsman chose a Web conferencing solution from LearnLink, now part of iLinc, to develop training for salespeople; it was later rolled out to the rest of the firm. The company also expanded its use of iLinc to include everything from software skills and regulatory compliance to new hire orientation and human relations programs.

The Web conferencing solution enables company trainers to choose from varied forms of synchronized content within the iLinc interface, including PowerPoint slides, multimedia authored courseware, Web-based material, streaming video, white boarding, chatting and shared software applications. Administrators can turn features on or off, and determine security settings and user permissions. The company develops the training sessions, which users can then log on to via the iLinc Web site.

Demonstrations and training are provided in several different languages so that company employees in other countries can benefit from the solution, even if they don’t speak English. Williams Scotsman has training in French, Spanish and German. By using much of the same Web-based material for all presentations, the company saves time in producing and developing training to be used throughout the company, Hoogerwerf says.

Printed reports help the firm demonstrate compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules and other regulations. The iLinc solution also enables the Williams Scotsman trainers to develop course materials in two to three weeks, compared to several months with older training methods.

"Even in compressed timeframes, we are able to focus on curriculum, rather than hassling over technology," Hoogerwerf says. The Web conferencing product also enables the company to provide more training with fewer people.

In 2003, a staff of nine trainers delivered 4,935 hours of training (including a small percentage of self-paced study). By 2006, a staff of only six delivered 13,852 hours--a productivity increase of 321 percent per trainer. During that same span, Williams Scotsman reduced training costs by more than 30 percent and increased online training participation by 195 percent, Hoogerwerf says.

Keeping up with security demands

Go Daddy is the world’s largest domain registrar and hostname provider, so security precautions are paramount for the company and its customers, says Kimberly Cilke, VP of human resources for the 1,800-employee firm. "We are responsible not only for educating our employees, but also for protecting our 4.4 million customers and the company’s integrity," she says.

While security training used to be handled with classroom instructions, the growing size of the company made such traditional training unwieldy, Cilke explains. So three years ago, with the growing work force needing to be updated and tested on new security procedures and threats on a regular basis, Go Daddy turned to Inspired eLearning (inspiredelearning.com) to bring new employees up to speed and to update current employees on the latest security knowledge.

Before they start working, new hires take the security course, consisting of several different lessons or modules. All employees take a refresher course once a year. Employees must pass the course in order to work. The modules are presented in such a way that an employee must pass one module to progress to the next one.

In addition, Inspired eLearning provides bulletins with information on security threats and prevention methods that develop between refresher courses.

Go Daddy provides Inspired eLearning with the specific content to be covered. From that subject matter, Inspired eLearning develops the interactive, Web-based course. "That way we can control the quality of what is presented," Cilke says.

After signing in to each module, the employee sees the overall course objectives and the subjects covered. The lessons include photographs and slides in addition to text information. The employee can pause the session at any time and return later to the same spot. Tests for each module come at the end of a lesson. Users get immediate feedback.

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