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Lifeblood to learning

User stories from the knowledge front

With its noble goals that include providing relief to disaster victims and supplying lifesaving blood and blood products nationwide, the American Red Cross is initiating a new e-learning system to educate employees, volunteers and citizens.

The Red Cross is replacing a legacy client-server training application with a single enterprise software platform, the Plateau 4 Learning Management System (LMS) from Plateau Systems. The Red Cross' current training infrastructure consists of hundreds of separate databases that do not interoperate, but collectively manage more than 6 million learners per year.

The new Web-based system will manage the organization's learning initiatives and training records on a single system, reducing IT, staff and maintenance costs, according to a recent news release from Plateau. The Red Cross selected the solution after a year-long testing process that included a broad proof of concept and a pilot with chapters across the country. The organization will use Plateau 4 LMS to schedule, manage and deliver online and traditional classroom instruction for such departments as Health & Safety, Biomedical and Talent Development.

"Creating a single learning management platform for all our education initiatives," says Tom Schwaninger, Red Cross CIO, "will save the Red Cross time and money as it prepares volunteers and citizens to respond to crises and better perform their jobs."

Says Cushing Anderson, program manager for learning services research at consulting firm IDC, "The Red Cross represents a combination of characteristics and learning problems common to many large, diverse businesses. The importance the Red Cross places on a well-trained enterprise compelled it to consider the value of a consolidated, integrated LMS. Actively developing the enterprise value chain--in this case, staff, volunteers and citizens—represents an enlightened view of value creation that can only be facilitated by a scalable and complete learning management solution.

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