Enterprise Learning: A Better Way
By Peggie Brown, for Hostedware Corporation
Content Management Systems (CMS) was a buzz marketing phrase
for the years 1999 and 2000. Many large corporations jumped
in with huge budgets and set about attempting to track and
organize data for managing their customers. By 2001 reports
flowed forth indicating that CMS was not all it was cracked
up to be. Unfortunately, before making the jump, these corporations
failed in understanding the complexity, time and commitment
Corporations, finally understanding that their business'
strategic assets involve not only their customers, but also
the talent among their employees, have begun focusing on raising
the bar by offering additional learning opportunities to employees.
Mind you the new corporate focus on education isn't simply
an altruistic adoration of education; rather training and
testing systems makes sense (or should we say "cents"). Systematically
planning the development of people, their skills and knowledge
maximizes not only each individual's performance, but the
total overall performance of the organization. The result
of a well educated workforce shows in the corporate bottom
Under development since before 1997, the new animal touted
by marketing gurus arrives! Enter, Enterprise Learning Management
Systems, or LCMS, standing for Learning Content Management
Systems, also known simply as e-learning. Like their predecessor
the CMS, LCMS also requires large amounts of capital, time
and commitment. LCMS offers online distribution of learning
activities such as locating and using educational content,
tracking learner progress, reporting learner performance,
and exchanging student records between administrative systems.
Some LCMS companies offer up to 1,000 canned module add-ons,
providing companies a huge library of learning.
All this sounds wonderful until corporations actually see
the capital outlay, commitment of the workforce required to
implement the system, complexity of the system and experience
the difficulty of integrating an LCMS with their current technology.
The add-on learning modules may not fit the corporation's
structure and best practices and certainly aren't personalized
to a specific business. Wait until you find that you need
a staff of Java Programmers for integrating, modifying or
building your own learning modules. That sort of puts a real
damper on the whole idea of an in-house e-learning system,
especially for not so giant corporations and businesses.
So computerized learning is not quite ready for prime time,
right? Corporations should probably wait until costs come
down and complexities dissolve. Wrong!
Enter, Hosted Test from Hostedware Corporation, instantly
relieving the painful costs and aggravations of implementing
an LCMS and yet, providing its users the same functionality
and customizable results with a great record for customer
service to boot! At least one marketer of LCMS states that
a "full-fledged LCMS is designed to manage the creation, storage,
reuse, and delivery of e-learning content". Hosted Test certainly
easily meets all criterions. That's right, the only scaling
down that you see when using Hosted Test is the cost and time
it takes for implementation of your training and testing solutions.
Enter also, the new era of an efficient, customizable learning
and testing experience, which actually cuts the costs, allows
individuals flexibility and self-paced training and alleviates
required instructional time.
We recently interviewed some of Hostedware's customers, looking
for some downsides to report along with the good experiences
they might relate. Unfortunately, while happily granted interviews,
we failed in our task of finding faults with the system at
least from the customers that use it.
Customers like Bernard Martinage, founding president of Restaurant
Professional.com, with worldwide requirements enthusiastically
discussed their reasons for choosing and their experience
with Hosted Test.
Restaurant Professional.com offers four levels of certification
and other types of testing for the hospitality industry, including
global-wide culinary schools, restaurants and hotels. Mr.
Martinage, frequently using the adjective "awesome" when describing
features of Hosted Test, spent months reviewing possible testing
solutions before selecting Hosted Test. "You can find cheaper
testing services" says Mr. Martinage, "but you won't get the
same level of service or the same abilities."
Because Restaurant Professional.com provides testing for
institutions both requiring and not requiring accreditation,
and for four different levels of certification exams, the
testing software must select the right choice of questions
in the database. These would be based on the individual taking
the test, and each test requires a random generation of questions
meeting certain criteria. Each individual taking a test receives
one minute per question, a requirement customized by request
from Mr. Martinage to ensure testing integrity. In addition,
various tests require a different level of mastery for a successful
score. Upon test completion, each test taker receives a customized
message, based on the required success rate for the level
of certification and requirement for accreditation versus
the test taker's performance and instant feedback as to the
correct answer for questions answered incorrectly.
Mr. Martinage cited the ease of adding additional questions,
customizing the questions produced based on level of certification
or non-certification, affordability and the excellent responsiveness
of professional staff at Hostedware as key satisfaction factors.
Restaurant Professional.com deals with many different companies
for products and services on a regular basis. "Oh, you wouldn't
believe what is out there; there are only three companies
that I can list as understanding customer service, Hostedware
is one of the three", exclaimed Mr. Martinage when discussing
levels of customer service and product satisfaction. Martinage
also liked that with Hosted Test, the purchased testing seats
do not expire, saving the company time and money in guesstimating'
the exact number of testing seats they might need for a one
year period. "We simply buy more seats when our inventory
runs low", explained Mr. Martinage.
Another interesting detail came forth while interviewing
customers of Hostedware. Employers using the testing system
found what they classified as a legal benefit. Because the
employers rely on testing for promotion of their staff, the
fact that Hosted Test provides them a way to test and score
employees anonymously, claims of promotions based on racial,
sexual or other type of bias no longer are a factor. Each
person taking the test is issued a key code based on the type
and level of test they need to take. During the test, the
computer randomly generates the questions within a specified
level of difficulty. Revelation of the identity of the test
taker happens only after the test is scored and the key code
is matched to the person to whom it was issued. The employee
learns their score immediately upon test completion, at which
time an email also notifies the appropriate manager in the
organization of the test completion and score.
Peggie Brown, experienced paralegal, freelance
author and founder of Katsuey's Legal Gateway (www.katsuey.com).
Hostedware Corporation (www.hostedware.com)
is a pioneer in providing online software solutions for research,
education and performance improvement. Hosted Survey and Hosted
Test are used by human resources professionals, market researchers,
education and training organizations and membership associations
Contact us at Customer
Service to learn more about these cost-effective, self-configurable
and easy to use tools.
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