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2009 will be known as the year that web conferencing and virtual learning became standard offerings for corporate training groups.  As companies controlled expenses in the Great Recession, travel budgets were frozen and cuts were made in training budgets and staff.  SAP customers whose learning requirements focused on SCORM, waitlist management and UI, began to ask us more questions about virtual learning methods, web conferencing tools and audio conferencing integration.

 

Virtual learning, defined as live instruction using web conferencing, has many benefits in this market.  Travel costs, which account for 40% of total training expense, disappear.  Scheduling challenges between instructors, experts, facilities and geographically dispersed attendees are minimized.  The ability to expand the classroom reach from a dozen in-person attendees, to the complete target audience helps the organizations achieve their development goals faster. SAP recognized these benefits when we partnered with Adobe to integrate Acrobat Connect Pro ®with SAP Enterprise Learningas our preferred LMS offering.

 

 

SAP saw this trend not only as a LMS solution provider, but also as a global IT training company.  When SAP Education experienced a slowdown in our customer training, we increased course offerings by delivering virtual training through our learning management system (LMS) and Adobe Connect.  During a recent visit to Denmark, the Education team shared a story of a Finnish customer who needed to train local employees and 10 more in Belgium, Slovenia and Singapore.  The class was financially beneficial for the customer since the reduced travel expense of the Finnish students covered the enrollment of the 10 students abroad.  “The capabilities of Adobe Connect allowed our client to include remote team members which would not have been able to attend in person due to travel time and cost,” said Mervi Salusjarvi, SAP Finland.  Another Finnish client was able to secure a leading SAP expert in Switzerland to instruct a custom class for a special project.  The virtual course incorporated lecture, demonstration, discussion and hands on exercises that kept the learning experience interactive.   Course ratings were comparable to classroom delivery and the SAP Education team now leads with virtual learning for companies with multinational project teams. 

 

As companies look for ways to reduce costs, corporate learning groups must assimilate virtual training into their plans.  SAP Enterprise Learning, powered by Adobe Connect, is a compelling option for SAP customers who need virtual learning in a blended strategy with classroom, eLearning, assessments and collaboration.  Whether virtual learning helps you save money, reach remote team members, or give you access to experts you could not get into a classroom – the promise of virtual learning is being delivered now.

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  1. Randy McCormick
    James – nice write up on Virtual Learning.  Certainly virtual learning has become a key business enablement. Other driving factors beyond cost is the amount of time required for travel and the fact that today’s telecommunication technology no longer requires team members to be co-located.  VL solves this. Even when the financial crunch is over, virtual learning will become a preferred delivery mechanism just as we use other collaboration tools (Webex, AT&T Connect, Live Meeting, Netmeeting, Adobe Connect and the various audio conferencing tools) as a regular business practice.

    However, will the delivery of “traditional” training be shoved aside for newer models such as small bite training and Web 2.0 collaboration (water cooler)?  Smart Phones/Devices will be a contending platform for training delivery.  Delivering just enough training right into the workers environment will be an exciting training opportunity.  If only YouTube business enabled their platform.
    practice.

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