-3. Why would you use a public e-learning system?

- A public e-learning system lets anyone come and take a course (usually for a fee).

- This is handy if:

- You need to get some employees trained with courses that are already available at a public site.

- You need to move fast and can't wait for a private e-learning system to be built for you.

- You want to use some test subjects to find out whether e-learning will work in your company's environment.

Tell Me More

A public e-learning system is a Web site with a catalog of e-learning courses that can be delivered on demand. Anyone from the general public can come to the Web site, pay for a course (or select a "free" course), and have that individual course delivered to him right away.

Again, if you think in terms of classroom training, this is like sending students to a college or university. You don't run the university, but your employees can enroll in classes just like anyone else in the general public.

Why would you use such a publicly accessible e-learning system? For the same reasons you'd choose shrink wrap software like Microsoft Word or Excel. It already has what you need. And it's already on the shelf.

But there is another good reason to think about using a public e-learning system, at least temporarily. It's already up and running, and you can see how well your employees react to using e-learning. It won't give you the total answer about how your employees will react because the courseware might not be a perfect match to what you really need. And the delivery system might not be everything you want. But it will give you an initial feel for how e-learning can fit in your business environment.

Factor

Public E-Learning System

Courseware

You can get only the courseware that's already loaded at the public site. You can't put up your own custom courseware.

Learning management system (LMS) application

You will use whatever LMS system the public site has implemented.

Control

You don't have any control over the system, and you will not be able to connect it to your IT systems.

On the other hand, you don't have any system management tasks to do.

Cost

The cost is typically a fee for each student to enroll in a course.

Speed to get up and running

It's already there.

-4. Why would you use private access to a shared system?

- With private access to a shared system, you get what

looks like and acts almost like a private system installed within your own company.

- Because you are sharing physical resources, you have reduced costs.

- You hand over the system management tasks to the ASP provider.

- Because an experienced ASP will have done this already for other customers, you can get up and running quickly and feel confident that your site will operate reliably.

Tell Me More

"Private access" to a shared system means that the Web site looks to the user as if it's a private e-learning site. The site will be restricted to a group of people: only your employees, or only your employees plus selected suppliers, or only your employees plus selected suppliers and customers. If the user is a member of this private group, she can enter and use the e-learning courses; otherwise, the user cannot enter the site.

Again, if you think in terms of classroom training, this is like renting a floor of an education building for your company's exclusive use. Only the people you authorize have access to your education floor, and all the classes delivered on that floor are for that select group of people.

These shared systems are usually hosted by an application service provider or ASP. In most cases, these ASP private sites are not separate Web site installations, but are different views into a common, underlying system. Different customers of the ASP see different courses and get different access capabilities. The underlying system, though, is common among several customers. The different customers share the system resources and services, and thus also share the costs of running the system.

ASPs have the experience and scalability to support e-learning sites. A good e-learning ASP has done all this before and has the relationships and experience to make it successful.

Factor

Private Access to a Shared System

Courseware

You can deliver any kind of e-learning courseware: off-the-shelf courseware, custom courseware that someone develops for you, or courseware that you build yourself.

Factor

Private Access to a Shared System

Learning

management

system

(LMS)

application

You will use the LMS that the ASP has

implemented.

Control

You will have control of your system at the user level, but not at the system level. This means:

- You control authorizations. You can only let in employees. Or you could let in selected suppliers or customers. But you don't control basic security for the site.

- You most likely cannot connect your e-learning system to other computer systems and applications in your company such as your HR system.

Cost

You share the costs of running the system with other customers who are using the same physical resources for the system.

ASPs might charge by "delivery unit" or "course access" or even by a flat monthly fee.

Speed to get up and

running

Usually a matter of weeks for an experienced ASP.

 
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