Summary

You have three basic choices on where your e-learning system resides:

1. Build it yourself and run it on your private intranet. If you think in terms of classroom training, it's like building your own education building on your own land. You own the building and you completely control what happens there.

2. Use a public e-learning system at a Web site that anyone can go to. If you think in terms of classroom training, it's 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.

3. Get private access in a shared system. This looks to your students like choice number 1, but you can reduce some costs by sharing resources with others. 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 your employees have access to your education floor, and all the classes delivered on that floor are only for your employees. However, you share the building facilities—for example, everyone uses the same cafeteria, and the building overhead is shared by all tenants.

Here is a quick summary of the major factors to consider when deciding where your e-learning system resides.

Factor

Host Your Own E-Learning System

Public E-Learning System

Private Access to a Shared System

Courseware

Learning management system

(LMS)

application

You can deliver any kind of courseware: off-the-shelf courseware, custom courseware that you have developed for you, or courseware that you build yourself.

You can use an

off-the-shelf LMS

software package, or you can build your own LMS.

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

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

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

You will use the

LMS that the ASP

has already implemented

Control

You have complete control of the system, which means:

You control security. You can only let in employees. Or you could let in selected suppliers or customers.

You can connect your e-learning system to other computer systems and appli-

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.

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

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

Control (cont'd)

cations in your company, such as your HR system. (It might take IT system integration work to accomplish this, but it's possible to do if the systems you want to connect have systemsystem interfaces.)

All the system operating work is your responsibility. You have to maintain the IT systems, maintain the courseware, make updates as needed, and run the help desk for users.

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 bear all the costs, including initial implementation, operating costs, and system updates and upgrades.

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

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

Cost (cont'd)

ASPs might charge by "delivery unit" or "course access," a flat monthly fee, or by some other "metering" scheme.

Speed to get up and running

If you're at all familiar with IT projects, then you know that sometimes it can take a long time to deliver the completed system. (Not always, but it's a good rule of thumb.)

It's already there.

Usually a matter of weeks for an experienced ASP.

 
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