In fast business cycle, e-learning brings marketing up to speed

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Name: Brandon Hall
Title: E-learning researcher
Location: Sunnyvale, Calif.
With more than 20 years as a training professional, Brandon Hall has written some of the most widely cited research reports on the subject of e-learning. His clients include General Electric Co., Motorola Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. Hall is the editor of the newsletter "Technology for Learning" and is a regular keynote speaker at industry conferences such as Online Learning, American Society for Training and Development, and TechLearn.

Q: Are marketers using e-learning to train distributors and clients?

A: Yes, certainly marketers within their channel management groups [are using it to] train their distributors and also, yes, even customers...It’s also done in a lot less visible ways by organizations that do their product training and send that information to customers. For instance, Cisco is moving everything they can to the Web. Their product training for their internal people, as well as for their customers, is done via the Internet.

Q: What is the marketing value of Web-based training for internal employees?

A: The biggest value of all, especially for the marketing folks, is the ability to get information on new products out faster. The cycle time for business is decreasing all the time, so there are new products being released faster with shorter cycle times. In the old days you would bring everybody back to headquarters to do training, but now you can have a live e-learning session or a Web conference. In addition to live e-learning, you can use...the more well-designed instructional programs called asynchronous, or self-instructional, online learning. That way, people can take it anytime they want.

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