|July 24, 2000|
Online Learning Tests Wireless Waters
New company explores E-learning via wireless devices for students and businesses
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Sylvan and Aether have invested nearly $60 million to create MindSurf. Together, the companies will own 84% of the startup; minority investments are being made by a number of companies, including Critical Path Inc., a messaging provider. MindSurf is expected to deliver pilot programs to schools nationwide beginning this school year. The goal of these programs is to encourage students and faculty to collaborate in real time using wireless devices, even when learning takes place outside the classroom, such as in a museum.
Sylvan also has plans to develop wireless E-learning services for companies. The need for wireless E-learning comes primarily from companies that need to keep their sales forces updated on new technology. Sylvan will leverage its experience as a provider of online learning content with Aether's capability to act as an outsourced provider of wireless data transmission. Sylvan would then tie its content with Aether's delivery architecture through Internet-based business training apps developed and hosted by Caliber Learning Network Inc., an application service provider owned in part by Sylvan.
NEC America Inc., an Irving, Tx. division of the computer equipment and telecommunications systems provider, has worked with Caliber since April to deliver product information and marketing strategies to its 3,000 salespeople. Nader Nanjiani, a manager in the education segment of NEC America's Corporate Networks Group says using Caliber's Internet-based technology saves NEC America an estimated $500 per hour per employee of the cost of providing on-site training.
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