IBM And Microsoft Send Employees Back To School - InformationWeek

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1/25/2002
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IBM And Microsoft Send Employees Back To School

E-learning curricula also focus on specific company technologies

E-learning programs are gaining widespread acceptance among businesses for in-house employee training. IBM and Microsoft this week will introduce programs to use E-learning to offer specialized graduate-level courses to employees seeking advanced degrees.

The two technology companies will pick up the costs for employees to take courses from home in the evenings and on weekends, tapping into the flexibility of E-learning. Initially, the courses will be offered to a limited number of employees, but both companies say they'll expand the offerings if they're successful.

IBM employees can earn advanced degrees online from the University of Texas at Austin, while Microsoft employees can take courses that can be applied to a master's degree in software and hardware at Oregon Health and Science University's School of Science and Engineering. The programs will be supplemented with content that focuses on specific company technologies.

IBM and Microsoft are working with E-learning vendor Cenquest Inc., which partners with the University of Texas, Babson College, and other universities to convert content to online formats.

Microsoft has 21 employees who will take courses in finance and accounting, business writing, and other subjects in a pilot program. IBM has 20 students registered for a 15-month master's degree program in technology commercialization. "They are getting an academic environment," says Bruce Aumack, an IBM Learning Center manager. "But they can also apply these practices at IBM."

Other companies also sponsor similar programs. General Motors Corp. works with E-learning company Unext.com LLC to provide an MBA program, and Intel offers an MBA program developed by Babson and Cenquest.

Such programs help retain employees, International Data Corp. senior analyst Mike Brennan says, adding that "employees are getting practical expertise, and they can go back and apply it to their jobs."

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