Oracle Finds E-Learning a Breeze

Oracle is taking advantage of resurgence in online training to ink a deal with a flashy partner.The software giant will augment its iLearning platform using Macromedia’s Breeze, a Web conferencing tool that uses Flash Player to deliver voice over IP, video, application and screen sharing, and other rich content.The deal is part of Oracle’s new Content Resource Center, which lets companies develop, share and publish content. Customers of both companies will now get access to the Macromedia products and Oracle iLearning tools, which manage training participation in online or in classrooms.

The Content Resource Center will also provide access to a joint content community site to help enterprises find developers experienced in delivering learning solutions. In addition, Oracle and Macromedia are expanding the Content Resource Center community by providing users with access to their partner networks, the Oracle PartnerNetwork and the Macromedia Alliance partner program, respectively.

“By working with the strong developer community and broad line of rich, interactive content creation tools from Macromedia and Oracle’s enterprise learning management system, we are starting from an amazing vantage point to move the industry forward,” Kevin Lynch, vice president, Macromedia said.

After a brief dot-com bust hiatus, e-learning is back en vogue. The sector is expected to growto $83.1 billion in 2006, and eventually swell to more than $212 billion by 2011, according to research firm Brandon-Hall. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) estimates, corporate e-learning in India alone is expected to grow about 25 percent in the next four years.

A recent University of Phoenix Online study found that enterprise customers are perfect for online training. Technical and licensed professionals made up 44 percent of their e-learning users last year making them the largest demographic. Middle managers made up 30 percent and executives or business owners rounded up the list at 20 percent.

Knowing this, Oracle and Macromedia said their joint customers can get to resources describing industry standards and best practices for learning content development and publishing.

“We are now in the pragmatic phase of e-learning – when most organizations want their investments to pay off rapidly,” said Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates. “Despite the existence of standards, however, content integration remains a major issue.”

Oracle and Macromedia boast that their partnership supports all of the standards for online learning technology including Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC), IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS), and Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM).

Because there is interoperability between Oracle iLearning and Macromedia products like Breeze, Flash, Authorware, and RoboDemo, the companies claim they are making it easier to benefit from online learning.

Already, airline carrier America West announced it will take advantage of the Oracle/Macromedia partnership. Brookwood Media Arts, which already uses Macromedia products, said the additional support from Oracle will help its enterprise clients including FedEx, Boeing and Air Products.

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