Asymetrix ships course management software

Asymetrix Learning Systems Inc. last month began shipping a more scalable release of its computerbased training management software, which automates the distribution, lesson management and assessment of training applications. Librarian 6.0 works in conjunction with Asymetrix's ToolBook II software

It allows customers to manage third-party applications as well as those created with the company's own authoring tools. That will be important, Burke said, as the military services are "looking at Librarian to talk to some legacy registrars and training management systems." ~"Any large, systematized organization will benefit from adopting [advanced learning technology] tools," said Kent Vickery, president of Cognitive Learning Tools, a consultancy in Palo Alto, Calif. As it downsizes, the government can "only see these as enabling tools to continue to provide a high level of service," Vickery said. ~Advanced learning technologies can allow organizations to stretch training resources four to five times as far as they currently go, Vickery said. ~The Defense Department is among the biggest customers of computer-based training software, with each of the services conducting pilot programs. ~The Air Force Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, for example, will test the Asymetrix software in an effort "to increase the capability of tracking, registering and certifying students at a distance," said Rick Etheridge, distance-learning program manager with the command. ~Lowering the cost of training and developing Internet-based alternatives is important for the Air Force because from fiscal 2000 and beyond, its "[Temporary duty] to school budget" may be cut, and the service wants to be prepared for that contingency, Etheridge said. ~The Air Education and Training Command's pilot course development project will make use of Asymetrix's course authoring as well as training management software. The idea is to develop a total of 17 modules for training military police from the services, Etheridge said. ~Nearby Lackland Air Force Base hosts a joint security forces school, which already has cut its attendance requirement to reduce costs, Etheridge said. The 17 modules— which students will be able to receive at their desktops— will replace the material formerly covered in those days. The modules will use video and audio as well as Web-based text and graphics. ~The pilot will start in May and end in July. The program will indicate the likely "return on investment for...development time and delivery of the courseware" as well as for registering, tracking and certifying nonresident students, Etheridge said. ~Librarian 6.0 will be available on Asymetrix's General Services Administration schedule soon, the company said. ~~-- Adams is a free-lance writer based in Alexandria, Va.Asymetrix Learning Systems Inc. last month began shipping a more scalable release of its computer-based training management software, which automates the distribution, lesson management and assessment of training applications.

Librarian 6.0 works in conjunction with Asymetrix's ToolBook II software, which enables organizations to develop self-guided computer-based courses and related training material. Librarian is designed to enable an organization to manage a group of students over the Internet, controlling access to lessons, tracking student progress and generating reports.

Completely rewritten from the company's predecessor version, Librarian 6.0 adds power and scalability, said David Burke, Asymetrix's director of marketing, in Bellevue, Wash.

Whereas earlier versions "hit a limit" at about 1,000 users, Librarian 6.0 is unlimited as to the number of users it can accommodate. Moreover, it is "easy to set up multiple servers to distribute" courses throughout the world. "The new system can provide training to an entire organization," Burke said. The Asymetrix software runs on a Unix or Microsoft Corp. Windows NT-based World Wide Web server, with user access through Java-enabled browsers. It runs on any Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol network, Burke said.

Librarian is built on an open architecture, using industry standards such as Hypertext Markup Language, Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) and Java, Asymetrix said.

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