e-learning Enhances Retailers’ Competitive Edge

May 17, 2002

A survey last year by the National Retail Federation found that 80 percent of members were moving toward alternative education outside of traditional classrooms, some via the web, as reported by Internet Retailer.

Encouraged by the survey, the National Retail Federation Foundation and Sun Microsystems Inc. have formed a joint initiative to offer e-learning systems to NRF members. Announced at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York in January, the program has been well received by retailers, says Kathy Mance, vice president of the NRF Foundation, although it is not offering any content yet.

“I’ve been surprised to see an amazing amount of passion on this topic,” says Bob DeLaney, director of Sun’s retail division and one of the point persons in the NRF program. “The retailers think this whole training issue will give them a competitive edge.”

Other developments offer evidence of increased interest in Internet learning. The Worldwide Retail Exchange, a supply chain automation organization, recently signed a deal with Click2learn Inc. to offer web-based education to members on such procurement topics as group purchasing, auctions and private label orders. Also, Circuit City Stores Inc.’s renewed a three-year contract with e-learning provider DigitalThink Inc., and Famous Footwear rolled out of a program from Docent Inc.

Moderator Comment: Is e-learning an effective means
for training associates?

Cost and other factors are causing a reappraisal of learning
systems in educational institutions and businesses. E-learning is growing out
of necessity. It is also becoming more popular because it is an effective path
to life-long learning. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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