SkillPort 2.3 Passes Bobby Test, Meets Federal Requirements for Section 508 of Rehabilitation Act
NASHUA, NH - March 19, 2002 - SkillSoft Corporation (NASDAQ: SKIL), a leading provider of e-learning courseware and ReferenceWare for business and IT professionals, today announced that SkillPort 2.3, the company's web-based e-learning platform, has been upgraded to fully meet technical requirements for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires computer software applications purchased or developed by federal agencies to be designed for equal accessibility by people with disabilities. Learners with vision, hearing, or motor skill disabilities can now use SkillPort to access SkillPort courses, search the SkillPort course library for specific learning events, and launch courses in the appropriate mode for use with assistive technology.
SkillSoft used Bobby, a validation service offered by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) to test for compliance with Section 508, as well as guidelines for web accessibility established by the World Wide Web Consortium.
SkillPort 2.3 gives all learners equal access to its learning management functions. Employees have the ability to create personal learning plans, track and manage test results, and receive e-mail reminders and new course alerts. SkillPort 2.3 also gives training administrators the ability to set up profiles for learners using assistive technology. SkillPort will then automatically launch courses selected by the learner in a mode ready for use with assistive technology. It also lets learners designate the type of assistive technology - screen readers or keyboard equivalents, for example - which they choose to use to go through the course.
SkillPort 2.3 is part of a year-long development initiative which included adapting SkillSoft's 600-plus U.S. English courses to work with screen readers such as JAWS and other assistive technologies, providing text descriptions for all visual imagery, and ensuring all audio components have text equivalents. All components of SkillSoft courses, including learning objects and job aids, were incorporated into the development initiative.
"The Internet has become an increasingly critical component of business and everyday life, " said Chuck Hitchcock, chief education technology officer for CAST, a non-profit organization founded in 1984 that develops technology to expand opportunities for all people, including those with disabilities. "Technology should be an enabler, not a barrier. Everyone should have equal opportunity to take advantage of the information and opportunity now available through the web."
"We believe universal access is an important criteria for all e-learning," said Karen Beauregard, SkillSoft product manager. "While Section 508 technically applies to only federal agencies, this issue is becoming increasingly important to commercial companies and state and local agencies."
If interested in seeing a demonstration of the use of assistive technology with SkillPort 2.3 and SkillSoft courseware, contact Karen Beauregard at firstname.lastname@example.org
With more than 500 corporate customers and two million user seats, SkillSoft is a leading provider of comprehensive, integrated e-learning solutions for Global 2000 companies and government organizations. Customers receive comprehensive learning and performance support solutions for their workforce through SkillSoft's business skills library, comprised of more than 1,200 courses and simulations for global business markets, of which more than 600 are in U.S. English. The library, which includes more than 3,000 hours of interactive instruction, encompasses a wide array of business skills, such as management, leadership, communication, project management and customer service, as well as business subjects such as e-commerce, finance, marketing, sales, and strategy. The library also includes more than 12,000 learning objects, 2,500 job aids, 3,000 SkillBriefs.
SkillSoft complements SkillSoft courses with SkillSimulations, Web-based simulations designed to reinforce skills newly acquired through specific courses. SkillSoft courses can be managed and tracked through SkillPort, an e-learning management platform that offers rapid implementation at a cost-efficient price point, or through third-party learning management systems.
SkillSoft's subsidiary, Books 24x7, offers subscription clients detailed online searches to more than 1,900 unabridged IT and business titles and 300,000 knowledge objects. Books24x7's patent-pending technology platform gives users the ability to perform multi-tier searches of the company's ReferenceWare: ITPro, BusinessPro and OfficeEssentials. The Books 24x7 Referencware libraries include offerings from more than 65 publishers, including AMACOM, ASTD, Harvard Business School Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Microsoft Press, and Sybex and Wiley.
Additional information about SkillSoft is available by calling (603) 324-3000.
SkillSoft, SkillPort, RolePlay, Search-and-Learn, e-Learning for the Knowledge Economy, NetUniversity, and Accelerated Path are trademarks and/or servicemarks of SkillSoft Corporation. Books24x7.com and ReferenceWare are servicemarks of Books247x.com, Inc. All brand names, trademarks, or registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
Safe harbor language: This release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any such forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results encompassed within the forward- looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include competitive pressures, changes in customer demands or industry standards, adverse economic conditions, loss of key personnel, litigation and other matters disclosed under the heading "Future Operating Results'' in the Company's most recent Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking information provided by the Company in this press release represents the Company's estimates as of November 2001. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's estimates to change. However, while the Company may elect to update this forward-looking financial information at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. This forward-looking information should not be relied upon as representing the Company's estimates of its future financial performance as of any date subsequent to the date of this release.