Press Releases & Coverage

SkillSoft's New Virtual Classroom Technology to Expand Blended Learning Capabilities and Provide Ground-Breaking Levels of Integration for Learning Resources

New Technology Will Help Customers Extend Multi-Modal Learning, Maximize Subject-Matter Experts for Rapid Learning, and Increase Return on Learning Investments

NASHUA, N.H., Sep 1, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- SkillSoft PLC (Nasdaq: SKIL), a leading provider of content resources and complementary technologies for integrated enterprise learning, today announced development plans for SkillSoft(R) Dialogue(TM), a new virtual classroom technology product that will complement SkillSoft's wide variety of formal and informal learning content resources and the SkillPort(TM) learning platform. SkillSoft Dialogue will give customers the ability to conduct live and recorded web-based classes and events, to rapidly create learning resources from presentations by subject-matter experts, to manage and track these learning events through SkillPort and other third-party learning platforms, and to "mix and match" portions of these events with other learning activities, such as course objects or other training materials, into customized blended learning solutions. SkillSoft Dialogue will also provide the foundation technology and tools for future SkillSoft blended learning products incorporating live and recorded class sessions.

"SkillSoft Dialogue is being developed in response to our customers' growing need for sophisticated blended learning solutions," said Lee Ritze, senior vice president of SkillSoft's marketing and corporate development. "While there are several high-quality options for conducting live and recorded sessions on the web currently on the market, SkillSoft's ownership of assets gives us the unique ability to tightly integrate virtual classroom technology to our other learning offerings. Dialogue will allow customers to add value to their existing learning programs and to create new, more sophisticated curricula incorporating a variety of delivery options that address time-critical and specific business needs. SkillSoft Dialogue will also give us the ability to add live and recorded classroom sessions to SkillSoft's off-the-shelf content product line."

One of Dialogue's primary differentiators will be its tight integration with SkillPort, SkillSoft's learning management platform. Development plans include the ability to track and manage registration and attendance of Dialogue events through SkillPort; to include Dialogue events in SkillPort's Search-and-Learn(TM) function; and to track time spent in Dialogue events, along with time spent on other SkillSoft learning resources. SkillSoft Dialogue will also be designed to integrate with other third-party learning management systems.

A second key differentiator will be associated templates and tools, based on SkillSoft's learning design expertise, which will create a rich development environment for virtual classroom activities. Users will be able to incorporate SkillSoft objects -- such as courseware topics, online book excerpts, job aids, and SkillBrief articles -- in addition to their organization's own PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and other documents to rapidly assemble rich content for virtual classroom delivery.

SkillSoft Dialogue is being developed under the guidance of SkillSoft management and built upon a foundation of source code recently purchased from WebDialogs "After evaluating multiple technologies, we determined that WebDialog's WebInterpoint(TM) platform best met our product goals and provided the strongest foundation for further development," said Ritze. Intended product pricing and detailed product plans and delivery timelines will be available within the next 30 days. Current company estimates are for a first release of the product to be released before the end of 2004.

"Since 2000, Deloitte has successfully and rapidly developed and delivered strategic learning programs by blending off-the-shelf resources with custom content and web-based presentations and classes," said Nick van Dam, global chief learning officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "We see this same need in many of the client organizations with whom we work. By creating a tightly integrated complement to its broad content resources and learning platform, SkillSoft will help other companies 'cross the chasm' from tactical to truly strategic training."

"We're seeing companies integrate technology and content resources into increasingly sophisticated blended learning programs that address highly specific, urgent business needs," said Michael Brennan, program manager for IDC's Learning Services research. "SkillSoft's new offering is in line with the evolving demands of a market looking for ways to quickly construct well-targeted curricula and scale their distribution of proprietary and commercially available information."

Examples of ways customers can use Dialogue and other SkillSoft offerings are as follows:

  • Users can rapidly assemble training programs for particular employee audiences that combine off-the-shelf courses for general skill development with virtual classroom sessions to address specific company requirements and procedures. Dialogue can also be used to capture a panel discussion or group interaction that then can become an element of an overall blended learning program.
  • To help sales and customer support representatives prepare for a new product launch, users can incorporate live or recorded presentation segments into a comprehensive curriculum that also includes specific books, off-the shelf courseware, customized courses, and product-related documents and PowerPoint presentations.
  • For major company announcements, executives and other subject matter experts can create and conduct live presentations for delivery via the web. These sessions can be supported with a variety of resources such as white papers and presentations delivered online through Dialogue and SkillPort or third-party learning management systems. Registration and attendance can also be tracked. Employees who cannot attend live events can access recordings and supplemental materials when convenient.
  • Users can conduct impromptu learning sessions between subject matter experts or instructors and learners. For instance, a senior developer can use Dialogue to update other developers on a just-released software patch or design change and also address questions. Specs and other reference materials can be shared - as well as stored for later access. For more information, call 800 327 6960, ext. 1.

About SkillSoft

SkillSoft is a leading provider of comprehensive e-learning content and technology products for business and IT professionals within the Global 2000. SkillSoft's multi-modal learning solutions support and enhance the speed and effectiveness of both formal and informal learning processes and integrate SkillSoft's in-depth content resources, learning management platform and virtual classroom technology and support services.

Content offerings include SkillSoft's Business Skills Library and IT Skills and Certification Library; ITPro, BusinessPro, FinancePro, EngineeringPro, OfficeEssentials, and ExecSummaries Referenceware(TM) collections by Books24x7; and health and safety compliance courseware by GoTrain. Skillsoft's complementary technologies include SkillPort, the company's learning management platform with its powerful Search- and-Learn capabilities, and SkillSoft Dialogue, the company's newly introduced virtual classroom offering with associated tools for blended learning solutions. For more information, visit http://www.skillsoft.com.

SkillSoft, the SkillSoft logo, Ahead of the Learning Curve, SkillPort, Search-and-Learn, SkillChoice, Books24x7, Referenceware, ITPro, BusinessPro, OfficeEssentials, EngineeringPro, ExecSummaries, Express Guide and Dialogue are trademarks or registered trademarks of SkillSoft PLC in the United States and certain other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

This release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision 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 are disclosed under the heading "Future Operating Results" in SkillSoft's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended April 30,2004, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements provided by the Company in this press release represent the Company's views as of September 1, 2004. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to the date of this release.

SOURCE SkillSoft

Linda Galloway of Apollo Associates LLC,
+1-203-790-1591, lgalloway@apolloassociates.com
http://www.skillsoft.com

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding SkillSoft Corporation's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.