Telus employees go to school the e-learning way

Telecommunications company Telus Corp. has become the latest outfit to join Cisco Systems’ Partner E-Learning Connection (PEC), which aims to train employees on how to use and sell Cisco products.

The PEC delivers a variety of Web-based learning in formats that include hands-on remote labs, interactive media, mobile delivery options for use with handheld devices, streaming video and live virtual classrooms to provide Cisco partners with product and technology knowledge. Telus is currently using Cisco’s IP telephony and VoIP products.

Telus employees can access an Internet portal that sits behind Telus’ firewall or access courses directly online, but are being encouraged to take courses or seminars via the enterprise portal because it is protected by the firewall.

The courses offered to Telus employees fall into two streams, one for its sales force and the other for technology training. Sales associates at Telus will embark on courses ranging in topics from LAN solutions, Web tools to networking solutions so that they can become an expert in selling Cisco products. Technical courses vary from IP multicast Primer, Generic Tunnelling to voice courses in PBX Fundamentals and Packet Telephony at the Data Link.

Telus worked with Cisco in picking specific courses that are tied into IP data training and had a hand in co-building the portal with Cisco, said Jose Dino, director of e-learning at Telus in Burnaby, B.C. The courses themselves were developed by and run by Cisco, he explained.

The challenge, like in many organizations today, is actually getting employees to take part in e-learning courses. As Dino said, it becomes increasingly difficult to organize traditional classes or seminars, especially for a sales force that is vastly mobile. He estimated that of Telus’ 28,000 workforce, 60 to 70 per cent have taken at least one e-learning course over the past year and a half.

“In the beginning when we first started doing this (e-learning) there is no doubt that there was some resistance. As we began to internally market e-learning as a form of training that could be accessible at the convenience of the employee and actually receive the training on demand, the response rate has been growing steadily, ” he said.

Telus projects data/IP services will grow by 25 per cent over the next three years and are offering some IP telephony services to its customers.

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