Europe's largest IT training organisation expects that up to 70 per cent of its income will come from online learning by 2002.
UK-based Knowledgepool, which was formed this week from ICL's European training businesses, currently earns significantly less than 10 per cent of its revenues from online tuition.
Knowledgepool claims that it was the first commercial organisation to offer training over the Web in May 1995. Since then, it has trained staff worldwide - including a technical officer at Australia's research base in Antarctica.
Managing director Paul Butler said such tuition can be 60 per cent cheaper than classroom-based training, thanks to a reduction in travel expenses and room hire. However, he said classroom training remains more beneficial for students.
"If I had the choice, I would train everyone in the classroom," said Butler. "But there are an awful lot of companies that can't afford the inflexibility or the cost of doing it that way."
However, Amanda Chissell, IT training and resources co-ordinator at utility National Power, said computer-based training often fails because staff don't have time for it. "The easiest way to get through any training is to get people off site," she said.
Knowledgepool's Butler said his company's online courses keep pupils engaged through extensive use of chat rooms and email, which participants are encouraged to use as part of their training.
For more news, see this week's issue of Computing
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