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Corporate University Questions
June 15, 2011 - 9:45pm

A few years ago I was offered a job at a corporate university at a large financial institution. This was a little dot com bubble burst (a pop that I had gotten caught up in), and at the time an education tech job in the financial industry looked appealingly secure (I know, the irony). Other opportunities arose, and I ended up not taking the corporate university job, but I often think about what life would have been like if I had gone that route.

First, I should ask if any of you work for a company university? Perhaps your unit goes by a different name?

Corporate universities are usually connected with HR (but not always). They focus on staff development, and offer a range of services from web based training to on-ground seminars to one-on-one coaching. Corporate universities are huge drivers of the simulation market, and my sense is that online self-paced corporate training is way ahead of what we see day-to-day in higher ed.

Corporations tend to use different learning management systems than those used in higher ed. This is a market I have not really kept up with, but some corporate LMS's that I'm aware of include Skillsoft, IBM's Lotus LMS, NetDimensions, Informetica, Saba, Plateau, and SumTotal. Microsoft SharePoint and Adobe Connect are also common corporate learning platforms. (What am I missing?)

When I think about corporate universities, I end up with more questions than answers:

  • Do we have any visibility into the simulation and online course design for corporate universities?
  • Do the people who work at corporate universities participate in ed tech communities such as EDUCAUSE?
  • If lots of high quality online content is being produced by and for corporate universities (as I suspect), how can we engage this community in the open learning movement?
  • How do corporate LMS's compare to campus LMS's in terms of design, UI, costs, etc? What is the market share for the corporate LMS, and have traditional campus LMS's such as Blackboard, D2L, or Moodle gained ground in this sector?
  • Who are the educators that work at corporate universities? Their training, demographics, backgrounds etc?

What questions would you ask about corporate universities?


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