Thomson and IBM to Deliver e-learning Solutions to Fast Growing IT Training Market

Cisco Certification offered via "Boot Camp"

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Naperville, IL - 26 Aug 2003: The Thomson Corporation and IBM announced they have jointly developed a curriculum that offers IT professionals the flexibility to enhance their skill development while meeting the demands of today's work environment. The new Cisco Authorized Boot Camp is designed to train the nearly three million networking professionals who desire Cisco skills and certification every year.

According to IDC, although the IT sector continues to face challenging times, the demand for skilled network professionals - and those with Cisco skills in particular - will grow considerably over the next year, outstripping supply by more than 30 percent.

The 8-to-12 week Cisco Authorized Boot Camp, developed jointly with IBM, is an example of a comprehensive blended learning solution, providing students with a combination of traditional learning methodologies and technological advances. Blended learning leverages best practices in learning (i.e., learning strategies, methodologies, technologies, delivery and content) to quickly create, manage and deploy the optimum learning solutions that help solve real business needs -- developing the skills and competencies of the people doing the work. In addition to significant cost savings, the blended learning approach can cut by 50 percent the time required by traditional programs.

IBM has developed a blended learning approach to teach its own employees. "Approximately 48 percent of all IBM-employee training was done via e-learning in 2002, helping IBM avoid expenditures of $350 million," said Nancy DeViney, general manager of IBM Learning Solutions, IBM Global Services. "By working with Thomson, we're sharing those lessons learned to help train professionals in one of the largest segments: IT training. We've found that by having professionals study on-line in advance of classroom education, they get more out of the traditional classroom model."

Students who seek Cisco skills and certification can master fundamentals before they come to the classroom portion of the Boot Camp. The pre-class study, which consists of self-study, advice and technical guidance from subject matter experts, is required so participants join the classroom portion of the NETg Wave Boot Camp at a higher level, allowing the instructor-led classes to focus on complex technical concepts and practical skills. After intensive hands-on training, students are then ready for the final step - the certification exam.

"The new Cisco Authorized Boot Camp extends our ability to keep our customers and their learners current in a fast-moving environment, including certification in Cisco Systems core and high-growth technologies, such as wireless, IP telephony, security and storage," said Joe Dougherty, president of NETg. "Going forward, Thomson and IBM are building the next generation of blended Open Learning Solutions based on open industry standards that enable employees to participate in advanced, collaborative online classroom environments."

Students can now enroll in the Cisco Authorized Boot Camp, which starts with pre-class on-line study, at Classroom sessions will begin in September in the U.S. and the U.K., and will be available in other global markets in early 2004.

In July 2002, The Thomson Corporation and IBM announced an agreement to combine IBM's e-learning technologies and services and Thomson learning products and services, which includes the world's largest solution portfolio of professional and technical e-learning courses. The companies will co-market and resell their combined assets to corporate and government customers.

NETg, including its Wave Boot Camps for information technology professionals, is a Thomson business that specializes in IT training and development, and is a worldwide leader in corporate education and training.

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