Economist Intelligence Unit Releases Global e-Learning Rankings

White Paper Written in Co-Operation With IBM Learning Solutions

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ARMONK, NY - 26 Jan 2004: IBM announces the release today of the Economist Intelligence Unit's e-learning readiness rankings. These rankings, sponsored by IBM, are the first to present a global assessment of how various regions are prepared to use, produce and expand Internet-based learning. The accompanying white paper, "The 2003 e-Learning Readiness Rankings" evaluates the world's 60 largest markets to provide benchmarks for governments seeking to make their economies compatible to Internet and high-tech learning -- at work, school, government, and throughout society.

"IBM sponsored the development of the Economist Intelligence Unit's rankings because we believe that e-learning can have a significant impact on business, government and society, particularly when it's aligned with organizational priorities," said Charles Rieger, Program Director for IBM Global Services University and Industry Partnerships.

The white paper concludes that governments, educational institutions and businesses across the globe are in need of -- and using -- e-learning. According to the report, "Whether it is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare initiative -- which since September 2002 has made course materials freely available on the Internet -- or the African Virtual University ( in Nairobi, Kenya, which works with international universities to educate students across Africa, or any of the countless Internet based staff training programs run by small and large corporations around the world, people are embracing e-learning."

Other findings explain how various countries and organizations are beginning to rely on e-learning to bridge knowledge gaps, broaden audiences, and make critical information available on demand. Reasons for embracing e-learning include:

The Economist Intelligence Unit's criteria for rankings are divided into four main areas: Connectivity, Capability, Content and Culture.

According to the white paper, successful e-learning countries -- such as Sweden, Canada and the United States -- lead in broadband connectivity, mobile-phone usage, and PC penetration. These countries have a strong education system, traditions in job training, support for lifelong learning and a high rate of literacy. Successful e-learners have access to content -- library materials, newspapers, corporate information, government databases, and much more, online and in their native language. The final building block for success is the right culture -- of beliefs, behaviors and institutions. In countries where the teaching profession is respected and rewarded, where non-traditional certificates and degree programs are readily accepted, where national institutions support and promote e-learning, where learning is important to the general populace, and where there is a general acceptance of progressive ideas, there is immediate promise for e-learning ventures.

"Learning enhances productivity, enables development of individual potential, encourages innovation, and extends knowledge to peers, partners, suppliers, and clients," said Nancy DeViney, general manager of IBM Learning Solutions. "IBM has committed to delivering the potential of e-learning and believes that by leveraging technologies, organizations will be able to create environments where learning will be embedded in real-time workflows and individuals will be empowered to shape their own learning experiences."

IBM sponsored the rankings and the white paper, and helped develop the survey. The Economist Intelligence Unit is entirely responsible for the rankings and the content of the white paper.