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Develop a Competitive Advantage at Your Own Pace

Motorola University is making distance learning better, faster, and cheaper by utilizing Internet and mobile technology.

Motorola University is the driving force behind Motorola’s quantum leap into the world of e-learning and, soon, m-learning, or mobile learning. In fact, the company illustrated its commitment to this next phase of training and education by making e-learning requirements substantial components of the new Motorola Learning Policy crafted by Motorola and Motorola University leadership. The policy states, “By 2001, Motorola University will enable Motorola to achieve at least 30% of all learning via e-learning. By 2003, 50% or more of Motorola’s learning will be accomplished through e-learning strategies.”

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Why e-learning at Motorola? Simply put, it provides a competitive advantage. Like other large and complex organizations around the world, Motorola saw the need to eliminate the constraints of time, distance, and travel with regard to training, education, and personal development. Throughout its more than 70 years in business, Motorola has continuously renewed and reinvented itself, enabling the company to remain viable and dynamic while others have fallen by the wayside. E-learning is the next obvious step in this journey.

More specifically, in today’s technology-enabled world, information is changing at accelerated rates. Subject-matter experts are few and are in high demand. A smaller workforce requires flexible scheduling. And, our globally dispersed and mobile audience requires us to make programs available independent of location. With e-learning, the class size can be one or one thousand.

An exciting example of Motorola University’s e-learning leadership is the invention of I-cubed, or Intranet Immediate Instruction. This new technology provides a cutting-edge solution for creating multimedia quickly and inexpensively. It incorporates audio- and video-streaming capabilities to record a lecture, a presentation, or a briefing. Once synchronized with PowerPoint slides, an instructor can post a piece on the Motorola intranet within an hour. The subject matter then appears as links in a table of contents. In fact, I-cubed technology is available to anyone who needs to share information quickly. For example, Chris Galvin, Motorola’s CEO, recently presented an explanation of the new Learning Policy via the I-cubed communications tool. Upon release, the information will be available to all of Motorola’s 140,000 employees worldwide.

At Motorola, e-learning also encompasses a broad spectrum of additional options including CD-ROM, Web, satellite, audio, video, virtual classrooms, facilitated media, learning-resource centers, technical libraries, and even books, journals, and conferences. The common denominator is the use of technology, the enabler, as the primary means of delivering learning activities.

E-learning content mirrors traditional courseware and covers telecommunications, software engineering, business and marketing, information technology, management, and technology. Training on Motorola’s internal initiatives like quality, performance excellence, and core-process redesign is also delivered via e-learning. Again, the benefit is that technology affords rapid updating and immediate access to information.

Will e-learning totally replace classroom delivery? No. The need for networking, group-information sharing, and personal contact will continue to contribute to Motorola’s global culture. However, the reduced cycle time, higher retention rates, and efficiencies in blended-learning opportunities make e-learning a preferred solution that is making a difference in Motorola’s return on learning investment.

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Stay tuned to Motorola. The next step will be m-learning. Online learning will migrate to mobile delivery, using Motorola wireless technologies and products. M-learning will be the next step in remaking Motorola.

Bill Wiggenhorn (bill.wiggenhorn@motorola.com) has presided over Motorola University since it was founded in 1981. As Motorola’s global education-service provider, MU designs and delivers a wide range of products and services to Motorola, as well as to the company’s suppliers and customers.