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Learning Portals: Supporting Corporate Objectives
Still, this was just a slick version of the good old monthly or quarterly newsletter — a classic example of the top-down model with users on the bottom. Managers and employees would have to repeatedly log in, click on associated links, read the text and either simply absorb it or act on it, if necessary. Frequently, they had to spend unproductive search time until they found what they really needed.
This model is of minimal value to the company and, more important, generally irrelevant to users. Associates do not view themselves as mere recipients of information. Many, if not most, have adapted to the whirlwind changes of the Internet, which have altered how they process information on their computer screens.
They want to be understood as more than a human version of those so-called “dumb terminals” that existed before the creation of local area networks. They have become the 21st century’s answer to the “Me Generation,” in that they think they should control the information, not only in terms of what they receive but what they generate.
Clearly, enlightened corporations, aware of this changing philosophy, knew they had to adapt long before Time declared personal ownership of the Internet a cultural phenomenon. Their response was and is the portal, a creation with a vast potential to change the equation, especially for continuous corporate learning. Allowing this potential to go untapped is antithetical to individual productivity.
Creating an Effective Portal
Let’s start with a basic principle about portals: They are not synonymous with a company’s intranet. The latter is a generic repository of knowledge, and the former create an environment in which users can get things done. A portal is a system designed to engage, support and enable customers (your management and employees) because it customizes information and action to meet the needs of each individual user.
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