System News
BCE Nexxia's Learning Portal Saves Millions
Delivers Anytime, Anywhere Training
November 19, 2001,
Volume 45, Issue 3

When BCE Nexxia was tasked to provide Internet Protocol (IP) broadband services to business customers in North America, the company needed to quickly train its sales force, as well as other employees. Nexxia turned to ISOPIA, a provider of learning management systems software that has since been acquired by Sun. ISOPIA offered an ideal hosted application model built on what is now known as Sun LearnToneTM Learning Management System (LMS) Hosted. In just six weeks, ISOPIA developed a Web-enabled learning portal called the Nexxia Learning Network (NLN). ISOPIA was also engaged to develop custom asynchronous courses.

One of BCE Nexxia's first challenges included training its employees in a range of broadband services such as gigabit ethernet, digital video transfer technologies, fibre channel networking, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), and IP virtual private networks (VPN). An online learning (E-Learning) solution proved most practical because employees resided in regions throughout Canada, and included mobile sales executives. According to Jonathan Menon, director of E-Learning, BCE Nexxia, "The functionality had to be delivered through a Web browser to provide for easy access and management. We also required a platform that we could easily customize, to meet the training needs of employees within BCE Nexxia and Bell Canada-as well as our customers."

Building on a JavaTM technology architecture was important to BCE Nexxia for several reasons. A Java technology-enabled application would be easy to customize, and would automatically run in, and be designed for, a networked, Web-based environment. Also, the transactional robustness of Java technology-enabled business logic would lend itself to a large-scale business operation.

ISOPIA built its eLearning solution on the JavaTM 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EETM) framework and SunTM server technologies. In 2001, Sun Microsystems purchased ISOPIA, and renamed the ISOPIA-designed hosted LMS, Sun LearnTone LMS Hosted.

The Sun LearnTone systems, available in both hosted and licensed models, provide the ideal architecture for eLearning solutions. The ultimate in flexibility, the systems can support all online course formats including asynchronous, CD-ROM-based or virtual classrooms. Content can include live or pre-recorded video, audio, and asynchronous or self-paced animations. Sun LearnTone systems also support advanced student and administrator functions such as personalized home pages, individual learning profiles, hierarchical organizational structure of administrators, advanced assessment features, fully automated statistical tracking, and commerce functions for online course billing.

Built on a J2EE, n-tiered architecture, the Sun LearnTone systems include presentation, business logic, application logic, and database layers. The presentation layer is a highly customizable user interface comprised of JavaServer PagesTM (JSPTM) technology. The advantage of using JSP technology is that users do not have install any software on their system to access courses. Instead, JSP technology enables a thin-client model, which means students only need a standard Web browser to access courses over the Internet. Java technologies also make it easy to change a small detail or the entire appearance of the user interface, without having to update any other aspect of the system.

The three-year-old BCE Nexxia already generates $2.2 billion (C$3.5 billion) in revenue, and supports 350 enterprise customers and government agencies across North America. With its robust IP broadband services and the NLN, BCE Nexxia is well positioned to enjoy ongoing success while continuing the Bell Canada tradition of shaping society with technological innovations.

"We have reduced our training costs by approximately 50 percent. And even though we reduced our overall training expenses, we have enabled our sales people to invest 35 percent more money in learning," says Menon.

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