Asian Upstart Challenges E-Learning Incumbents

June 15, 2001

“Big companies still tend to assume that the best e-learning content still comes from the USA” says Knowledge Platform CEO Mahboob Mahmood. “We are out to prove that Asian content can out compete from all points of view: instructional design, catering to different learner styles, flexibility of use, localization and translation, cost of production.”

“In fact, if you look at e-learning content in Asia, you quickly realize that Asia is probably a net exporter of content – companies in the USA, for example, consume more content than domestic players can produce. Companies such as NIIT and LearningByte have very large production teams working out of India. In a small country like Singapore there is already a number e-learning players aiming at the global marketplace. We want to be recognized as a leader in this area.”

Why E-Business courses for a flagship product-line?

“E-Business change drives a massive need for rapid learning across the globe. And many issues are the same whether you are in Texas, Mumbai or Copenhagen. Its also where e-learning can perform at its best – timely, succinct, translating business concepts to technologists, and translating technology issues to business people.”

Where Does Knowledge Platform Innovate?

“Traditional instructional design hasnt really changed since the invention of the printed book,” says Knowledge Platforms Chief Learning Officer Patrick Lambe. “Learning is packaged in a single, linear sequence: you start at A and you end at Z, and you have to go through all the steps between. Unfortunately a lot of e-learning content still adopts this pattern, even when its using rich multimedia – the learner is locked into this step by step slideshow. This is completely contrary to the open, organic nature of the Internet where users can navigate at will – and its also completely contrary to how most people naturally learn.”

“Our E-Business modules are built like the web itself. You can run through the course in a linear sequence if you like, but you can also navigate at will to any section you like. Its a much greater instructional design challenge to make a course intuitive and comprehensive, but it really pays off when you get it right.”

Mahboob Mahmood takes up the story. “Asias strength is its multi-lingual, multi-cultural backdrop. Hence there is a strong tradition of communicating and learning visually in Asia. In Japan, for example, there is a long history of serious business learning through comic books. We trained our team in visual thinking and use graphic visualizations extensively to communicate complex concepts and processes. This is a very powerful capability when you want to localize content. We are less dependent on text, translation is easier, and our visual style is accessible across multiple cultures.”

“This is in sharp contrast to Western approaches to e-learning content, which are still very dependent on lots of text. A lot of text really doesnt work well for learners on the Internet, and its hard to manage in a fast moving subject area like e-business.”

How Flexible Are the Courses?

“Trainers and teachers are still very fixed in traditional mindsets when they think about e-learning” says Patrick Lambe. “They think they have to replace the face-to-face experience, and therefore have to try and simulate that – which of course is impossible.”

“If you understand how it works, the Internet is a great medium for presenting content in interesting, engaging ways, and there are good learning management systems for managing large groups of learners through course programs. You can even warm up discussions on the web and keep team spirit alive on the web after a workshop group has dispersed. But you cant completely replace the intense value of a rich, face-to-face interaction. At Knowledge Platform, we believe in using the strengths of the Internet and blending them with all the other effective ways of promoting fast, effective and enjoyable learning – that includes live workshops, performance support tools, online communities, knowledge-finding tools.”

“Our courses are designed to be great presentations of important concepts and processes. We give them clear learning objectives, which we then assess, and we make sure they can be blended with other forms of training: online facilitation, peer study groups, live workshops with trainers.”

What is the Response?

“We already had some pre-sales from companies that knew us well” says Mahmood. “Then we started a global email marketing campaign just a week ago. After five days, we had over a hundred registrations from sixteen countries, ranging from the USA to Finland to Cyprus and Malaysia. We are definitely hitting a sorely felt need.”

For more information on this press release, please contact:

Ridah Khan, Business Development Manager at (65) 98626879 ; alternate (65) 873-1673; fax (65) 873-3613 email

To view the E-Business 101 Suite of courses demo site,

For Knowledge Platforms profile visit