SkillPort, SkillSoft’s e-Learning Platform, Now Accessible to Employees with Disabilities
NASHUA, NH – March 19, 2002 – SkillSoft Corporation (NASDAQ: SKIL), a leading
provider of e-learning courseware and referenceware for business and IT professionals,
today announced that SkillPort 2.3, the company’s web-based e-learning platform,
has been upgraded to fully meet technical requirements for Section 508 of the
Rehabilitation Act, which requires computer software applications purchased
or developed by federal agencies to be designed for equal accessibility by people
with disabilities. Learners with vision, hearing, or motor skill disabilities
can now use SkillPort to access SkillPort courses, search the SkillPort course
library for specific learning events, and launch courses in the appropriate
mode for use with assistive technology.
SkillSoft used Bobby, a validation service offered by the Center for Applied
Special Technology (CAST) to test for compliance with Section 508, as well as
guidelines for web accessibility established by the World Wide Web Consortium.
SkillPort 2.3 gives all learners equal access to its learning management functions.
Employees have the ability to create personal learning plans, track and manage
test results, and receive e-mail reminders and new course alerts. SkillPort
2.3 also gives training administrators the ability to set up profiles for learners
using assistive technology. SkillPort will then automatically launch courses
selected by the learner in a mode ready for use with assistive technology. It
also lets learners designate the type of assistive technology – screen readers
or keyboard equivalents, for example – which they choose to use to go through
SkillPort 2.3 is part of a year-long development initiative which included
adapting SkillSoft’s 600-plus U.S. English courses to work with screen readers
such as JAWS and other assistive technologies, providing text descriptions for
all visual imagery, and ensuring all audio components have text equivalents.
All components of SkillSoft courses, including learning objects and job aids,
were incorporated into the development initiative.
"The Internet has become an increasingly critical component of business
and everyday life, " said Chuck Hitchcock, chief education technology officer
for CAST, a non-profit organization founded in 1984 that develops technology
to expand opportunities for all people, including those with disabilities. "Technology
should be an enabler, not a barrier. Everyone should have equal opportunity
to take advantage of the information and opportunity now available through the
"We believe universal access is an important criteria for all e-learning,"
said Karen Beauregard, SkillSoft product manager. "While Section 508 technically
applies to only federal agencies, this issue is becoming increasingly important
to commercial companies and state and local agencies."
If interested in seeing a demonstration of the use of assistive technology
with SkillPort 2.3 and SkillSoft courseware, contact Karen Beauregard at email@example.com
With more than 500 corporate customers and two million user seats, SkillSoft
is a leading provider of comprehensive, integrated e-learning solutions for
Global 2000 companies and government organizations. Customers receive comprehensive
learning and performance support solutions for their workforce through SkillSoft’s
business skills library, comprised of more than 1,200 courses and simulations
for global business markets, of which more than 600 are in U.S. English. The
library, which includes more than 3,000 hours of interactive instruction, encompasses
a wide array of business skills, such as management, leadership, communication,
project management and customer service, as well as business subjects such as
e-commerce, finance, marketing, sales, and strategy. The library also includes
more than 12,000 learning objects, 2,500 job aids, 3,000 SkillBriefs.
SkillSoft complements SkillSoft courses with SkillSimulations, Web-based simulations
designed to reinforce skills newly acquired through specific courses. SkillSoft
courses can be managed and tracked through SkillPort, an e-learning management
platform that offers rapid implementation at a cost-efficient price point, or
through third-party learning management systems.
SkillSoft’s subsidiary, Books 24×7, offers subscription clients detailed online
searches to more than 1,900 unabridged IT and business titles and 300,000 knowledge
objects. Books24x7’s patent-pending technology platform gives users the ability
to perform multi-tier searches of the company’s Referenceware: ITPro, BusinessPro
and OfficeEssentials. The Books 24×7 Referencware libraries include offerings
from more than 65 publishers, including AMACOM, ASTD, Harvard Business School
Publishing, McGraw-Hill, Microsoft Press, and Sybex and Wiley.
Additional information about SkillSoft is available by calling (603) 324-3000.
SkillSoft, SkillPort, RolePlay, Search-and-Learn, e-Learning for the Knowledge
Economy, NetUniversity, and Accelerated Path are trademarks and/or servicemarks
of SkillSoft Corporation. Books24x7.com
and Referenceware are servicemarks of Books247x.com, Inc. All brand names,
trademarks, or registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
Safe harbor language: This release includes information that
constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions
of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any such forward-looking
statements involve risk and uncertainties that could cause actual results to
differ materially from any future results encompassed within the forward- looking
statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include
competitive pressures, changes in customer demands or industry standards, adverse
economic conditions, loss of key personnel, litigation and other matters disclosed
under the heading "Future Operating Results” in the Company’s most recent
Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking
information provided by the Company in this press release represents the Company’s
estimates as of November 2001. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments
will cause the Company’s estimates to change. However, while the Company may
elect to update this forward-looking financial information at some point in
the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. This
forward-looking information should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s
estimates of its future financial performance as of any date subsequent to the
date of this release.