Hatsize Learning Corp. of Calgary, Alberta, launched five years ago, but CEO Guy Hummel says the company, named for the "increase" in brain, and consequently, head size, as a result of learning, has experienced a coming of age. The release of the latest version of its software, TrueLab 3.0, and a growing list of big-name corporate customers, marks a milestone for the company, Hummel notes.
"I think we have everything in place. We have our proven solution, we have a number of marquee customers, and now is the time when we're going to expand quite rapidly," he says of the company whose customers now include Siemens and Symantec. What expansion means, Hummel says, is not so much possible mergers and acquisitions as much as a rapid-fire push toward deeper market penetration. "There is a very large number of potential customers out there who could do the same things we're doing with the customers we already have," he says. "So, we just see this as our jumping-off point."
Over the next year, he says, the company's roster of clients is projected to double or even triple.
Hummel explains that Hatsize plans to accomplish this by zeroing in on companies confronting the same learning issues —namely the challenge of creating a thorough "hands-on" e-learning experience—which current customers have turned to the vendor for help with. The cornerstone of the new marketing campaign involves the offering of a full e-learning suite, including a virtual classroom and a portal connecting learners to their company's entire e-learning curriculum.
"What happened was our customers were asking for a full solution for their online training. We provided the labs, which was the key piece for most of them, but they also needed to use virtual classrooms and things like that," he says of the genesis the suite, introduced within the last year. "With a complex online training environment, they needed somebody to tie everything together, so we've started to add other offerings just to round everything out."
In addition to TrueLab's virtual classroom, portal and "labs," which give students access to one or more Intel, Sun, HP or IBM servers for live, hands-on access to learning content, Hatsize has added a help desk. The desk is always open to take customers' students technical support calls.
He also points out that the ability his software provides for both synchronous and asynchronous learning gives customers flexibility in curriculum creation.
Hummel says the e-learning program Hatsize offers overcomes the common beefs associated with the electronic classroom. "The big push has been for more instructor-led training. There was a bit of a backlash initially against self-paced e-learning. I think primarily because the type of e-learning provided in that form was not acceptable to students," he says. "So, we started focusing initially on instructor-led training online, but now, with the addition of live labs, self-paced training can be quite an acceptable method of learning as well."
Despite these options, he says most customers tend to stick with the tried and true, explaining the bulk of the current training programs features online instructor-led sessions. —M.W.
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