Programme Design

Commercial training products design by OLA for MPDF, 2000

    This paper focuses on how to develop commercial training products and services for the SME (small- to medium-sized enterprise) sector. It describes a product development and commercialization strategy developed by the Open Learning Agency (OLA) for the Mekong Project Development Facility (MPDF) of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Vietnam. The strategy includes the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in product development and a delivery channel of 'value-added retailers' (VARs) who provide a variety of services using the product as a foundation but customized to SME client needs.

    The paper is divided into three main sections. The first section provides a brief description of a number of the key trends within the newly emerging 'learning industry' that are effectively revolutionizing the development and delivery of training in and for the workplace. These include: the entry and rapid growth of significant private sector players in the learning business; pedagogical models which impart primary content via digital media and place instructors in a supporting or facilitating role; the rapid penetration of learning technologies; the transformation of traditional curriculum into reusable software objects; and the challenge and opportunity of aggregating demand for training in the SME sector. The second section describes a proposed strategy for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to disseminate a management training program for SMEs across the country in a flexible and commercially viable manner. This section complements John McKenzie's paper, Creating a market in Management Training for Vietnam's private firms: MPDF's experience.

    Summary of results
    OLA proposes to reformat products developed by MPDF for classroom training into a set of modular workbooks which can be used in the classroom, at workshops, for independent study, in training centres and in the workplace. The products will be designed for use in other media as well, such as CD-ROM or internet-based training. To deliver these products to large numbers of SMEs, a delivery channel of an MPDF-authorized VAR network will be established. The network will include both private and public training providers and associated enterprises such as publishers and software producers which will be able to add value to the core products. The third section provides five cautions and insights based on OLA's experience of developing and marketing similar training products: using technology appropriately and integrating it into a complete learning system; ensuring control and ownership over the training content; considering the option of acquisition and adaptation of someone else's product; validating that training need constitutes training demand; and ensuring supply-side interventions in the training market produce the desired results. The paper concludes that the greatest challenge in commercializing training products and services, particularly for the wide-ranging but hard to reach SME sector, is the translation of training need into demand.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Market Assessment
    »GTZ and Swisscontact Viet Nam - BDS Market Assessment 2001
    Synthesis Documents
    »Hanoi DC Conference, 2000