Not at all, glad you asked. Im potentially building a learning portal for a local company circa 600 staff with approx 100 staff in global offices. The portal will be populated with a comprehensive suite of off the shelf elearning content (primarily Microsoft Office, Business Skills, some IT technical). The portal will provide a rich experience for learners as along with the content we will include a collaboration suite for internal and external knowledge experts, it will also; handle some internal communciations, bookshelves, virtual classroom and many other features. There is a perceived need to provide a live chat / mentor service for those international employees (due to the time differences) to access when they need help with point of need Microsoft Office instructional help. Hope this helps.
I must admit that I like the idea, Peter, as there are times when small companies and 'one man bands' like myself need a little support. Don't mind sharing what I know, which isn't much, with others on line but if there are enough of us...
My initial instinct is that the support would have to come from within, in order for it to be available 24/7.
Maybe in the form of MS Office 'Champions' at each of the global sites to ensure someone is always online, and an internal company IM client (something open source like Spark perhaps?) for staff to contact each other.
Otherwise you could try and develop a global network of volunteers who might make themselves available to offer support?
I think making it synchronous is going to be your biggest challenge, if it was to be asynchronous then it would be relatively easy to achieve through forums etc.
Maybe making the staff self-sufficient at accessing/finding help is an option? They could always just press F1...or dare I say write a well worded Google search :-)
This sounds really interesting! I like what Phil was saying about using an IM client. Would enough of them be online at the same time to make this work? If the IM client also had the ability to share your desktop (e.g. MS Communicator) then you have the online equivalent of popping down to Mike on the third floor who's great at Excel!
Perhaps people could add themselves to an IM group if they were willing to help with MS Office & if you're stuck you just IM an SOS to the entire group.
I'd be really interested in hearing what you decide to go with for this.
Thanks for the interest, Phil, Dennis & Louise.
Personally I dont think they need this solution, my belief is that with Microsoft Office Skills that 99% of the time the moment of learning need is not immediate. e.g. If I need to do a pivot table and dont know how, then the need has been around for some time therfore the performer support does not need to be immediate!! I will be providing an "Access the Expert" service to a MS Office Instructor through a Collaboration Room. The Collab. room will only be accessible by the employees, however the expert is an external consultant. If a learner has a problem with Excel for example then they can post the question to the "controlled" discussion forum, im hoping another learner will answer the question through the portal, if not the external expert will answer that evening / next day.
This is my preferred route, however I have to persuade the client who is looking for the live chat / mentor 1-1 24x7 service. Not having much success on google finding a suitable supplier, thus reinforcing my analysis?? :-)
Quote: "I will be providing an "Access the Expert" service to a MS Office Instructor through a Collaboration Room. The Collab. room will only be accessible by the employees, however the expert is an external consultant."