Participants in the market for e-learning in the area of soft skills

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2001

24 Pages, Grade: 1,3 (A)


Table of contents

1 Introduction
1.1 General comments on the “Oberseminar” paper “Participants in the market for eLearning in the area of soft skills”
1.2 Definitions
1.2.1 eLearning
1.2.2 Soft skills

2 The different participants in the market for eLearning in the area of soft skills
2.1 Videokeskus – the company itself
2.2 Suppliers
2.3 The market intermediaries
2.3.1 Market intermediaries in the service industry, especially in the eLearning sector
2.3.2 Some examples of market intermediaries AG KPMG
2.4 Customers
2.4.1 Customers in the market for eLearning in the area of soft skills
2.4.2 Customers for whom eLearning in the area of soft skills is getting more and more important Call Centers Nestlé Karstadt Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe
2.5 Competitors
2.5.1 Competitors in general
2.5.2 Different competitors in the German market Add! brain imc NetG time4you Metatrain Lernsoftware GmbH IBM IHK Others

3 Summary

4 Appendices

5 Index of Authors Cited in Text

List of abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

List of figures

figure 1: What do companies teach online? page

figure 2: Participants in the market page

1 Introduction

1.1 General comments on the “Oberseminar” paper “Participants in the market for eLearning in the area of soft skills”

Videokeskus, a Finnish company, that is developing audio-visual learning packages in soft skills, wants to expand its eLearning business into the European market. Therefore different European universities will do research on their domestic and European market of eLearning.

The target of this “Oberseminar” paper is to show the different participants in the German market of eLearning in the area of soft skills. In the paper, let’s pretend Videokeskus already is in the German market. One of the main objectives of this paper is to find out, which problems Videokeskus has to face establishing itself in the German market. Is there a big demand for the products of Videokeskus? Are there lots of competitors in the market of eLearning in the area of soft skills? Are the customers satisfied or dissatisfied with the current situation?

Textually, this “Oberseminar” paper is structured as follows:

After advancing to the topic, the terms “eLearning”, and “soft skills” are defined in the introduction. In the main part the major actors in a company’s micro-environment are described referring to the German market, the place where services and goods are exchanged. The main part is divided into five blocks. First there will be an introduction of the company Videokeskus, in which the products of Videokeskus will also be described. In the second main part the suppliers, who are offering different products and services to the company itself for producing their goods or services, are described such as software companies. The market intermediaries, such as trainers, dealers, merchandisers, wholesalers or retailers form the third main part of this “Hauptseminar” paper. After discussing about the market intermediaries, some examples of customers will be given, which are introducing eLearning, such as Nestlé or Karstadt. The last section of the main part presents the competitors in the market of eLearning in the area of soft skills in Germany. The summary forms the conclusion of this oberseminarpaper, followed by the appendices, and the index of authors cited in text.

The internet provided the main source of my research. By browsing through the net you find many articles on eLearning and the participants in the market for eLearning in the area of soft skills. Writing about the participants I also took sources from the Swiss market.

The primary research of our questionnaire, in which we asked trainers, employees, and staff of personnel department of different companies all over Germany about the current situation of eLearning in the area of soft skills, and what they think about the role of eLearning in the future of further education, was not relevant for my paper.

1.2 Definitions

1.2.1 eLearning

“E-learning can be delivered over an intranet, extranet, or the internet and can include hyperlinks, e-mail, discussion forums, videoconferencing, animations, games, and simulations. Like other forms of technology-based training, e-learning requires a certain level of technological infrastructure. A student needs a computer with a browser (such as Internet Explorer or Netscape) that is connected to all or part of the Web, and the organization providing the training needs a server on which to store the content that learners access. Many e-learning programs also require accompanying software to play audio and video and to run Java scripts, but this is often defined as part of the browser specification. Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, for example, comes with audio, video, and Java-reading capabilities.”[1]

Clear and brief eLearning is defined as education or training by or with the assistance of electronic media (internet, intranet or CD-Rom). It is divided into web-based training also called online learning like over internet, extranet or intranet, and computer-based training like with CD-Rom or the use of downloads.

1.2.2 Soft skills

The definition of training of soft skills we used in our questionnaire is defined as training in the area of team competence, cooperation competence, contact and communication competence and social competence as a key competence.

The definition of soft skills by Videokeskus is the following:

“[…] range of soft skills, such as customer service, team skills, management skills etc.”[2]

A last definition of soft skills training is from the WR Hambrecht+Co report “Corporate e-learning: exploring a new frontier”, 2000, p. 86. In this study soft skills training “encompasses education on specific business areas, such as communications and presentation skills, leadership and general management skills, human resources, sales and marketing, professional development, project and time management, customer service, team building, administrative skills, accounting and finance, purchasing, and personal development, with the goal of improving the knowledge and performance of employees”.

2 The different participants in the market for eLearning in the area of soft skills

2.1 Videokeskus – the company itself

The company itself produces goods or services, which it offers to its customers. “All of the departments within a company (e.g. finance, production, human resources) have an impact on the marketing department’s plans and actions.”[4][3]

In our case the company we talk about is Videokeskus which was started in Finland in 1988. At the beginning it produced videos in the field of health education. Later Videokeskus produced video-based or so-called audio-visual training material, which is produced for organisational training of companies, municipalities, and educational institutions. The target group within these organizations is first and foremost the ground level personnel. This is because today ground level personnel need the same soft skills as top managers, who have always been taught soft skills. Videokeskus closely cooperates with its clients, and sells the products to them. Copyright ownership remains with Videokeskus.

The product range of Videokeskus covers overheads (5-15 slides, containing pictures of the videos), training videos (of 15-30 min. duration), and trainer’s material including a detailed suggestion for organising the training (schedules, group activities, etc.) in varying subjects like quality, team skills, customer service, and many others.

The products of Videokeskus including services have a new implication for the customer. Traditional learning usually is a typical service where for example storage is not possible. With the videos of Videokeskus this is possible.

As already mentioned in the introduction the following paragraphs describe simulated Videokeskus activities in the German market.

2.2 Suppliers

To produce the goods or services the company uses suppliers, who are offering the production factors necessary for the production of these goods and services.[5] There are different kinds of suppliers: suppliers that are offering products, suppliers that are giving consulting advice to their customers, or suppliers that are providing IT-assistance.

In our case suppliers can for example be companies that are offering computer software which helps to build an eLearning platform. Looking at Videokeskus which is producing videos, companies that are familiar with video productions are needed. For example these can be agencies for actors, cameramen, film producers and many more. Another aspect besides the quality of the products, which is very important when considering suppliers, are prices and costs. “Developments in the supplier environment, such as prices and availability of raw materials, have a substantial impact on a company’s marketing operations.”[6]

Concerning suppliers I am going to introduce some of the IT companies which are offering products or services to companies. An important IT supplier is Cisco Systems, Inc., located in San Jose, Ca, U.S.A. Cisco is the leading company offering networking solutions for the internet worldwide.[7] “Cisco is the leading supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet. Products include routers, hubs, ethernet, LAN/ATM switches, dial-up […].”[8] Another main supplier is IBM which is represented in 164 countries all over the world and tries to be the leading provider of innovative products and services in the IT area.[9] Apart from these companies there are several other IT companies operating as suppliers, like Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Linux, SAP, and HP.

As already mentioned not only suppliers that are offering products are important. Also consulting agencies such like PricewaterhouseCoupers, Ernst & Young, KPMG, or Accenture can act as suppliers for the company and its competitors by providing services.


[1], access: 23/02/2001

[2], access: 20/02/2001

[3], access: 20/02/2001

[4] Jeremy Comfort, and Nick Brieger, Business Management English - Marketing, 1st edition, Prentice Hall International 1992, p. 23.

[5] Iris Ramme, Marketing-Einführung mit Fallbeispielen, Aufgaben und Lösungen, 1st edition, Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag Stuttgart 2000, p. 49.

[6] Jeremy Comfort, and Nick Brieger, op.cit, p. 23.

[7], access: 07/03/2001

[8], access: 07/03/2001

[9], access: 07/03/2001

Excerpt out of 24 pages


Participants in the market for e-learning in the area of soft skills
Nürtingen University  (University of Applied Sciences)
Intensive Programme Comparative European Marketing
1,3 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
604 KB
Participants, Intensive, Programme, Comparative, European, Marketing
Quote paper
Isabelle Pfeiffer (Author), 2001, Participants in the market for e-learning in the area of soft skills, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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