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Imes are good for businesses that provide corporate compliance training online. One, LRN, The Legal Knowledge Company of Los Angeles, saw contracts for its Web-based Legal Compliance and Ethics Center double in the past yearto $100 million. It’s not hard to see why. Fueled by Sarbanes-Oxley, regulators are requiring corporations to adopt strict codes of conduct and to ensure that even rank-and-file employees understand and adhere to them. This requires trainingoften on a broad scalein financial reporting, insider trading, codes of conduct, and corporate ethics. For a corporation whose workforce can number in the hundreds of thousands and be spread across the globe, training online makes obvious sense. At far less cost than classroom training, online services enable a corporation to reach its employees wherever they are located, control course content and materials, and track and document course completion. Legal Knowledge Company claims to have been the first to offer compliance training over the Web when it launched LCEC in October 1999. But others quickly followed suit. We’ve looked at some of them and have whittled the list down to five companies that offer comprehensive suites of online compliance training. On the surface, all offer similar features: n -Courses use any standard Web browser. n -Lessons avoid legalese and are usually structured around workplace vignettes. n -Content can be tailored to suit the corporation. n Tests ensure comprehension. n Tracking tools document usage. But they differ in several respects, too. Content and presentation vary, with some using only text and graphics and others adding audio and video. Course offerings differ in number and topics. Pricing also varies, with some charging by the seat and others by the project. That said, let’s look at the companies. Founded in 1994 as a legal research service, LRN introduced compliance training to the Web in October 1999. “We were the first to connect law, ethics, and compliance on the same platform,” says Dov Seidman, the Harvard-trained lawyer who founded the company. LCEC is unique, Seidman claims, because it was designed with input from general counsel and compliance officers at some of the nation’s largest corporations. “The key difference is the origin of our product,” says Seidman. “We got these companies in the same room to work together.” Today LCEC offers 150 training modules covering more than 1,000 topics. Customers include Raytheon Company, which signed with LCEC in November to develop online training around its code of conduct, and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, which in September signed with LCEC to provide training to its employees worldwide. A typical program illustrates lessons through a series of workplace situations, presented using simple text and graphics. In the course of each vignette, pop-up quizzes test comprehension. Some lessons include audio and video, although these worked poorly over a dial-up connection. Founded in 1999, Integrity Interactive’s 22 courses cover more than 140 compliance topics. They use stories to illustrate issues, backed up by a library of ethics and compliance documents, interactive exercises, and final exams. Its management team includes lawyers with experience in corporate compliance. Cofounder Joseph Murphy was senior compliance attorney at Bell Atlantic and also founded Compliance Systems Legal Group. Winthrop Swenson, director of ethics and compliance, was counsel to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where he helped develop the Federal Organizational Sentencing Guidelines. Programs have a lively and useful interface that combines text, photographs, and audio. Audio loads and plays quickly, even over a dial-up connection. Each lesson carries the employee through five components: black-letter law, a brief story, examples from the real world, a checkpoint question, and a review of proper procedure. At the end, users take an exam, where they must score 100 to receive course credit. Founded in 1998, Phoenix-based Corpedia has garnered attention in the business community for its management programs from the likes of Peter Drucker and Tom Peters. But legal compliance makes up the larger share of its course inventory. Corpedia offers in-depth courses it calls “compliance essentials” for both managers and employees, as well as single courses on a range of compliance topics, many of which can be purchased individually. Unlike other vendors, whose courses tend to follow the same format, Corpedia employs a variety of creative presentations. All are built using Macromedia Flash and run well over a 56K dial-up connection. Corpedia’s courses are the only ones reviewed that allow users to add and save their own notes. While some vendors’ courses come across as overly simplistic, Corpedia’s seem beefier. Content and interface work together to present lessons that are more informative than most. “Edutaining” is how WeComply describes its courses. It uses cartoons to illustrate lessons and games to test comprehension. A typical program proceeds through a series of situations. Throughout, pop quizzes literally pop up, requiring the employee to answer before moving to the next screen. Pop-up screens also elaborate on terms and concepts. At the end of a lesson, games serve as final exams, with correct answers to questions earning points or movement around a game board. In July, WeComply released a program specifically tailored to code-of-conduct training. It covers workplace discrimination and harassment, e-mail and Internet use, retention of records, insider trading, and other topics. Unique to WeComply is that its programs can be downloaded to a personal digital assistant, either Palm or Windows CEbased. Scalability and adaptability characterize the programs offered by EyeOnIntegrity.com, a division of Midi, Inc., a designer of high-end, interactive multimedia software. EOI’s programs can be delivered over the Internet or hosted on a corporate intranet and are scalable to the speed of the user’s Internet connection. Depending on their connection, employees can choose to see streaming video and audio, a streaming audio slide show with still frames captured from the video, or simply the still frames with text. They can switch to a slower or faster connection at any point in a program. The different formats provide precisely the same content, with the parts that are spoken in the audio and video versions scripted in the text versions. EOI does not host its programs on its own serversits customers must provide hosting. Robert J. Ambrogi, a lawyer in Rockport, Massachusetts, is author of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web, available through LawCatalog.com. E-mail:

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