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Government takes learning online

The federal government has entered the e-learning business, setting up a Web site so that employees can take courses online. The site is being hosted and managed by GeoLearning, a West Des Moines, Iowa, company, that was awarded a four-year contract for the job earlier this month. The e-learning project is part of the Office of Management and Budget's 24-step e-government initiative. The site currently features free training courses ranging from personal development topics such as coping with stress and time management, to technical training in Microsoft Word. It also includes legislatively mandated courses on topics such as preventing sexual harassment.

It also hosts about 50 electronic books on business and professional development and information technology. Plans call for the site to eventually host fee-based courses and eventually, virtual classrooms and evaluation tools. Most of the courses offered now appear to be run by e-learning companies SkillSoft and Thomson NETg.