Recently I learned via a Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR) Tweet (@wilsonsonsini), that the firm had launched On-Demand Learning Resource to Help In-House Attorneys Keep Current and Earn MCLE Credit. I think the firm has done a very nice job with this initiative. 

The Technology

WSGR is using an on-demand learning (ODL) platform from Altus, Inc.. I have not kept up on ODL platforms but I like this interface. A main page presents the available classes. Clicking through to a class presents a page with the class (each about one hour) broken down by sub-topic. Each sub-topic ties to a slide in a presentation. Mouse-over the topic displays a pop-up of the presentation page.

Once you click a link, the system opens a new window with the Flash audio-visual player. It displays good quality video of the speaker, a topic list, the current presentation slide, and an option to view the written transcript. The transcript is keyed to the audio of the presentation and whatever the speaker is currently saying is highlighted (a nice plus for the hearing impaired). Transcripts are searchable. For those who want to listen or view on the go, MP3 and MP4 are available for viewing on players such as iPod.

For more information about the system, see Just-in-Time Training: On-Demand Learning Platform Drives Firm’s Success in Legal Management magazine by Larry Brown, WSGR Senior Manager, Training & Professional Development, published by the ALA (May 2009, PDF from the ALA website).

Content and Clients

To learn more about this, I spoke to Larry and his colleague Chris Boyd, WSGR Senior Director of Professional Services. They explained that while many firms offer live CLE or real-time webinars, they were not aware of many firms offering clients pre-recorded, on-demand CLE. Given the firm’s internal success with this approach, WSGR wanted to offer additional value to its clients and friends.

Chris and I know that one of the big challenges knowledge managers face is creating content and keeping it fresh (see our article Getting the Most “K” for the Least “M”: Baking KM into the System, published in the June 2006 ILTA white paper). Because the firm regularly produces CLE for its own lawyers, content creation is not an issue. And, as it turns out, the firm was videoing its CLE programs anyway, though the Altus format requires some marginal cost to produce.

Chris and Larry report that client response has been positive. That does not surprise me. Inhouse counsel are clamoring for more value. And many for CLE credits. So it makes sense that they would want to take advantage of WSGR’s new service.