Maryland company wins Latin American education work

Software company Avilar Technologies Inc. won a four-year, $6.6 million contract to deliver a competency-based e-learning platform in Mexico and Latin America, the company said Tuesday.

The Instituto Latinoamericano de la Comunicacion Educativa (ILCE), an international organization formed by 13 Latin American countries to enhance education opportunities through technology, issued the award, which was funded by the Mexican Education Ministry. ILCE uses the Internet to offer online education programs to Latin Americans to try to stimulate regional economies.

Under the contract ? its largest to date ? Avilar of Laurel, Md., will provide a Web-based platform to create and perform skill and knowledge assessments, competency surveys and online education for ILCE's program. ILCE will create programs based on Avilar's e-learning platform that will provide tailored educational programs for public organizations, government agencies, corporations and educational institutions as well as enable them to measure the knowledge and skills of their employees and students.

In Mexico, for example, Avilar's platform is being used by public universities to track the competency levels of student teachers before, during and after they complete their graduate studies to determine the specific skills they need, said John Skowlund, the company's chief executive officer.

ILCE's project "really reflects where the industry is going in government and corporations in taking a competency approach to learning, understanding skills and competency of workers ? and monitoring these skills over time," Skowlund said.

Avilar also provides a competency management platform for the Defense Information Systems Agency's career management program and an e-learning platform for public universities in Australia.

Founded in 1997, Avilar provides competency management and learning solutions for delivering Web-based educational and training programs. It is a privately owned company that has 15 employees in offices in Laurel and Arlington, Va. The company posted revenue of more than $2 million in 2003, Skowlund said.

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