NEW YORK, June 30—The growth of the online education sector—even after the collapse of many other Internet-based businesses—and the addition of three new clients worth around $750,000 in annual fees have encouraged Magnet Communications to form a new learning solutions practice, which will operate as part of the firm’s technology and professional services group.

The new multi-disciplinary team will draw on Magnet’s expertise in technology, publishing, education, and corporate communications, according to executive vice president Paul Jensen, who adds that “following the dot-com shakeout, one of the more promising sectors that continues to attract significant investment dollars is online education, particularly corporate learning.”

According to Merrill Lynch, some $6 billion has flowed into the learning solutions sector since 1990, almost half of it since 1999. Merrill Lynch analysts expect the online education industry to grow to $25.3 billion by 2003.

“This new practice group nicely leverages the experience and interest many of our account staff have in online and offline education,” added Jensen.  “Some of them have been professors, some have worked for e-learning software companies, one has even founded a school.  And all of them are delighted to bring their knowledge and skills to bear on these new accounts for Magnet.”
The new group’s clients include Thomson Learning, one of the world’s largest providers of tailored learning solutions; Walden University, which offers online graduate courses in management and the social and behavioral sciences; and Sylvan Learning Systems, a leading provider of educational services to families, schools, and industry.