The Avanza programme (Plan Avanza) supports learning and training activities in telecommunications, information and communication technologies (ICT) providing participants with high-level knowledge, qualification and internationally recognised training in ICT. The programme is meant for professionals and employees working in SMEs and its objectives are to consolidate knowledge of new technologies, encourage use of IT services, support teleworking, increase competitiveness and improve businesses´ productivity by using specific training and sale-promotion techniques.

Since 2003, ANCED (Asociación Nacional de Centros de e-learning y distancia has developed various projects to contribute to the European Union’s convergence objectives and support SME competitiveness, developing their capacity for innovation and helping to digitalise Spanish SMEs.

As part of this work ANCED has designed and implemented the e-vendor project. E-vendor – A virtual school for e-vendors is a training programme for commercial vendors and sales assistants that will help them acquire e-sales skills and competence in the commercial sector based on the professional certificate of sales activities (1), one of the national repertory of professional certificates, the vocational training programmes of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security.

The training programme is structured in nine modules with a total of 510 hours training, thus meeting the training requirements laid down for the professional certificate of sales activities. The training will provide vendors and sales assistants with the skills and capabilities they need for e-sales in the commercial sector. The content of the programme covered by the professional certificate has been completely updated to reflect the real situation of the commercial sector and to incorporate the most recent and innovative material on e-commerce, online marketing, web advertising, e-sales, etc.

The e-vendor project (2) helps SMEs in the commercial sector to exploit all the potential of e-commerce. The creation of an immersive environment that reproduces real conditions and provides specialised training content ensures a high level of knowledge transfer and results in remarkably efficient training, enabling both the business professional and the self-employed worker to progress in their careers. E-vendor uses training simulators or so-called ‘serious games’ as a learning methodology and it is expected to have economic impact and increase productivity through encouraging e-commerce in SMEs. Just like video games, with their 3D characters or avatars, scenarios and settings, the situations developed for e-vendor training content are designed in 3D, allowing an infinity of situations in which vendors can find themselves in the course of their work being recreated as virtual reality using serious game technology. Trainees experience a situation as close as possible to real life, identifying themselves as one of the characters or avatars that take part in the game, and significantly improve their learning.

(1) Curricula regulated by Royal Decree 1377/2008 of 1 August, Official State Gazette (BOE) 223 of 15 September 2008.

(2) Project financed by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade with funds for strategic action on telecommunications and company of the information subprogramme: Avanza training, 2011.

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