A desi gastro pub that offers authentic mix of East and West

Be it the original flavour of Bengal’s sought-after fish cutlet or the popular north Indian shammi kebab, at Monkey Bar — the Indian version of a gastro pub — you will be reminded of your roots while letting your hair down.

The pub has its outlets in three metros — Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata — and mini-metro Bengaluru, and each dish has its own flavour of the soil perfectly tucked in to the international palate.

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Take the tikki of joy for example. Kolkata’s very own fish cutlet is lightly poached as opposed to boiling it, and coated with Japanese Panko-style breadcrumbs before it is fried.

Then, the mouth-watering shammi kebabs, which have been rechristened shammi sliders, with the big meat chunks wrapped in a slider-style bun.

Down west, there is Mumbai’s very own vada Pav which is cooked in fresh laadi pav with a dab of butter and ghaati masala from Bombay with salted chilli.

There is also the Goan chorizo pao — chunks of smoky Goan sausage sauteed with sliced onions, garlic and tomatoes and stuffed inside a toasted and buttered pav.

While choosing your poison, try mangaa, one of the most ordered cocktails here, that is made with aam panna, sweet lime, jeera, salt and vodka.

“The idea is to juxtapose good food in the pub space. We have not aped the Western idea of a gatro pub blindly. We have tried to make it unabashedly Indian,” chef and partner Manu Chandra said.

Gastro pub, the term coined in 1991, denotes a restaurant moulded in pub culture that became popular in the United Kingdom. However, the concept has drawn occasional flak for watering down the essence of a pub.

“We do specialise in food and in that way it is a departure from the stereotype concept of a gastro pub, but we do not allow children below the age of 18 in the evening across our four centres. They can come for lunch, but in the evening we have more people who consume liquor and the bar is more active,” Chandra said.

At the Kolkata outlet, you see the cult protagonists “Gupi” and “Bagha” of Satyajit Ray’s classic “Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen” painted on the wall that hits you on entering.

The bar has a miniature version of a British theatre-style canopy which illuminates this space. Also striking is a sculpturesque light installation strung from the high roof truss.

Drawing design inspiration from the colonial clubs of Kolkata, the tall arched windows allow you a panoramic view of the surroundings.

The joint, perched on the ninth floor of Knox building in Camac Street, a bustling South Central Kolkata avenue, also has breakfast spread with burgers ruling the roost.

Try the new breakfast burger — a hearty combo of grilled chicken, avocado, fried egg, cheddar and onion jam for those midday cravings.

New small plates include dishes inspired by international favourites like the kung fu rolls, devilled fish baked brie, prawns pil pil and sticky Korean chicken.

There’s a new pizza platter as well which includes exciting toppings such as mushroom and truffle oil pizza, Iti aunty’s daab chingri pizza — a marriage of local cuisine and an Italian favourite — and pepperoni picante pizza.

Coming to the main course, the likes of a Soulful Bowl include a platter of gobindo bhog rice and pickled vegetables alongside egg, cucumber, scallions and fried onions, with a choice of chilly paneer, chicken katsu, beef bulgogi or barbeque pork. Also on the menu is thai curry and Kerala beef fry with the saag kebab — an interesting accompaniment to your favourite drink.

Chandraji’s mutton curry (a succulent mutton dish served with gobindo bhog rice), mustard grilled fish (seasonal fillet with garlic mashed potato, grilled vegetables and spiked mustard sauce, and hearty meals for meat lovers like the MoBar bork and chicken 65 are also on the menu for a filling lunch or dinner.

The desserts carry forward the same quirky tone, enticing you with a mishmash of flavours that melt in your mouth. A sundae is converted into a multi-layered sandwich with great skill in the Mobar sundae sandwich.

The signature, chocolate pot de creme with salted caramel topped with caramel popcorn and the gondhoraj lime tart with lebu, curd and torched meringue are sure to bring a perfect end to your meal.

There is a hookah space as well where customers can go for a smoke. On weekdays, there is live music with space kept for you to shake a leg as well.

Where: Monkey Bar,  9th floor, Knox Building, Camac Street
Cost: Meal for two without alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs 1,200+; Meal for two with alcohol, excluding taxes: Rs 1,800+
Phone: 033 40606446

Canadian ‘inventor’ of the pineapple-topping ‘Hawaiian’ pizza dies at 83

This year has seen many a debate on pineapple topping on the pizza. From Iceland’s President vehemently saying that the pineapple on pizza should be banned, to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay concurring with the idea. Well, a Canadian man who is widely credited with inventing the pineapple-topped pizza died at the age of 83.

According to an obituary by his family, Sam Panopoulos had been in hospital in London, Ontario, when he died suddenly on Thursday (June 8). Panopoulos was born in Greece and emigrated to Canada in 1954. He told numerous news media that he made his first ‘Hawaiian’ pizza in 1962 at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, after wondering if canned pineapple might make a tasty topping.

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His claim wasn’t undisputed, as there are claims that the pizza could have been invented in Australia, while some say its origin is in a German dish with ham, cheese and pineapple on toast.

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted a tweet in support of Panopoulos’ claim by referring to the dish “a delicious southwestern Ontario creation”. He was responding to a joking suggestion by Iceland’s President Gudni Johannesson that pineapple pizzas should be banned.

One of Panopoulos’ sons described his father as a dedicated family man who “wasn’t looking to get famous”. Bill Panopoulos said he didn’t want to comment further, adding “the Hawaiian pizza story and his immigrant story were his to tell”. Panopoulos’ funeral is set for Monday.

 

Third edition of momo fest in Delhi-NCR extended by a day

Momo lovers have a treat coming up with Momo Festival, a three-day gala where several variants of the snack will be available under one roof.

Earlier, it used to be a two-day affair, but for the third edition, it has been extended by a day.

The variety of momos will be a balance of steam, fried, tandoori, gravy, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, boasting a large number of variants including chocolate momos, vodka momos, changezi chicken momos, Darjeeling momos, vegetarian spicy lemon momos, pan (sweet pan) momos, shrimp momos, achaari momos and more.

GoBuzzinga is bringing together 25 momo vendors of Delhi-National Capital Region, offering more than 100 variants at the fest, which will take place from Friday till Sunday at DLF Mall of India, read a statement.

“It is amazing how much the vendors of Delhi have experimented with what used to be basic vegetable and chicken filled steamed dumplings. There are more than 400 different varieties of momos available in the streets of Delhi and NCR. And, we’ve brought together the most awesome ones at one venue,” said Shantanu Verma, CEO and founder at GoBuzzinga, the organising company of the event.

“This festival is a tribute to the rich tradition of street food of Delhi, and there are many more such hidden gems in the Capital that we hope to explore with our festivals. We are soon expanding in other cities too, and we are going to take these festivals with us as well,” Verma added.

Delicious variety of monsoon snack recipes

Dont just stick to tea and pakoras when the rain clouds gather. Add variety to your monsoon snack list, say experts.

Noah Barnes, Executive Chef at The Hungry Monkey, Naresh Guglani, Corporate Chef at Del Monte, and Neeraj Balasubramanian, Executive Chef at The Park, Visakhapatnam, suggest some snacking ideas.

* Tomato and cheese bruschetta: Place sliced bread on a baking tray, drizzle extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic and any dried spiceavailable in the kitchen cabinet, bake till golden brown. Top with chopped tomatoes, cheese and chopped basil.

* Pizza pockets: Place pizza dough (cut in 3-inch diameter circles) on a baking tray, drizzle olive oil and chopped garlic, top with chopped tomatoes and pizza sauce, add generous amounts of big cubes of mozzarella and cream cheese. Fold to form a semi-circle (half moon) to seal the edges. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for six to seven minutes. Serve hot with cheese oozing out.

* Banana prune and chocolate toasties: Slice a few bananas, get some Del Monte Prunes, break a fruit and nut chocolate bar into small pieces and mix them. Apply butter on both sides of sliced bread or sliced brioche, fill the banana, prunes and chocolate mixture and make toasties in sandwich griller.

* Stuffed mushrooms: Mix breadcrumbs, chopped mushroom stems and grated Parmesan cheese with a table spoon of a pizza pasta sauce; stuff into mushroom caps, drizzle olive oil and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

* Asian lettuce wraps: To make the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and cook for seven to 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and beginning to brown. Add tofu and water chestnuts, breaking tofu into small crumbles; cook for four minutes, or until heated through.

Stir in soy, hoisin and Sriracha sauce. Transfer to serving bowl. Place lettuce leaves on platter, and set out garnishes in small serving bowls. Let guests wrap tofu mixture in lettuce leaves, and top with their choice of garnish.

* Chicken pineapple and olive spears: In a saucepan over medium heat, add the ketchup, soy sauce, honey, mustard, sugar, garlic and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until thickened for about 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Heat an outdoor grill or a grill pan. Cut each chicken thigh into two pieces. Peel the pineapple and cut it into one or one-and-half-inch chunks. Alternating between the chicken, olives and pineapple, thread the pieces onto the skewers. Brush them with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.

Remove the garlic cloves from the barbecue sauce and discard; put about half the sauce into a small bowl for later. Brush skewers with some of the sauce. Cook them on the grill, basting regularly with the barbecue sauce, until cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with reserved barbecue sauce on the side for dipping.

 

The food at Trend is a marriage of local flavours and Asian and French techniques

At the less-than-a-month-old restaurant, Trend, at Ansal Plaza in Delhi, one may not recognise the dish but the smell and the taste sure seem familiar. The restaurant experiments inventively with traditional Indian recipes by taking a modernist culinary approach. The food is not a “Frenchification” of Indian cuisine but a marriage of local flavours and Asian and French techniques of preparation and presentation.

A simple version of the classic cheese souffle gussied-up with a small portion of charred asparagus was the first to make a dash to our table from the kitchen, which is helmed by chef Jiten Singh, who has previously whipped up delicacies at Olive Bistro and Amour cafe. It was made with parmesan, emmental and goat cheese in crisp potato cups. The asparagus made the rich souffle lighter on the palate — that demands to be accompanied by a drink. The tangy kokum sherbet we ordered only added to the winning start. If you favour yourself a hooch, you’d be better off approaching the restaurant in 10 days time.

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Trend takes the customers’ time seriously. Dishes, at the right temperature, rallied out of the kitchen just as the one on the table met its end. An aesthetically plated rechad sole on a bed of corn kuchumbar was presented. The traditional Goan dish requires a fish to be stuffed with recheado masala but our strips were, instead, coated in it. The sweetness of the corn tossed with fresh tomatoes, cucumber and onions perfectly balanced out the intensity of the masala. Another dish, bedaubed with masala, was the seafood bowl “65”, a take on the popular chicken 65 from Chennai. The bird was replaced with aquatic creatures — squid, crab and prawns — that were not only cooked to perfection but also stood up well to the spice.

The prawn crackers, upon which they were perched, enhanced the texture of the dish but were scrummy even when enjoyed by themselves, especially as some soaked the masala of the dish. The mains, too, spoil its patrons for choice — from risotto to Quail Dum Biryani; Sri Lankan Pork Curry to Scottish Tawa Salmon among a selection of pasta and “paper-thin” pizzas. We settled for the Mysore Mutton Masala Tiffin, which comprised Udipi Masala Roast Mutton, Malabar Porota, mutton achar and rings of raw onion. There is neither a flavour nor a texture that is misplaced here. The dish ensures a yearning for yet another bite of the mutton long after the last bite.

It was almost as if the dessert knew what it had to match up to. The Holy Coconut was the most gorgeous psychedelic mess — a couverture chocolate shell filled with a delicate coconut mousse and dotted with charnamrut coulis, sat amid white and milk chocolate soil, rose-raspberry coulis, dark chocolate cremeaux and pistachionut strugel. Dare to take all in one bite and there will be nothing short of a mad explosion of flavours in the mouth. Needless to say, we were blown away.

HRD asks architecture council to stay out of exam regulations

The Council of Architecture (CoA) may have to withdraw its proposal to make a single national entrance test mandatory for admission to all architecture institutions as the HRD Ministry has reportedly questioned its authority to take such a decision. In a meeting called by the ministry on Tuesday, CoA president Biswaranjan Nayak was told that the council is expected only to register architects and regulate their practice and that maintaining standards of architectural education was outside of its purview. Nayak was then asked to review CoA’s proposal to make a common entrance test mandatory from 2018.

As earlier reported by The Indian Express on June 24, the Executive Committee (EC) of the Council had approved a new regulation — ‘Council of Architecture National Architecture Entrance Examination Regulations 2018 — on May 30 making a national level exam, conducted by an agency or CoA itself, mandatory for admissions in all undergraduate architectural programmes in all government and private institutions from the academic session 2018-19. It proposed to ban any other institution, university and agency from conducting an entrance test for architecture admissions.

On June 9, CoA registrar R K Oberoi circulated draft regulations for the approval of the council members. Oberoi’s letter said the regulations were approved by the Executive Committee as one of the measures to “improvise standards of architectural education in India”. Apart from Council members, a copy of the draft regulations was also shared with the HRD Ministry. A R Ramanathan, who is AICTE’s nominee to the CoA, and Habeeb Khan, who is Maharashtra government’s nominee, had replied to Oberoi’s letter objecting to the unilateral decision without consulting council members. The Executive Committee is a smaller seven-member body within the council which is supposed to execute decisions of the council.

The HRD ministry, however, is more concerned with the CoA encroaching in the government’s territory. The Ministry is learnt to have told Nayak during Tuesday’s meeting that whether admission to architecture institutions is to be done through a common entrance test or not is the government’s prerogative. Currently, most institutions offering architecture courses admit students through the score of the National Aptitude Test in Architecture, conducted by the CoA.

Protest against merger of govt schools

Parents and students of a government schools in old Delhi, that is likely to be merged with another by the government, voiced their opinion against the proposed merger on Thursday. The Government Girls Senior Secondary School (GGSSS), Panama Building, is proposed to be merged with the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV) No 1, Jama Masjid. While GGSSS, with 800 students, is a girls’ school for those between Class VI and Class XII, SKV No-1, with a strength of 300, is for students between Classes I-XII.

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While both the schools are among the four that operate out of the same building and students won’t have to make any major changes, the protesters said they want to save the identity of the school.

After the merger, it will be known as the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV) No 1, Jama Masjid. Rajender Sharma, general secretary, Front of Forum RWA, said, “The students got to know that their school is being merged only a few days ago and decided to start a protest.

They don’t want to move to a school which does not have the capacity to even seat them. The students of the school have been scoring very well in their Class X and Class XII examinations, I fail to understand why they want the school to be merged.”

New highlights of school education in Pune: Going beyond rote learning, including those left behind & using technology

If the number of schools is any indication, then the education sector in the city has seen nearly 100 per cent growth in the last two decades. From 2,626 schools affiliated to the state board of education in 2004, to 3,405 schools in 2017, the number has seen a sharp rise. Add to that, over 95 CBSE schools and 36 ICSE and ISC schools today — there were less than 30 schools earlier — and the establishment of about 10 IB board affiliated schools after 1997.

Educationists say that the methodology and outlook towards imparting education has changed significantly.

Around the same time the city saw the setting up of more international and non-state board affiliated schools, the concept of making learning interesting through classroom activities became popular, and even the state board realised the need to revamp its style. A programme of teachers’ training was put in place to make learning ‘joyful’, said Suman Shinde, former deputy director of education. Education is no longer only about imparting textbook knowledge, but it is about moving beyond the text.

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From rote learning to experiential learning

Devyani Mungali, an educationist whose career spans several decades, remembers how 20 years ago, teachers would restrict themselves to teaching what was in the textbooks, emphasising on retention value of the subject matter for students.
“At that time, teachers were the sole source of information. As English teachers, we concentrated on the writing skill of students and comprehension… most of it was functional learning. Even evaluations were based on textbook material… learning was mostly rote-based. Over the last few years, with exposure to technology and ICT material, the teachers’ role changed from being the sole giver of knowledge to being a facilitator. During this time, the syllabus started undergoing changes and so did the evaluation patterns… Students were scored on their skills and projects… they started seeking knowledge beyond textbooks that was encouraged by new marking patterns,” she said.

Devika Nadig, an educationist, said she feels that teacher-capacity building has been the most important change in the last few decades. “While a lot of people talk about ICT, a decade ago, corporates and others began looking at the way schools were run. One of the things revealed in the studies was that we rely heavily on rote memorisation… that perlocated down to teaching, as it was simply to memorise and the assessment was based on how the students could recall. The gamechanger was moving children to application-based learning… The other wave that came in around this time was the international schools – IB and other boards… As school education got more expensive, parents became consumers, earlier they demanded only marks, now they demand better teaching,” she said.

Introduction of technology in classrooms

However, educationists agree that one policy that has led to a sea change in the school education sector and transformed it completely is the integration of technology into classroom teaching. From state government projects to identify tech-savvy teachers to initiatives by private schools to introducing smart boards or tablets, integration of ICT into school education is the reality of today.

Lakshmi Kumar, director of The Orchid School, says that in the last two decades, one of the major changes in classroom teaching has been the introduction of smart boards, laptops, tablets with pre-loaded content, and introduction of YouTube into tutorials. “… Today, with ICT-enabled classrooms, a 40-minute explanation can be done in 10 minutes. Conceptual doubts are easier to resolve as students can be engaged through digital content and shown things practically. We have an opportunity now to move to the next step of the learning process, beyond mere recall and retention of concepts, to application and analysis… Even government-run Zilla Parishad schools are part of this digital evolution …,” she said.

Technology has also changed the relationship between parents and schools. Stating that school administrations have gained hugely from the use of technology, Kumar pointed out different ways of how it worked.; like instantly reaching out to parents, sharing information via e-circulars, and more.

RTE, regulatory laws and child-centric policies

Educationists unanimously agree that if there was one law that changed the way schools function, it was the introduction of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education. On one hand, it opened a window for quality education for all by reserving 25 per cent seats for students from low-income families; on the other hand, it also introduced child-centric policies like stricter laws on corporal punishment. “Until RTE was introduced, people viewed only physical harm to a student as child rights violation. But RTE mandated that no child could be mentally harassed…” said Shinde.

Shinde said it was the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which became operational around 2001, which started off the process before the RTE Act. “Through that programme, schools which were dilapidated or had no classrooms or toilets started getting funds, improving their condition,” she said.

Inclusive education

Another parallel movement working towards inclusion was trying to bring students with special needs into mainstream education. Not only did the RTE Act mandate a non-discriminatory policy, but various school boards rose to the occasion by introducing a slew of concessions. “In the late 1990s, if you had a special child, very few schools would dare to admit them… Now, with the concessions by boards, the RTE rules and general awareness among schools, the scenario is far better…,” added Kumar.

NASA's Juno Probe Completes Flyby of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

A NASA spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter began transmitting data and images on Tuesday from humanity’s closest brush with the Great Red Spot, a flyby of the colossal, crimson storm that has fascinated Earthbound observers for hundreds of years.

The Juno probe logged its close encounter with Jupiter’s most distinctive feature on Monday evening Pacific time as it passed about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the clouds of the mammoth cyclone.

But it will take days for readings captured by Juno’s array of cameras and other instruments to be delivered to scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and much longer still for the data to be analyzed.

Scientists hope the exercise will help unlock such mysteries as what forces are driving the storm, how long it has existed, how deeply it penetrates the planet’s lower atmosphere and why it appears to be gradually dissipating.

Astronomers also believe a greater understanding of the Great Red Spot may yield clues to the structure, mechanics and formation of Jupiter as a whole.

 NASA's Juno Probe Completes Flyby of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

“This is a storm bigger than the entire Earth. It’s been there for hundreds of years. We want to know what makes it tick,” said Steve Levin, the lead project scientist for the Juno mission at JPL.

Levin said the storm is believed to be powered by energy oozing from Jupiter’s interior combined with rotation of the planet, but the precise inner workings are unknown.

Some of the most valuable data from Monday’s flyby is expected to come from an instrument designed to peer into the red spot at six different depths, Levin said.

The churning cyclone ranks as the largest known storm in the solar system, measuring about 10,000 miles (16,000 km) in diameter with winds clocked at hundreds of miles (km) an hour around its outer edges. It appears as a deep, red orb surrounded by layers of pale yellow, orange and white.

The red spot has been continuously monitored from Earth since about 1830, though observations believed to have been of the same feature date back more than 350 years.

Once wide enough to swallow three Earth-sized planets, the famed Jovian weather system has been shrinking for the past 100 years and may eventually disappear altogether.

Still, the spot remains the most prominent characteristic of the solar system’s largest planet, a gargantuan ball of gas – mostly hydrogen and helium – 11 times the diameter of Earth with more than twice as much mass as all the other planets combined.

Monday’s encounter with the Great Red Spot was the latest of 12 flyby missions currently scheduled by NASA for Juno, which is to make its next close approach to Jupiter’s cloud tops on September 1.

Six ways e-learning can help enhance performance of employees

It is often said that the process of learning has no end, since knowledge is infinite. Yet many of us tend to become complacent about our knowledge and skills after acquiring a job. No wonder then that there is so much investment by successful corporate houses in training and development of their manpower to constantly assist and motivate their staff to continue the life-long process of learning.

This is where comprehensive e-learning methodologies come in. They help organisations ensure that their staff is on top of the skills they need, as per market trends. Corporates are now adopting technical and custom-made e-learning facilities that act as a learning reinforcement and alsonimprove learning effectiveness.

Here’s a more concise look at six specific ways in which e-learning adds value to employee training, upskilling and management.

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Cloud reaches everywhere

Uploading the learning module on cloud servers ensures that it can be shared digitally with every member of the organisation. Regular updates, comments and feedback can be gathered, stored and disseminated on the spot as well. Employees can carry out the learning process simultaneously with the job, thereby not hampering the workflow. Cloud-based learning platforms are also useful for employees who are on a leave yet want to remain abreast of the latest developments in the industry.

Customised e-learning

With e-learning, it is very easy to customise the modules according to the need of an individual. The learning process can be paced in a way that every member can compare her/his progress with the ideal time taken to understand a concept. Post classroom training, learners can still access online courses and specific job-aid videos to add more precision to their work.

For perfect sales pitch

E-learning modules are highly effective with sales personnel. Online courses on product training can act as good refreshers, and help describe the product better in a more cohesive and detailed manner to the buyers. Updated information regarding the competitor’s strategies in a certain domain can be quickly communicated to the sellers, who can then modify their pitch accordingly.

Quizzes and questions for a quick revision

A few e-learning providers have created their modules in a manner that allows personnel to recall the main pressure points regarding a particular product or process easily. At the click of a button, crisp questions and engaging quizzes comprehensively summarise the module. Such learning alleviates the sense of confidence of an employee regarding the task at hand, and acts as a strong support system.

Virtual study room for discussions

Discussion forums on e-learning platforms are great spots for keen learners to compare their knowledge base, share opinions and views, discuss problems, and have an overall healthy sense of competition. The presence of online leaderboards and top performers bring in the jostle of a competitive, academic atmosphere. Combined with the urgency of being the best at your job, this feature brings out the best in any employee.

SCORM model for systematic learning

The Sharable Content Object Reference Model or SCORM, an e-learning format on which most of the e-learning available in the market today is prepared, ensures that the learner experiences content in a standardised way. It allows content creators to build highly engaging experiences, all the while capturing rich data about every interaction.

An e-learning platform that can create engaging content comprising videos, animation, graphics etc., which motivates the employees to keep learning about their trade can work wonders for the development of a business. It also helps to act as an evaluatory mechanism for the eventual process of promotion or appraisals and facilitates identification of potential executives, managers and directors in the organisation. Corporate e-learning has indeed emerged as a powerful tool for organisations to identify the prospective leaders.