Leveraging Cloud Technologies: 5 benefits for E-Learning and Corporate Online Training

Leveraging Cloud Technologies

We are all aware of the key benefits of cloud computing: cost saving, scalability, flexibility and pay per use just to mention a few key differentiators between cloud and on premise technologies. These factors are really helping organizations of any size, any industry, and located literally anywhere, getting into new businesses faster than before.

However, any type of organization is required to have employees fully ready to face a fast paced business environment. For over 10 years, new methodologies of “getting your people ready” have been supporting the shift from instructor-led classes, to a virtual learning environment (E-Learning).

We should first consider that cloud computing can support training and development programmes and the related complexity. Such programmes are facing a deep restructuring within enterprises for several reasons and we can include the time of uncertainty due to this weird economic turmoil that in some cases has been a good opportunity to speed up the discover and the adoption of new technologies faster than before.

Cloud solutions are good at supporting cooperative learning as well as collaborative methods of instruction. They offer many benefits to e-learning by providing the infrastructure, platform and educational services directly through a cloud provider.

We are shifting from product to service at the moment, whereby shared information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network.

We should start asking ourselves a few simple questions….like:

  • What cloud really means?
  • Is it just a familiar cliché?
  • Where are the opportunities?
  • What are the real benefits for my company and employees?

Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT's existing capabilities.

The post PC era is unleashing the “IT As a Service” Journey to the Cloud  via the adoption of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS that will give to Enterprises of any size the unprecedented opportunity to create a more agile infrustraucture, leveraging light weight, scalable and elastic technologies.

E-Learning is based on the use of approaches with diverse functionality (e-mail, Web pages, forums, learning platforms, and so on) as a support of the process of teaching-learning. The Cloud Computing environment rises as a natural platform to provide support to E-Learning systems since it can be dynamically adapted by providing a scalable system for changing necessities along time.

Here are some examples that emerged as cloud projects roll along

  1. Budget: it is not a blocker!
    This is a sort of never ending story within organizations of any size. The first assumption is really simple: we cannot stop our people from learning and developing their skills, but we should be able to find alternatives and applicable solutions. Learning Management Systems in this respect are a real plus: SCORM standard allows you to track and monitor the training, and there is a real time checking and reporting to help you understanding which program should be rolled out.  There are E-Learning solution providers that have already addressed the concerned of those people that are afraid of cold and virtual learning environments. Also asynchronous learning can be humanized by leveraging other cloud applications integrated in one single platform: Live chat softwares, web conferencing tools, social media (SSO), forums, chats and wiki to support live learners. These integrations are simple and cost effective as a Cloud based LMS solutions give the opportunity to pay only what organizations really use, with no hidden costs. It is definitely possible to set up a learning management system without straining your budget.
  2. Environmentally friendly with E-Learning
    Going green is one of the key pillars of Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy, which requires the adoption of a business model that not only is certified but it is also shared and communicated in a very detailed manner. In this respect, E-Learning by its very nature is a unique opportunity that can help companies achieve CO2 emission reduction. To better manage travels, companies are investing in new technology deployments and inviting their employees to take advantage of collaboration tools, messaging and videoconferencing systems to organize virtual meeting and online trainings.For distance learning, the market is now offering interesting solutions and technologies that require minimal organizational efforts and sometimes few or no IT skills. The change is fairly simple and possible.The strategic decision to develop and manage Corporate E-Learning Trainings (fully virtual or blended) is an opportunity to contribute to the protection of the environment and promote corporate brand reputation as a leader committed to green issues.
  3. Managing your people through SaaS technologies
    Identifying talented individuals within a company is important because organizations need them to face everyday business challenges and remain competitive.A company is required to build an environment around them to let talented people perform according to their qualities. Otherwise, they will be wasted talents, and a missed opportunities. You have to plan a rewarding program for a talented pool or they will leave your Organization as soon as the market presents the right opportunities. Through ad hoc e-learning or blend programmes a pool of high potential individuals, those guys that stand out from the crowd can be identified and helped with specific career plans. A complete Cloud base solution gives companies everything they need to achieve, measure, and continuously improve business execution through people. Driving alignment, optimizing workforce performance, can  accelerate business results.
  4. Have fun with E-Learning & Gamification via Cloud Learning Management Systems
    Many Companies, especially the largest ones, have internal rewarding systems that are extremely complex and connected to career paths and programs based on opportunities of professional development and training; international mobility, talent management for the high potential pool of talents and, last but not least, remuneration packages with incentive schemes based on performance, objectives and related benefits. Gamification and learning communities are implemented in order to create more interest, attention and interaction, or to engage learners to solve various problems and thanks Cloud technologies are helping organizations moving towards the “total engagement” of employees in order to create an active interaction in training and communication above all if these happens in virtual environments.
  5. Informal Learning: from theory to real life experience
    According to classical studies there are three learning methods: formal, non-formal and informal. These three learning practices are 3 pedagogical challenges, 3 systems that have to be managed and 3 different investments for organizations. Only by activating all these processes simultaneously the company can achieve an effective Life Long Learning program.The non-formal learning is always convoyed by a more formal approach that is becoming an extension, a sort of enrichment, a greater opportunity, a quality element that brings the learning experience to a higher level. In this broader framework contaminated by non-formal learning, for over 10 years the e-learning technologies have been supporting the shift from instructor led class to virtual learning.

In conclusion, the cloud has and will have tremendous potential in the eLearning world and organizations have the opportunity to quickly and economically access various application platforms and resources through the web pages on-demand. This automatically reduces the cost of organizational expenses and offers more powerful functional capabilities. A key recommendation is to adopt the best of breeze and from shift a “product” to a “service” approach which means an integrated E-Learning Ecosystem of LMS, Courses and Apps Marketplace, accessible in one click.

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