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Learning as a Service: The Ever-Changing Learning Environment

The digital revolution means that today, enterprises have access to training solutions on-the-fly, but digitising the learning environment should only be done with expert assistance.


Scalable learning – which includes Learning as a Service (LaaS) – is about extending learning beyond the traditional classroom environment, moving to one that creates an environment where people can come together and challenge each other’s ideas in order to create new practices through collaboration.


The author, John Seely Brown, describes scalable learning in the following manner: “it harnesses technology to augment the capabilities of people. Routine tasks do need to be automated, but for the purpose of freeing up people to explore new approaches to create even more value. In this context, one key dimension of learning is for workers to discover how to more effectively use increasingly powerful digital tools in specific contexts.”


When it comes to Learner Management Systems (LMS) as well as Learning as a Service (LaaS), however, the key to success lies in the enterprise truly understanding what it is they are buying. Ultimately, an LMS is simply a platform. Therefore, the question that organisations need to ask is simply this: ‘what do we want to achieve through training?’


The beauty of LaaS is that once enterprises have determined what they want to achieve through their training, it offers them the ability to rapidly scale up and down as required, while at the same time saving the costs related to hardware and the maintenance thereof.


With the scalability offered by LaaS, there is no need to wait for the required trainers to become available before instituting a training programme. The required learning can be made immediately available, reducing the time required to train the necessary personnel, as well as the costs associated with having to wait until trainers are forthcoming.


The main challenge, as already mentioned, is for the company to truly understand what it wants the outcome of the training to be. It is for this reason that when offering LaaS,  AltronBytes People Solutions undertakes a consultative process with the customer first, helping them determine their exact requirements and planning exactly how to achieve these.


One thing that is vital to any business that seeks to evolve to an e-learning environment, is to understand that it is an evolution – you cannot simply move wholesale from a traditionally structured on-premises environment to an e-learning one. It is important for them to realise that e-learning is essentially a journey to be undertaken, which is why we recommend they get their people used to the principle via a micro-learning approach, where the training is undertaken in short spurts, so that employees can become used to the idea first. Once this is achieved, the organisation can undertake a broader implementation, where LaaS becomes the accepted method of learning.


One of the biggest issues raised with respect to LaaS is that students are often unhappy when learning in isolation. For this reason, it is imperative that an option is provided to learners to enable them to interact with one another online, offering them a similar social component to that found in a standard classroom.


Therefore, adopting a LaaS solution that allows students to interact not only with the facilitator, but also with other students – which can be done via the LMS – is critical. There is no doubt that learners who are able to talk to and collaborate with others who are on the same journey, who are able to share additional information from external sources and who are able to assist each other with problems they encounter do far better than those that cannot.


The other distinct advantage of LaaS is that it affords the learners the ability to undertake the training in their own time and at their own pace. At the same time, learning paths are developed to ensure there remains structure to what they are doing and it is, of course, possible for managers to track the progress of those involved, so that the company can tell who is making progress and ensure that their money is being well spent.


Gamification can also be added to the LaaS experience, creating a scenario where friendly competition between learners is encouraged, and awards or even rewards can be earned by those who complete specific assessments first. Part of the reasoning here is to help make the learning fun, which means the overall experience of the training is more enjoyable for the learners.


LaaS should ideally consist of a mix of content designed specifically for individual customers, and generic training components, which are less costly and simple to plug into the overall programme. Altron Bytes People Solutions can, of course, assist clients with the crafting of organisation-specific content where required.


In the end, adopting a LaaS model enables enterprises to effectively outsource their entire training requirements, allowing them to focus more closely on their core business instead. And as LaaS is composed of multiple services, it is also possible to purchase individual components of the overall LaaS solution. This is crucial, as many companies that are new to the ideal of scalable learning solutions can find adopting it wholesale to be quite overwhelming.


Moreover, numerous enterprises have, in the past, had their fingers burned when adopting new solutions or methods, so it is recommended to start small – such as by utilising the solution for something like the corporate induction programme – and then expand LaaS incrementally into the organisation.


About Altron Bytes People Solutions:

Altron Bytes People Solutions is the largest South African-owned Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) solutions provider.

We strive to provide our clients with peace of mind by handling non-core, yet specialised functions from Business Process Outsourcing, Outsourced Learning Solutions, Youth Employment Solutions to Professional Development Training.