Many of us see technology training as a necessary evil. You sacrifice a couple of days to go to an offsite location and learn about the new software product you’re installing, or you spend a week in a conference room onsite looking at PowerPoint slides or a recorded demo.
With the technology available today, there’s no need for training to disrupt schedules and take employees away from other productive work. With the latest developments in cloud-based learning solutions, training providers can offer education whenever and wherever clients need it, giving employees, customers and partners options to partake in virtual instructor-led training as well as self-paced courses, or a combination of classroom and lab work. On the client side, there’s no waiting for an open class and no sitting in a room for hours on end. You learn at your own pace, in ways targeted to you — including real-life situations.
The revolution in cloud-based training provides some serious benefits, and as with any new technology, it introduces some challenges. There are two important benefits cloud-based learning platforms provide, and related challenges companies can learn to avoid.
Class Whenever, Wherever You Want
This, of course, is what everyone thinks of when they think of online training. No longer do you need to block out days at a time to be unavailable to your clients. You complete the training whenever you want, from wherever you want.
One of the most limiting factors of traditional training is simply that it’s held in a physical location. That means it can fill up. We’ve all had this happen, and it’s always with the classes we need most. Having to wait for a training that’s six months out for a skill you or your employees need right now isn’t a sustainable model. For providers, waiting to train customers slows onboarding, and can cost you business.
Modern cloud-based training solutions have the dual benefits of delivering training wherever you are, at an almost unlimited scale. So, your employees or customers never miss a training because they can’t make it to the location, or because a class fills up.
For example, ForgeRock, an identity relationship management company, needed to scale up its training program to support the company’s rapid growth. Its training program consists of intensive courses that provide students with hands-on experience in realistic lab environments. ForgeRock University trainees do not have time to wait for classes, so the company implemented an automated training system. This allows students to gain the training and lab experience they require, at their convenience in both time and location.
Challenge: Keep the Classroom Experience
The great thing about cloud-based training is that if you learn best from the couch at home, an airport lounge, your desk at work or anywhere in between, that’s where you take the training.
It’s important, though, that wherever you are, you’re able to keep some of the experiences of the classroom. After all, some of the most valuable training moments can come from the discussions, the collaboration and the camaraderie formed when people take classes together.
With cloud training platforms, you don’t have to lose out on that experience. For example, virtual classrooms can provide functionality that allows students to interact on problems and exercises. ForgeRock leverages the cloud so its trainers can interact directly with students, even from continents away. Both students and teachers attest that this ability is greatly beneficial to the educational process.
Real-World Simulations with No Risk
We’ve all heard various versions of the phrase, “the best way to learn is by doing.” A critical, non-negotiable part of any technical training is letting learners get on the technology and work with it. Just as virtual classrooms help students get the interactions they need, virtual training labs deliver the hands-on, realistic scenarios that help students cement their learning.
Let’s face it: software environments are complex; and users must have a broad and deep understanding of each product to make sure they can use it correctly in any given scenario. Practicing in a dedicated training environment, without worrying about breaking something, is critical to developing the skills and confidence required to operate any software product in any environment.
The benefits from an administrator’s point of view are also worth noting. When you integrate your cloud-based learning platforms, those providing the training have total visibility into what each learner has accomplished, and what they’re planning on doing next. Based on this data, you can tweak your courses to make sure you’re providing customers and employees the correct materials and skills to reach their goals.
Challenge: Make Sure Simulations Are Relevant
Trainers must be able to customize pieces of training for different learners, different customers and different use cases. Being able to replicate almost any real-world situation, no matter how complex, in a lab setting assures both the customer and the training provider that students will be able to use products effectively when they move to working in a production environment.
Being ready to work in a production environment means your simulations have to take things into consideration beyond just the product you’re training on. Security, interactions between products and networking are high on that list. Cloud-based training labs let you customize your scenarios to a great degree to make sure you take these factors into account.
ForgeRock can offer its students a realistic, replicated laboratory environment where they can gain the real-world experience with the platform they need. Course developers can quickly and easily create and deploy customized course curricula and labs at scale. ForgeRock plans to continue to grow its educational ecosystem at a rate of 100 to 150 percent.
Cloud-Based Training: Flexible, Applicable Learning
Training doesn’t have to stop your life or your company’s. You don’t have to wait for months to get a spot. It doesn’t have to be rote classroom learning. Cloud-based training platforms help provide effective, hands-on training that providers and students need, while still providing the benefits of more traditional classroom settings.
Feature image via Pixabay.
The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: Real.