HPE is on a journey with our customers, to introduce digital learning and blended learning experiences. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive – and surprisingly varied. In this article, I will share some of these responses as examples of how Education Services are changing shape as our customers change their training requirements.
eLearning is not new to the world of technical training, having been offered in some form since CBTs in the 80’s. However, there are a combination of factors that make the current blended learning approach more effective and acceptable for IT training. In fact, the shift that we are experiencing as we respond to customer needs is that on-demand online training is fast becoming the preferred training mode. Some of the factors behind this trend include:
- Social media and the presence of digital natives within the workforce – who grew up with this technology and who are highly adept at using it for learning
- The growth and wide acceptance of virtual training delivery – complete with virtual lab access to ensure hands-on skills development which is nearly the same as being in the classroom physically
- The need for more efficiency in learning – with students less able to sit through a review of content that they already know, to get to the new information
As the lead for developing the Digital Learner program at HPE, I have had the opportunity to speak with many hundreds of customers and partners around the globe about our service and the challenges that it is intended to address for our customers. I have heard similar challenges and reactions from them in the process.
“My customer wants custom training and modular, searchable content”
A commonly stated challenge that I hear from our reseller partners who work closely with HPE customers, is that they need training which is custom. When I probe into this statement, what I have understood is that customers need specific training, on the new technology component that they want to use, at the time and place that they are trying to use it.
Thinking about traditional technology training like instructor-led classes, you can understand the problem for the IT professionals trying to focus on their new technology components. First, this is going to be different – specific – for each customer. Second, the customer doesn’t necessarily have the ability to find the training that they want at the time that they receive the new technology; maybe it is 6 months or more before they can attend a training class.
This is one of the problems that HPE Digital Learner is designed to address: it provides access to the exact training module, at the exact time and place that an IT professional needs to receive it. The content is indexed, searchable and book-markable – enabling you to find exactly what you need, and to revisit it as many times as is required.
This is a better type of training experience for those that need a “custom” or personalized set of content, at point-of-need and at time-of-need.
“My organization can only afford to send one person to training at a time”
Typically, when an organization sends a person to training, that person is out of office – or at least not able to do normal work – for the entire period of the training. This puts more pressure on others in the team who have to pick up that workload. When the individual returns, the expectation is that he or she will do their best to share what they learned in the training for the benefit of the entire team.
This is not an ideal situation for anyone involved. In fact, the entire team needs training – for example, IDC tells us that it’s not until a team gets to the tipping point of ~50% of the people within the team being trained that productivity gains expected from training will start to show up. However, organizations cannot afford it – either in terms of the time and disruption, nor the actual cost of the training – for all of the people in the team who need it.
HPE Digital Learner is designed to enable teams of people, and to put training in their reach. Because the content is modular, people can more easily access the training when and how they need it to support their skills development – but without the challenges normally associated with technical training.
Using this type of an approach, the entire team has access to the training instead of just one individual person. Also, the business is more likely to see the expected benefits of the training – such as productivity gains, higher profitability and innovation.
“I need to know where to start my training – I am overwhelmed with too many options”
“Where do I start when I need to become a cloud administrator?”, and other similar types of questions, are commonly voiced by our customers. Sorting through the many potential topics and ways of attending training often overwhelms individuals and leads to inaction. There are literally so many options out there, that finding the option that fits best and gets to the outcome needed most efficiently is too hard.
HPE Digital Learner organizes content into proven learning paths (see Figure 1 below), which are prescribed according to role and outcome. The training content provided is guided – and leverages the expertise of HPE technologists and learning specialists, to ensure that people are led efficiently through the process of developing new skills and shifting into new roles according to their preferences and the requirements of their organization.
“I cannot be sure that the person I sent to training really got anything out of it”
Another advantage of the digital approach to skills development that is provided by HPE Digital Learner, is that the progress made by students in their learning journeys and as they use courses can be measured. If it is happening digitally, it can be collected in metrics. It can be reported on, it can be analyzed, it can be proven to deliver value and it can be remediated when there are challenges.
This is all a new world of digital delivery, and one that we see offering better access to more efficient hands-on learning for customer teams, with better ability to measure usage – and to know which content is better and worse for the people receiving the training.
Our Education Services team is proud to offer this type of solution to our customers, as we stand on the brink of the switch-over to digital delivery of technical training to our customer teams and communities. We look forward to learning more as we continue to engage with our customers as they progress their own journeys to receiving this type of technical training, as well.