Optimizing learning processes has always played an existential role within companies. For equally long however, a limited budget, tight schedules and managers who are not easily convinced of new suggestions have put a challenge to that development. Costly in-house developments within e-learning have been out of question for many companies. A radical change comes with the introduction of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
With Software-as-a-Service solutions companies realise online training for employees, partners and customers without extensive outlays and with a low investment risk – and without needing to change existing systems.
Software-as-a-Service learning platforms are cloud-based. They are therefore supplied on the external servers of a service provider. This results in 5 decisive advantages for companies – plus 1.
Plus 1: Integration with internal company systems
With the aid of APIs it is possible to connect SaaS platforms to internal ERP systems. This eases the exchange of data, such as the allocation of names and email addresses, between the company and the online training platform.
If an internal Learning Management System (LMS) already exists within the company then it is often aligned towards longer-term personnel development. In contrast, an SaaS platform facilitates competence-based online training. An SaaS solution may be a stand-alone solution, or it may serve as an expedient and economical supplement to an existing LMS.
With SaaS training, learning content is available in small, individually accessible “learning bites”. The buzzword here is Microlearning. With this approach, learners are able to access contents quickly and according to their actual requirements, as their position and situation presently demand it – i.e. on a competence and needs basis.
Microlearning helps sustaining content learned in training sessions. For example, questions that arise following local product training sessions can be intercepted through Microlearning: Because it is with the everyday use of new products that the majority of questions arise. In such cases it is possible to access the corresponding Microlearning chapter “in a flash” and clarify questions directly without extensive effort. This combination of on-site training and Microlearning really does make courses more effective and particularly valuable for companies.
If a company opts to use a cloud-based online training solution, it should consider the hosting country. The country in which the service provider’s servers are located, makes a big difference for data protection against access by third parties. Many companies use servers in the USA. Based on the Patriot Act, data can be accessed any time, without a judicial order. This is undesirable, not least when it comes to sensitive contents. When selecting a provider it is therefore important to question where the servers are located – the data centre would ideally be based in the EU and the provider accordingly subject to the strict European data protection laws.