Oracle last week embraced social- and mobile-enabled learning management with the release of Oracle Learning Cloud, a new service described as following a shift in corporate learning.
That shift is away from formal, classroom-style courseware and learning modules and toward less-formal training, epitomized by how-to videos captured on mobile devices and shared on social networks. Oracle already offers traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) with Oracle Learn Cloud (acquired along with Taleo) and on-premises LMS options PeopleSoft Learning Management and iLearning for E-Business Suite. Oracle Learning Cloud supports the latest approaches to training.
"These days people are learning by sharing videos on YouTube or going to Kahn Academy, Coursera, or other sources online," explained Gretchen Alarcon, VP, HCM Strategy at Oracle in a phone interview with InformationWeek. "We looked at that trend and decided to bring that style of peer-to-peer learning into the enterprise."
[ Want more on social, mobile learning management? Read SAP On Cloud HR: Q&A With Mike Ettling. ]
Using smartphones or tablets, salespeople are sharing video product demos, retailers are creating how-to-merchandize videos, and field-service staff are capturing maintenance-and-repair videos, for example. Oracle Learning Cloud is designed to enable employees at any level to create such videos, and HR or business leaders can then curate these and other assets, such as images, infographics, documents, or even massively open online courses (MOOCs) into learning tracks geared to specific departments and roles.
"A manager can point to these tracks and say, 'I would like people in my organization to learn the following, so please follow this track,'" said Alarcon.
Oracle Learning Cloud can be used in stand-alone fashion, but it's also integrated with the Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud and its employee profile systems. Thus, employees can share with peers and promote career development on their own by following leaders and role models to see what videos or documents they've shared or watched.
Oracle is far from the first to observe the trend toward social, mobile, and particularly informal, video-based training. Independents including SumTotal and large rivals including IBM (with Kenexa) and SAP (with SuccessFactors) have already added informal social and mobile learning options to their portfolios. SAP is the most recent to embrace this approach, having introduced a Quick Guides capability within SuccessFactors last fall that lets people use an iOS or Android phone or tablet to create, publish, and share short learning modules including video, pictures, and text.
Oracle Learning Cloud, too, puts the emphasis on peer-to-peer content development. "HR and business leaders must … create a culture where employees want to share their knowledge and encourage them to engage with each other in new and creative ways," said Chris Leone, senior VP, Oracle HCM Development. "The new Oracle Learning Cloud helps companies provide employees with a consumer-like experience to help retain and develop the talent they need to be successful."
Oracle says Oracle Learning Cloud can be integrated with its more conventional LMS to create a comprehensive learning environment that supports formal training for regulated learning requirements.
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