Training Industry

E-Learning

  • Online Learning Libraries Expand Lifelong Learning to Corporate Customers

Organizations are increasingly using online learning libraries to provide employees with access to the content they need when they need it and on the device they want to use. However, it’s important to ensure that the materials available to learners will actually help them improve their jobs. Two providers, Coursera and CreativeLive, have recently expanded their successful consumer products to enterprise customers, using technology and data to help their clients accomplish that goal.

CreativeLive is an online course platform for creative professionals that announced a $25 million funding round and enterprise business in May. Reporting more than 10 million students in its consumer business, the company launched its enterprise offering to clients including Red Bull, Adobe, Microsoft, Pinterest and Etsy. In addition to offering a customizable online learning portal to those companies, CreativeLive provides custom content creation for their customers.

“Creative skills, design thinking and a growth mindset were once thought to be ‘nice to haves,’ whereas today we know that they are critical attributes for success,” says Chase Jarvis, founder and CEO of CreativeLive. “This is a key reason we’re expanding our enterprise offering.” He adds that the current business environment has a “relentless pace of change and growing uncertainty,” which require organizations to “field the team with the best skills.”

Julia Stiglitz, vice president of enterprise at Coursera, agrees. Seeing that a large number of companies were already sending employees to Coursera for education, the company decided to launch Coursera for Business last year “to partner directly with companies to develop a curated learning path that addresses the rapidly evolving needs of their company, industry and the global workforce.” Helping companies provide continuous learning for their employees, she notes, also helps them recruit and retain top talent. L’Oreal, for example, is working with Coursera to upskill more than 80,000 employees around the world in areas like leadership, digital marketing and software development.

Coursera recently announced a $64 million Series D funding round to, among other goals, expand the enterprise business and its master’s degree program, which partners with universities to develop flexible graduate degrees in high-demand areas like data science. “Working adults face a constant need to reskill or change careers, driving demand for graduate and professional degrees,” says Stiglitz. “But traditional degrees that require significant money and time investments are not an option for this new lifelong learner, and alternative credentials have become an imperative.” True lifelong learning, in Coursera’s view, requires both formal degree programs and shorter courses.

Companies come to learning library companies like CreativeLive and Coursera with different needs. Jarvis says CreativeLive’s clients “come to us to create a library that gives their teams instant access to a truly world-class education that will help them see around corners, create game-changing products, services and experiences – and ultimately, build a sustainable competitive advantage and unlock growth.”

At Coursera, Stiglitz says clients typically are looking to accomplish one of two goals. The first is to train a team on a skill set such as coding, data analytics or graphic design. The second is “to develop or strengthen a culture around learning.” In that case, Coursera provides “a broad catalogue of courses from which their employees can choose.” Machine learning powers individuals’ searches for courses by matching them with the content that will help them reach their goals. Because of the large number of users, the platform can use big data to support that process.

“Lifelong learning – particularly self-directed, skill-based education – is the new paradigm,” Jarvis says. “It’s most likely to happen on the job, because the world isn’t going to stop and let any of us catch up.” Learning libraries are one possible solution to organizations’ need to upskill employees quickly and on demand.

Taryn Oesch, CPTM, is an editor at Training Industry, Inc.

Training Industry recently released its inaugural Top 20 Online Learning Library Companies List. See which companies made the list.

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