It’s the beginning of Q2 and companies have now crystalised their plans for the rest of the year. A big part of this plan includes recruitment and L&D (call it training, call it talent development or call it L&D, they are all the same at the end).
Now is the time for L&D managers, heads of people, talent managers to search for solutions and prepare their shopping list based on the available budget for training in 2019.
And it’s not only them, but the whole world is also looking for alternative, efficient and affordable education. Bill Gates summarised the problem nicely: “I read more than my share of textbooks,” Gates says. “But it’s a pretty limited way to learn something. Even the best text can’t figure out which concepts you understand and which ones you need more help with.” Software can be used to create a much more dynamic learning experience, he says.
That’s why we have prepared this list. I have been studying this market for the past 7 years of my life and have either tried (even beta-tested the early versions of some of these products) or bought some of these solutions before understanding the gap in this market and starting Knowledge Officer. Our vision is to help companies find the shortest and most efficient path to employment and career progression and help them develop their ever-evolving and evergreen learning playbooks for different departments.
Before naming specific products, let me first name 5 main categories of providers and market players to be able to paint the full picture. The L&D market is so fragmented and with some estimates of a value of more than £200 Billion, there is a lot of competition!
1) MOOCs (Massive online open courses)
MOOCs started in 2012 with the Launch of Udacity, Coursera and Edx and these three still among the largest providers in this space. There are now more than 50 providers in this space including those which offers a mix of B2C and corporate training. Some examples include Udacity For Business, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Edx, Skill Share and many more.
MOOCs have been around for some time now and they have fundamental gaps in their model that prevent them from being “the” solution to the Skills Gap problem:
- Pricing is too high for SMEs and small startups with an average of $200/user/month
- Learning lacks context and structure. They represent more or less a repository of knowledge where you still face information overload and no clear path to mastery and progression.
- Mostly long video content is supported.
- Courses are partially personalised but 2 engineers or product managers would take the same exact course although their background, skills gap and learning styles might be different.
- They mostly focus on developing skills rather than mapping a complete career path. In addition to that, their courses are driven by experts curation which has its own limitation in terms of how updated/scalable they are.
Bootcamps are a booming business nowadays with more than 40 in US and Europe. They focus on fixing the gap between education and industry with some even offering job-guarantee as part of their model. A lot of innovation both in terms of business and learning has been happening in this space over the past years with the rise of ISA (income share agreement) and mixing online with offline learning. Some examples of those include: Make School, Lambda School, General Assembly, Jolt, Flat Iron and many more.
Some of the current gaps we have identified in this space include:
- With a lot done offline, these models are much less scalable than MOOCs while the quality might be sometimes higher.
- Given the nature of these providers, learning is not really personalised.
- Tuition fees are super high with an average of £10,000 which is a massive investment for an SME sending a member of the team to prepare for his transition into a new role/career.
- Content merely relies on industry experts which can be biased and not relying on real data and market-driven approach.
3) Skills Training Apps
There are hundreds of mobile apps on Google Play or the App store to help you learn specific work-related skills whether in business, product or engineering. With a lot of them now moving into the B2B space, you can find some interesting apps that offer good learning-on-the-go solutions for employees. Examples of these include Enki, Solo Learn, Py, Smartly and many more.
These platforms inherent some of the problems of MOOCs and Bootcamps but have some specific ones including:
- Content quality can be poor for some topics depending on the stage of these companies and how developed their content teams and experts are.
- They lack the connection between the job market and the skills you need to earn to excel in these jobs.
- Their analytics and reporting capabilities which are very important aspect of L&D is fairly limited
4) LMSs (Learning Management Systems)
One of the biggest providers directly hitting businesses with pitches and filling the space of learning technologies events! I have researched more than 35 providers in this space including Degreed, Pluralsights, Learnably, Smartup and many more and have come to some conclusions beside some problems they share with MOOCs:
- A Lot of the platforms in this space are in the category of knowledge management and content sharing rather than learning and career development.
- Most of the platforms in this space (except very few) rely on mere content aggregation which presents a lot of noise and offers a very low personalisation aspect.
- The very good ones are expensive compared to the offering with pricing as high as £50 /user/month
5) Path-to-Employment Platforms
A new category in this space offering a direct link and connection between employment and market demand from one side and learning from the other side. This space is relatively new and this is where we believe Knowledge Officer excels as a category-defining company!
Our vision is to develop the shortest and most efficient path to employment and career progression. Imagine what could we do when we have millions of job posts and employees profiles for thousands of fast-growing companies! By digesting this huge signals around the most in-demand skills and comparing it with the skills people already have, we are literally benchmarking the skills of companies and their employees in the whole industry of tech!
Our edge and unique selling points lie in the fact that:
- Our market and data-driven approach mean that our learning paths are constantly evolving and true reflecting for the market demand.
- Our learning paths are structured in a way that helps you learn faster by focusing on the necessary skills and offering true personalisation of micro-learning content for competency-based learning.
- We curate and don’t create content which means we can scale to as many careers and industries as our services can handle and our machine learning models can digest! 🙂
- Our learning paths keep improving with every learner joining the platform. With 100K users on the platform at the moment and adding thousands every month, these paths became very unique and comprehensive!
- Our pricing starts at £6 /user/month for companies!
Hope this useful for you while shopping for the best platform to use for your company and If you are interested in a full list of the products under each category, please get in touch and I am happy to share.
If you are interested to try Knowledge Officer, please leave a comment or submit a request on our business page.
Enjoy Happy shopping!
This content was originally published on LinkedIn on April 30, 2019.