A Learning Journey in the Cloud
In the customized cloud learning journey, there are four classes that take about 11 weeks to complete: Cloud for Managers, a Cloud FastTrack, Cloud for Analysts, and Cloud Design and Architecture for higher level engineers. Most classes are 2-3 days long and employees get a few weeks break between classes to go back to work and apply what they learned.
Some 600 company employees will take this learning journey, which began in late 2016 and continued through mid-2018, and the time in between classes is just as important as the learning itself. The classroom training emphasizes best practices such as cloud security and how to keep data safe, involves multiple assessments so that instructors can stay abreast of students’ proficiencies, and lab times to do challenges and some gamification. “A cloud subject matter expert is in frequent communication with the instructor,” VanWanseele said.
The Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the instructor work together to design the curriculum for the organization’s particular objectives and needs. “This course could not be taught at any other company; it’s very customized because of input from the executive sponsor and the SME, who provide insight into how they do things, their problems, and the pain points.”
11 Week Journey
In a customized cloud learning journey, four classes take about 11 weeks to complete. Most classes are 2-3 days long, and employees get a few weeks to break between them to apply what they’ve learned on the job.
Some 600 company employees will take this learning journey, which began in late 2016 and continued through mid-2018, and the time in between classes is just as important as the learning itself.
A subject matter expert should work with the instructor to design program curriculum to meet the organization’s particular objectives and needs.
Connect Cloud Learning to the Business
This company’s cloud learning journey had definitive connections to its business.
Mentoring from an SME while on-the-job is as important as the classroom training.
It’s important to create a multi-modal learning journey vs. a singular event. To truly accelerate learning nothing can beat a mix of Computer Based Training (CBT), self-paced training and mentoring on the job.
Real world projects allow instructors and other learning stakeholders to be confident that employees understand what’s going on.
The Importance Of Learning On-The-Job
David Linthicum, Chief Cloud Strategy Officer for Deloitte Consulting, said that mentoring from an SME while on-the-job is as important as the classroom training. In fact, the Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise author said that working with an experienced peer can cement new learning immediately and ensure its application. Further, the mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be an expert. He said it’s more important that the individual has a solid IT background.
Storage, memory, programming; this kind of foundation coupled with the ability to answer questions and walk the learner through different challenges, “if you team those things up that seems to be what’s most effective in my world.”
The idea goes back to the importance of creating learning as a multimodal journey versus a singular event. Great classroom training is necessary, but to truly accelerate learning nothing can beat a mix of Computer Based Training (CBT), self-paced training and the ability to mentor on the job.
“They get the technical details…but that’s ineffective unless you’re able to do it, and do it very shortly after you learn it,” he explained. “If I took a course on cloud architecture in January, and then I was put on a project in July, chances are I probably forgot half of what I learned. That mentoring lets people come out of those projects as much of an expert as the people who have 2-3 years of experience.”
Celebrate and Reflect at the End of the Learning Journey
After the learning journey ends, employees officially graduate. Each group of 3 or 4 people go before the executive sponsor and a crowd of their company peers and cloud classmates, and report on their group projects. They state their business problem as it pertains to the cloud, demonstrate to the audience what they did to produce a solution, and discuss what they learned. There’s a Q&A at the end of each presentation. Then the executive sponsor comments on each project and states whether or not their work could be implemented into the business at some point.
“The report out at the end is cool because people can assimilate their thoughts and look back at what they learned, how they learned it and how they’re thinking differently about the problem,” Linthicum said. “It’s always good to ground your technical acumen with the needs of the business; and to do that in a structured environment to get some feedback from your peers, mentors and other people you’re dealing with.”
Creating a multi-modal cloud learning journey accelerated learning and increased the speed with which the popular global coffee company was able to securely move apps into the cloud. From 2017 to 2018, the company experienced an ROI of 400% growth in app development. Its technical talent is now moving on to more advanced training curriculum on topics like: key vault utilization, emerging threats and the Open Web Application Security Project.