CLOUD COMPUTING AND ELEARNING
Mobility, digitization and outsourcing all played a part in the emergence of Cloud Computing. The concept of Cloud Computing first appeared in the 1990s. Since then, the cloud has not stopped growing – the market for cloud-based services topped $146 million in 2016. The question becomes: What advantages does Cloud Computing bring to eLearning?
Cloud Computing “is a service born from a new concept which offers access to computer data or application services” (www.marketing-professionnel.fr
). It is a network that can be accessed via the internet which can be operated though any device (laptop, tablet and smart phone.)
Concretely speaking, companies that opted for this solution were able to do away with internal servers given they were now able to have direct access to online services. Applications and data are no longer on computers, but instead are housed on servers that are accessible remotely.
Online training programs and Cloud Computing were bound to intersect due to the nature of their respective services. Given the way e-learning systems take up hardware software resources, Cloud Computing can represent an enticing opportunity for the field of e-learning. So how does this all boil down?
- An immediate operational start without investments in hardware and with boundless evolution potential.
- Its scaling flexibility (use of LMS with its basic functions combined with use of the Cloud as needed)
- A catalogue of integrated training programs, e-commerce tools, etc.
- Compatibility with mobile support which can interface with the leading software on the market.
- The management of hundreds of trainees with pricing established by groups of active users.
- Access to all data anytime and collaboration functionality that is fluid and in real time.
- Sharing of resources
- Controlling costs
Despite all the aforementioned advantages, companies remain wary of Cloud Computing due primarily to security offered by having data stocked on these servers. Essentially, confidential data like personal information of their employees ending up on the cloud in light of a possible security breach would then expose this sensitive information.
From a user’s standpoint, it is the necessity to be connected in order to have access to services that could pose a problem. Certain applications do allow for training to occur offline with the transfer of data being made once connectivity is possible.
In conclusion, we can say that eLearning passing through Cloud Learning is a reality that has arrived and several companies have taken that step. This move can foster the development of remote training through both its ease of use and simple management as well as reducing costs. Cloud Computing is a definite source of growth for digital training, but security issues remain a major road block to its integration by the e-learning community.
Caroline Irrmann, web editor