Over the past decade, new technologies have transformed the way organizations buy and consume new capabilities. The revolution began in the data center, where the cloud made it possible to deliver “software as a service,” but it is now spreading to other areas of the business. The “as a service” model replaces big capital investments like software and equipment, which organizations previously needed to buy and maintain, with capabilities provided on demand over the networks.
In an educational context, “Education as a Service” (EaaS) means that students and institutions are increasingly able to follow specific areas of study, unbundled from complete programs and degrees. Educational thought leaders are admonishing institutions of higher learning to embrace EaaS as a delivery model to meet the needs of today’s students. According to a post at the Qlik blog:
Students should assess their current competencies, the competencies required to get the job of their choice, and work with the higher education organization on the resulting gap. All students should be able to earn credits quickly for existing knowledge and engage in deeper learning with new information valued in today’s corporate workplace. The class times become variable, set at a student’s pace to master the required skills. If done right, the student is a “customer for life” and continues to learn new competencies as their workforce evolves and demands it.
The content offered should be updated constantly, just like Software as a Service offerings, with a real-time connection with the corporate world and a perspective to train people to be successful in the face of uncertain situations.
As with technology-as-a-service, the advantages of this approach are personalization, affordability and rapid scalability.
EaaS is personalized because each student has access to areas of learning of greatest relevance to them, and can pursue them at their own pace. It’s affordable because it’s priced according to individual courses and levels of subject matter, not an entire program or degree curriculum. It’s scalable because, like software delivered through the cloud, organizations can rapidly extend access across business groups, geographies and job classifications as needed, just by turning on more capacity.
The term “Education as a Service” is new, but experts in the learning space have been familiar with the concept for decades. Core skills like Business English are best delivered through the EaaS model, giving organizations the flexibility to extend skills to the workforce as a discrete capability that can be added to an existing corporate training model or deployed as a standalone program.