Educational Design: Going International With The Cloud
Instructional design: going global with the cloud
In a previous article titled “SMEs: Evolution or Revolution in a Post-pandemic World,” I pointed out a coming reality that is our traditional methods of dealing with change management in due to the exponential growth of cross-disciplinary knowledge, advancing technology, and the pandemic our business organizations must change. Over 20 years ago, in a great book called The Organization of the Future (2000), the Peter Drucker Foundation predicted that the day would come when we could no longer act like “deer caught in the spotlight” when it came to it going to manage change.
Peter Senge pointed out in a later work entitled The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (2006) that business organizations must proactively ensure that their organizations focus on continuous learning as a key priority for healthy future business organization. The day they predicted is here now. We are faced with the question: are we still the deer in the proverbial headlights, still afraid of change and still acting responsively instead of planning proactively?
The cloud is developing
If, as a result of the pandemic, business organizations and their employees are enabled to have 99% of their activities done in the online environment, what does it mean for anyone involved in providing effective, engaging, and efficient learning experiences for their employees? The priority, of course, is to continually improve employee knowledge and skills, which should translate into higher employee performance metrics. One thing to be considered by decision makers is: The growth of intellectual capital in business organizations in the age of information and technology will determine the winners and losers in the new global business climate!
The obvious question we have to ask is how we can capitalize on it and shape it so that we are not only local but also global actors.
To answer this, let’s look at a technological innovation that has quickly become a very important tool for all global companies: the cloud. We already use the cloud services from various providers of technology companies such as Google (Google Drive, Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, Hangouts etc.), Dropbox, Microsoft Cloud (One Drive, Office 365 etc.) and of course Apple iCloud (iCloud Drive, iPhone, iPhoto, etc.). How does the cloud work? A great YouTube video called “Cloud Computing in 6 Minutes” by Simplilearn (below) describes the basics well.
The most efficient and effective way to design and deliver eLearning experiences is to use the elements that define the cloud, as instead of having a localized focus, instruction designers and the companies they belong to must think globally to do so be competitive. One solution is to set up a private cloud that offers the following advantages:
In a private cloud setup, servers are reserved for your own business so you can customize them to suit your own business specifications.
- Enhanced Security
In a private cloud setup, only your company has access to private data.
As we all know, compliance with safety, environmental and business regulations is a must to be consistent with the laws and regulations governing your specific business. This gives you a head start in practicing your technology over the competition.
If something goes wrong with data storage, a private cloud setup allows for a faster turnaround time to fix the problem.
This could be one way, but when we look at the need for global collaboration, a better solution might be to use something called a “hybrid cloud”. A hybrid cloud setup enables a company to move its workloads between internal and private and public clouds. The YouTube video, titled “Hybrid Cloud and MultiCloud – Why Are Companies Taking It?” from TechWorld with Nana (below) illustrates the benefits of this approach for enterprise organizations looking to rethink their business to be in sync with the future.
Imagine this scenario for an instruction designer: You are hired by your company to create effective, engaging, and efficient learning experiences for your employees that are distributed around the world. For one such project, you’re reaching out to SMBs that work online through a cloud that is linked to a quantum cloud server farm so they have the most up-to-date information they need on specific classroom topics. The advantages of such a setup to achieve your goals would be as follows:
- Total flexibility
Using the private, public, and hybrid clouds, you can move important data between these three clouds for the highest level of security for your work product. This ensures that only those involved in the creation process can review and update what they see. In fact, this fits very well with the SAM model of instructional design, which enables rapid prototyping of a product.
- Complete customization
This type of approach allows for complete and personal customization as prototypes can be very easily transferred to the private or business cloud for workforce access. In this way, feedback data can be received from the instruction designer and the SMB, allowing them to make changes which then drive the next prototype revision.
- Big data
A company that uses big data can use the hybrid cloud approach to store a large amount of data locally and at the same time run cloud-based analyzes in the hybrid cloud.
- Better accessibility
A hybrid cloud setup connects all aspects of the company’s technology. This allows employees to access any level of technology that suits their needs and work more efficiently based on their approved level of access.
- Use of legacy hardware
Every time a proposal is made to change the digital infrastructure within a company, the obvious question arises: what will it cost us if we need to upgrade the hardware, and how will this massive upgrade affect our bottom line? This is where the cloud can save a lot of money as you can use the power of a private cloud and the storage of a public cloud while your older hardware is still in use.
- Higher performance
If your apps and data are in-house, you can get to them faster with a hybrid cloud setup.
Virtualization and the cloud
Another key benefit of using a hybrid cloud setup is the “anywhere desktop access” idea. The fact that a large proportion of the workforce will be working online means that what they use to access their learning experiences should take into account the possibility of using mobile computing. It’s an understatement that there’s an overall lockdown fatigue in North America and that any change of scene – but still being connected to the internet – is a welcome freedom in a post-pandemic world.
Virtualization in the cloud or, more precisely, “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)” enables users to access an entire operating system. The operating system is an image that of course resides on a cloud server that you can work on on a desktop as if it were installed locally on your computer. Of course, we have to be careful not to wander into areas of technology where we are very new without having a simple explanation that makes the technical language understandable. In the YouTube video titled “Virtualization and Cloud Computing for Non-Technicians” by Knowit Training (below), the potential and benefits of virtualization and the cloud become much clearer.
Some of the clear business benefits can be summarized as follows:
- Home work
Of course, this is a huge cost benefit for companies as they don’t have to pay for office space, electricity bills, and hardware upgrades as employees can access their desktops from anywhere in the world. Reduced bills are also seen in the fact that virtual desktops can be used to access several non-identical operating systems, whose personal computers range from Apple to Microsoft to Linux-inspired systems.
A great benefit of cloud services is the ability to increase or decrease your virtual desktop numbers according to your business needs as you proceed. This means new employees can be added quickly and those leaving the company can be easily removed. This saves costs in terms of bandwidth.
- Fuse protection
One of the big headlines in 2021 is the rise in ransomware attacks on businesses. Using a hybrid cloud setup allows an organization to restore a current snapshot of its desktop as it resides in the cloud, while downtime on physical internal computers is costly until this issue is resolved.
The question you might be thinking is this is all good and good information, but what does it all have to do with how an instruction designer creates effective, engaging, and efficient e-learning experiences for our workforce?
Instructional Design in the Global Cloud Network: A Forward-Looking Paradigm
In a previous article, I ended the article with an unusual diagram or flowchart that looked like this:
What if the business we were used to before the COVID-19 pandemic never returns? What if pressure on governments, and especially global corporations, to tackle climate change by reducing their carbon footprint forces us to radically change our business infrastructure to meet government-set goals? What would our company have to do in order to restructure and survive globally?
What if we need a new paradigm to show how we can train and educate our workforce to meet the demands of the future?
The cloud has great potential to help us answer these questions. I suggested the above diagram a few years ago, before the technology to answer the above questions was available.
A fresh look at this diagram and how instructional design teams will be at the forefront of this necessary paradigm shift in the next article.
This article is part 2 of a two-part series, read part 1.