Learning in the Clouds – Benefits of SaaS learning platforms

Off-late we have seen a shift in the way learning is looked at, and it is no longer viewed as a series of training programs. The approach has been changing to a learner centric process and cloud based learning technologies are enabling this paradigm shift.

Cloud based Learning Platform enhances teaching and learning in today’s world. It enables educators to manage a wide variety of digital resources to develop pedagogical models of the 21st century – Blended learning, Personalized Self paced learning, Flip Classrooms to name a few.

Benefits for SaaS based learning platform are,

Accessibility: It allows greater level of accessibility and up-time of learning environment via internet at all times enabling the trainees to choose the time of learning.

Scalability: Organizations don’t need to plan for the server space. While conducting online training programs, the hardware requirement could vary based on the usage. If additional infrastructure is required the cloud architecture provisions that at run time on need basis, optimizing resource utilization. With cloud based learning platforms, one won’t have to worry scalability as the SaaS provider will handle these things for you and will increase / decrease ones resource requirements and users end up paying for what they use.

Security: Data security is one of the most important aspects and Cloud based platform providers could offer improved improbability, centralized data storage and monitoring of data access.

Backup & Disaster Recovery: The provider ensures that your LMS data is backed up and can be restored immediately to ensure business continuity.

Enhancements: For the provider, the SaaS based product offering is her core business so she will ensure to offer of the best and latest product feature enhancements at zero or a very little OpEx driven cost while you focus on your core business.

A guide to TCO for Open Source Software – 7 reasons why open source is not free

Open Source Vs Commercial SoftwaresWhen software decisions are made, most often people select open source software (like Moodle) over commercial alternatives(licensed softwares, SaaS solutions)  with a premise that open source is free.

Yes open source is free, however we need to consider the following points to figure out the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of  Open Source Software,

  1. Infrastructure: Only the software is free, your IT folks will still have to use some hardware either the in-house infrastructure or use cloud to de ploy the application.
  2. Availability & Reliability: Consider factors such as up-time requirements, downtime costs, business continuity and disaster recovery.
  3. Maintenance & Support: Applying patches, software upgrades and other IT support.
  4. Security: Security for your infrastructure, application and data.
  5. Enhancements: Extending the software to have New features and functions.
  6. Performance & Scalability: Ensuring that your application doesn’t break when a large no. of users login at a time, is the application smart to  auto-scalable in such scenarios
  7. Man-hours of your IT team: Your IT team need skills to ensure all the above and will have to put in a lot of time to get skilled on the required technologies, related platform learn about necessary tools.

A thorough consideration of above points would help stake holders to figure out TCO for open source software vs licensed softwares, and SaaS solutions.  Most often Open Source Software and licensed software would come out to be CapEx extensive with recurring Operational expense, however with SaaS solutions one can do away with the capital expense and work on a pure OpEx model.