The digital world brings with it a whole host of buzzwords and tools. One of the most frequently used digital phrases is ‘the cloud’. Though the cloud is a hugely beneficial tool that most of us rely on on a daily basis, there are big misconceptions about what the cloud is and how it benefits us.
What is the cloud?
‘The cloud’ is a colloquial term for cloud computing, a system by which many of the software packages we use today is run. Wikipedia defines cloud computing as:
“a type of internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. computer networks, servers, storage, applications and services), which can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.”
There are a range of different ways that the cloud can be put into effect. One of the major ways that it is utilised is by way of Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS includes software packages such as learning content management systems (LCMS) and learning management systems (LMS).
In this sense, the cloud allows computer programmes such as LCMS/LMS packages to be hosted on one central bank of servers owned by the software company. When their clients buy subscriptions to this software, those end users are then able to log into it and make use of all LCMS/LMS features without needing to download or host software on their own computers. This is beneficial for a variety of reasons.
- It makes software more accessible as users do not need to have top spec machines in order to run it themselves
- SaaS software can be more flexible as users can choose to run it in tandem with other software packages without the concern of affecting their own server space or processing speeds.
- Users are not limited to using LCMS/LMS software on only the computer it is installed on. Rather, they can log into the same software packages and all their saved data from any computer they choose, whether they are inside the workplace or out of it.
- Users aren’t limited simply to using computers, they can also choose to access cloud based software on handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones.
- The end user no longer has to maintain and troubleshoot their own software as this is handled centrally at the software company’s end.
Why is the cloud so important for online learning?
The cloud has had a huge impact on the digital world and how we all access information and resources. It has had a particularly large impact on the online learning sphere.
Cloud technology makes it possible for online course providers to facilitate quality learning experiences for their students, regardless of where they are in the world. Software packages including LCMS/LMS programmes can be offered on an SaaS basis to these course providers, meaning that they can pass all these benefits onto their students.
With this cloud based technology, course providers can allow their students to:
- Access a full selection of teaching and learning resources from their own computer, even if it’s a long way from the educational establishment they are studying with.
- Use a handheld device such as a smartphone or tablet to study on.
- Catch up on their studies whenever they can find the spare time as they can effortlessly log on to their virtual learning space from any computer, smartphone or tablet.
- Easily communicate with their tutors and their fellow students without the need to download specialist software.
- Benefit from a fast, responsive learning environment.
- Software that is always right up to date, no manual updates necessary.
There is also a key cost saving element to LMS/LCMS and other software that is available on a cloud basis. As each end user is accessing the software via the software company’s own server rather than having their own downloaded copy, the software licensing tends to be cheaper. These savings can be passed onto students, which makes online courses a more affordable and viable option for many.
How can you get started?
If you’re keen to explore the potential benefits of a cloud based LCMS/LMS software packing for your training organisation, we can help you to get started. We supply a range of specialist LCMS/LMS programmes. We also offer corporations, educational institutions, language schools and libraries the chance to partner with us to distribute our cloud based Dexway language courses.
Want to see first hand the difference that cloud based learning software can make? Take a look at our Dexway courses and all the benefits they have to offer.
You may also find interesting: