Skillsoft Blog

Skillsoft and IBM Reveal New Capabilities for Big Data in Enterprise Learning

By John Ambrose

Earlier this year we announced Skillsoft’s collaboration with IBM, a leader in big data technology, to mine our rich customer base’s usage data and co-invent new customer experience analytics which are expected to make their way into the Skillsoft offerings.

As part of this collaboration, we are excited to reveal new capabilities that leverage the power of big data in enterprise learning. Since the start of this engagement, the collaboration has begun testing a new engagement algorithm and recommendation engine against Skillsoft’s 60,000 learning assets and millions of learner interactions. The current phase of the program has produced algorithms to predict optimal engagement times, a content recommendation engine and a visualization framework to provide the foundation of a next-generation adaptive learning solution.  I will present the initial results of this work to attendees next week at the 2014 Global Skillsoft Perspectives learning industry event.  A video highlighting the collaboration is scheduled to premiere at the event, and be subsequently released to the Skillsoft YouTube channel and corporate website.

We are excited by the early capabilities we are developing with IBM. We’re building a powerful new big data engine that will enable us to optimize learning experiences and uncover new learning patterns that can be applied immediately so that the system is continually improving.  This is the perfect application of big data – harness it and apply it to improve individual and organizational performance.

The key components of the joint Skillsoft/IBM effort unveiled today include:

  • Engagement engine – mine usage patterns to understand users’ evolving interaction preferences in order to identify optimal times and channels to engage with users
  • Recommendations engine – create personalized learning recommendations leveraging user-content interactions, content ontologies and temporal consumption patterns
  • Visualization techniques – to provide visual context for the recommendations to explain to the user why certain personalized content recommendations are being made along three different dimensions: people similar to the user liked this content, content similar to content the user liked, and popular content

With these assets in place, companies will be enabled to increase training utilization and completion rates through targeted learning and improved engagement, proving the investment value in a learning program.

This big data-driven solution will facilitate higher engagement and better outcomes for individual learners through a customized, seamless program that melds their preferences with the successful experiences of users with similar learning objectives.  Enterprises will benefit by providing employees with an adaptive learning system that grows smarter and more powerful with each interaction, allowing them to develop and manage talent more effectively.

This collaboration between Skillsoft and IBM capitalizes on the explosive growth of big data and the efforts of organizations to find new ways to maximize performance using big data technology and analysis.

Skillsoft and IBM are now nearing the completion of the initial technology co-development and demonstration phase of this effort and will be soon moving into pilot phase where the algorithms will be applied in real-world environments.

Tweet This: Initial findings revealed by @Skillsoft and @IBMResearch collaboration to harness #BigData in enterprise #learning http://bit.ly/O9uHAs

John Ambrose is Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development at Skillsoft

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