Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has entered the e-learning space, unveiling its learning-as-a-service platform, which focuses on growing storage, server, data analysis and network management skills.
HPE says COVID-19 has increased the pressure on technology companies and these skills are required to operate customer businesses in the cloud.
The company says its HPE Digital Learner platform provides access to education and skills, and HPE is offering 5 000 hours of training across numerous modules.
“As a prominent global edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service provider, HPE is acutely aware COVID-19 has increased the pressure on technology companies to innovate ever-more effective remote operability,” says Renay Rampersadh, education manager at HPE South Africa.
“COVID-19 has not only cast the demand for remote capability into stark relief, but has also highlighted the shortage of skills currently facing companies in the rapidly-evolving technology sector.”
HPE says once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted, things are unlikely to return to normal but millions of South Africans will have learned skills.
“A key appreciation that many South African students or families with school-going children will take with them will be a new understanding of – and demand for – online learning,” says the company.
The launch of the HPE platform comes as governments around the world have closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted the growth of e-learning solutions.
With lockdown periods expected to be extended in various parts of the globe, education experts believe the pandemic may lead to advances in technology that will allow more school pupils and tertiary students to rely entirely on virtual learning in future, transforming the education sector.
The World Economic Forum says there has been a significant surge in e-learning since COVID-19.
It says even though there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching $18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 billion by 2025, the virus has pushed up the demand.
According to HPE, in building its education platform, it discovered a shift in the culture of how people prefer to learn, especially among younger people entering the workplace for the first time.
Millennials thrive on digital learning, “especially if it is flexible enough to accommodate different speeds, schedules and learning preferences”, says Rampersadh.
“The individually-driven approach also produces the diverse and ever-refreshing skills combinations required in today’s continually innovating digital work environments.”
New entrants in the workplace are much more comfortable navigating digital learning spaces alone, at their own pace, “self-selecting the skills combinations they require to tailor their capabilities to specific jobs, challenges or outcomes”, explains Rampersadh.
HPE says content on the HPE Digital Learner Platform is constantly updated, ensuring the latest learning is always available.
“The platform also offers the softer management, marketing and mainstream business administration skills required in modern digital businesses. Modules can be selected as standalone solutions for learners to update skills, cross-train into new technologies, or to complement traditional training methods with updated content reinforcing previous instruction,” says Rampersadh.
The company is providing 30-day free access to its platform for those who register before the end of May, adding it’s offering South Africans the opportunity to use COVID-19 isolation to develop new skills to meet the challenging and rapidly-evolving economy.
“I hope that exposure to the platform, even if people merely take a look, will help embed a culture of continuous independent learning as South Africans re-skill for success in the fourth industrial revolution,” says Rampersadh.