Formal, Social and Experiential: Corporate Learning looks forward to the Future

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Veronica Pastaro of ESTE, discusses the future of corporate eLearning with Claudio Erba, CEO of Docebo

For a company to remain competitive on the market, it must focus on upgrading the skills of its employees. However, corporate training can no longer be limited to the traditional classroom modalities. It must provide for coexistence of a plurality of approaches, which consider the person as an active subject and not simply a passive subject. New technologies, social interaction and the sharing of experiences are just some of the tools Docebo is deploying to deliver the most comprehensive eLearning platform on the market.

The future is the time that best distinguishes man from other species – it’s the form through which expectations, dreams and the projection of oneself into tomorrow are expressed. Man is characterized by a thirst for knowledge,  a desire to explore the unknown, which led Ancient civilizations to cross borders, discover new lands and enrich the wealth of their experiences.

It is precisely these elements in which Docebo has its roots: the name is Latin, indicating the derivation from the mists of time, and stems from the latin verb doceo. From its origin, the company shows its intrinsic vocation to have a constant eye on the future.

Docebo is an Italian-Canadian company that develops an innovative eLearning solution used by 1400 organizations in over 90 countries around the world. Today, the company is home to more than 200 employees at five offices in three continents, with partners worldwide. To get to know such a complex and multifaceted organization better, we met with Claudio Erba, CEO and co-founder of Docebo:

“Today, we are certainly much more than an eLearning platform, since in addition to the Learn module, which allows you to manage formal training, it also offers the Coach and Share module for the Enterprise market (to manage informal and social learning) and the Perform module, which maps skills skills in a streamlined way and highlights any knowledge gaps that need to be filled with with targeted training interventions.

Thanks to its global presence, Docebo has an advantageous point of view. Are there any substantial differences in the approach to training between different markets?

The adoption of the platform changes according to geographical areas. If America is eLearning ready and therefore appears as a replacement market, moving towards Europe and even more towards emerging countries, we are facing first-time adoption where companies are now leveraging training that’s not only intended in the classroom, but supported by digital technologies. As far as the company size is concerned, Docebo is particularly appreciated by medium to large organizations. In fact, digital learning requires organizational and implementation efforts that are quite difficult for small business to manage and to benefit from the economies of scale that a digital system can generate. Also, it’s highly compatible with different business systems thanks to its distribution according to the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, which ensures cloud availability in about 35 languages and integration via multiple APIs with third-party software.

How can the demand for new skills influence the effectiveness and transformation of learning modalities?

In rapidly changing work environments, increasingly fluid skills are needed, which cannot be achieved through traditional training, in the classroom or online, where a training asset is pushed and delivered to the people who listen. Fluid methods are also needed to respond and adapt to the needs of the market. Any new skill, both in terms of job titles and how they are acquired, favours an informal and social learning modality. It then becomes easier to share what you have learned with colleagues.

As mentioned at the beginning, the platform has a tripartite structure. On what theoretical basis is such a strategic choice based?

Docebo is inspired by the 70:20:10 learning framework, in which only  10% of learning takes place through formal training activities – digitally and in the classroom; 20% of opportunities take the form of coaching and mentoring relationships ( i.e. learning from more experienced people); while 70% of learning is encouraged and supported “around the watercooler”, through informal conversations and exchanges of views between colleagues or through learning on-the-job, with a more experiential approach. The Docebo platform aims to make the three levels of learning co-exist to obtain the maximum benefit from all three modalities. It represents a sort of container, which is extremely flexible and customizable by companies in terms of layout and content. Formal training activities aren’t enough to satisfy any company’s learning needs. This last feature, and certainly the most significant from a training point of view since it covers 70% of learning, represents without a doubt, the most innovative strategic orientation.

Is there a risk that training that remains confined to the company perimeter will be limiting?

The extension of how the platform can be understood in  three different contexts. First of all, the training is aimed at employees, even for very large companies. Through the Extended Enterprise module, it’s possible (for example groups from different companies or brands) to manage different portals for each organization, assigning each one a different and customized domain and graphic layout.
 By extending the scope of action, even the company’s network of partners (e.g. distributors) is involved, outside the company’s perimeter, but still strongly connected to the business. Ultimately, training can be customer-oriented, with regard to the products the company sells, as is the case with the so-called customer Academy. Some companies use the e-commerce module of the platform to resell access to their courses. A further positive aspect of the platform is the retention of knowledge within the organization. Even if a person leaves the company, the shared material would remain within the company, in a constant loop  of knowledge retention. In addition to crossing the physical boundaries of the company, you can also cross the boundaries of time.

A sort of distrust of new technologies is still widespread, especially in the Italian context. What would you say to those who fear the depersonalisation of human relations?

Technology actually wants to play a facilitating role, without precluding the peculiarity of interpersonal relationships. The fear is an approach of non-modern markets, which we find especially true in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. Technology is pervasive: why not use it if it can make life easier for someone? The formal learning method covers only 10% of the training needs, whether it is the traditional classroom approach or eLearning through digital technologies. From our point of view, it is extremely limiting to focus on only that 10%. The focus must therefore be shifted to the possibility of using a technology facilitator that allows investment in all the dimensions of the 70:20:10 framework.

Is Docebo also accessible from a mobile device?

The eLearning platform, by definition, covers the entire corporate population, which usually uses its smartphone and consumes content on YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, and is therefore used to approaching the consumption of knowledge according to the logic of social channels (and beyond). So, the availability of a mobile app is a fundamental requirement to bringing training closer to people. When mobile users are taking an eLearning course, they expect to be faced with fast and streamlined content, through ‘hit and run’ modalities. Mobility does not only impact the eLearning platform, but also the content itself and how it’s consumed by learners.

What added value can Docebo offer in terms of training?


In addition to integrating classroom activities with digital training, the Docebo platform – as added value –  offers the possibility of integrating different and complementary learning formats (formal, social, informal) into a single learning management system (LMS). We have the ability to cover and map 100% of a company’s training activities through the digital platform. As proof of this, in recent years Docebo has often been named among the top 10 SaaS e-learning platforms in the world, and among the top three in the corporate training sector.

As it is intrinsic to Docebo’s name and the company’s natural vocation for the future, we are trying to move our gaze further. Our mission is to change the way people learn with technology. As technology continues to evolve, the availability of increasingly automated platforms governed by artificial intelligence and not just humans will perform labor intensive, routine work . Meanwhile, the human component will focus on the development of strategic visions for training, allowing the algorithms to bring those strategies to life.

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