London (UK), July 2019 - QA, a large UK B2B skills provider, has announced its acquisition of San Francisco-based Cloud Academy, a leading enterprise technology training platform. Cloud Academy will add QA’s massive catalogue of more than 500 certification courses and 1,500 instructor-led courses to seamlessly blend classroom learning with its intuitive digital platform. The union will create the largest collection of blended learning resources in the world, covering Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Cyber Security, Project Management, DevOps, Agile Development, Big Data, and more.
Companies have sought to deliver effective blended learning, the integration of in-person and online learning, for some time. However, it has been a challenge to align existing technology and curriculum design to create an integrated learning experience. QA and Cloud Academy’s approach will provide the solution businesses have been seeking, enabling the training of teams worldwide via one of today’s most innovative digital platforms.
It is estimated that UK enterprises spend in excess of £2.8 billion annually on corporate training and development, but measuring return and ensuring that spend actually delivers results is a key issue that continues to concern businesses. Cloud Academy addresses this disconnect and helps organisations address their skills gaps with high quality digital training content and an SaaS platform filled with powerful features to measure skills and manage training outcomes. Features include assignable training plans, skill profiles, skill assessment, and hands-on lab challenges that track critical thinking and practitioner abilities in a real-world, risk-free environment.
Further, technology such as Cloud Academy’s Content Engine allows companies to customise and extend any course in the content library specifically for their organisations. This dramatically increases employee engagement, and also increases the likelihood that skills built during training are applied on the job. QA’s acquisition of Cloud Academy and the forthcoming infusion of QA training content into the CA platform mean that the acquisition should yield the biggest customisable training library available.
Commenting on the acquisition Cushing Anderson, Vice President, IT Education and Certification Research, from IDC said, "The vision of blended learning has always been something akin to intelligent multichannel learning experiences: purposefully combining classroom, self-paced, and other learning channels to create effective improvement in proficiency. But the promise has been just out of reach. Combining a strong instructor-led heritage and a broad, technically oriented content library — with learning-content customization capability and a top notch lab environment for assessment — will improve the relevance of learning experiences to target learners and increase the business value organizations receive from their learning investment."
"Blended learning needs the right curriculum design and technological platform, as well as expert tutors and facilitators for in-person delivery. Until now, this hasn’t been possible. Bringing QA’s and Cloud Academy’s expertise together will mean a significant shift in the way corporate training is delivered. Businesses want a holistic learning experience that combines face-to-face training with a genuinely intuitive, immersive and engaging digital experience," said QA’s Chief Executive William Macpherson. "QA is proud to bring this transformation to the skills-delivery market and provide training options that are fit for today’s flexible work environment. Learning can happen while sitting on a bus, in a café, at a desk, or in a classroom – whenever and wherever suits the learner and the company."
QA has worked closely with UK businesses for thirty years to address skills gaps. Since launching in 2013, the international and fast-growing Cloud Academy has worked with global organisations such as Cognizant, Trivago, KPMG, and the BBC to train thousands of workers on leading cloud platforms, enabling companies to gain and maintain a competitive edge in an ever-changing cloud-based environment.
"Since day one, we have sought to create a unique solution to businesses’ training needs. We built Cloud Academy to deliver the perfect mix of the best technology and high quality training. Today we work with some of the most important brands worldwide; our technology allows them to upskill their teams on the latest cloud technology, tracking their skills and using insights to accelerate their business growth," said Cloud Academy CEO Stefano Bellasio. "We are excited to join QA and continue building a unique platform that combines both digital and in-classroom training."