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Designing Custom Learning Paths for tailored cloud learning at scale

Eric Frick
Eric Frick

If success in the cloud were easy, A Cloud Guru wouldn’t exist.

We know there isn’t one right, easy way to get to cloud maturity. You’ve got to navigate different cloud technologies, explore different processes or ways of doing things, and be realistic about what you can do with the skills your teams have. That’s why the ability to tailor your cloud learning to meet your organization’s specific needs is so important. Enter a new ACG feature: Custom Learning Paths.

Custom Learning Paths empower you to tailor cloud learning for your organization at scale. Upskill individuals or teams based on job roles, upcoming projects, or identified skill gaps. Create multi-cloud and cloud adjacent plans based on an upcoming initiative. Build individual learning paths for career development specific to your organization. Report progress against unique learning goals. Tailored cloud learning is at your fingertips with Custom Learning Paths.

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In this blog post, I will describe some of the initial considerations you should think about when designing a custom training plan for your organization.

Some of these may seem obvious, but when you need to design a program from scratch while also performing your regular IT or L&D job, this can be quite challenging. The following are some simple considerations that will make the job easier. These are some things that I have learned while successfully designing learning programs for over one hundred customers at Linux Academy and A Cloud Guru.

Step 1: Establish the objectives for your training program

The first thing to think about when designing the training program is the objective. What are the specific goals that you’re trying to achieve with this program? Look at the skills and competencies you would like for your staff to accomplish when they complete each program step. 

Tier these objectives to achieve entry-level goals that employees can reach quickly and demonstrate initial success. These initial objectives should be beneficial to both the employee and the employer and structured to achieve these in a reasonable amount of time. Time frames from eight weeks to three months are a good starting point. This initial period is also a perfect time to establish a baseline. By doing this, you can ensure that everyone in the organization is speaking the same language.

Step 2: Determine the roles that require training

The next consideration beyond establishing objectives is determining the roles in the organization that require training. Some of the more common roles IT organizations train for are:

  • Developer
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Solution Architect
  • Security Specialist
  • Database Engineer
  • Infrastructure Specialist
  • Network Engineer
  • Support Staff

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Step 3: Establish the timeframe

After you have established the various roles required for your organization, the next thing you should think about is the time frame for your training program. You should address this in two aspects.

The first aspect is the total length of the learning path. This length can be the sum of the total hours of the courses and recommended labs. An example length might be 40 hours, which comprises video lessons and labs. If this is the first time you are implementing a learning program, you will want to keep the hours as modest as possible, not intimidate employees with hundreds of required training hours. A good starting point would be to design a learning path that runs for one quarter. When this has been completed, you can get feedback from the learners and make adjustments for the next quarter.

The next aspect of the timeframe you will want to consider is the number of hours employees have available for training. Some questions you will want to answer are:

  • Does the company allow employees to train during work time? And if so, how many hours per week or pay period can you allocate?
  • How many hours per week or month are they expected to study?
  • Another consideration not explicitly related to time but communicates to employees: is this training mandatory, or is it purely recommended?

Step 4: Determine the desired technologies

Every day corporate needs for training include the three major public cloud platforms: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform. You will also want to consider training needed for cloud-adjacent technologies such as Linux, containers, DevOps tools, software development, and database management systems.

Porting legacy systems to the cloud requires many disciplines and tools to migrate these systems and re-engineer them to cloud-native architectures. In order to have a complete training program, you will need to include these tools and techniques into your custom learning path, as well as the standard cloud certification training.

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Step 5: Decide on your policy with certifications

You will need to make several decisions related to certifications while designing your learning plan. Are certifications a mandatory part of your learning plan, or are they a nice thing to have? If you are going to require certifications, which one’s will you target, and in what order? If certifications are not the focus, which hands-on skills are critical from a training perspective in your organization?

One more aspect to consider about certification testing is your policy on paying for the testing. Are employees expected to pay for their test, or will you reimburse them for the test’s expense? This question will quickly arise from employees who are training for certifications, and it’s best to address this upfront while designing your program.

Step 6: Align with career paths

While you are designing your training program, it is a good time to align your training program with a designated career path for your IT staff. Perhaps different level jobs within the organization can have specified requirements for certifications. Having a developed career path will help encourage employees to embark on a journey of continuous learning.

ACG tools to help with Learning Path design

We have several tools that can help you with your custom learning path development. These include:

  • Support from expert Customer Success representatives
  • Sample Learning Path documents
  • Support from our Curriculum Specialist who can help make recommendations that are tailored to your organization

I hope some of these tips can help you get started with designing a learning curriculum for your organization. If you need some help to do this, please reach out to ACG. We are always here to help. 

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