The term has only recently become popular, but the concept of “the cloud” has been around much longer and is often used to describe software delivered to users as a service via the Internet Browser. The idea is that the guts of the software you are using lives in the cloud, not on your personal computer. Software as a Service has been with us for some time. This is a decades old concept. What is different is the acceptability of housing personal files and company data files in the cloud. Educators, for example, have been using cloud hosted services to deliver education for over a decade. What is different is what a user should expect from the cloud: in terms of features, security, redundancy, power/scalability, and automation.
What defines a cloud for eLearning?
Clouds are defined by the technology they provide: computation, software, data access, and storage services. A cloud can be defined as a place for users to create or store files, but has alternative meanings that, for example, explain how using a cloud can optimize processing power on the user end through its network. Services now deliver software such as Microsoft Office from the cloud. This means a computer user is renting the use of the software- usually via a monthly payment automatically deducted from a credit card.
Enterprises have been using hosted applications for learning software for over a decade. Software as a service (SaaS) is one type of computing that is almost always in the cloud and delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers using a multitenant architecture. The biggest change in attitude towards the cloud has come over time as Chief Technology Officers realize they do not have to maintain software and services within their own buildings and can maintain the same control via renting the software and server capacity. Or, the CTO realizes their kingdoms are at capacity and welcome departments outsourcing to the cloud. Think– enterprise sales tracking installed on each salesperson’s desktop containing a copy of ACT or a ten dollar a month bill for each salesperson’s online log-in to SalesForce.com.
So it goes for distance education using the Internet. Advanced Learning Management Systems now also come with services attached. Often administrative support and consulting services are included on the use of the software, allowing the customer to build corporate eLearning viability and online education business offerings. Read more ……