Skillsoft today announced a multi-phase joint development agreement with IBM (NYSE: IBM) to leverage the power of big data in enterprise learning. The goal of this collaboration is the development of an enhanced adaptive learning experience for users with a focus on productive data-driven learning outcomes. By combining IBM Research’s unrivalled big data and customer experience analytics capabilities with content interaction data from Skillsoft’s 50,000+ learning assets, new methods of creating and assessing optimal learning experiences at an individual level are possible.

Skillsoft is a pioneer in the field of technology-delivered learning with a long history of innovation and delivering solutions for its customers worldwide, ranging from global enterprises, government, and education to mid-sized and small businesses. As the data analytics market continues to experience exponential growth, companies seek new ways to maximise performance using big data technology and analysis. In 2013, Gartner reported that 64 per cent of organisations invested or planned to invest in big data technology, a continual increase from previous years. The corporate learning market provides an ideal application area for big data analytics.  As organisations continue to offer more online learning to their employees, they need to analyse which learning experiences are the most productive and apply that knowledge to continually improve business outcomes. This combination of business need, data and technology presents an industry landscape that is ripe for capitalising on the full value of what big data and analytics can bring.

“Big data has the opportunity to transform corporate learning outcomes,” said Anshul Sheopuri, manager and IBM master inventor, IBM Research. “We are pleased to work with Skillsoft to create new enterprise learning-based big data techniques that will drive personalised user interaction resulting in improved engagement. Our initial findings show insights that can make the learning experience customised to users’ preferences and drive next generation adaptive learning and integrated development.”

The first phase of the initiative not only identified the key drivers of engagement but also demonstrated their connection to improved learning outcomes for users as well as significant business benefits to Skillsoft. In the second phase, the focus is on realising these outcomes by piloting and then deploying the big data models that are being developed.

“We are thrilled to explore new ways of leveraging data to boost learning outcomes,” said John Ambrose, senior vice president, strategy, corporate development and emerging business, Skillsoft. “With IBM’s research scientists and technology, we now have the ability to holistically look at content interaction data and understand trends in user interactions and drivers of engagement. Together, we look forward to further harnessing the power of big data to define a more personalised, adaptive enterprise learning experience.”

The first phase of the research initiative is complete. Skillsoft and IBM will release future insights of data analysis and relevant findings as the agreement progresses.