As we saw last week, the learning function in large organizations—including financial services firms—is in flux. When employees can pull up whatever information or training they need with a simple online search query, does it still make sense for banks to offer in-house training?

In my opinion, it does. But if the in-house learning function is to remain relevant, it will need to learn from the leading tools driving on-demand learning. Here are six of the most popular and influential.

1 – was founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman, an American special effects animator and professor, along with her husband. Initially a platform for supplemental material for the classes Weinman taught, the site started offering standalone online courses in the early 2000s.

Today it is one of the biggest repositories of high-quality video instruction on the web. It offers video tutorials on business, design, web development, photography, marketing, and more. The videos are taught by seasoned instructors and include exercise materials for students to practice with as well as transcripts so users can search for specific information without needing to watch an entire video.

LinkedIn acquired for $1.5 billion in 2015, one year before it was itself acquired by Microsoft for $26 billion in 2016.

2 – Coursera

Coursera is a tech startup that aims to make instruction from the world’s leading universities available to anyone. It develops material in consultation with schools like Universitat de Barcelona, École Polytechnique, and Stanford University, and makes them available online. Subjects covered include business, science, social science, arts, and humanities, with instruction in 12 languages.

Though individuals can access instruction on an ad hoc basis, Coursera also offers formal courses. These run for a few months and include video lectures, quizzes, assignments, and sometimes a final project or exam. Users can earn certificates verifying course completion or even graduate degrees through Coursera. The site has over 24 million registered users.

3 – edX

A collaboration between Harvard University and MIT, edX is another popular online education platform, with over 10 million students. It specializes in massive online open courses, or MOOCs, which aim at unlimited participation and open access.

edX courses cover everything from business to cybersecurity to economics. Some courses can be taken for university credit. The site has grown rapidly since its launch in 2012, and now has 90 global partners. It recently launched a professional certificate program for tech skills like digital marketing, virtual reality, and data science.

4 – Skillsoft

Skillsoft claims to train more professionals than any other company worldwide, with 400 million users and a billion different training modules. Its courses offer working professionals instruction in topics like database management, software development, business strategy, and cloud computing. Its biggest customers are businesses.

5 – Crossknowledge

Crossknowledge is another major business-to-business online education provider. It produces videos, training modules, tools, and publications to help businesses train employees in a wide variety of skills. Crossknowledge develops flexible, digitally-oriented training packages their clients, which include financial services organizations like Swiss Life.

6 – Google Open Online Education

Google Open Online Education is centered on Course Builder, an online course development tool built by the tech giant, based on its experience constructing MOOCs and using Google products like Maps and Analytics. Course Builder is free and can be used to deliver scalable training on any subject.

The combined popularity of these six tools point to a future of learning that is learner-directed, agile, and available anywhere. Next week, we’ll go over five ways HR professionals can start getting ready for that future right now.


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