The corporate training market, which Allied Market Research estimates is worth more than $400 billion, has grown significantly in recent years as companies realize cost savings from upskilling their workers. A PwC report found that teaching employees additional skills can save a company between 43% and 66% in redundancy costs, depending on salary.
But it remains difficult for organizations of a certain size to quickly build and analyze the impact of learning programs. In a 2019 survey, Harvard Business Review found that 75% of managers were dissatisfied with their employer’s learning and development (L&D) function and that only 12% of employees applied new skills learned in L&D programs to do their job.
Seeking an answer, a trio of Cambridge scientists – Chibeza Agley, Sarra Achouri and Juergen Fink – co-founded Obrizum, a company that applies “adaptive learning” techniques to upskill and retrain staff. Leveraging an artificial intelligence engine, the co-founders say Obrizum can tailor corporate learning experiences to each staff member, identifying knowledge gaps and measuring things like effectiveness of learning.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that companies will need to continue to invest heavily in effective and successful training and knowledge sharing, regardless of their workplace configuration,” Agley, CEO of Obrizum, told TechCrunch in an interview. “We are solving the widespread problem of efficiency in the industry. Companies have less time than ever to create learning or assessment programs. In the meantime, there is more and more information to teach.”
Picture credits: Obrizum
So how does Obrizum claim to achieve this? By creating what Agley calls “knowledge spaces” rather than linear formations. Obrizum works with a company’s existing training resources, analyzing and curating webcasts, PDFs, slides, infographics, and even virtual reality content into white-labeled modules that adjust based on the performance of the training. learner during regular assessments.
Obrizum’s algorithms can both reinforce concepts and emphasize weaker areas, Agley claims, by detecting guesswork and “click cheating” (i.e. fast forwarding in the videos).
“Obrizum makes it much easier to highlight and use valuable information that would not traditionally be used for learning or training,” Agley said. “In Obrizum, data from the individual is used for the benefit of the individual – which it should be. Then, at the organizational level, machine learning can be used to spot trends and patterns that can benefit the majority… Managers can see real-time summary data, including usage statistics and a breakdown of performance against core concepts for groups of learners Management-level users can also explore individual user performance and activity.
For employees uncomfortable with Obrizum’s analytics in an era of widespread workplace surveillance, they can happily anonymize themselves and, in accordance with the GDPR, request deletion of their personal data through free tools. service, says Agley.
As Obrizum looks to the future, the company will invest in more comprehensive content automation and analytics technologies, integrations with third-party services, and collaboration and sharing capabilities, according to Agley. The pressure is on to stand out from competing platforms such as Learnsoft, which can automatically define training and track metrics such as accreditation, as well as generate proof of identification and certifications for reviews of management and audits.
Obrizum also competes with Workera, a precision enhancement platform; GrowthSpace software-as-a-service tool; and, to a lesser extent, Go1, which provides a collection of e-learning materials and tools to companies that leverage content from multiple publishers and silos. The good news is that enterprise learning software remains a lucrative space, with investors pouring more than $2.1 billion into an assortment of startups focused on “skilling” employees between February 2021 and February 2021, according to data from Crunchbase.
Picture credits: Obrizum
Agley says Obrizum currently works with about 20 corporate clients, including a growing cohort of government, aerospace and defense organizations. He hesitated when asked about Obrizum’s revenue, revealing only that it had grown 17 times since the end of 2020, mainly due to customer digital transformation efforts launched during the pandemic.
“Obrizum is an industry-neutral solution that is critical to our ability to scale quickly and resiliently, even in a challenging macroeconomic climate…Even when it comes to learning experience platforms, Obrizum stands out for its level of automation, the granularity of its adaptability and the diagnostic detail of the analytics it offers,” Agley said. “We are incredibly optimistic about the opportunities in our industry despite the broader economic outlook. Apprenticeship has and always will be necessary in the world of work and in a post-pandemic world, the market for corporate learning is growing rapidly.”
To date, Obrizum – which employs 38 people – has raised $17 million in venture capital. This includes an $11.5 million Series A led by Guinness Ventures with participation from Beaubridge, Juno Capital Partners and Qatar Science & Tech Holdings and Celeres Ventures, which closed today.
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