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Embracing the newest technologies
In the beginning, systems simply helped us store data more effectively. Then they grew up a bit and allowed us to go paperless, running less complex processes independently, giving back a little time and keeping us more organised. But they’ve come a long way since then. The platforms of today are developed to add even more value and change the fundamentals of the way businesses are able to operate.
Training platforms, like Bud for instance, are embracing some of the newest technologies to enhance training provision and improve learning outcomes. Not to mention making it easier to manage funding processes and reconcile all the figures back to the balance sheet.
When we first put pen to paper to design Bud we built it around three elements that work together to ensure a seamless process: the application, the learning provision and the ‘Individual Learner Record’(ILR), or funding piece.
But the beauty of the platform lies in the links between these elements and the ways it can store, transform and analyse the data it holds within them.
To a layman, intelligent automation is a way of allowing data to move through a system with a minimum of human interactions. It’s a way of automating business processes so that they can be managed in a highly efficient way. And it’s about using the data that is available to make informed decisions and ultimately do better business.
How does this play out in the world of Bud?
With intelligent automation in mind, Bud has been developed to reduce administrative effort, allowing trainers to spend more time with their learners rather than wrangling the paperwork. It ensures that when you enter information about a learner just once, it will be checked, fed through and automatically replicated in all other areas of the system. This reduces admin time and errors and acts as a single source of truth, which is vital to avoid compliance and funding issues and ensure everything is joined up.
And it’s not just in the application process that we see benefits from introducing intelligent automation, it’s helping learners reach their full potential too.
Once training begins
As a training provider or employer provider it can be complicated to get your head around the various admin tasks that need to be done to keep government funding records up to date. That’s why an automated system – one that looks after all the details in the background – can be a lifesaver.
If a learner takes a break from learning, whether that’s through furlough, sickness or for some other reason, Bud helps to ensure that everything is recorded correctly. And then it feeds it automatically into the ILR so you are ready to claim funding. When the learner comes back, Bud’s system is able to automatically restart all aspects of the program appropriately, adjusting start and end dates to ensure you can all get back on track asap.
Even better, it automatically translates this into what it means for the ILR. So you can be confident everything has been completed correctly.
Getting the best out of learners
As trainers and providers, we know how vital it is to ensure your learners achieve the best possible outcomes, both in terms of timely finishing in relation to funding and the effect on your reputation and position on the National Achievement Rates Tables (NARTs). That’s why we’ve included plenty of automated processes that help to support this.
Notifications and alerts prompt learners to carry out certain tasks, and let trainers know if their caseload are not logging in regularly. And automated reports help managers to quickly spot those at risk of falling behind. If there are multiple learners who are not on track, managers can intervene and sort out problems before they become harder to fix.
Now that we’ve laid strong foundations with intelligent automation, we’ve started work on building up our data warehouse. This is laying the groundwork to create algorithms that can analyse growing bodies of data and start to make predictions based on past performance.
Trainers will be able to use this information to predict future grades and recognise which learners are at risk of going off track and might need extra support. And conversely, they’ll be able to use this information to challenge learners to strive for higher grades rather than plateauing and achieving a pass.
The data collected will allow training providers to plot trend lines and to see projected start dates, helping to plan ahead and predict funding levels coming into the business. All useful when it comes to strategic and financial planning for the future.
Of course, finding patterns and predictions from a dataset is dependent on having large volumes of data. The more training provider users and learners engage with the platform, the more data can be gathered, leading to better insights. So those who start to engage with Bud sooner will get the most out of machine learning in the future.
And in the future?
Looking ahead to the longer term, we have exciting plans in the realms of AI, or Artificial Intelligence.
Imagine training programs that could autonomously adapt to the habits of different learners, presenting materials and opportunities to them in the way that will most inspire them – or aid them where they require additional learning support. It could adjust its prompts and scheduling to activate at the moments when individuals personally learn best, helping them fit learning into their day to day life.
We built Bud as a mobile first platform, which puts us in a great position further down the line when we start to work on these exciting iterations.
Ben Garfitt, Head of Product at Bud:
“The strong foundation we’ve built – this product that we’re fiercely proud of – allows us to begin developing and innovating for the future too. We’ve always looked at the ‘bigger picture’- what could Bud become? And we’re excited to be on the journey towards making it happen.”