One of the more exciting capabilities of modern cloud computing extends to online learning and training, but as rich in opportunity as this field may be, today’s executions are perhaps imperfect in taking advantage of full potential. Exemplary of this imbalance is Docebo, a cloud-based e-learning service that’s built around plenty of great ideas –but doesn’t always bring them to light. Developed in Italy and sorely in need of better localization for the US and other countries, this suite of software may be worth looking into for large institutions including universities, as well as small businesses interested in making big impressions. With the complexity of the interface and incomplete support, however, Docebo may require a heavy time investment to make regular usage viable.
Navigating the Docebo Maze
An important element of successful learning and training environments is proper organization, and from even a brief glance at Docebo’s website, it’s clear the project has plenty of work left to do in terms of keeping information neat and accessible. Arguably, the service has so many features and possible selling points that more popular methods of organization could be overwhelmed. Still, potential customers are likely to find the Docebo site –and the suite’s interface, as well– somewhat cluttered. As many projects capable of taking advantage of Docebo probably involve the participation of administrators, instructors, and students, this disorganization may be a serious problem in terms of broad adoption and ensuring proper usage among more or less experienced groups.
Thankfully, a demo is available to help prospective users get a feel for the navigation of the Docebo system. While activating the demo is a fast and straightforward process, figuring out where different features are located and how they work is a labor-intensive process and users who rely on tool tips, explanatory menus, and feature tours will probably be disappointed with the demo’s offerings. Universities are a major target for Docebo, as are large companies, and both groups may find it worthwhile to take advantage of live support and training in order to effectively utilize the e-learning platform in the long term. For less intensive uses, however, Docebo’s less than user-friendly interface might present a serious obstacle.
What can Docebo Do?
At the heart of Docebo’s service offering is a platform capable of supporting basic e-learning programs. Users are able to create online courses, accept and track student progress, and manage multimedia and other types of course content. Though it’s difficult to imagine how Docebo could replicate the easy, interactive atmosphere of a traditional classroom, the basic features available for managing courses may be sufficient for a variety of academic courses and professional training. Handling a variety of courses is likely where Docebo shines, as users can get a fairly clear snapshot of courses that are available, which ones have been marked for enrollment, and how each course is progressing. Though this feature helps underline the potential utility of Docebo to large organizations, it cannot make Docebo a useful tool on its own.
In essence the e-learning management aspect of Docebo may provide a valuable framework for users who want a tool that can track broad educational or training programs, but as a useful learning environment for students, or a versatile teaching utility for instructors, the suite may be less appealing than other options. There’s more to Docebo than the platform itself, however, and it may be the case that making a full investment in all of the service’s offerings is the key to getting great performance out of the software.
Cloud service providers often provide clients with tools and support, leaving users themselves to create content, but Docebo has taken a decidedly different turn. The company offers a range of actual learning materials and custom-designed courses and multimedia elements that can be used within the e-e-learning environment of its platform. The service also has a catalogue of ready-made courses that can be purchased and quickly integrated with the learning environment. Paradoxically, these optional services are probably unsuitable for the service’s most relevant target audience of universities, as personally creating materials is likely to be the best route for serious academic environments. Companies with a lot of training to implement, however, or who want to have basic subjects such as company history conveyed to large, geographically disparate groups, may find these options appealing.
A review of Docebo’s sample multimedia games, presentations, and videos suggests that while these products may be rich in animations, voice-overs, and other high-impact features, the actual creation of meaningful content and its overall organization are still dependent upon the user. If companies have a clear idea of the information they’d like to convey or the knowledge they’d like to test but are short on designers, these offerings may be a viable route to program development. Options for using Docebo on mobile devices are also available, which is a decent perk for companies and academic users alike, though the same issues surrounding interface and usability are present in mobile format.
The Final Deal Makers or Breakers
Given the complexity of Docebo and available extras, support is likely to be necessary, at least in terms of an up-front orientation session. The service offers such sessions as part of its packages, and the success or failure of a Docebo integration is likely to depend heavily on how well the company is able to help users explore and adapt. Docebo’s pricing schedule is somewhat mysterious; while there’s an “enterprise market” option for large institutions, small business offerings are inexplicably split into groups defined by the number of users available. As the suite’s usefulness for small businesses is questionable, this complicated –and not exactly budget-friendly– pricing scheme seems poorly thought out.
Though not without its areas of possible utility, such as multiple course management, Docebo may need extensive re-organization and a better attention to user friendliness before it can unlock the real opportunities of online learning. For now, multimedia-hungry businesses and very large enterprises may find value in the service.
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