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Pluralsight Ups The Bar For Online IT Training With Live Mentoring

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Pluralsight now offers learning paths, skills tests and live one-on-one mentoring as part of its "all you can train" subscription LMS. The new capabilities put the popular online training provider in a league of its own.

Last week, Pluralsight announced some interesting updates to its already-impressive learning management system (LMS) for IT pros, developers, business, data and creative professionals. In addition to extending the scope and scale of training offerings to make them appealing to enterprises as well as to individuals and smaller organizations, the company has added some valuable new capabilities. Pluralsight's goal is nothing short of keeping up with an accelerating technology cycle that sees skills and knowledge becoming passe faster than ever before, sometimes in as soon as two to three years.

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Pluralsight (which acquired well-known IT skills and certification training company TrainSignal in 2013, and then bought Digital Tutors in 2014) has consistently been a leader in the arena of online training and technical upskilling for the past five years and more. The company has long been known and appreciated for offering a wide range of developer, IT and technical skills training through an easily accessible and highly affordable subscription plan. Individuals get access to the entire training library of over 5,000 courses for either $300 a year or $30 a month, and companies and organizations can buy "subscription seats" to share among employees at deeper discounts, depending on the volume of seats involved in their subscription buys.

With the announcement the company upped its ante considerably in its "technology learning platform" to help enterprises keep up with fast and constant change in tools and technologies needed to design, build and maintain IT technologies, services and infrastructures. Here's how Pluralsight folks describe their current offering:

"The on-demand, cloud-based solution allows technology professionals to assess their current skill levels, follow directed learning paths, learn through expert-authored courses, test drive new technologies via an interactive lab environment and access one-on-one mentoring when needed. The new platform disrupts traditional classroom training and provides a fully-digital learning experience, empowering enterprise technology teams to expand proficiencies, increase productivity, and gain a competitive edge."

This infographic is how Pluralsight describes itself to current and prospective customers. There's a lot to like about this model.

And in fact, Pluralsight has an interesting story to tell about each of the elements in the foregoing narrative:

  • The ability to assess current skill levels comes thanks to what Pluralsight calls "adaptive skill measurement," which subjects users to a battery of 20 or more questions that serve to position IT professionals in their knowledge and understanding of a specific subject, and to use gaps and deficiencies exposed thereby to prescribe a learning path to remedy them.
  • "Directed learning paths" draw on assessment results to establish a starting point for learning, and tie into expert-recommended learning and skill development paths. Such paths involve sequential training sequences tied to specific skills that are designed to improve understanding and proficiency in specific technology skillsets.
  • Expert authors construct and maintain the company's content library of over 5,000 courses, which includes a broad spectrum of items in the areas of software development (a core competency for Pluralsight), IT operations, data science and analysis, creative services, business skills and more. In looking over the cert-oriented courses, I see wide coverage of CompTIA, Cisco and Microsoft certification exams and credentials, plus VMware, PMP, Red Hat and other items geared towards IT pros. Materials include videos with textual transcripts, virtual labs, practice tests, and ongoing skills and knowledge assessments.
  • Virtual labs also include sandboxed, virtual coding environments and include the company's Code School, which Pluralsight describes as "an interactive, gamified lab experience for brushing up on new coding languages"  that "lets developers test drive new technologies before putting their skills into practice."
  • Live mentoring responds to subscriber requests for help with code, advice on best practices or assistance with some course by pairing users up with vetted mentors to provide assistance (or subscribers can book a preferred mentor, if and when they find one they like to work with). There is an extra charge for mentoring services, but the use cases that Pluralsight provides to explain this service paints glowing pictures of better alternatives considered, and improved productivity achieved thanks to proper application of expert insight.

All this adds up to a set of offerings and services that should help IT professionals, developers and the companies who employ them better acquire and maintain current, cutting-edge skills. Be sure to check it out! A free trial with access to the entire course library is available for a two-week interval interval (after which automatic credit card billing kicks in, unless you cancel your trial subscription).

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