Obrizum uses AI to build employee training modules from existing content

The market for corporate training that Allied Market Research grades worth over $400 billion, has grown significantly in recent years as companies realize the cost savings in upskilling their workers. One PwC report found that training employees in additional skills can save a company between 43% and 66% in layoff costs alone, depending on salary.

But it remains a challenge for organizations of any size to quickly build and analyze the impact of training programs. In 2019 researchThe Harvard Business Review found that 75% of managers are dissatisfied with their employers’ learning and development (L&D) function, and only 12% of employees apply the new skills gained in L&D programs to do their jobs.

In search of an answer, a trio of Cambridge scientists – Chibeza Agli, Sarah Achuri and Jürgen Fink – co-founded Outline, a company that applies “adaptive learning” techniques to upskill and retrain staff. Using an AI engine, the co-founders say Obrizum can tailor corporate training to individual employees by identifying knowledge gaps and measuring things like training effectiveness.

“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that businesses will need to continue to invest heavily in effective, successful learning and knowledge sharing, regardless of their workplace setting,” said Agli, CEO of Obrizum, in an interview with TechCrunch. “We’re solving an industry-wide efficiency problem. Businesses have less time than ever to create training or assessment programs. Meanwhile, there is more and more information to teach.”

Outline

Image Credits: Outline

So how does Obrizum claim to achieve this? By creating what Agley calls “knowledge spaces” rather than linear courses of study. Obrizum works with the company’s existing learning resources by analyzing and curating webcasts, PDFs, slides, infographics and even virtual reality content into white-label modules that adjust based on learner performance on regular assessments.

Obrizum’s algorithms can both reinforce concepts and highlight weaker areas, Agli claims, by detecting assumptions and “click fraud” (i.e., fast-forwarding through videos).

“Obrizum makes it much easier to extract and use valuable information that traditionally cannot be used for learning or training,” said Agli. “At Obrizum, the individual’s data is used for the benefit of the individual – as 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 view real-time aggregated data, including usage statistics and performance breakdown against key concepts for groups of learners. Users at the management level can also dive into the performance and activity of individual users.”

For employees who are uncomfortable with Obrizum’s analytics in the era of extensive workplace monitoringfortunately, they can anonymize themselves and—in accordance with the GDPR—request their personal data to be deleted through self-service tools, Agli says.

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 Agli. The pressure is on to stand out from competing platforms like learnsoftenabling training assignments to be made automatically and tracking of metrics such as accreditation, as well as generating evidence of credentials and certificates for management reviews and audits.

Obrizum also competes with Workera, a precision platform for skill enhancement; a software-as-a-service tool GrowthSpace; and to a lesser extent Go1, which provides a collection of online learning materials and tools for businesses that use 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 a range of startups focused on employee “training” between February 2021 and February 2021. according to Crunchbase data.

Outline

Image Credits: Outline

Agley says Obrizum works with about 20 enterprise customers right now, including a growing group of government, space and defense organizations. He demurred when asked about Obrizum’s revenue, revealing only that it has grown 17-fold since the end of 2020 — largely due to customer digital transformation efforts launched during the pandemic.

“Obrizum is a sector-agnostic solution that is key to our ability to scale quickly and sustainably even in a challenging macroeconomic climate. . . . Even when it comes to training platforms, Obrizum stands out on its own through the level of automation, the granularity of its adaptability, and the diagnostic detail of the analytics it offers,” said Agli. “We are incredibly optimistic about the opportunities in our sector despite the broader economic outlook. Training is and always will be necessary in the world of work and in the post-pandemic world the market for corporate training is expanding rapidly.”

To date, Obrizum, which has a staff of 38, 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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