Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leveraging e-Learning the Infosys way! - A case study

An attempt at tying up what we have learnt in the course with the topic of our project – ‘e-Learning’ is what constitutes this blog post. We take up the e-Learning solution adopted by the giant software firm Infosys Technologies Ltd in its Mysore development centre to train the behemoth of fresh graduates who come off varied backgrounds and levels in terms of their familiarity with Computers & IT.
We look at the Infrastructure management adopted by Infosys for its extensive & highly reputed freshers training programme. It is to be noted that the position of various facets of e-Learning in the IT Infrastructure Pyramid is alone presented here. The presence of other constituents of Infosys in this pyramid is not covered. So, this could be considered as the Infrastructure pyramid for e-Learning alone.
Off to the topic now!
The five prominent elements in the design and implementation of the e-learning IT infrastructure are:
  • Corporate Strategy
  • IT Architecture
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Systems
  • Processes
We will look at how Infosys’s e-learning training programme has successfully scoped these.

Corporate Strategy:
This deals with the organization’s key competencies and how it wants them delivered to the clients.
The strategy of Infosys is to provide turnkey IT solutions to its clients by managing their data, converting the data into information which could help the client in improving their own customer related strategies. So, the e-learning programme’s strategy focuses on training the fresh recruits and making them industry ready. As the clientele of Infosys is diverse, the strategy is to leverage training on diverse technologies to the trainees.

IT Architecture:
The strategy is just a specification. The all important IT architecture is what takes care of transforming the strategy into a plan that could be worked on. Infosys understands this and the key words in the corporate strategy that the Architecture exploits are ‘diverse technologies’ and ‘industry ready’. So, the architecture of the e-learning plan focuses on quenching these two aspects.

‘Diverse technologies’ is handled by segregating the programme into four distinct streams:
  • .NET
  • Open Systems
Such a plan also ensures that the number of trainees put under these distinct programmes is in sync with the demands for these technology streams in the client projects.

‘Industry ready’ is handled by a generic training programme which deals with Organization related training on:
  • Soft Skills
  • Project Management
  • Quality Control
This unblemished architecture plan has been highly efficient and is now being adopted by many other IT organizations as well.

IT Infrastructure:
This is the focal area of the blog. The maximum utilization of e-learning is done in this area of the pyramid. Infosys Mysore has two dedicated training centres in its sprawling campus named the Global Education Centres 1 & 2.
In combination, the two centres trains around 50,000 employees an year and approximately a staggering 5000 candidates at a time. Let us look where e-Learning scores in this area:
  • Class rooms that can accommodate 200-250 trainees are part of the GECs– Imagine achieving this with unbelievable efficiency with a traditional classroom setup! Next to impossible.
  • It is India’s single largest investment on Education – a strong testimony to the prowess of e-Learning!
  • As another example of how e-learning scores over traditional learning, let me present the following:
The training offered to one of the batches undergoing .NET training had to be changed from .NET 2.0 to .NET 3.5. Consider the changes that must have been required in a class-room setup:
As there were around 8 batches being trained in .NET in parallel, at least 15 staffers need to have been trained ahead in .NET 3.5
Courseware need to have been printed and provided to the 1000 odd trainees.
This would have taken its own time!
With the e-Learning infrastructure in existence, all they had to do was:
Update the online .NET 2.0 courseware to .NET 3.5
Install the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio in the systems.
An evening was all they took to do it!!

Systems Applications:
This is the backbone of the e-learning programme. An universal course design package is created which is subject to updations time and again based on the technological evolutions surrounding the topics.
The applications can be classified and explained in the following categories:
1. Dedicated department for course design
Education & Research – This is a dedicated unit comprising senior technical employees of Infosys who rigorously work on designing and packaging courseware for the various modules of the training programme.

Infosys Leadership Institute – This unit focuses on honing the communication, presentation and soft skills of employees to help them better interact with clients and score distinctly above the employees of competing organizations who work with the same clients!

K-Shop - This is an innovative e-learning idea that best describes the idea of sharing knowledge. Employees can post documents related to technological challenges faced in their projects and solutions to overcome them. Another employee working elsewhere working on the same technology can face the same problem and it would be easy for him to reuse this solution.

2. Online tests
The trainees are tested on the different modules in which they get trained in form of online tests. These online tests are based on a huge question bank on different modules with random questions for different sets of trainees. The package dubbed as ’Perception’ provides a quick and effective testing means and the marks of trainees are fed into a database as soon as they end their tests.

3. Online reports generation for trainees
The trainees also get a consolidated report of their test performances & the application that does this is christened ‘i-Lite’.

Organizational Processes:
To ensure that the IT infrastructure & Systems applied into the training programme pay dividends, the organization adopts the process of tying the performance of trainees in the programme with the compensations they receive. It is a startling fact that the linking of these two systems is also done electronically. i.e., the performance are learnt electronically (e-learning again!) from the online reports that reside in the employee’s database and these are tied-up with the pay-slip system online through which the task is made very easy.

This is how Infosys has adopted the amazing discovery called ‘e-learning ‘ and used it as its crux to create a cream of technically efficient workforce. It is unsurprising that its competitors are already adopting the Infosys model in training their workforce. Gone are the days of marker pens writing ‘OOPS’,’inheritance’ & ’Polymorphism’ on white boards.

The following is a quote by Infosys founder Mr. N.R. Narayana Murthy on the e-learning training programme of Infosys,Mysore:
“The education center’s training programme is a testimony of Infosys’ commitment to building the competency of our employees. Special programmes are being conducted at the GEC for students from Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, UK, USA and various other countries”.

Doesn’t the second sentence of the quote state yet another benefit of e-learning over its classroom counterpart?! Even technology cynics & laggards would agree that in the game between traditional and e-learning, the scoreline is ADVANTAGE e-Learning; Break Point. It won’t be long before e-Learning wins Game,Set & Match. Happy e-learning!


  1. Good Post. It gets me back to my days in mysore.But this was the first time i saw the training from the e-learning perspective.

  2. That was interesting to read.. & yes, the computer based training has definitely been a bonus to train such a huge no. of ppl at a time. Efficient all the way!