StreamNative, a cloud-native messaging and event streaming platform built by the original creators of Apache Pulsar, was looking for a solution that could help the company scale its training. The company was searching for a software vendor that could support both on-demand courses as well as instructor-led and self-paced labs.
To bring your developer educational experience to life, you need to be able to offer a variety of learning modalities to suit the needs of different learners. This can include a combination of instructor-led training, self-paced training, and hands-on sandboxes that developers have access to at all times.
Some developers favor live, one-on-one interactions with an instructor where they can ask questions, while others prefer to learn through a self-paced course. But providing hands-on software sandboxes is key because developers want to try your product, not read about it or watch a video. These software sandboxes also need to be easy to spin up and use with minimal friction and set-up time.
Challenges: Lack of Self-Paced, Interactive Training
Before purchasing Appsembler, StreamNative was delivering live, in-person instructor-led training once a month. The company wanted to provide self-paced courses with interactive software sandboxes – but wasn’t able to do that.
David Kjerrumgaard, a Developer Advocate at StreamNative, was conducting the in-person training classes to educate developers on StreamNative’s open-source software and drive them to adopt it inside their organizations. According to Kjerrumgaard, the instructor-led training courses were slide-based with “take-home” coding assignments for the students that required them to download and install software on their laptops.
Solution: Appsembler Virtual Labs
StreamNative reviewed a number of vendors before selecting Appsembler. According to Dawn Leamon, Director of Training & Documentation at StreamNative, once the company discovered Appsembler, it was not a hard sell to the leadership team. According to Kjerrumgaard:
“We conducted a thorough evaluation with multiple vendors, and had a list of ‘must-haves’ for each vendor. If any of the must-haves were not offered we would have not selected Appsembler.”
After implementing Appsembler Virtual Labs, StreamNative can now offer software sandboxes during the instructor-led training, which is something they never had before. These software sandboxes allow students to practice coding inside of the self-paced course, too.
Results: Improved Learning Environment
With the pre-configured software sandboxes, learners don’t have to download and install software onto their laptops. Instructors also don’t have to worry about the environment or configuration issues that come from supporting different operating systems (Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux).
Kjerrumgaard explains, “We have the ability to place the software sandboxes under source control and automate the deployment of these environments when there are changes to the coding exercises.”
According to Leamon, Appsembler enabled StreamNative to launch self-paced training very quickly:
“This was a key win — how easy it was to go from setup to launching our site,” Leamon explains. “The software sandboxes provide the structured hands-on experience with our open source software that we expect will drive adoption.”
StreamNative’s live, instructor-led developer training is more impactful for students as they can apply the in-class learnings in real-time. StreamNative can also track learners’ course engagement and, only a few months after implementation, the company achieved the milestones of having 500 registered users and 700 course enrollments, with course completion rates varying from 14% to 40%.
“We have seen global engagement and an increase in leads generated,” says Leamon.
Next Steps: Optimizing the Lab Environment
In terms of next steps, StreamNative is investigating how to get better metrics and data to help measure and quantify the impact of their developer training.
“A key area of improvement or enhancement for us is optimizing the lab environment so we can use it with our product for more than just training labs,” says Leamon. “We’re also working on more flexibility in our university’s website design and course development.”
As StreamNative takes a holistic approach to education that leverages documentation, self-paced courses, and hands-on product sandboxes, they would like to extend Appsembler to include a deeper integration with their content management system (CMS) that hosts their developer and product documentation.