Why HR needs to look at Apple’s Schoolwork app

Apple's Schoolwork promises so much for educators, but may well prove itself outside the education sector as an on-boarding and training facilitator for human resources teams.

Apple, training, iPad, iOS, Schoolwork, HR, Human Resources

Apple introduced its Schoolwork app for teachers and students at its Field Trip event in Chicago in spring 2018. The app promises so much for educators, but it may well prove itself outside the education sector as an on-boarding and training facilitator for human resources teams.

What is Apple's Schoolwork app?

Schoolwork is kind of a digital class management app teachers can use to share tasks with students — they can send notes, PDFs, links to the web, and even activities that need to be transacted in other apps. (The apps must support Schoolwork, and Apple has introduced an API called ClassKit for this.)

Teachers can then use Schoolwork to monitor how pupils are progressing through the app, how they score, and their general attainment scores. They can also monitor time spent on tasks assigned within the app.

It’s easy to see how these tools could lend themselves to use by online training providers, as it could enable a much more personalized remote learning experience. But learning isn’t just about what happens at college and school.

Learning at work

Think of the many different situations in which HR teams are tasked with trying to persuade employees to acquire new skills. There’s lots of these, but some might include:

  • When a new employee joins the team
  • When an existing employee is promoted/picks up new responsibilities
  • When new equipment is bought into the workplace
  • When new working practices or software systems are deployed
  • To educate new and existing employees in corporate culture, or even policy practices, such as security
  • Field training manuals to help new staff manage infrastructure in the field
  • Internal training and how-to courses

In all of those cases, the kind of personalized training provided by the Classroom app could add a layer of efficiency to enable HR training tasks, while also empowering employees with a better way to acquire new skills in their own time and at their own rate of learning.

What’s preventing HR from using the app?

That’s a possibility, but at present Schoolwork requires pupils be assigned Apple IDs using Apple School Manager. Those private and protected identities enable schools to work with pupils in a personal way, while protecting lessons, schools, and pupils from online nastiness. That’s not an impossible barrier to overcome — it wouldn’t be impossible to provide support for enterprise identities via existing Apple at Work set-ups.

This might work in a sense that HR (or other training providers) would either be able to accept and approve rights to existing Apple ID’s, or assign long-term or temporary enterprise-specific identities for training purposes within the organization. Figuring out how to deploy Schoolwork in an enterprise context is surely not such a challenging task.

Who would use the Schoolwork app?

It seems really clear that enterprise users are racing to adopt Apple’s solutions, both Mac and iOS devices. Jamf yesterday told me it has seen significant growth in the number of clients using its enterprise-focused MDM services in the past year. We’ve also seen some of the biggest enterprises — IBM, Capital One, SKF, British Airways, SAP, Schindler, Tokyo Metro, and so many others — move to adopt Apple’s kit.

Each one of these big corporations will already have developed training, on-boarding, and other educational resources to develop their staff teams. With their growing investment in Apple’s solutions, a solution that enabled them to migrate their HR manuals to a private, trackable, attainment-based system such as Schoolwork would surely be of some interest?

Not only that, but moving to a focused education platform such as this would also open up interesting new opportunities for training and educational programs from third-party vendors to be developed for use by enterprises within their HR and training schemes.

Isn’t it funny how Apple just can’t stop itself building new platforms? Would you use Schoolwork in your enterprise?

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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