Digitizing education? Sure! But who pays for the devices?

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Training centers, educational institutions as well as enterprises are digitizing their educational offerings. From a technical point of view, this requires not only the selection of suitable software but also the procurement of appropriate end devices such as tablets, notebooks, PCs or smartphones. Should the provider, for example, buy these is a BYOD model the preferred solution? We present different models and list their advantages and disadvantages.

Model 1 - Donation of devices by the supplier

Especially for long trainings and further education courses, the provider can buy the end devices and hand them over to participants. The participant, for example, receives a tablet as a "gift" and can use it during all lessons and keep it afterwards.

Advantages

  • Attractive prices due to large procurement volume.
  • The participant receives a nice welcome gift (even if he finally pays for it himself through his course fee).
  • Standardization advantages, as all participants work with the same technology.
  • The provider does not bear the support costs of the equipment, as it becomes the property of the participants as a gift at the beginning of the course.

Disadvantages

  • Depending on the type of equipment, the training provider may incur considerable costs in total. The model is therefore only suitable for courses of longer duration or in the upper price segment.
  • Usually the participant has no say in the purchase and his individual preferences are not taken into account. Perhaps he already uses a similar device privately, which greatly reduces the subjective value of the gift.
  • Especially at the beginning of the event, the participants are not yet familiar with the device. Therefore a short "warm-up" phase and support is needed.

Model 2 - Loan of the digital devices to the participants

The training provider can procure equipment itself and make it available to the participants for the duration of the course.

Advantages

  • The supplier can procure large quantities at attractive prices.
  • The result is a homogeneous equipment landscape.

Disadvantages

  • The participants are not familiar with the devices, as they only use them on loan. This results in an additional support effort for the provider.
  • The supplier is the owner of the devices and is therefore responsible for their system integration and functionality. This concerns the integration with the WIFI on site. Likewise, tablets should be equipped with a mobile device management platform to protect against misuse and to maintain the system environment. However, this requires specific IT knowledge, i.e. the training provider must build up IT skills here.
  • The provider incurs considerable costs through the purchase of the devices.
  • After 2-3 years the devices are used and must be replaced, which requires continuous investments.
  • Once the participant has familiarized himself with a device, he unfortunately has to hand it back.

Model 3 - Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

The BYOD approach is becoming increasingly fashionable not only among companies but also in educational institutions. The participants procure their equipment themselves and bring it to class.

Advantages

  • The provider does not incur any costs.
  • The participants are usually very familiar with their devices and do not need an introduction.
  • The responsibility for the operation of the devices lies with the participants. This means that the provider does not incur any support costs.

Disadvantages

  • Many software solutions quickly reach their limits with a BYOD strategy. The software must be optimized for all device types (smartphone, tablet, notebook, PC) as well as operating systems (Windows, Android, iOS). This is technically demanding. If more than just a simple web view is required, you have to develop your own apps, which increases the complexity of the environment. In a BYOD setting, the provider must therefore focus on the selection of suitable applications.

Model 4 - Voucher - Combination of Gift and BYOD

The supplier can also aim for a combination of Model 1 and Model 3 by presenting the participants with a voucher, but leaving the purchase of the terminal equipment to the participants themselves.

Advantages

  • The participants are usually very familiar with their equipment and do not need an introduction.
  • The participants are responsible for the operation of the devices. This means that the provider does not incur any support costs.
  • In addition, the participant receives a gift.
  • The provider has more flexibility regarding the value of the "gift" and can, for example, only partially finance the purchase of certain devices. This makes it also attractive for smaller training programs.

Disadvantages

  • Some participants perceive vouchers as subjectively less valuable than a physical device.
    Vouchers are usually tied to a specific distributor.

Conclusion

In our opinion model 2 is a rather unfavorable constellation, since this option is associated with high costs for the provider, a high support effort but only little benefit for the participants.
All other alternatives offer balanced advantages and disadvantages and must be carefully weighed against the objectives, design and financial strength of the training program. As a cloud-based, device-independent and cross-platform learning technology, MaxBrain is suitable for all models.