Handles half a million search requests per hour
Go1 can easily scale its search functionality to meet the demands of an exploding corporate customer base.
Enables sophisticated reporting
Go1 users can build complex search queries and generate reports that measure multiple parameters, such as course popularity and employee progress.
Supports a personalized learning environment
Go1 accommodates the unique needs of 8 million learners accessing 90,000 courses, 9.8 million learning objects and 84 million learning records with the delivery of highly curated content.
Go1, the world’s learning content expert, uses Elastic Enterprise Search to field millions of search requests a day, control access to courses, and generate sophisticated reports for learning leaders
As the number of people working from home has dramatically increased in recent years, so has the demand for online business learning and education. More companies than ever now offer employees remote training as well as mandatory compliance courses and other professional development content.
Go1 has emerged as a fast-growing leader in the online corporate education sector, enabling millions of people in thousands of organizations worldwide to participate in learning that is relevant, effective, and inspiring.
The foundation of Go1's success is its content aggregation model, which pulls together thousands of courses from educational organizations including Pearson, EdX, Coursera, and Skillsoft. A subscription with Go1 gives corporate learning leaders and employees access to a massive content library, which is primarily distributed via Go1's network of partners. The network comprises some of the biggest names in learning management systems such as Totara and Ascender.
Jon Ducrou, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Go1, says, "Our subscription model can be compared to a music streaming platform. Instead of having to negotiate deals with many different content producers, businesses can get all their e-learning services from a single provider."
With such a large amount of content available, search capabilities play a critical role in Go1's service. Says Ducrou, "If a head of learning at a company needs to structure a set of onboarding lessons that includes several compliance modules, we enable them to find the best course mix with as little effort as possible."
Coping with complexity
Access to a vast library of content combined with a convenient distribution model has enabled Go1 to double in size every 12 months for the past few years. But such rapid growth forced the organization to regularly upgrade its technologies, including search, to keep pace with demand. "Replacing software tools is expensive and puts a heavy demand on our internal IT resources," says Ducrou. "We needed to find a more scalable search solution that could flex with the business."
The solution had to be especially agile to accommodate Go1's robust service. Go1 has 8 million users and 90,000 courses that comprise 9.8 million learning objects. When all the course objects undertaken by learners are added up, the total is 84 million events, known as enrollments. In addition, each customer has their own portal and can create a unique catalog of courses that may combine modules sourced from Go1's library with content developed in-house for highly customized experiences.
Meeting search demands with Elastic
When it became clear that the previous search solution wasn’t flexible and scalable enough to handle the growth of Go1 data volumes, Ducrou researched the market and selected Elastic Enterprise Search as the best match.
In just one hour we may need to handle half a million search-related requests to our systems, but Elastic Enterprise Search easily scales to handle this workload.
Initially deployed on AWS, Go1 then migrated Elastic Enterprise Search to Elastic Cloud on Microsoft Azure.
With the help of an incredible group of people on the Elastic Consulting team, the migration to Elastic Cloud was an extremely well-executed project. As part of the process, we managed to flip 240 gigabytes between clouds with zero downtime.
Elastic Enterprise Search now plays three key roles in the delivery of Go1's world-leading learning and education experience. First, it helps control access to learning courses. For instance, some companies restrict the number of courses available to employees so that they can more easily find topics that are most relevant to them. Second, Elastic supports Go1's main search function, enabling learning leaders and employees to quickly find and filter courses according to their specific search criteria. Last, Elastic provides sophisticated reporting capabilities that enable customers to track the assignment of courses and employee progress.
"Imagine trying to find everyone who has not completed their training, are at a certain learning level, and based out of a single office. Then include certain business unit names that have been added into Go1's system. That's an incredibly complicated report request, which Elastic supports," says Ducrou.
Managing such queries within a relational database environment would limit Go1's ability to make changes to multiple data tables and constrain its overall ability to aggregate and organize business-critical data. But with Elastic, which uses a nonrelational database, Go1 customers can make such requests using a visual query creator which returns a standard CSV file that can be converted to an editable spreadsheet for further customized reporting.
Says Ducrou, "We don't have to worry about how the data is stored, we just give our customers a tool to retrieve the information. Elastic's ability to deliver advanced, complex reporting adds enormous value to our service."
Targeting one billion users worldwide
Ducrou sees a wider role for Elastic as Go1 closes in on its target of one billion users worldwide. This includes leveraging vector search, a form of machine learning used in semantic search that applies numerical associations to unstructured data, including text and images to better capture the meaning, context, and intent of queries to deliver more relevant results.
Let's say an employee is looking for leadership courses. With vector search in Elastic Enterprise Search, we can better understand the user’s intent and return courses that are tailored to their industry, organization, and role.
Vector search will also enhance the personalization of Go1's course recommendation feature. "If there's a mid-level employee who has ambitions to achieve a C-level role, we can show them the courses that helped others follow a similar career path," says Ducrou. According to Ducrou, the biggest benefit of Elastic to Go1 is the cutting-edge search technology it provides that makes life easier for the Go1 engineering team. With Elastic always available and operating in the cloud rather than on premise, the team has more time to focus on projects that add value to the business.
We're in the business of learning, not search technology. Offloading the responsibility for search to Elastic from our team of developers and freeing up their time is incredibly valuable.