10 eLearning Trends You Need to Know for 2017

If you influence, or are responsible for learning and development in your organisation, you may want to keep an eye on the eLearning trends that are likely to make an impact in 2017.

To help you stay ahead of your game and on schedule for completing the annual reporting and forecasting, we’ve done the hard work for you and evaluated industry information and predicted the top 10 emerging eLearning trends of 2017, leaving you to take on board what’s happening!

We’ve also designed a handy 10 eLearning Trends for 2017 infographic for you that also shows whether each trend predicted is a design or tech trend, and a rating in terms of affordability.

1: Microlearning

There is constantly pressure in eLearning to do things quicker and shorter, but there is also limit to how far you can push that in the context of learning. Typically online learning courses are delivered in one complete scorm module. Microlearning goes against this, it isn’t however just very short learning, but a longer course broken into chunks or shorter sessions, typically less than 5 minutes. As online learning courses develop, we can expect to see more microlearning over time with one learning outcome per activity and linked typically to a pathway in a coherent way.

 2: Interactive Video

Interactive video is more popular than ever and when applied well in eLearning it has great benefits for learners. However, video is changing and becoming interactive. The use of interactive video is a great way for user to learn and reflect on learning content, and we can expect to see more of this.

3: Games and Gamification

This trend has made the shortlist again as it is still yet again, an emerging theme. Like most new trends, this one has been slow to adopt, with cost playing a big factor in that part as adding these elements can be a costly approach, but illustrations can be a lot more affordable.

Gamification is adding game like elements to learning, things like points, badges and challenges to the content to increase motivation and encourage completion. As we get to understand games and gamification, you can assume to see more of these elements appearing in content as it is a great way of learning.

4: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

This is one of the hottest topics at the moment, just look at the Pokemon Go craze! Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two technologies which are rapidly changing. Many organisations are adapting these technologies, in particular, virtual reality to facilitate the creation of real-life scenarios to create an immersive experience for the learner as they interact with the digital environment.

We are already seeing green shoots of this emerging trend, right here on our own doorstop, pupils from Pupils at Edmund Rice College near Belfast are one of the first schools in Northern Ireland taking part in a Google project to bring VR to one million pupils across the UK. Although you can pick up a VR headset at a relatively cheap cost, the actual expense is in the designing and building of the content.

5: Responsive Design

Responsive design has largely been driven by the uptake of mobile device. Client organisations are increasingly asking for content that work across all mobile devices. To solve the multi-device issue eLearning is doing what most web sites have already done….gone responsive. Responsive design is an approach to ensure that we can have the same content on all our devices and demand for this is only set to grow.

6: Adaptive and Personalised

Personalised learning has proven that learning outcomes are improved when applied. Adaptive and personalised learning makes content dynamic and interactive, placing the student at the centre of his or her individual learning experience, whilst the platform uses data and analytics to continuously updated the learning pathway by adapting the content in real time. As more research is done on this type of instructional strategy,  more of this approach is likely to be adapted.

7: Brain Friendly

There is a lot more research emerging about how our brain actually works and how it processes information. Instructional Designers and learning experts now applying this neuroscience evidence and applying these ‘brain-friendly’ principles and approaches to design learning.

8: Learning Analytics

As more and more learning activities are taking place digitally, more data is being gathered about learner progress. The growing interest in learning analytics reflects wider interests in ‘Big Data’ a trend that has been popping up for the past few years. Learning analytics will play an increasingly bigger part to support learners as there will be the opportunities to be more evidence-based in how we support learners.

9: Learning Experience Design

Organisations are now acknowledging something that Instructional Designers have known for quite some time that design thinking can positively impact workplace learning. Learning experience design has been on the radar for some time now, but over the next year we can expect to see more organisations integrating learning across all disciples and job functions.

10: Articulate 360

The authoring tool, Articulate released Articulate 360, a brand-new subscription offering that provides everything required to develop an eLearning course.  As we increasingly see more and more organisations developing their own eLearning in-house, course creators using Articulate 360 will have everything they need in one place to create eLearning quickly and easily.

So what do you think will be big in 2017?

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

3 things you will learn from our upcoming webinar on eLearning trends for 2017.

looking ahead car windscreen

L&D professionals had a lot to keep up with in 2016. 2017 doesn’t look to be any different either. Staying on top of your game means you have to keep up with, or at the very least, a keen eye on the ways our industry shaping.

Yet, with the rate of change in our industry, staying on top of trends can often seem like a full time job. Yes, trends come and go and it can be all too easy to just switch off and turn a blind eye to what’s going on outside our own little comfy bubbles of doing what is always done, not to mention the constant interruption of new information, which can be over whelming and hard to digest.

But what good will it really do just to put your head in the sand and ignore what developments are being made in eLearning?

Keeping abreast, now more than ever is so incredibly important. Things do change. And staying up-to-date on industry trends allows you to be in the best possible position to made any necessary informed decisions about strategy and plans going forward. And hey – we’re not saying that you must adopt the trends and developments, just be conscious of them.

So if you feel you have fallen out of the loop and want to get back on-trend or you want to stay ahead of your game, we’ve done all the hard work for you and disseminated the industry information and predicted the top 10 eLearning trends of 2017, leaving you to take on board what’s happening!

Under the guidance of Gavin Woods, Client Services Director and our Associate Director and Chair of the eLN, John Curran, we will take you on a digital journey for an hour, during a live webinar on Wednesday 16 November at 12noon to explore our predictions on the latest eLearning trends that will likely make an impact in 2017.

So reserve your online seat and join us online and learn:

  1. The 10 eLearning trends to watch for in 2017
  2. What impact the key trends will have on L&D strategies
  3. New opportunities available

So what better way to get over the American Election results than to get back to the task at hand and gain great knowledge relevant to your working practice? Hope to see you online next Wednesday.

Sign up and register for free 

 

10 E-Learning Trends to Watch in 2016

Being in touch with trends is crucial for anyone responsible for managing and delivering E-Learning and training within their organisation. So we’ve prepared for you our predicted 10 key E-Learning trends and foresights to watch out for in 2016.

If you missed our webinar on the e-learning trends to watch in 2016, you can view it here. 

10 trends to watch in 2016 infographic

You can also view, download and share our handy infographic from our slideshare page

1. Resources not courses

There is a big trend now in the E-Learning industry as whether we should be building resources rather than courses. Courses help prepare you for the future (just-in-case) and resources support you in the moment (just-in-time). At the crux of this is whether to build a course, structured with the resources or ditch the course and build a library of resources.

Another thing that is pushing the trend towards building resources is what we refer to as the ‘three moments of need’:

  • Learning something you need in the future (just in case)
  • Learning something that you need now (just in time)
  • Solving a problem (just in time)

A further factor that is also driving the move away from courses is the idea of microlearning or what is also referred to as bite-sized learning. Driving this is:

  • Cost
  • Attention span – shorter and sharper
  • Time poor
  • Flexibility

2. Gamification

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear the term gamification. Essentially what this means is what we, as creators and developers of online learning, can do to engage learners more in our e-learning. Often it can be seen as sweetening the pill, but it really can help learners engage more and motivate them to complete the e-learning content.

5 common mechanics used in gamification are:

  • Points
  • Badges
  • Levels
  • Leaderboards
  • Challenges

Learners like to have challenges. 4 main ways to drive engagement are:

  • Accelerated feedback cycles
  • Clear goals and rules of play
  • A compelling narrative
  • Challenging but achievable tasks

3. Explosion of devices

This is something that we are all aware of. This particular trend has been popping up for quite some time, however mobile learning itself is still in its infancy and has yet to make a real impact in E-Learning. Today though people have a multitude of different devices and they want to learn on all these devices. Although there is not a massive demand from clients at the moment for this, wearable technology such as the  Apple watch, will be something to consider in the future for delivery of e-learning.

4. Responsive design

This trend has primarily been driven by the increase in multi devices. Responsive design is a response to delivering content on multi devices. As you’re aware, taking a standard E-Learning module and scaling it down onto a smaller screen doesn’t work terribly well. Generally it works fine for a table providing the technical issues are sorted such as publishing it on HTML 5, but on the whole this generally doesn’t work on a smart phone as the screen is just too small and the screen is usually the wrong orientation.

So deciding what content to omit for smart phones is something to consider along with the capability of your learners as responsive e-learning is often a little harder to use as it requires more technical know-how than standard click next e-learning.

5. Continued rise of video

A lot of platforms today use video as their primary delivery mechanism, so missing video with resource downloads. In particular a lot of MOOC’s using video.  But video has a multitude of functions. At Aurion we use quite a lot of video, particularly as part of our E-Learning module build, embedding an explainer video or scenario based video as part of the programme. Something that we will be keeping an eye out for is video getting interactive.

6. Authoring in the cloud

Cloud based authoring tools have grown steadily over the past few years. These authoring tools are mobile ready, out of the box, some are responsive, and some aren’t. As a team working together on an e-learning project, these cloud based authoring tools are really powerful when used as part of a collaborative project. Because the programme built on the cloud and you press a button and it’s published on the cloud. So there isn’t an issue about getting it onto LMS and getting it working on the LMS.

If you design your own E-Learning in house, you will more likely start to use these cloud based authoring tools this year in combination with your standard authoring tools such as storyline.

7. Tin Can (xAPI)

Tin Can or the experience API in some ways a ties in with accessing e-learning content on multiple devices and resources rather than courses. The notion of Tin Can is that captures all of that, so no matter what we do, whether that is download a resource or comment on a blog, this is captured as part of our learning experience and in the case or Tin Can or xAPI it is record stored and can be accessed by multiple LMS’s. We think this technology is going to make great leaps forward in 2016 and beyond, potentially killing off scorm.

8. The new blend

The new blend of learning is not just combining traditional classroom methods and online learning, it is combining multi device learning, mixing courses with resources, different learning strategies, channels such as synchronous with asynchronous. There is a whole ream of possibilities for learning now by using a blend of technologies and channels and bringing all these things together to create a new learning experience. This is something that we will see more of in 2016.

9. Invisible LMS

Users will be looking to access learning without having to overcome any barriers of an LMS. People will be accessing learning in all different types of places, supported by Tin Can. What will be seeing more of in the future is what is referred to as the invisible LMS. It will still be tracked and reported on, but learners won’t always have to go to the corporate LMS in order to do their online learning.

10. The self-directed learner

Increasingly what we are seeing more of these days is learners wanting to take charge themselves. A lot of the technology mentioned above and approaches like resources more than courses supports this.

So what do you think will be big in 2016?

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

15 E-Learning Statistics You Need To Know For 2015

It’s the beginning of a new year and 2015 looks set to be an exciting one for E-Learning! Just before Christmas, we brought you 10 Key E-Learning Trends for 2015 and today we’ve compiled for you a handy infographic with the fifteen E-Learning statistics you need to know for 2015.

The digital learning scene changes and expands so fast, it can be hard to keep up sometimes. We hope our statistics will help give you an idea of the power of E-Learning and the traits of leading learning organisations!

Infographic contained text from the blog article below.This infographic is available to download here.

  1. The number of types of learning technologies available has doubled in the last five years.
  2. 42% of leading learning companies say online learning has led to an increase in revenue and 56% say it has improved productivity.
  3. 81% of learners are responsible for managing their own personal development and 82% like to learn at their own pace.
  4. Organisations where L&D teams align their KPIs with senior management are 13 times more likely to report increased revenue and 50% more likely to see positive changes in staff behaviour.
  5. 91% of L&D leaders think learning technology should enable a quicker response to changing business conditions and organisational change.
  6. 3/5 organisations cannot implement a technology enabled learning strategy due to lack of skills.
  7. Only 49% of organisations have the Instructional Design skills they need. Only 28% have L&D staff confident in using new media in learning design. Only 31% have staff capable of developing digital content in-house.
  8. In 2015, 98% of organisations are predicted to use E-Learning courses as part of their learning strategy.
  9. By 2016, 83% of organisations are predicted to use video as part of their digital learning.
  10. In 2015, 50% of organisations are predicted to use games and complex simulations as part of their E-Learning.
  11. Currently, 74% of people use mobile devices for E-Learning, this will rise to 81% by 2016.
  12. By 2019, 50% of all classes will be delivered online.
  13. 42% of the public sector use MOOCs to achieve L&D goals.
  14. Leading learning companies are 33% more likely to use more varied and interesting media in their E-Learning design, twice as likely to encourage knowledge sharing and twice as likely to create knowledge repositories.
  15. The compound annual growth rate of the worldwide self-paced E-Learning market is 4.4% and is set to be worth $53 billion by 2018.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Learning is Evolving: 10 Key E-Learning Trends for 2015

Image of a tablet computer, surrounded by educational icons and accompanied by the title "10 Key E-Learning Trends for 2015"

It’s that time of the year again, and no, we don’t mean office parties or writing our letters to Santa – I’m sure you are super organised and have that fun task completed already! It’s at this time of the year, when we take stock on what’s likely to be occurring for the coming year ahead and predict what the 10 biggest E-Learning trends of 2015 will be.

We think it’s pretty fair to assume that E-Learning is no longer a new concept!

The development of effective instructional design and online pedagogical practice as well as time and cost savings means that digital learning is here to stay. In fact, research company Global Industry Analysts estimate that the market value for E-Learning will reach a colossal $107 Billion in 2015.

So what’s in store for the coming year then? Some of the ‘trends’ you will find popping up also feature from previous years, so technically they may not be a new trend, but we’ve kept them on our list as some of them have been slow to adopt and still hold a solid presence and form the topic of many a conservation by the water cooler.

So, in no particular order, the top 10 E-Learning trends for 2015 are:

 

1. Mobile learning

Making it onto our list year again! Market Research firm Ambient Insight in their 2012-2017 Worldwide Mobile Learning Market Report predicted the five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the mLearning market to be 18.2% and estimated global revenues would be at $12.2 billion by 2017. A mobile consumer report by Google and Ipsos MediaCT found that 80% of users won’t leave home without their smartphone. This level of market penetration coupled with a global digitisation effort reinforcing the indispensibility of mobile devices necessitates the consideration of mobile learning in every L&D strategy.

 

2. The use of video

With the increase in popularity of mLearning and the startling statistic from Google and Ipsos MediaCT that 67% of smartphone users watch video, and 14% use video at least once a day, it comes as no surprise that the use of video in E-Learning is on the rise. Accompanied with an influx in the use of digital storytelling as an educational tool, videos are a fun approach to creating bite-sized and engaging E-Learning modules.

 

3. Tin Can API

Following on from an incredible year in 2014, Tin Can API is likely to continue to grow in popularity and adoption in 2015. Tin Can is a Learning Record Store (LRS) capable of tracking a learner’s progress as they engage in traditional, formal learning as well as informal, social learning. Tin Can is set to overtake SCORM as the go-to industry standard LRS.

 

4. Big data

Most L&D departments are required to quantitatively prove the worth of their learning strategies to stakeholders with accurate statistics and in-depth information. As well as demonstrating the effectiveness of digital learning, the increased adoption of big data will allow E-Learning administrators to personalise learning content, provide timely motivation and test the effectiveness of various learning theories and strategies.

 

5. Gamification

In the Ambient Insight 2013-2018 North America Mobile Edugame Market Report, it was estimated that with a CAGR of 12.5%, the revenue for game-based mobile learning products in North America alone will be $410.27 million by 2018. Growth in the use of game mechanics is fuelled by the expectations of digital age students to be entertained and have content delivered in interesting and attention-grabbing ways.

 

6. Augmented Reality

In the fast-paced world of technology, it can be easy to overlook the repercussions of individual technological advances. Augmented Reality’s (AR) ability to effortlessly overlay the real surroundings of a learner with virtual images that can be interacted with enables us to create E-Learning that is more interactive, engaging and entertaining than ever before. The emergence of affordable and therefore widely adoptable AR devices such as the Oculus Rift means that 2015 could be a landmark year for learning using AR.

 

7. In-house content authoring

Technical advances, cost savings and a wider selection of rapid authoring tools means that L&D practitioners at all levels of technical capability can create their own E-Learning content. An indicator of the growing potential of authoring tools lies in the release of Articulate Storyline 2 and the increased functionality that comes along with it. If you want to build in-house capability and take advantage of serious cost savings, read our recent blog ‘What are Authoring Tools and which one is right for me?

 

8. LMS

With organisations increasingly keen to monitor both formal and social learning, Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are set to be a big trend for 2015. Forecasts show that Learning Management Systems will grow at a rate of 25% for the next 5 years, reaching $7.8 billion in 2018.

 

9. Learning as a lifestyle

The L&D sector as a whole is shifting from thinking about organising individual learning events to creating learning campaigns. In 2015, organisations will be looking for new ways to connect with their learners through social, informal and creative methods that transform learning into a lifestyle rather than a compartmentalised activity.

 

10. Leadership training

In their Global Leadership Forecast for 2014-2015, talent management consultancy Development Dimensions International earmarked learning without practical application or relevance to the job as one of the main barriers to leadership development. With many business looking to invest a large proportion of their L&D budget in leadership, 2015 has the potential to be a year when online leadership training comes to full maturity.

 

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

What makes a successful MOOC?

A number of multi-coloured hands reaching up to education icons.

MOOCs are the modern day marmite of the digital learning scene. We want to steer clear of all of the clichés that have already been postulated and stick to what we know best. We hope you’ll find our practical, realistic advice on delivering a successful MOOC beneficial as you make plans for your own online learning.

We think MOOCs are fantastic because they offer dramatic cost savings, a standardised level of training across large organisations and can allow people all over the world access to the leading academics in a subject.

There are three things intrinsic to a MOOC’s success:

  1. High levels of interactivity
  2. Best practice pedagogy
  3. Appropriate technology

Interactivity

Interactivity is essential in all forms and styles of learning. Learners grow and develop whenever content is delivered in a way that makes it memorable.

To inspire knowledge retention and stimulate thought amongst MOOC users, consider the following ideas:

  • Storytelling is being used across a broad spectrum of organisations because it captures the heart behind a lesson and delivers it in an entertaining way.
  • Problem-based learning can easily grab a learner’s imagination. Rather than completing a series of monotonous tick-box quizzes, learners are posed with real life problems faced by other individuals or organisations.
  • Gamification allows learners to apply knowledge and be rewarded as they progress.
  • Social learning allows a group of learners to come together to solve problems as well as give and receive encouragement. The creation of assignments to be posted on social forums creates conversation and stimulates thought amongst learners.
  • Progress tracking and instructor involvement encourages students by showing them how far they’ve come and allowing them to ask questions and receive advice when they get stuck.

Pedagogy

MOOCs present an opportunity to turn learning on its head. It is possible to design learning content in line with how the brain actually learns.

MOOCs are in a position to apply contemporary pedagogical principles and break free from the traditional and often ineffective styles of teaching that have crept their way into many organisations. By monitoring learner activity using big data, administrators can even test the effectiveness of different teaching styles.

In order to be truly successful, it is important that MOOCs do not simply copy dated models of learning from the past but are used as a forum to design new, better ways of learning. We face new challenges than ever before and require a new approach to learning.

Technology

If you’re able to successfully create a MOOC for your organisation, make sure you don’t fall at the last hurdle. When choosing an E-Learning provider, be sure to ask all of the right questions from the beginning. You’ll need to know what browsers will be able to support your E-Learning content, whether mobile devices will be supported, if the systems technology is up-to-date and whether it will require regular updates.

It’s really important to choose the right technology to support your learning goals so make a list of all the technical specifications you require before you begin to search for an E-Learning provider and you won’t have any regrets later.

Organisations all over the world are choosing to develop MOOCs because they offer possibilities and opportunities to engage with learners on a greater scale than ever before. MOOCs won’t work for everyone but if you have a restricted budget, a large learner audience to reach and are ready to adapt your learning content to make it more accessible, then a MOOC might just perfect for you.

Have you recently developed a MOOC? Please comment below and let us know what worked and didn’t work for you. Feel free to share this blog with others who you think may benefit from it. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

14 E-Learning statistics you need to know for 2014

We all know that the E-Learning landscape is rapidly changing. With so much information available, staying up-to-date with the latest information and statistics within the industry can be time consuming.  To help you get  informed, we’ve gathered and summarised 14 statistics from a range of sources in a useful infographic that will inform you about what’s happening in the E-Learning industry this year.

 

A useful infographic detailing E-Learning facts that you should keep in mind during 2014.

This infographic is available to download here.

  1. The average online learner is 34 years old.
  2. 82 per cent of learners are undergraduates.
  3. 81 per cent of learners are employed. [1]
  4. Over 40 per cent of global Fortune 500 companies now use some form of educational technology. [2]
  5. Companies who use E-Learning tools and strategies have the potential to boost productivity by 50 per cent. [3]
  6. For every $1 that a company spends on training, they can receive $30 worth of productivity gains. [3]
  7. In a survey of HR Managers, 12 per cent listed “not enough training” as the top reason for employees leaving. [4]
  8. Companies who offer best practice E-Learning and on-the-job training generate around 26 per cent more revenue per employee. [5]
  9. In 2011, it was estimated that 35.6 billion dollars was spent on self-paced E-Learning across the globe. Today, E-Learning is a 55.2 billion dollar industry and it’s going to double by 2015. [6]
  10. 72 per cent of companies stated that E-Learning helps them to keep up-to-date with changes in their industry, which helps them to keep remain competitive within their niche. [7]
  11. Companies that have a strong learning culture do better in their market than those who do not.
  12. Companies are 34 per cent more able to respond to the needs of the customer.
  13. Companies are 46 per cent more likely to be the leader in their industry.
  14. Companies are 17 per cent more likely to become the market share leader. [8]

Did you know?

E-Learning is expected to grow at an average of 23% in the years 2013-2017.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Game on? The use of gamification in e-learning.

by Sarah Sweeney, Marketing Assistant at Aurion Learning.

SQUARE imageMany HR and L&D professionals face the problem of ensuring that their training and learning programmes maintain learner engagement and motivation. Gamification has been regularly recognised as an opportunity to help solve this problem.

In this post, we consider whether gamification can enhance the learning experience. Before we consider if it is game on for gamification in learning, it is necessary to look at what gamification essentially is.

What is Gamification?

Games and game like components have been invading the learning realm for quite some time now. Although its definition differs, for the most part, gamification in learning is the use of game mechanics to ‘gamify’ content to engage and entice users by encouraging and rewarding use.

Although Nick Pelling first coined the term “gamification” in 2002, it has actually been around for some time – 40 years in fact, with many organisations already using features in their work from video games.

Indeed, it can be said that loyalty programs, target-based bonuses and employee-of-the-month schemes are all examples of how gamification as an incentive to growth has been around for a long time too.

Examples of gamification in learning include:

  • Training: technology giants, Microsoft use gamification to train users of Microsoft Office on how to use the new ribbon interface effectively.
  • Education: New York based school – Quest to Learn, advocates game-based learning to make education more engaging and relevant to children.
  • Employee productivity: Management tool Arcaris uses gamification to improve productivity in call centres.

Now that we know what gamification is and where it is being used in learning, it is necessary to see whether it actually works.

Does Gamification in learning work?

The gamification of e-learning unquestionably presents unique possibilities for learning technologists as they explore additional ways to educate and importantly engage learners.

It is widely recognised that adding interactive activities in e-learning are no longer optional extras, but essential to effective learning. However, it is important that the addition of game like elements into the e-learning programme are only applied in the context of the programme that allow the learner the opportunity to apply their retained knowledge to live situations, rather than distract and dazzle learners with wizardry from the overall learning goal.

Frequently, my social media feeds are inundated with social games, although irritating at times, there is no escaping the surge in popularity of online gaming and social media. The site, DevHub, reported an eightfold increase in the number of users completing their sites after adding gamification elements to the process. If there was any indication that the gamification was a fad, according to research from M2 it’s here not only stay, but increase in its use.

The global market for gamification apps and services will grow to $2.8 billion by 2016.”

The enthusiasm for gamification has however met with some criticism. Game designers Radoff and Robertson have criticised gamification for excluding aspects like storytelling, an important element of learning. Whilst university researcher Deterding, has argued that current approaches to gamification create an artificial sense of achievement.

What does the successful application of gamification in e-learning look like?

  1. Gamification isn’t about games, but the learners.
  2. It isn’t about knowledge but behaviour.
  3. It extracts the motivational techniques out of games and uses them for life-applicable learning.
  4. It allows quick feedback of progress and communications of goals that need to be accomplished.

Gamification is made appealing for e-learning because of our human tendencies.  On the whole, we generally enjoy actively participating engaging and competing with others. Gamification allows learners to connect and learn together with playful applications and incentives, particularly when there are engaging game design elements used.

Today’s learners are however no longer placated with trivial reward systems but rather sophisticated experiences that hold real value. Organisations embracing the gamification in learning can stand to see learners more engaged and retain more information, but only if it is applied aptly to the e-learning programme, achieving the overall core learning objectives.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

E-Learning Market Review Part II: Mergers and Acquisitions in 2012

By Glynn Jung

Back at the start of 2012 I attempted to make sense of the jumble of mergers and acquisitions across the digital learning market.

At that time I commented on the convergence of education and corporate sectors using Bluedrop and Serebra as illustrations. This trend continues including, for example, the high volume of Moodle implementations in the public and private sectors – away from their education sector heartland. This is helped no doubt by the emergence of commercial wrap-around  solutions but there is also the factor that Open Source is now trusted by major organisations (and ISVs including Microsoft) as well as interfaces and plug-ins for .NET technologies. We are also seeing IWB specialists SMART and Promethean increasingly penetrating the corporate market.

The social media sector similarly continues to show an appetite for growth, demonstrated by the recent acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft.

I also commented previously on the inexorable growth of big organisations in the Talent Management market by acquisition of niche players. In January the wedding of Kenexa and Outstart (respectively Talent Management and LCMS giants) was announced. Since then the resulting combined organisation has been bought by IBM. The earlier acquisition of Plateau Systems LMS by SuccessFactors, to contribute SuccessFactors Learning to the whole Talent Management Suite, was followed at the end of 2011 by SuccessFactors themselves being swallowed up by SAP … with the whole integration process still under way it seems.

So what we are witnessing is the continuing battle between Oracle (with their PeopleSoft and Taleo acquisitions), IBM and SAP for the Enterprise Software market including HCMS and Talent Management.

On the plus side it seems as though every major acquisition (there are few genuine “partnerships between equals”) leaves doors wide open and rooms empty for niche players to step into. The LMS market, for example, continues to witness mergers and acquisitions across all sectors but to stay steady at the 250 – 280 suppliers level. Why so many? Well possibly it’s to do with increasing digitisation of learning, training and assessment, with increased volumes and complexity of different regulatory and compliance systems and, particularly, the variety and sophistication of Open Source communities and their work.

Across the road in classroom world, the traditional classroom model has been successfully disrupted as commented upon by Clayton Christensen in “Disrupting Class”, which in 2008 was seen as somewhat heretical or hysterical. Nowadays the digital campus and classroom are a reality, as are Open Content and services such as the phenomenal Khan Academy. I am currently working on networked digital classrooms for manufacturing and assembly workers … an unimagined concept until very recently.

Consulting and classroom training companies continue to acquire what they see as eLearning companies but they are frequently disappointed and frustrated by the difficulties presented by moving into product markets, by the sales cycles and most tellingly by the price pressure driving down margins.

And so it goes … and will probably continue…

2012 E-Learning Market Review: Mergers and Acquisitions in Early 2012

By Glynn Jung, Non-Executive Director

The constant mergers and acquisitions activity that we commented on at start of the year continues.

Four moves in particular interest me as illustrating current trends:

• Bluedrop & Serebra – the convergence of education & corporate sectors;
• Twitter & Summify – personalising social media;
• Kenexa & Outstart – feeling the pressure and hoping the grass is greener;
• Assima & Kaplan Technologies – consolidation and expansion.

Bluedrop and Serebra – the convergence of Education and Corporate sectors
In a surprise reverse buyout Bluedrop Performance Learning acquired Serebra Learning in January. At first glance the core one-stop SaaS offerings from these Canadian companies (CoursePark from Bluedrop and Campus from Serebra) would appear to be mutually incompatible but on closer examination there are sufficient differences between the two companies to make merger attractive.

Serebra has become a major player in Higher Education and Further Education and its functionality, course content and customer base reflect this education provenance. Bluedrop has carved a similar niche for itself in Defence, Aerospace, Energy and Health but with added expertise in low-cost simulations. The combined expertise of these two companies, sort of niche versions of Lumesse, should put them in a position to exploit the growing cross-fertilisation of Industry and Education as well as the increasing commercialisation of the education sector globally.

Twitter and Summify – personalising social media
Summify is particularly interesting for two reasons. Firstly it’s proof of the increasing innovation coming from Romania technologists (though the company has been physically located in Canada).

Secondly it’s one of the first of a new breed of “content curation” companies collecting news stories that are being shared on your social networks and putting them into a daily summary. The short-lived Summify service has made a name for itself by aggregating the most important news items from your Twitter and Facebook accounts and displaying them in easily digestible portions.

Twitter was the original “follower and followed” service but it’s not made the same progress as Summify so the acquisition and integration of the two offerings are wholly understandable.

Kenexa and Outstart – feeling the pressure and hoping the grass is greener
Two industry giants, Kenexa in HCMS and Talent Management and Outstart in LCMS and Learning Systems, have confirmed they’ll be tying the knot very shortly, mirroring the takeover in February by Oracle of Taleo. The Kenexa statement read “With the addition of OutStart’s capabilities, Kenexa will be able to offer customers an award-winning suite of SaaS learning solutions plus learning expertise and a great team with more than a decade of experience in learning management.” Commentators suggest that the learning & accreditation markets are suffering serious disruption at the moment and OutStart’s particular emphasis on knowledge sharing within organisations is ripe for innovation, something the combined expertise could deliver. As ever – the question is whether the two tribes can co-exist in a single corporation and at what point will clients feel the impact of the takeover.

Finally: Assima and Kaplan Technologies
My personal view is that Kaplan’s entry into the technologies market was ill-advised and a costly mistake. Both STT and Atlantic Link were always an odd addition to Kaplan’s Education, Academic and Professional Academies businesses … you rarely, if ever, see such a mixture succeed any more than that created when publishing companies buy eLearning generic eLearning companies.

Assima on the other hand is an organisation steeped in technologies and the sale of product-based services: like STT it was spawned from the SAP and ERP industry, (where it was originally known as DACG), and it understands how to use technology in learning and performance support on a major scale. Assima previously shunned the “conventional” eLearning market due to its core focus on Software implementation and exploitation, particularly using sophisticated EPSS, Simulators and Context-sensitive learning. But it makes sense to broaden the offering to its established international corporate clients by moving into eLearning.