As we have written to in our previous Blogs comparing BETT with its rival (?) exhibition Learning Technologies, BETT was an exhibition of size and significance, indicating that the market in education for e-learning and technology is hugely important for UK PLC, and as such was noted by Vince Cable MP in his opening address quoting from research by IBIS capital and Learning Light.

In this blog piece we focus on what was exciting and what we felt was missing at BETT, other than Apple, Facebook and Twitter!

Workplace Learning

The introduction of workplace learning  at BETT was a major development, and with several high profile speakers including Nick Shackleton-Jones, Group Head of eLearning Leadership Development & Talent at BP and Dr Richard Walters, Group Head of Learning and Development at Hays, BETT illustrated some real intent in this market. We would estimate about 80 companies of the over 450 exhibiting positioning themselves totally or partially in this market segment.

This component is likely to grow given the overall vibrancy of BETT and while there were only 4 organisations we noted exhibiting at both events…Tribal,, learndirect and Webanywhere giving prominence to Moodle in both markets, we predict more corporate orientated businesses will have to consider this option, as BETT develops its workplace learning offer.

BYOD for education….very exciting….

We were impressed, and not a little surprised as to the number of innovative solutions on show at BETT designed to incorporate smart phones and tablets into the classroom, and support the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend into schools.

This recognition that smartphones and tablets cannot effectively be excluded from schools, but have to be managed and integrated into the classroom is a lesson for many corporates who still worry about managing employees with their own devices in the workplace.

The emphasis in classrooms appeared to be around control and visibility of the learners usage and positive engagement of smartphones and tablets within lessons.

So is this mobile learning?….well there were lots of interesting solutions to integrate home learning and school learning, as well as involve parents in the learning process, so it is really more about extending and integrating learning to reflect how learners live and interact with technology, than simply learning on the move.

Content still a conundrum.

At BETT 2012 we saw a show dominated by 3D content and screens, but in 2013, while 3D technology and content has not gone away, it was at a much lower level of prominence, no surprises there really.

Content and the approaches to content remains something of a puzzle to us. Teachers and educators wish to assemble digital content and link to content, but not really create too much e-learning content themselves. We commented on this at length after our 2012 visit….not a lot has changed, and quite unlike Learning Technologies where bespoke content for corporate learning programmes appeared to be in huge demand.

Where were the MOOCs?

With MOOCs being the hot topic it was disappointing to see that no MOOCs – Coursera, Udacity or EdX etc… were in attendance. Indeed a search for MOOCs on the BETT site brings zero returns.  With the Open University not at BETT, there appeared to be no UK presence for the Futurelearn MOOC either, which is a surprise, given this is a global showcase for the UK e-learning industry.

Analytics….also gone missing?

Analytics are big, one of the trends of 2013, but a search of the BETT site with that key term produced just two returns, surely not…..there are dozens of companies in the data tools section, but curiously little mention of analytics.

This is concerning and worrying when we see that companies such as News Corporation are investing heavily in analytics for education, and indeed our 2011 one paragraph review of Devlearn highlighted this growing trend, and again in Education US organisations and institutions seem to be taking a real lead in this area.

It is worth visiting the Fast Company’s site to see the world’s top 10 most innovative companies in education, MOOC’s come in top, and then it is analytics  with games and student support solutions following.