Learning Technologies 2015 Review

Learning Technologies 2015 review, themes and vendor picks.

Learning Technologies is always a busy event and 2015 was no exception. With an expanded Learning Technologies (LTs) presence leading off to the Learning and Skills section you could even say that it was very very busy indeed!

There were several firsts at this event: the debut of Leo, the undoubted new market leader in content forged from Epic and Line; Filtered, a content provider with an interesting angle; and kokm, a new Drupal- based next generation LMS. KPMG appeared in strength this year, while Deloitte did not.

We also noted new arrivals from Poland (way2learn) and Sweden (TicTac) which is encouraging as LTs develops a greater international standing.

In comparison to BETT this is still principally a UK audience, but with a growing vibrancy we believe that LTs will continue to internationalise with more European vendors and delegates.

The LMS market seems to be in good health, with Safety Media launching SCORM LMS and other LMS vendors such as Virtual College, Kallidus, Saba, Sum Total (representing the absent Skillsoft?), Cornerstone, Success Factors and interestingly Blackboard (not at BETT) all with strong presence. IBM appeared with its growing range of learning platforms, particularly highlighting Kenexa.

Interestingly there appeared to be more Moodle presence at LTs than BETT, with Webanywhere being at both events (and the only prominent Moodle player at BETT). This was not the case at LTs with several other Moodle service providers present.  Naturally and not surprisingly Totara was well represented at LTs as well.

We must conclude the corporate LMS market seems very buoyant indeed, where the VLE market in education appears very subdued, based on our 2 days recently spent at BETT.

Content development vendors and content library vendors appeared in strength, with Lynda’s presence growing (also being a BETT exhibitor) we noted Open Sesame now in partnership with Totara, the very busy Safety Media, Skills Gate, Course Source and Virtual College who all appeared as popular destinations for delegates looking for content providers.

With both Lynda and Open Sesame offering “all you can learn” subscription based e-learning content offers, we were intrigued by Course Source’s presentation about the hidden costs of off-the-shelf e-learning content.

Is buying an e-learning course subscription package like buying gym membership? A great idea but not great value! Studies still illustrate that usage levels of off-the-shelf content (individual and corporate subscriptions) are still low. This is reinforced by a survey published by show debutants Filtered in the January 2015 Inside Learning Technologies magazine.

Themes and observations:

  • Social learning is a hot topic in LMS land and increasingly a buyers feature list must have.
  • Mobile is almost mainstream and de rigueur, unlike at BETT where many education content publishers were still in catch-up mode!
  • 70 20 10 is growing in recognition amongst vendors as a style of learning to be supported by technology, and is aligned obviously aligned to social learning in some ways.
  • Bespoke e-learning remains in demand, with the new Leo stand proving very busy indeed.
  • Scenario learning and narrative based learning is coming to the fore in bespoke content development.
  • Gamification is a hot topic in LMS land
  • Virtual Reality is attracting interest and will move mainstream as Udutu and e-learning Studios continue to pioneer this exciting technology and “showing off” Oculus Rift to great interest.

What we didn’t see:

  • Not really a corporate MOOC presence at this event, but we remain very interested in Virtual College’s work on VOOCs. Maybe MOOCs have passed the market by!
  • While assessment technologies grow in prominence, adaptive learning is still lurking in the shadows and there was surprisingly little real mention of analytics and big data as yet.

Our Show Picks

With absolutely no logic, in no order, rhyme or reason, these are the stands we found the most interesting.

Xyleme

It is always great to listen to Mark Hellenger and his views on content. We have tracked Xyleme (an LCMS) since 2011 and we still find the solutions offered to be some of the most innovative in the industry.

Kokm

It is not often that someone decides to create a new LMS from the bottom up. But based on over 2 years of research conducted with the University of Edinburgh to target corporate learning from SME upward with a modular offer we find this is a new and interesting take on the LMS. The modularity of the LMS based on Drupal is particularly impressive.

Virtual College

One of the UK’s e-learning pioneers and continuing innovators in e-learning now with VOOCs, which we find very interesting indeed. Their impressive full service academies (using the Enable LMS) continue to deliver huge numbers of courses to over 1.5 million learners. A really interesting company to watch going forward and gaining market share and reputation.

Filtered

Making their debut in 2015 with a new content library and a pre-assessment led approach to ensure that the courses offered are aligned to the learner’s specific tested and identified requirement. This is an interesting idea and some informative research in the January 2015 Inside Learning Technologies magazine underpins why this is so.

GoMo

GoMo continues to make significant progress in the market and increasingly offers a really credible alternative to the usual suspects!  The master demonstrator Mike Alcock continues to transfix the audience making mobile content creation look very smooth indeed.

e-learningWMB

Making a big splash last year, this company continues to offer a range of disruptive products that deliver a different approach to content that is really refreshing. We just love the 3d learning. The membership model creating your own virtual e-learning team is a really great idea.

Lectora

Perhaps one of the more understated exhibitors this year, but with a range of products which prove popular with the development community as they just work…..plain and simple! It is always interesting to listen to Lectora’s plans for development as they are probably offer the best reflection of what the e-learning developer community really wants.

Safety Media

Focus, focus, focus and it pays off…great courses focusing on compliance, health and safety and more. There is no doubt that the e-learning market is still driven heavily by compliance, and despite the overwhelming messaging of performance improvement emblazoned on many stands, compliance still plays a huge part in the industry, and the success of Safety Media tells us this. And we all now know what the lawyers did for e-learning!

Totem Learning

While gamification was hot, we have been long term fans of serious gaming in learning. The Totem team is one of the most able in this market and with enough experience and evidence to really make a difference to an organisation who works with them. This is the content genre in our view with some of the greatest potential to change and really improve learner performance.

Nimble author

For buzz and passion this stand took some beating. Nimble really has caught the imagination of clients and is a big favourite of ours as well. It is simple and easy to use by L&D professionals (not techies) who are taking those first steps into e-learning, and let’s all remember there are still a lot of companies just taking some very small steps into e-learning.