So what were the themes we saw at Learning Technologies 2012:

Content still key, but of an ever widening genre……

Content developers were still very much in demand by delegates, with KineoBrightwave and LINE – with its Learning Architecture and PTK’s excellent game and 3d materials all appearing to be very popular destinations with delegates. Generic content is still a big category, Eukleia proved an interesting stand, illustrating that compliance led e-learning is still very important, and the quality makes a difference. Skillsoft looked a popular destination as did Jenison, there is still strong demand for good quality content.Toolwire was attracting delegates demonstrating learnscapes and you can see why it is a global winner! We love the concept of learnscapesLynda.com a new exhibitor brought some real focus on Video based content to the exhibition. We were pleasantly surprised to see RM exhibiting. We know RM from the excellent work in education, especially in the e-SY.info project in Sheffield. What plans do they have for the corporate market …we wonder?

Gaming and simulation going mainstream…….

The Intellego –Pixelearning combination looks very exciting offering a full suite of services. Indeed after 5 years of hype we really do believe that gaming and simulation has now arrived, and this new combination will be well placed in the market. The Assima stand reflected this interest in system simulations we have always been interested in software cloning solutions for learning, and we were surprised that Day One tech could not be enticed into exhibiting their excellent call centre system simulations solutions. We are also very excited about the forthcoming Digital Learning Marketplace from Intellego, which will bring a whole new approach to content delivery.

Talent management and learner performance platforms were key trends

A major trend this year was the strength in depth of talent management vendors, with big international players such asCornerstoneSaba also bringing a strong focus on enterprise social networking and SumTotal (with Human Capital Management strap line) looking popular. E2Train a very successful LMS vendor now becoming an increasingly significant player in this talent management market with its 81Boxes – which looks very impressive indeed – we recommend the free trial! The Working Managers D2 is an innovative approach to enhancing learner performance with the VODE!

Certpoint and CrossKnowledge are both excellent examples of bringing together technologies to deliver meaningful learning and real performance improvement. The ever innovative MyKnowledgeMap, bringing together differing technologies to deliver coherent learning solutions –MKM’s Really Managing now really delivers on mobile assessment – making them a true market leader. We were particularly taken with the CrossKnowledge On Demand approach, bringing both breadth and depth by seamless integration of blended learning for corporates.

Moodle and Totara are having a growing impact

Moodle and Totara were well represented, with Mind Click and again Kineo being very popular stands and new boys Webanywherecoming into the corporate market with some energy. Webanywhere had a big presence at BETT (see our review of BETT), and as probably Europe’s largest Moodle partner they should prove popular in the corporate market. The Fusion stand proved a very busy stand, using video presentations to good effect and the Fuse platform looks very interesting indeed – a video centric social learning platform. K-Tango – the platform for mobile learning support likewise looks good – the LMS just keeps evolving!

We are big fans of Virtual College who with the Enable LMS platform are doing a fantastic job of delivering apprenticeships. The LMS has not gone away, it’s just evolved, with differing vendors taking different perspectives on the market, and this is just one of many excellent examples. Platforms still have an important role to play as we argued in our 2011 review of LTs.

Going Mobile

With Mobile we have been fans of Epics mobile learning solution GoMo for some time and see it as a real game changer. Likewise the Seminar Author product struck us as a well thought through solution. I-Pads and smartphones will continue to attract interest, but vendors were generally realistic in how and where they will be used. Tata were making a real effort to support attendees in getting a grip on mobile learning, – the issues and opportunities, and performing a real service.

Authoring tools….still a competitive market

In comparison to BETT (see our review) the presence of Authoring Tool vendors must be highlighted. At LTs Adobe and Kaplan’s Atlantic Link both proved very popular destinations by giving good demonstrations of their products capabilities they are so good at this and every year it proves ever more popular but this was sadly missing at BETT! Teachers do not want to build their own content, unlike the corporate L&D world? Can this be so? Notably though, the LMS is arriving in education, it’s called an EMS…see our BETT review. We wonder what the ever popular Articulate could do in education, maybe they are waiting for Storyline to be ready it attracted a lot of interest and our attention at Devlearn. The Harbinger stand showing Raptivity looked busy as did Trivantiswith Lectora, Flypaper and Snap, and we were very impressed by new exhibitors. New exhibitor Zenler had a new product that looks very exciting. There were a couple of surprising absentees from the authoring tools market – no Techsmith, or one of 2011’s exciting new vendors i-spring or the very compelling Jackdaw. For those of us looking for the excellent Mohive we now need to seek out Cross Knowledge!

Coalescence…..the Cloud

However, real next generation is going to coalesce around the Cloud – this is going to be, or indeed is the next big thing, it was certainly very evident at BETT, though slightly less so at LTs. The Cloud was a massive part of Devlearn 2011 where we first noticed Xyleme, with its cloud based LCMS solution and focus on XML, and now it has launched its very exciting Bravais solution. The importance of XML was further illustrated by eXact’s presentation on new XML DITA Editor.

Our view is that the Cloud will impact on the Learning Technologies market significantly with Software as a Service and Content as a Service impacting upon the market in a very positive way. It will be the Cloud that will allow both mobile learning and social learning to be fully integrated into the corporate learning eco-system. Along with the Cloud we will see a new generation of analytics engines designed to utilise the new open post SCORM standards, that will move e-learning beyond “deliver, track and record” to one of a focus on “outcomes and proficiencies” that will be continually monitored…as the Cloud never forgets!