Elearning Market Update - February 2012

This month we report on major elearning events held last month in London and Las Vegas. Attendance at both events was higher than ever. This growing interest in e-learning solutions and a buoyant elearning market, has meant HR and talent management companies are keen for a piece of the action. Looks like some people were doing a little shopping at the show too. This week we saw another acquisition of an elearning company by a talent management vendor keen to expand its reach into the e-learning market.

London’s glittering parade – Learning Technologies

The attendance at London’s Learning Technologies event was higher than ever with more exhibitors and visitors. Whilst the event was buzzing with people, the buzz wasn’t really about new technology or ideas. The elearning market has matured to a point where it has become mainstream and an accepted part of the L&D offer. There is less hype about mobile, new fangled authoring tools or platforms and a more serious focus on real case studies showing how e-learning is delivering value and improving performance. This maturity is attracting more people to see how they can best apply e-learning to deliver results.

This can be seen in the focus we took: two Kineo seminars at Learning Technologies. The first was a case study with Tesco on how Totara LMS has been implemented and lessons learnt. The second was a case study with Compass Group, showing how e-learning had been reinvented to deliver business results cost effectively across the group. In microcosm these case studies sum up the maturity of the market and the focus on making e-learning effective rather than excessive hype about new technologies. You can see more details on both case studies in our case studies section.

Las Vegas – same trends, nicer weather...

Over in the comparative wasteland of Las Vegas, there was similar excitement at ASTD Tech Knowledge 2012.Over 1,400 practitioners and managers from all around the world gathered to learn ways to better handle current challenges, while generating ideas and strategies for technologies coming down the road.

Our US team saw a similar maturity there: Mobile, no longer a future technology, is here and now with hands-on design sessions and strategic planning workshops. Virtual classroom training, its own conference track, had quite a number of focused sessions on providing tips for running more effective online classrooms. 'Social learning' seemed like less of a buzz word and more of an integrated thing that we all naturally do – or should do.ASTDTK12

Elearning design, always a key focus at this conference, didn't disappoint with a large number of sessions and hands-on workshops devoted to better use of tools and more creative design strategies. You can read a full round up from Cammy Bean here. Here she is, owning the stage:

Britain’s Got Talent... management

It is the increasing move of elearning to the mainstream and the growth in the market that has led HR companies, traditional training companies and talent management companies to want a slice of the action. There has almost been a stampede to buy up e-learning companies to get a foothold in the market as people fear being left behind. Recently we have had Taleo buy Learn.com, Success Factors buy Plateau LMS and Lummesse buy Edvantage for their Learning Gateway platform. This month it is the turn of Kenexa, the global HR services company, to buy OutStart, the LCMS/LMS provider.

Kenexa commented: “Our acquisition of OutStart, announced separately today, provides Kenexa with a next generation e-learning solution. We believe that Kenexa is the only vendor capable of meeting growing demand for an end-to-end, integrated talent management solution that includes e-learning along with recruiting, performance management, compensation management, proprietary content and services expertise to help implement best practices.” So it’s another in that pattern of big HR companies looking to integrate more learning focused platforms and services.

OutStart has been one of the more innovative elearning companies in our view, with a suite of products that includes authoring, content management, learning management, social and mobile solutions. According to Kenexa’s latest financial results Kenexa paid “$38.9 million, subject to working capital and other adjustments described in the Merger Agreement.”

The acquisitions and investments in e-learning companies reflect the growing importance of learning to organisations. Those of us in e-learning have known for some time about the real performance benefits that can be achieved and also the wider benefits such as staff motivation, staff retention, and knowledge sharing that come from investment in learning. These benefits are increasingly recognised and learning, and particularly elearning, is becoming more strategically important. Thus we can expect to see Kineo’s stand at events get even busier.

Kineo at LT12

Finally, this month we were pleased to score highly in the exit poll for Learning Technologies. When asked “When you planned your Learning Technologies 2012 visit, which company was on top of your must see list before visiting the show today?” the most popular answer from attendees was Kineo. Of the seven poll questions asked, we featured in the top five in five of them. Given how many people were at the show, we were delighted with that result. Thanks to those of you who came to see us and we hope to see even more of you next year.

By Steve Rayson