Market Update February 2014

Learning Technologies proved, yet again, to be a very popular and busy event. Over 7,000 people attended, there were over 250 exhibitors and 150 free seminars. So it was not a show for the faint hearted. Here is our take on the event.

The number of companies attending each year continues to grow. Learning Technologies is now arguably the number one global event in the industry. This is reflected in significant investment in company stands at the event. Gone are the days of shell schemes and 10x10 stands, almost every company now has a large, bespoke-build stand. There was a time when the LMS vendors were few and far between but they are now well represented with the likes Cornerstone, Saba and SumTotal all present. Totara LMS was also represented by 5 Totara partners at the event. At a personal level it was great to see the mobile version of Totara as I know how much work the team has put into its development. Great also to catch up with Ben Betts and their open source Learning Locker project which we hope to work with.

My overall takeaway is the LMS market is a crowded space and I anticipate we will see further consolidation and fall out. I stopped counting after I identified 50 LMS or platform vendors at the show.

On the tools side there were a wide range of authoring tool vendors present. The big players Articulate and Adobe were very active and had busy stands, their Storyline and Captivate tools continue to dominate the market. Lectora were also present with their new mobile version. Multi-device delivery was the name of the game this year which I am personally pleased to see. There are some great new tools designed specifically for multi-device delivery. Special mention to Elucidat for their very easy to use authoring tool, which must be the fastest rapid tool on the market. Kudos to Simon and the team for a great intuitive interface.

At City & Guilds Kineo we were very pleased to launch, with our partners Learning Pool and Sponge, the first version of the Adapt Framework, which is the first major step towards the free open source Adapt elearning authoring tool. Adapt is a very powerful authoring tool that creates sophisticated responsive elearning, in simple terms it creates one version that works on any device by adapting intelligently to screen size. The content can be optimised for each size and swap out and display different content and interactions as required. We believe Adapt is the future of multi-device and responsive elearning.

The Adapt project is an open source project. It is not owned by any company, there is a guiding group which is growing daily with a very clear vision:

  • To work as a community to create the leading elearning authoring tool for producing responsive elearning for multi-devices
  • To ensure Adapt is always freely available for organisations that wish to develop their own responsive elearning content
  • To develop a large, global community of end users and developers and drive mass adoption by releasing the code under the GPL open source license and ensuring a low barrier of adoption for all types of users
  • To ensure that the tool is easy to use for those with limited technical knowledge
  • To ensure the content which Adapt produces can be deployed to a typical environment that end users may have (e.g. Moodle, SCORM-based LMSs etc.)
  • To support the principles of collaborative development and community working

To take part in the Adapt project or to download the software go to the Adapt Community site.

The demand for high quality bespoke elearning solutions remains high and we had a very busy time demonstrating our latest work for leading clients. There is also a growing demand for blended learning solutions. We were very pleased to present examples of blended learning projects we had developed with our clients TUI, Compass and Network Rail.

Our US colleagues attended the ASTD Tech Knowledge conference in the US the previous week where 1,500 people attended. The themes appeared to be very similar though there were significantly less companies exhibiting and it felt more like a show targeting elearning practitioners such as designers and developers. Later today I head off to Australia for the ELearning Congress event next week and will report back next month. Stay tuned, if you can’t wait for next month’s market update follow us on Twitter, Google+ or join our LinkedIn group.


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