Market Update June 2014: Adapt Open Source Elearning – Shaking Up the Tools Market

The elearning authoring tools market has largely been populated with proprietary tools that the user or organisation licences on a per-user, per-year, or sometimes even per-publish basis. Tools from well-established providers including Articulate, Adobe with the Captivate Suite and Lectora have had significant uptake. They’re all great, and we’ve used them extensively at City & Guilds Kineo – but for some reason the open source option has been largely under-represented in this space.

That’s changing. As you know, we’re long-standing advocates of the power of open source to change the game in any market, as it’s done in the LMS space with Moodle and Totara. The Adapt project, founded by CG Kineo, set out to do the same for multi-device elearning authoring.

Nine months on, how is it doing and what does the market think?

Last September, we set out to create an open source project around our internal Adapt framework. Our vision was to create an industry standard, responsive design elearning framework, and following on from that, a market leading authoring tool.

What’s Working?

Here are five highlights from the work of the Adapt Community so far:

  1. Building a new team: After deciding to open source our code for the Adapt project, a team of collaborators was quickly created to build a first release, including City & Guilds Kineo, Learning Pool and Sponge UK, with DeltaNet, LearnChamp and Michael Palmer joining the project officially since January 2014. These organisations are typically competitors but are working together to create a better way to create elearning. Why? More on that in a moment…
  2. Creating something new: Adapt is the first open source framework for responsive, multi-device elearning, with the Adapt Community releasing the code for a new authoring framework, on time, in January 2014. Code updates are now completed to make the framework easily extendible, with version 1.1 now available.
  3. Introducing a new community of support: Adapt has a thriving open source community - this is the real measure of success for any open source project. Join the community here.
  4. Discovering new ways to design elearning: Designing for multi-device use is stretching teams into new territories and grammars for learning design. See an example of how CG Kineo have used Adapt in delivering multi-device learning for Scouts. Our clients are using Adapt to improve engagement and access through multi-device, responsive elearning designs. These include Scouts, TUI, Compass, and many more.
  5. Winning Awards: Adapt Learning has already won two awards (LearnX Platinum Award for best eLearning Design Technology, for two consecutive years). It’s not about awards, we know – but it’s a signal that there’s genuine recognition that there’s space for a different type of authoring approach.

So Why Go Open Source?

One frequently asked question we get from clients at CG Kineo, collaborators and indeed competitors is: Why are we going open source and giving the code away?

In principle, the decision to go open source is born out of some core beliefs:

  1. Good things come from ‘sharing the love’ – one of our key business values. That’s underpinned by City & Guilds values – a charity reinvesting its entire surplus into education projects ever year.
  2. We don’t differentiate on technology – but rather great customer service and quality of design. It’s not what the technology does, it’s what you do with it. We’re happy to compete on this basis every day, and let the market decide.
  3. Better together – by pooling multiple organisations’ efforts (crowd sourcing), we can achieve something better together, i.e. creating an industry standard and market leading authoring tool.
  4. Free is better – there’s no license fee, so for those who want to download the framework, and the authoring tool (coming later this year) – that’s free.
  5. A bigger community creates more support – for us and the whole user base. By having many hands working on the tool, we – and you – can get wider support and input.

Still not convinced about open source? Take a look at the 5 reasons why we love open source technologies for learning.

What’s Next?

The Adapt Framework is well on its way to establishing itself as an industry standard. There has been a fair amount of work on defining the roadmap and progress is being made on implementing the WAI AA accessibility requirements into the framework, with planned work on creating randomized question banks coming too.

There are also several parties who are interested in collaborating to extend Adapt’s feature set. The community is currently in planning to support potential collaborators on implementing xAPI tracking and likely also right-to-left (RTL) support.

Progress on the authoring tool is also very good and there is high confidence that version 0.1 will be released sometime in 2014.

Keep up-to-date with Adapt’s roadmap and planned future developments.

Find Out More

Get in touch and let us show you what Adapt can do to make open source, multi-device elearning in your business a reality.


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