While all eyes – on this side of the English Channel at least – are on the Learning Technologies event, in London’s Olympia (25/26 January), there are some important learning technologies related events about to take place in mainland Europe too. Karlsruhe in Germany is, once again, the setting for Learntec (31 January to 2 February), while Espace Champerret in central Paris is set to make its debut as the venue for the iLearning Forum Paris (31 January and 1 February).


A number of learning technologies providers – notably eXact learning solutions (see ‘New XML DITA editor on show in London and Karlsruhe’ below) – have got into the habit of launching new products in London and then again, a few days later, in Karlsruhe.


Up to now, the event in Paris, which is in its 12th year and is France’s leading learning technologies event, hasn’t figured in the ‘product launch schedule’ – perhaps because of its clash, on dates, with Learntec in Germany. This year, the conference at the iLearning Forum Paris, covers open source platforms; serious games; simulations; interactive instructional design; content development tools; mobile learning; the latest learning technologies and social networks in learning. In addition, thanks to goFLUENT’s CEO, Christophe Ferrandou, delegates will also be considering the ROI of blended learning.


According to Ferrandou: “We help our clients determine the ROI of the blended learning that comes from goFLUENT’s e-learning platform, customised content, written coaching and telephone lessons. We believe that all of these combine to provide a consistent and efficient learning experience to help students improve their business English skills.


“Owing to their innovative nature and enterprise-wide – often global – scope, many blended learning programmes become highly ‘visible’ to those in the Boardroom,” he continued. “Typically, learning programmes support overall learning strategies which, in turn, are aimed at achieving business goals – so it’s perfectly understandable that organisations should try to measure these programmes’ ROI.”


Ferrandou, the only Frenchman in the recently published list of the top ten ‘movers and shakers’ in European e-learning, believes that, in trying determine the ROI of a learning project, people tend to focus on costs rather than results. He said: “That’s because it’s easier to do so! Yet, assessing results is not only fairer, it’s also more closely allied to the organisation’s goals.”


Ferrandou added that, in order to define a learning programme’s net benefits, you must set some goals, define an evaluation framework and – only then – do the ROI calculations. He observed: “Setting goals is key not only to measuring ROI but also to engage learners and their managers.”


Comment: France’s learning technologies sector – and, thus, key trade event – may not be as well known internationally as those in Germany and the UK but, according to figures from Learning Light’s research into e-learning throughout Europe in 2010, France has Europe’s second largest learning technologies sector. While the UK’s e-learning industry turned over some £472m in 2010, France’s e-learning industry turned over £375m and Germany’s a mere £242m. Undoubtedly, a large proportion of those making major contributions to all three countries’ learning technologies turnover will be in evidence at these events in London, Paris and Karlsruhe.