Learning Light, the UK-based market analyst specialising in the online learning technologies and educational technology (edtech) sectors, has published an Innovation Index. This Index sets out a list of developments over the past 12 months that the Learning Light team has found ‘particularly interesting and exciting’.
According to Learning Light’s director, David Patterson: “This Innovation Index highlights the developments which we found particularly significant in the world of edtech and e-learning in 2014. Innovation is a widely used and often abused term and so, in the context of innovation, we’re considering both smart technical developments and disruptive business models.
“We’re looking back in order to understand the present and to predict the future,” he added. “These themes and products are what we see as being on-trend for 2015.
“The Innovation Index isn’t ranked,” said David. “Instead, it’s organised by theme. And, since we’re looking back, the list is in reverse alphabetical order.”
Details of the Learning Light Innovation index is at: http://learninglight.com/innovation-index The 2014 Learning Light Innovation Index is:
- 1. XML and learning content creation and management from Nimble author
While this is an engaging and effective learning management system (LMS), with a disruptive business model, Nimble author innovates in the way that content is created and handled by using XML. The Nimble author business model also has much to recommend it, since it’s a true ‘use before you buy’ model. This product has a simple and elegant interface, an easy way to create content and its holistic approach to creating and delivering learning is pleasing.
- 2. Vocational Open Online Courses (VOOCs) from Virtual College
The concept of VOOCs has been developed by Virtual College, one of the UK’s most successful e-learning pioneers. MOOCs may be entering the ‘down slide’ of the hype cycle but VOOCs continue to have huge potential. Among the VOOC’s attributes is that it delivers an honest appreciation of a specific career path. It’s not linear but exploratory and engaging.
- 3. Video – the next generation from thePeleton and ThinkZoom
Video has been ‘hot’ in e-learning for several years but, traditionally, it comes with limited learner interactions. This is being changed by the London-based video content company, thePeleton. It’s using both HTML5 and Flash to embed interactivity into videos. The resulting tool should appear next year (brand to be finalised).
In addition, ej4 has a different view on managing video and making it available on-demand. Its ThinkZoom tool allows individuals in companies to record, capture and publish, as well as assign and track, learning through the desktop. This tool offers both curation and knowledge management. Tools like this could create in-company ‘learnscapes’.
- 4. Serious games from Totem learning and e-learning studios
Totem learning, with its sister company e-learning studios, is a serious games developer in the UK (see Learning Light’s conversation with Totem’s Helen Routledge). Serious games are likely to go ‘mainstream’ in 2015 – and offer more than just gamification.
- 5. Learning record stores (LRS) from Learning Locker
The LRS has become a key topic in recent years as project Tin Can (or the xAPI) has progressed. The open source project, Learning Locke, is the UK’s e-learning industry response – led by Ben Betts of HT2, with participants including Webanywhere, Leo, Kineo and Brightwave. While Tin Can deployments have, so far, been few, Learning Light expects to see Learning Locker emerge as a major player in the LRS market in the UK and beyond.
- 6. Disruptive LMSs from LearnUpon and aNewspring
Named in Learning Light’s recently published top LMS list, these two LMS vendors are exemplars at employing differentiation or disruption. Dublin-based LearnUpon’s LMS moves the LMS into the Native Apps market (Apple’s iOS). Its ease of use for an administrator should help to convert face-to-face trainers to promote e-learning. The Dutch LMS vendor, aNewspring, offers a feature-rich LMS aimed at enhancing the learner experience by tightly embedding social and adaptive learning. It supports trainers in engaging with learners. It also provides for content creation within a learning content management function, allowing trainers to use assets more than once and ensure that materials, when updated, are updated across all courses.
- 7. Corporate MOOCs, learning beyond the LMS from Webanywhere
Webanywhere has taken learning beyond the LMS, using Drupal to create action learning platforms using user interfaces (UIs) similar to MOOCs and the Totara LMS to track learners to create a MOOC-style environment for both clients and employees to use.
- 8. Badging, Micro-credentials and next generation certification from Accredible, as well as Mozilla Open Badges
Accredible is one of the new generation of badging, micro-credentialing and certification platforms, but with a number of additional innovations. It offers next generation digital certification (with Mozilla Open Badges) and actual learning records from an LMS embedded by an API, or Integration from the LMS. It also allows learners to exhibit learning activities and achievements of their choice from the LMS into the digital certificate. Accredible also offers identity management and proctoring services.
- 9. Authoring Tools from Jackdaw
Jackdaw is one of the most intuitive authoring tools currently available. This cloud-hosted solution supports content creation and continues to improve. This is an interesting market, with both GoMo and the open source Adapt tool being impressive.
- 10. Adaptive learning from Tugaru
Developments in adaptive learning have been led by Knewton, desire2learn (now known as Brightspace) and Smartsparrow. However, the game changer scheduled to appear on the market early next year is Tugaru Adapt. This delivers levels of automation and interactions that are built up as workflow (learn flow) producing granular data designed to enhance, support and deliver the adaptive learner journey.
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