I’ve been attending eLearning Guild conferences since the community of practice’s inception around 2008. It has been fun watching company name changes and the growth of companies serving this nascent industry. Watching the growing number of hard working practitioners who utilize vendor software and services has been especially enjoyable. As an inhabitant of both worlds, especially the planet vendor, my reflections will focus on the exhibit floor and what it says about eLearning trends.
First, I want to brag about my morning buzz session held at 7:30 AM on Thursday. The one-hour session contained “goose bump” moments. I witnessed a majority of the standing room only attendees contributing ideas on how to keep up with the latest Learning and Development Trends. A few images below from the session:
The 2016 DevLearn exhibit floor can be summarized in four phrases:
- Virtual reality for learning has arrived
- The moodle LMS tipping point
- Authoring systems and custom services galore
- xAPI gaining more traction
The eLearning Guild published a short eBook on virtual realities (VR) in 2016. Also, this past month, Guild’s Solutions Magazine published “Could Virtual Reality-Based eLearning Transform Employee Behavior and Attitudes?” which demonstrates the increasing hype over VR use in training and development. Embarrassingly, our team at Web Courseworks neglected to include VR on our Hype Curve in January. The amount of exhibit hall booths featuring VR tell all, as demo after demo showed applications of putting a learner into realistic situations (often via video or animated scenes and avatars). Some situations included:
- Customer service training
- Factory tours
- Safety training
- Interpersonal communication skill training
I was excited to see Madison, Wisconsin’s Filament Games exhibiting for the first time in 2016. They should have success bringing their unique K-12 gaming creation experience to Adult Learning with VR.
This poster on the exhibit floor says it all:
Moodle, the open source learning management system, has been around since 2005. 2016 marks the first year where booths of Totara Partners and Moodle Partners dominated (I counted at least eight). Many of these exhibitors traveled from locations outside the USA.
Although Adobe and Articulate’s desktop products have the largest market share among desktop authoring systems for creating on demand SCORM training courses, the web based authoring systems (companies like GOMO and dominKnow) are gaining traction. Booths led by the 800 guerrilla (eLearning Brothers) and small shops like Torrance learning are examples of the growth of custom services. It is also apparent that many corporate eLearning departments are outsourcing challenging custom course development.
We have written several posts this year on our Web Courseworks xAPI pilot where we collected data from a medical manikin simulator and transmitted the learner data to our CourseStage LMS. We have been attending xAPI Boot Camps to learn more about the eLearning standard to replace SCORM and allow for tracking of informal learning experiences. This year’s DevLearn saw a plethora of educational sessions and booths focused on this technology. Next Gen companies will be building applications and Learning Record Stores to accommodate the growing interest in xAPI (formerly Tin Can).
Several vendors focused on selling their version of the database for xAPI, called a Learning Record Store (LRS), were also in attendance on the floor. Watershed seems to be the LRS many of the pilot programs are turning to:
Those who prefer to work with an open source Learning Record Store may have been fortunate enough to find the creator’s of Learning Locker Open Source LRS; booth HT2 Labs.
And then there were the companies that are committed to building application widgets that will help instructional designers show rationale for using xAPI and an LRS. xAPI Apps is aptly named and had an impressive booth and presence, as did OnPoint Digital.
As a conclusion I wanted to leave you with a picture of the Amazon recruiting booth. What is this giant in the field of eCommerce up to?