Tony Karrer's eLearning Blog on e-Learning Trends eLearning 2.0 Personal Learning Informal Learning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics

Monday, November 14, 2011

Flash Dead for eLearning

I've been warning about this since January 2010 in Still No Flash, and called it out further as the signs became more serious in May 2010 with Beginning of Long Slow Death of Flash.  My words then:

We are hitting a tipping point where you have to question building anything that uses Flash as the delivery mechanism. 

Screen-Shot-2011-11-09-at-12.17.08-PMIn February of 2011, Mobile Learning and the Continuing Death of Flash, I pointed to the smart moves by Rapid Intake to work around this problem.  And said,

The death of Flash is continuing.

Well, I believe we've seen continuing signs of this with Adobe moving its tools towards HTML 5.  And now, Adobe Admits: Apple Won, Flash For Mobile is Done, HTML5 is the Future.

What does all of this mean?  No More Fence Sitting!

Content Creators => you can no longer build content in Flash as a delivery vehicle.  You must adopt tools that do not rely on Flash as a delivery mechanism or at least delivery solutions to Flash and HTML 5.

Authoring Tool Companies => you must immediately talk to your product roadmap and how you will be able to deliver HTML 5 content.  You must look at how media will be handled going forward.

This may seem like a shock, but we've gone through this transition before as we move from desktop to web-based delivery.  Really Flash was part of that last wave.  It won't be part of the next wave.

Of course, that still leaves some really hard questions about how you design for all the different mobile platforms with widely different screen sizes and their non-standard inputs and widely varying connection speeds.  This is a great opportunity for mobile authoring tools to take a bite out of a much larger market much like the Director to Flash transition did back in the day.

I'll be curious to hear comments on this.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

LMS Low-Cost Webinars Hosted eCommerce Subscriptions

I was talking with a startup that has an existing audience and now want to provide a monthly subscription for access to training to this audience. They will only convert a portion of the audience to the new service. The learners will get access to webinars, recorded webinars, videos, and other online content that they will author separately.

They don't really have a tech team, so going with a hosted solution that would live at a subdomain would be best, i.e., subscribers would go to: in order to sign up, pay, and get access to webinars, content, etc.

They are early stage, so low-cost would be good. And it would be nice if it was a Rapid LMS.

I'm a little concerned how well LMS solutions will handle the webinar integration and the subscriptions.

What would you recommend they research as possible options?

Here are some resources that I found that may help:

And some of the resulting choices based on these resources:


  • Absorb LMS (Blatant Media e-Learning)
  • Acadia HCS (Acadia HCS)
  • Allen Communication Learning Portal
  • Avilar WebMentor
  • Course-Source (Course-Source Limited)
  • CourseMill LMS (Trivantis)
  • DOTS (WebRaven)
  • ED Training Platform (Strategia)
  • Generation 21 Enterprise
  • InforSource (InfoSource)
  • Inquisiq EX (ICS Learning Group Inc.)
  • IntraLearn XE (IntraLearn Software)
  • Isoph Blue (Learn Something)
  • Kallidus LMS (e2train)
  • LearnerWeb (MaxIT)
  • LearningServer IntraLearn
  • LearnShare LMS (Learnshare)
  • LMS Live (Wizdom Systems)
  • MindFlash E-Learning System
  • NetDimensions EKP Bronze
  • OnPoint Learning & Performance Suite
  • On-Tracker LMS (Interactive Solutions)
  • OutStart Evolution LMS (OutStart)
  • SSElearn Portal (SSE)
  • Syntrio Enterprise (Syntrio)
  • TeraLearn LMS (
  • The Learning Manager (Worldwide Interactive)
  • Tracker.Net (Platte Canyon)
  • TrainingPartner (Geometrix)
  • TrainingMine (Frontline Data Solutions)
  • Upside LMS (Upside Learning Solutions)
  • Virtual Training Assistant (RISC)

And if you want a MUCH longer list, go download the 475+ LMS names from here: LMS and Learning Platforms

Monday, August 15, 2011

eLearning Learning Launches New Features

Over on eLearning Learning, we've just launched a new version with some great new features.


In case you don't know about eLearning Learning, it brings together content from leading experts and companies like the Adobe Captivate Blog, Clark Quinn, Clive Shepherd, Jay Cross, Karl Kapp, and really too many to list. You can find a long list of the Featured sources on the right side. There is a lot more content that comes in as well beyond the Featured sources.

The home page itself will show you the latest and best content at any time. For example as I'm writing this, I see a couple of great posts right up top:

Best is decided by the system based on social signals - that's clicks, views, twitter, delicious, and other kinds of inputs that tell us what people are doing with the content. And we try really hard to make sure that great content from lesser known sources still makes it to the top.

imageEach day, week, month and year, the site generates a "Best Of" Edition. You can change the Edition at any time. That allows you to see some really great stuff looking a little more broadly than what you typically see on the home page. For example, if I look at July's Top eLearning Posts, I find (among others):

The site is categorized in various topics such as concepts like Instructional Design, Mobile, Social Learning; tools like Twitter, LMS, Flash, PowerPoint, Captivate; Companies like Rapid Intake, Saba; types like Examples and many more. For instance you could click on Mobile Samples and find a great post Mobile Learning Samples for mLearning Developers; or via Instructional Design for Rapid eLearning you can find Instructional Designer Competencies, Top 25 Rapid eLearning Blog Posts, Over 75 Free Rapid E-Learning Resources and many other great resources.

The intent of eLearning Learning is to bring together and make it easy to find great content. You will only see a snippet of each piece. When you click the link, you will be directed back to the source. In other words, we bring the content together, but we don't own the content. We want you still to comment and interact with the content back on the original site.

Visiting the site is probably one of the better ways to get to the content, but you can also subscribe to it by entering your email address and then choosing whether you want a Daily Edition or Weekly/Monthly/Annual Edition to be sent to you. If you've not already subscribed, then go over and do it now. It's worth the 30 seconds it takes.

There are some pretty interesting new features coming soon for eLearning Learning. We look forward to continuing to improve the site. If you have thoughts, or comments, please feel free to contact me: Tony Karrer via email at:

Last, but certainly not least, this site is generously sponsored and made possible by Rapid Intake. Without them, we could not afford to keep the lights on. Please support them so we can continue to make this site better and better.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Emerging Asynchronous Conversation Models

I had an interesting conversation with Patrick Randolph from TalkWheel about different kinds of asynchronous conversation models that are emerging and how they might fit into broader eLearning Initiatives.  Particularly we focused on the implications of TalkWheel, Quora and Namesake.  Below I've captured aspects of our conversation (interestingly enough done via email - how old school).  This post represents thinking from both of us that I've edited heavily to make it more easily consumed here in the blog. 

There's obvious value in bringing the classroom collaboration dynamic to online learning.  We see some of this dynamic when we run webinars and have chat.  We also see it in twitter (see  Twitter for Learning).  The main issue with these is that the primary value is in the real-time nature.  While Twitter is asynchronous, it's not easily used as other kinds of tools for discussion.

The standard model for asynchronous conversations is discussion forum software like vBulletin.  I've talked before about the significant value that can be obtained as part of Discussion Forums for Knowledge Sharing at Capital City Bank and how that translates in a Success Formula for Discussion Forums in Financial Services.  I also looked at Making Intranet Discussion Groups Effective.

However, I've struggled with the problem of destinations vs. social networks and the spread of conversation (see Forums vs. Social Networks).  Because of that I've been watching closely what's happening with various tools that have different ways of supporting asynchronous conversation models.  There are some new tools emerging that have a different take.

Talkwheel  is made to handle real-time group conversations and asynchronous ones.  It can act as an instant messaging service a bit like Yammer, HipChat for companies and other groups, but the layout is designed to make these discussions easier to see, archive, and work asynchronously.  Because of the ability to attach documents, it can act like a collaboration platform.  Each comment made within a thread appears as a tiny circle next to the name of the person who made the comment, and is linked by arrow to the person to whom the comment was made. The comments are also stacked and color-coded on the right side of the screen for reference.  This organization makes the conversation seem more like a roundtable discussion. 

TW Screenshot_full

Patrick tells us:

Talkwheel’s design makes class conversations easier to follow, more interactive, and more effectively organized. It eliminates the problem of navigating multithreaded conversations, enables real-time group conversation, and makes referencing asynchronous conversations much easier. Talkwheel’s dashboard organization allows teachers to organize all their classes and projects in one centralized location, while Talkwheel's analytics helps teachers and administrators quantitatively monitor their students’ progress throughout the year. Talkwheel’s collaboration platform is a new way of bringing students together in a way that is conducive to the group needs of online learning. In addition to e-learning, Talkwheel helps enterprises improve productivity and communication both internally and externally and allows users to organize their social and professional networks in an effective manner. It can be tried for free at

Quora is a Q&A site nicely integrated with Facebook that has done a good job providing a means to ask questions and get answers.   Each Quora answer is rated by users until the most popular answer is found.  You can see a question below that had 16 answers provided by some pretty good folks and the top answer had 586 votes.


The answers are then used to provide valuable information to Quora users and the rest of the web. Quora has been able to form quite an elite network of VCs, entrepreneurs, and other experts to answer questions.  They've also created topic pages such as: Learning Management System.  It collects questions answer answers on that particular topic - you'll notice that there's not much expertise flowing around eLearning topics.


Finally, Namesake, is a tool for real-time and asynchronous conversations.  It's a bit like Quora but more focused on conversation as compared to Q&A and it allows real-time conversation a bit like twitter.  You can see an example of a conversation around phones below.


Like Quora, the goal is to build a network of user selected experts to provide valuable information to users. Within Namesake, any user can create topics of conversation for real-time chat and can follow conversations. Unlike Quora, Namesake is designed for real-time chats very similarly to the AIM Chat Rooms of old. New comments are stacked on top of the most recent one, updates are done in real-time, and chats are organized by high-level subject.

TalkWheel has taken a very different approach to its conversation model and is definitely aimed at smaller groups.  I think that each conversation model has it's place and TalkWheel is more competitive with forum software but a much different visual model.  Quora and Namesake are more trying to address the conversation from social networks issue.

All of these point to new types of conversation models that are emerging in tools.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Feel the Need - The Need for Speed

This month's #LCBQ is: How do you address the "I want it now!" demand from stakeholders? There are some great responses that can be found by visiting the link above.

Corny 1986 line. :)

Content Needs

This is a very crude self-assessment, but I believe it makes an important point.

If you are reading this, you are a knowledge worker. Consider the content (knowledge, information, learning) you personally need to get your job done. Draw a circle in each quadrant based on the amount (percentage) of the content that you need that's:

  • Slow changing vs. fast changing. Will the content remain roughly the same for two years? Or will it really be out of date in two years?
  • Large audience vs. small audience. Is the content I need applicable to a relatively large audience or do I have fairly particular needs?

I did a crude version of this for myself and came up with the following:


Definitely the vast majority of the time, I'm needing information that is relatively fast moving and is specific to the particular situations I face. In fact, often the information does really exist. Actually most of us that are Concept Workers will find that we play in that upper right quadrant most of the time.

That said, there are some exceptions that I could think of. For example, I consume a fair bit of content that's around technology. There's a fair amount of it that has a pretty large applicable audience. Of course, most of it is pretty old news in two years time. There is some information around core technologies that will last longer. I also should point out that the information is more specialized all the time, meaning ever smaller audiences. So, that kind of information makes for Fast but Larger audiences.

And when you consider the trends for most concept workers (knowledge workers), we clearly are heading towards faster moving content aimed at smaller audiences.

Workplace Learning's Challenge

Now let's put on the hat of someone in workplace learning. What's our ideal kind of content?

Workplace Learning's ideal content: Slow changing and large audience

How big is that circle? How is that circle doing for most knowledge workers?

This isn't something new, it's just becoming more and more clear. I've discussed it in Disruptive Changes in Learning, Innovators' Dilemma in Learning/eLearning, Business of Learning, and Learning Performance Business Talent Focus.

The reality is that we need to find ways to insert ourselves into the faster moving content and be able to change the dynamics to reach smaller audiences. These relate to speed. One of the nice things about the responses to this month's LCBQ is that they relate directly to speed even though they were not necessarily aimed at the bigger picture above.

Responding to the Need for Speed

I like where Glenn Hansen started his answer:

  1. Don’t assume that training is the answer.
  2. Even if some kind of training is reasonable, don’t assume the stakeholder in question has identified the right solution.

And liked Glenn's point about what's required:

Work up your material to the point where it conveys the skills and knowledge needed and where it is professionally presented and fit for purpose. Don’t chase perfection, because it’s more likely your information will be out of date by the time you have it ready.

This is echoed quite a bit by the collection of Agile eLearning - 27 Great Articles that I pulled together previously.

In terms of specific suggestions there are some real nuggets in several of the responses.

Clive has some very good suggestions on speeding things up in The Big Question: How do you respond to the ‘I want it now’ demand?.

Open Sesame's response similarly has some good ideas for rapid solutions.

Jeff Goldman also has several suggestions for speeding the process or approach in his post: A Priest, A Rabbi and an Instructional Designer Are in a Bar and Identify a Training Need: A response to the #LCBQ." However, his punch-line struck me as defending slower processes:

Oh, the priest, rabbi and instructional designer identified a training need, collaborated on designing an effective learning program which was not implemented until it was damn well ready to be implemented.

It's fairly contrary to the rest of his more reasoned approach. And if the stakeholder hears slow moving training solutions as the response that won't be ready until it's "damn well ready." Well ... good luck with that.

I also feel a bit the same way about Tom Gram's response that included:

The best strategy is a preventative one.

He's correctly arguing that you should try to cut off some of the problem at the pass, but the reality is that you should get yourself ready to be fast, agile or however, you want to describe it.

So let me ask you ... do you feel the need? The need for speed?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Agile eLearning - 27 Great Articles

The first couple of responses to this month's LCBQ Addressing I Want it Now #LCBQ have come in and Kasper Spiro's caught my eye: On demand: agile e-Learning development #LCBQ.  Like Kasper, I'm very familiar with Agile in software development.  I was not as familiar with it in terms of eLearning development.

So, I wanted to pull together some reading and resources around Agile eLearning, Agile ADDIE, etc.

I found some amazing resources using eLearning Learning and via search:

  1. What Agile Means to Me- ID Reflections
  2. ADDIE isn't Dead; it's just more Agile- Integrated Learnings
  3. The Agile Elearning Design Manual - Of Project Spaces & Project Managers- The Learning Generalist
  4. Agile instructional design- Jay Cross's Informal Learning
  5. Agility and Autonomy- Learning and Working on the Web
  6. Designing for Agile Learning- Big Dog, Little Dog
  7. No time for design?- Making Change
  8. Agile, Lego and Training: The common factors.- ID Reflections
  9. Agile e-learning- Clive on Learning
  10. The Agile Elearning Design Manual - Agile Re-explained- The Learning Generalist
  11. I lost my agile virginity- Challenge to Learn
  12. Tackling Wicked Problems Using an Iterative Approach- ID Reflections
  13. Get Real: Mission Critical E-learning- Lars is Learning
  14. The Agile Elearning Design Manual - Why Synchronous Learning makes so much sense today- The Learning Generalist
  15. ADDIE isn't dead; how can it be?- Integrated Learnings
  16. The Agile Elearning Design Manual: Problems with existing approaches- The Learning Generalist
  17. The Agile Elearning Design Manual - Iterations huh?- The Learning Generalist
  18. Agility through collaboration- Learning and Working on the Web
  19. The Periodic Table of Agile Learning- Big Dog, Little Dog
  20. Harold Jarche » Instructional Design Needs More Agility- Learning and Working on the Web
  21. Orientation in Agile Learning Design- Big Dog, Little Dog
  22. Towards an alternative e-learning- Onlignment
  23. Agile Design: An Ethos for Creating Learning Platforms- Big Dog, Little Dog
  24. Planning in Agile Learning Design- Big Dog, Little Dog
  25. Selection in Agile Learning Design- Big Dog, Little Dog
  26. Iterations in Agile Learning Design- Big Dog, Little Dog
  27. Agile Learning Design: Tools for Learners- Big Dog, Little Dog

Bonus Items Recommended by my Tweets

  1. Agility through collaboration
  2. Is ADDIE dead?
  3. Agile Instructional Design

I'm still studying all of this to see whether I really buy that Agile methods will work.   Lots of my experience tells me that while we intended to be Agile, put something out and then update it.  It's the updating part that doesn't happen.  If Agile turns into rapid elearning, then we are back to Rapid eLearning Tools Debate.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Continuing Education and Learning Management Systems

One of our colleagues came to me with a particular challenge, and I'm not sure I have a good answer, nor do I know specifically how to go about finding an answer. I'm hoping that readers can weigh in on both aspects: (1) specific thoughts or suggestions on LMS products that might fit and (2) how do you get answers to questions like this?

Continuing Education Requirements

Requirement #1: The LMS needs the ability to apply multiple types of continuing education credits to a single course, have the user select multiple types of credits to obtain and print certificates with the appropriate wording for the desired credit(s).

Use Case:
Becky Bonds is an RN with the responsibility for coding the plan of care in her office. She has acquired HCS-D credentials and must complete continuing education to maintain the certification as well as nursing continuing education for her RN license. The LMS offers courses with both nursing and HCS-D credits. Before completing the course she indicates that she wants to obtain both the nursing credits and the HCS-D credits available on the Assessing and Coding Wounds course. After completion she is notified that she has passed the test and has access to 1 hour of credit for each type. She then prints her certificates.

Requirement #2:
The LMS needs the ability to enter expiration dates and approval codes into the credit records and assign owners to the record. The fields for the dates and codes must be printable on the certificate and the date must be able to trigger an expiration message to the credit owner.

Use Case:
The Assessing and Coding Wounds course was approved for HSC-D credits on April 22, 2010 with an approval code of BMSC-LHC1234 and an expiration date of April 22, 2011. Jennifer is the credit owner for the HCS-D credit and receives a reminder 90 days prior to the expiration date to reapply for another year. She sends off the request to the BMSC and receives the approval for another year with the approval code of BMSC-LHC2345. A new credit is created for the new approval period and applied to the course when the period starts. The old credit is retained with previous completions.

Requirement #3:
The LMS needs the ability to create customized, course specific evaluation/survey assessments that are required to obtain a completed status for the course.

Use Case:
Evaluations are required for the ability to offer nursing continuing education through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Each course with CE nursing credits must have completed, summarizable evaluations for review by the ANCC.

Typical Gap Found

The biggest gap is in the number of credits most LMS products allow on a course. Most of the ones we’ve looked at allow for one credit per course. We need to be able to put multiple credits of varying values on each course. And each of those credits must be tied to an approval code and expiration date. When the credit expires (usually after 1 or 2 years) we need to be able to update the credit. The value usually stays the same, but the approval code changes. However, we need to retain the older credit so that people who took it while it was in force still have access to the approval code for certificates.

The value and approval code (and sometimes the date range for the validity) must be available to print on certificates. We like to be able to have the user print individual certificates based on their need. So they can either pick the certificate by discipline/CE board or it is automatically assigned based on something in their person record. Rather than having one certificate with multiple statements on it for however many credits the course has. Each board has a different statement they like you to put on the certificate.

The other issue centers around offering course materials to field facilitators for them to present locally. But, we have to approve the facilitator before they can access the materials by reviewing a biographical data form (something like a resume) and a conflict of interest signature. It’s basically a workflow where a person in the field requests permission to teach a topic, an admin has to review their credentials against the course requirements and either approve or deny their access. There is other stuff around it too, but most LMS’s have restricted approval processes that go all one way or another (manager approval OR admin approval), not one where I can choose the approval workflow on a course – by – course basis.


Any suggestions on specific LMS products that should be evaluated?

Does customization make sense?

Have you had a similar issue and found a way around it?

Getting Questions Answered

This is probably not the right venue to ask this kind of question, but I couldn't think of any other good way/place to get this question addressed.

In my LinkedIn Guide for Knowledge Workers, I point out several ways that you can search for experts who might help you. But I did a quick search for things like LMS and continuing education and didn't really come up with people who I thought would be able to help.

If you have this kind of question, how would you go about getting help?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

LMS eCommerce Solution

I just got off the phone with someone who has a fairly common need that I've heard before.  The needs are very similar to those in Rapid LMS and  LMS Solution for Simple Partner Compliance Training

In this case, they are looking to provide their content as eLearning and sell it to individuals and organizations.  Key aspects:

  • Individual eCommerce - someone can go on and buy the course just for themselves
  • Group eCommerce - someone can go on and buy a block of courses that can be taken by people in their organization
  • Pricing will need to be variable
  • Group reporting - the person who bought for the organization should be able to see who's taken, completed, etc.
  • Users will self-select their role which will take them to the appropriate version of a SCORM course
  • Test at the end, pass or retake
  • Provides certificate for the individual that they can print

This all seems like pretty simple stuff right?

What system would you use?

Would you consider a marketplace solution for this?  Do any marketplaces provide the group eCommerce capabilities?  What are the tradeoffs of putting it up on a marketplace?

I'd like to hear your suggestions and it would definitely be helpful to the person trying to solve this problem.

Related posts:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top 10 eLearning Predictions 2011 #LCBQ

This month's #LCBQ is the first with the Big Question Thought Leaders.  It's been fun working with them and has definitely added a new spark.  I'm hoping that others will join the effort.  We strongly believe the #LCBQ offers an opportunity to have something online that's like a sophisticated cocktail party.  Lots of discussion and debate around interesting questions for eLearning professionals.  We would welcome lots of discussion.


This month's LCBQ is What are your Predictions and Plans for 2011?

I've attacked this by looking at my past predictions, then looking at lots of predictions from other folks, and finally I get to my Top 10 eLearning Predictions for 2011

My Past eLearning Predictions

You can see some of my predictions from the past in:

Ten Predictions for eLearning 2008

    1. eLearning 2.0 - Increasing Pressure
    2. Virtual Classroom Tools - Meeting Tool + Second Life Lite
    3. Authoring Tools - Captivate and Articulate Will Dominate
    4. Less Authoring - More Web Pages
    5. Mobile Learning - Continued Scattered Examples and Disappointment
    6. Metrics-Driven Performance and Learning Interventions
    7. LMS => More of What You Don't Want
    8. Serious Games - Seriously Sorry, Not for You
    9. Niche Online Discussions
    10. Knowledge Worker Skills - Just Beginning in 2008, Big in 2009

12 eLearning Predictions for 2009

  1. "Self-Directed Learning" Increases
  2. eLearning 2.0 Grows - But Creating "eLearning 2.0 Strategy" Fails
    Corollary: if you have SharePoint installed, you will be using SharePoint a lot more this year.
  3. Increase in Consumer/Education Social Learning Solutions will Increase Pressure for Social Learning Solutions in Corporate Learning
  4. Quick Wins & Toolkits
  5. Virtual Classroom Tipping Point
  6. Greater Domination by Leading Tool Vendors
  7. Niche Tools Emerge and Get Traction in Niches
  8. More Wiki Pages - Same Authored Minutes - Less Classroom Minutes
  9. Knowledge Worker Skills
  10. Mobile Learning Niche Growth

Top 10 eLearning Predictions for 2010

  1. Hacking Work
  2. Convergence Ramps Up Big Time
  3. More, Lower Cost Learning Solutions (Low-Cost Test and Quiz Tool Comparison, Low Cost LMS)
  4. Social Learning Grows But Becomes More Specific
  5. Lots of SharePoint
  6. More Examples of Mashups and Add-ons to Extend Simple Self-Paced eLearning
  7. Major Merger LMS + Talent Management Vendors
  8. Turmoil in Learning Organizations
  9. Open Content
  10. Cloud Computing

Predictions and Trends from Others

Some predictions I've seen from other sources that I've selectively edited to make them short enough to easily consume.

Horizons Report 2011 (PDF)

Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less

  • Electronic Books
  • Mobile

Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years

  • Augmented Reality
  • Game-Based Learning

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years

  • Gesture-Based Computing
  • Learning Analytics

eLearn Magazine - Predictions for e-Learning in 2011

Lisa Gualtieri

  • The Rise of Curation

Charles Jennings

  • Working and Learning Merge

Roger Schank

  • Death of 'You Will Need it Later'

Harold Jarche

  • Networked Learning
Karl Kapp
  • Dramatic Increase in Gamification
  • Draconian Social Media Policies
  • Killer Augmented Reality App Developed
Saul Carliner
  • Informal Learning
  • Apps for the iPad and Similar Tablets
  • Trend toward shorter programs

Janet Clarey

  • Personal videoconferencing, telepresence technologies, tablets, and integration with existing systems will drive innovation in Virtual Classroom Tools.

Elliott Masie

  • Learners as designers.
  • Learning apps.
  • Video galore.

Rovy F. Branon

  • Learning Management System App Stores

Bob Little

  • Apps, Not Courses

Inge de Waard

  • Augmented reality moves towards augmented learning with easy tools: Wikitude, Layar, ARToolKit...
  • Situated learning (learning within context in a community of practice) grows thanks to augmented mobile reality.
  • Virtual classrooms and smart-boards are used in a more student-centered way (not putting all the attention to one person up-front=bad).

Tony Bates - eLearning Outlook for 2011

1. Course Redesign

            We will see increasing efforts at redesigning courses to incorporate both online and face-to-face teaching

2. The Future is Mobile

3. Open Educational Resources Matures

4. More Multimedia

5. Learning Analytics

6. Shared Services between Institutions

Manish Gupta - e-Learning Predictions for 2011

    1. Live Online Training to Grow in India
    2. Birth of Motion Controlled Learning & Interactivity
    3. Performance Support Tools to Gain Adoption
    4. Outsourcing to Continue Growing 
    5. Gaming to Gain Momentum 
    6. LMS’s to Remain Primary Delivery Mechanism for e-Learning

Glenn Hansen's 2011 predictions - 2011 - the year of collaboration

Collaboration tools such as micro-blogging software (e.g. Twitter, Yammer), wikis, blogs, discussion groups, etc. open up exciting opportunities for people to access relevant information where and when they require it.

The availability of cost-effective resources to facilitate wide collaboration (including open source software that enables wikis, discussion groups, chat and even web conferencing) presents the chance for organizations to reconsider the effectiveness of the performance support being offered to their people.

Of course, you can’t look at learning in 2011 without mentioning mobile learning.

Jon Aleckson - eLearning predictions for 2011 and beyond

    1. Just-in-time learning
    2. Greater access to information
    3. Peer coaching
    4. Cloud training
    5. Ability to reach those previously unreachable
    6. Tools allowing for easier collaboration and interaction
    7. Richer media experience (videos and simulations)
    8. Content repositories & Learning Object distribution and searchability 
    9. Movement away from static textbooks as primary resource
    10. Customized learning spaces, i.e. personal learning environments (PLEs)
    11. Customization of content presentation and access
    12. eReaders and eBooks providing better and more interactive content (just in time)
    13. Changing paradigm of "bounded courses" to unbounded courses where learning is a continuous process that can occur anywhere and at any time
    14. Sharing resources and co-producing content to reduce cost
    15. Informal learning, sharing own learning with others via internet (e.g. blogs, wiki)

Nick Morris - 10 eLearning Predictions for 2011

    1. 2011 will finally see the end of Internet Explorer 6
    2. The rise of mobile learning
    3. The rise of the 'robot teacher'
    4. Student adoption of Twitter
    5. The return of 'distance learning'
    6. Increased use of Twitter in teaching
    7. Increased use of Facebook in teaching
    8. The death of RSS
    9. The rise of the eText Book
    10. The launch of an 'email' killer
    11. VLEs will go cloud

Predictions and Hopes for Elearning in 2011

Ellen Wagner, Executive Director, WCET

  • Mobile learning in all of its rich and nuanced forms will finally become an obvious, self-evident solution for learning because we are finally focusing on meeting the needs of learners who are mobile.
  • Analytics will be the buzzphrase of the year.

Some Mobile Learning Predictions for 2011

    1. Mobile learning will get its own identity.
    2. Investment in mobile learning will significantly increase.
    3. Mobile learning sub-disciplines will begin to emerge.
    4. Mobile learning development for tablets will become one of these sub-disciplines.
    5. Flash will still have an impact (at least in the area of mobile learning).

10 Predictions for 2011: Trends that Will Reshape the Training Industry

    1. Total spending for training services will increase by an estimated 7-9%.
    2. Training department staffing will grow by a modest 2%.
    3. Selective outsourcing continues to grow while comprehensive outsourcing will become less popular.
    4. The role of the learning leader is shifting from being a program manager to a solution architect.
    5. Learning technologies are becoming social, collaborative, and virtual.
    6. Speed will become the new mantra for training.
    7. Convergence of educational institutions to the supply chain of corporate training will change the supplier landscape.
    8. Learning content will be transformed for easier consumption.
    9. Success metrics for learning will be based on content access, views, involvement and downloads.
    10. Learning leaders will be more focused on relevancy of information.

Learning Technology Trends To Watch In 2011

    1. Growth of Social Learning
    2. To LMS or Not
    3. Pocket Video Technology
    4. Mobile
    5. iPad or Alt-Tablets
    6. Virtual Worlds Rising Up
    7. Augmented Reality
    8. Blogs
    9. eBooks
    10. QR Codes

5 Trends to Watch 4 in 2011

    1. Lite LMS
    2. Extended Enterprise/Channel Product/Distributors Market
    3. Marketplaces & Exchanges by LMS/Learning Portal Vendors
    4. LMSs focusing more on the end user experience
    5. HTML5 &  Rapid Content Authoring Tools

CLO Magazine - Five Trends in Learning Delivery 2011

    1. Increased Fidelity of Experience
    2. Kiosk Learning
    3. Crowdsourcing for Learning Assignments
    4. Data Mining
    5. The LMS Adds Informal Learning

Top 5 things I hope not to hear in 2011

    1. Death by PowerPoint
    2. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn
    3. Dear Twitter
    4. Learning styles don’t exist
    5. If Facebook were a country

Enterprise mLearning Predictions for 2011

    1. mLearning Engagements Expand.
    2. Device Diversity is the “New Normal”
    3. Mobile Apps Become Essential to Enterprise mLearning
    4. Pad/Tablet Use Explodes
    5. Authoring Tools Will Evolve
    6. Private Social Networks Win Over Public
    7. Market Consolidations Will Occur
    8. Here Come the Experts!
    9. New Features and New Possibilities

My E-learning predictions and plans for 2011 #LCBQ

    1. 2011 Moving from the LMS to the workplace
    2. Form courses to nuggets and collaboration
    3. Disclosure of content: capturing context

And still more:

Looking at this another way, I went to eLearning Learning and looked at what were the keywords that arose based on eLearning Predictions 2011 and based on what were the keywords that were more active during the beginning of 2011 than in the past.  Here's what came up.

Obviously, the Cornerstone OnDemand is because of the IPO.  Others are actually are fairly instructive about what the current trends are in eLearning.

My Predictions

So with all of that as a lead up.  Here are my top 10 eLearning predictions for 2011.

Prediction #1 => Growth of Working Smarter and Increase in the Schism Between Learning and Doing Organizations

What do you call the combination of informal learning, performance support, social learning, providing help directly at the point of need, providing tools, access to peers/experts and the other kinds of techniques that can be used to improve business results but that are not training?

Jay Cross talks about this in terms of Working Smarter:

I don’t talk much about training or learning these days.

The goal is achieving the outcomes you seek. How you get there is immaterial. Sometimes it’s easier to add smarts to the workflow (performance support) than to stuff things into people’s heads.

I have reframed how I help organizations get things done. It may or may not involve learning. I call it working smarter.

Jay has launched Working Smarter Daily that collects some of the best thinking on how people and organizations can work smarter.  Interestingly, it's Xyleme - an LCMS vendor that is sponsoring the site.  I find that interesting because clearly they see the need to capture and deliver information and support in new ways in organizations.

While I like Jay's approach, I'm not sure that specific term will be embraced.  At the same time, we are struggling to find a term to describe how to describe this broader set of approaches.   In trying to come up with next month's #LCBQ, we specifically wanted to be able to name this.

That said, I think it's clear in 2011 that there will be a growing schism between traditional training organizations that increasingly are marginalized and those that go after working smarter.  I think of this as the difference between those focused on learning and those focused on doing.

Prediction #2 => Mobile Tipping Point

You can see that my predictions for mobile were rather pessimistic in the past.  In 2008, I talked about how there would be "Continued Scattered Examples and Disappointment" In 2009,  I said we would see "Mobile Learning Niche Growth."  My belief is that mobile this year has reached a tipping point a bit like Virtual Classroom tools in 2009.  We have reached a time when there's a kind of ubiquity for access of content on new kinds of devices (cell phones, smartphones, tablets) and in places away from the home and office. 

The explosion in the world of mobile learning (mLearning) is fueled by the numbers, but also by the need to provide new kinds of learning and support that can be used at the point of need.  When everyone has a mobile device with web access, clearly there are opportunities to provide content in new ways.

We are seeing the beginning of lots of Mobile Learning tool offerings.  And I think there will be a wave of eLearning Startups that leverage mobile deliver as a differentiating factor.

Prediction #3 => Curation Hot in 2011

Lisa Gualtieri predicted 2011 as "The Rise of Curation."  There are many people, especially those who come from the world of publishing that are calling 2011 the Year of Curation.  If you've not been hearing this term a lot already, you soon will.

Why is Curation an "it" term in 2011?

The answer is simple: Information Overload provides inherent opportunity for curation.  A great diagram is in Information Overload Paradox:


The post talks about the issue of overload:

I can certainly consume more content than I could two decades ago, but no matter how much content is available, I can’t consume much more. And relative to the sheer volume of content available to me, I’m actually consuming a smaller percentage every day.

And talks to where they perceive to be the real opportunity:

The real opportunity here, in my opinion, is to create – and curate – the best content focused on one specific area frequently enough that you become the one brand that consumers look to for this information.

Publishers are clearly looking closely at this issue as the question is whether content creation provides as much value or is curation the real value creation.  I've argued that many training organizations and eLearning companies look and act like publishers.  In the Business of Learning, I asked:

While training as a publisher of courses and courseware faces an increasingly challenging market, what other things can learning businesses successfully sell to internal or external customers?

In a world where content creation is devalued, but where helping employees handle information overload is highly valued, there's a clear opportunity to look towards filtering and curation as a means to provide high value. 

What does this mean for a learning (or more correctly a doing organization)?  It means that you will take on responsibility for getting into the flow and finding of relevant information to help people do their work.

Prediction #4 => Text-to-Speech Growth Accelerates

Watson (the IBM machine that beat humans on Jeopardy) shows us how intelligent machines can help answer certain kinds of questions.  One thing that I've not heard discussed as much is the voice recognition and text-to-speech of the application.   In the Fall of 2010, I did a series on Text-to-Speech in eLearning.  There were lots of folks who argued that human narrators produce better results.  And while that will remain true, the point is that there are lots of applications and eLearning scenarios where that simply won't make sense.  To achieve lower cost, faster time-to-market and to be able to support growing mobile access and specialized kinds of information access, I think we are going to see growth in the use of text-to-speech.

Prediction #5 => Book Publishers Moving into eLearning

I've really been struck over the past few months on the opportunity and need for traditional book publishers to move into new kinds of electronic publications.  In eLearning Startup Opportunities, I point to Chegg's acquisition of Cramster.  Chegg is roughly Netflix for textbooks.  Cramster provides interactive and social support to help students answer textbook questions.  The clear issue for Chegg is that textbooks will soon be delivered electronically.  The logistics aspects of the company becomes less important in that world.  But the opportunity is clear - create additional value on top of the text books and you will be a winner in the world of electronic text books.

In the Business of Learning, publishers clearly needed to think about how they might go after

  • specialized tools and content that meet particular industry or audience needs
  • games and simulations
  • web 2.0 approaches that leverage distributed content creation, social aspects as part of learning, collaborative learning and editing.

Of course, a lot of traditional publishers will not be making this transition on their own.  Worse yet, there are many publisher who do not have the rights necessary on the content to be able to make this transition.  However, there's so much opportunity here.  I've been working on two different projects where books/publisher content was used as the basis of a startup where the content was used as the backdrop for tools.

Prediction #6 => Content Creation - Rapid, Low-Cost are the Key in 2011

Many of the trends I've cited Curation and Publishers Moving into eLearning talk to the need to look beyond traditional content creation.  Looking to move upstream where possible.  What if you are still in the content creation business?  Well, despite the predictions by lots of other people that is listed above, I don't see a lot of sexy new things around content creation such as gaming.  Instead, my belief is that the discussion will be much more around rapid, low-cost content creation.  Closely related will be outsourced, especially off-shore content creation.  Production of content into eLearning is becoming much more of a commodity.  This is especially true when the content is more about compliance than performance.

Prediction #7 => Video Takes Off

It's been amazing to see how the bandwidth in most organizations finally reaching a point where video can be pushed out as part of our solutions.  It's also amazing how simple it is to capture video.  And video is close to being possible out to mobile devices.  Put this all together and video is going to really take off as part of learning solutions.

Corollary => Open Source Video Technologies

I'm dealing right now with delivery of video on mobile devices.  It's a mess.  There's clear need and opportunity.  I expect to see a lot of activity around this especially with things like Kaltura Raises $20M for Open-Source Video Technologies.  It's early for this technology, but I'm paying close attention to solutions that will enable video to be delivered much more like images.

Prediction #8 => Lots of Discussion around Enterprise Gamification

As you know, I'm big time into using social signals as a means of social filtering.  My belief is that this crowdsources aspects of curation.  With the growth of Facebook Like buttons, there are all sorts of new social signals going on.  This has real value for the enterprise.  But what's been interesting to see building over 2010 and early 2011, is the growing discussion around social games that relate to the enterprise.

  • CubeDuel is Hot or Not for coworkers - basically making a game out of rating coworkers.  Combine this with LinkedIn Skills and you have an interesting way to rate everyone's skills.
  • Badgeville allows you to add a social game layer onto your content.
  • Rypple gives users the ability to create custom badges and, more importantly, define what they mean.

My belief is that there are ways to allow interaction with content to provide greater engagement through gamification, social discovery, improved personalization.  I'm sure we'll hear a lot about it this year, but I'm not quite sure that it's going to be reality for most organizations.  Still I'm going to be reading closely things like: Enterprise 2.0: social scorecard and social media karma.

I don't think this is going to have much impact in 2011, but it's a discussion that we are going to have.  And I'm not quite sure if gamification is what I want to talk about or more about automated curation and the socialization and personalization of content.

Prediction #9 => Learning Analytics Hype

Learning analytics, data mining came up several times in other predictions.  There is definitely a lot of interesting information that we have around our content, talent, learning, etc.  However, unless you can turn that into actionable information especially the kind of Data Driven learning solutions, then I'm not sure I buy that this will be much more than a neat thing to talk about and for vendors to sell.  My belief is that we'll hear a lot about it in 2011, but that by mid 2012 the focus will change to more actionable information related to doing.

Prediction #10 => Augmented Reality not a Reality for Most

Augmented Reality came up in several of the predictions I cited above.  Last year I posted: Augmented Reality for Learning that contains lots of great infromation about this topic and why many of us believe it is going to have big time long-term impact.  The automotive example where mechanics have a heads-up display with real-time support is in the context of the work is amazing. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that most eLearning Professionals won't see any impact for several years.  Actually, the Horizon Report putting it at 2 to 3 years is probably optimistic at best.  Much like games for learning - I believe in the impact, but the amount of discussion is far greater than the reality of use.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Flash Controversy Continues - Is It a Good Choice for Development?

Garin Hess wrote a post 5 Reasons Flash is NOT dying...give me a break! and it seems like my recent post  Mobile Learning and the Continuing Death of Flash got him a little fired up. 

I am fed up with people saying Flash is dying. That it's old technology. That HTML5 is the ultimate replacement. That it shouldn't be allowed to go forward. Come on! Give me a break!

Garin has some good arguments on why he likes Flash as a delivery mechanism.  Probably worth visiting his blog to read them. 

Let me go back to the original issue that I raised a little less than a year ago in Beginning of Long Slow Death of Flash:

As a Part-Time CTO, I am continually making choices about what platforms to use, what do we build for, how do we integrate with social networks, etc. And just like a few years ago when it became clear that you shouldn’t build desktop applications anymore, I think we are hitting a tipping point where you have to question building anything that uses Flash as the delivery mechanism.

I'm defining my technical approach for my eLearning Startup or for my application that will be delivered to employees, consumers or students, etc.  This could be a new authoring tool, an aggregator, the course playback mechanism, a recruiting tool, etc.  My technical choice needs to seem like a good choice 5 years from now.  I need to think about what will produce the best user experience.  The costs.  Technical and business risk.

Garin raises a great point.  We don't know whether Apple iOS will eventually support Flash to stave off competition from competitors.  Originally, I thought that Apple would bow to pressure.   No one at this point really knows.  But let's assume for a second that you believe that Apple will cave and iOS will support Flash.  And let's also assume that we are not strictly talking HTML5, but rather HTML+JavaScript + some ideas of where it is today and where things are going.

What's to Like about Flash

1. Greater consistency across platforms. 

2. Good support for animations, 3D, and video.  Video especially is problematic without Flash to do cross platform.

3. Able to do things visually that are hard with CSS/HTML.  As an example, CSS 3 introduced linear and radial gradients. Good. Can these gradients be applied to the text rendering engine? No? Why not?

like rounded corners, no surprise [gradients] came up. (All we need is to define wet-floor-reflect and we’ll complete the Web 2.0 design tricks hat trick.)

Yes, CSS 3 can do awesome things, and I love it. But it was designed to just barely meet the design needs of today. Any time you want to experiment with a wildly new design direction, you find yourself fighting against the way HTML and CSS were intended to be used.

4. Flash (AIR) can create and use raw TCP or UDP sockets.

Of the above, 2, 3 & 4 of are likely to be a question of what the site/app needs to be able to do.  #1 is definitely an issue as you need to write once and test everywhere for HTML. 

Flash Concerns

There are some things I would be concerned about:

1. Security - some recent security issues with Flash that caused real damage are a continuing concern for me.

2. Closed - as Garin points out there are lots of people working with Flash - an ecosystem.  That said it's still closed.  And it's MUCH smaller than the world that works with HTML.

3. Commercial - it costs money for Flash development and anytime you are dealing with something that's commercial and closed, there are clear risks.

4. Installers - these are somewhat annoying and there are greater risks around them.

Will I Choose Flash?

So - what do I use as a developer? It's way too complex a question because there are a ton of factors that will need to be considered for any given system.  Here's some things I would definitely look at:

  • What's our mobile strategy?  Are we actually looking at Apps or via Mobile Browser?  Big time tradeoffs in each?
  • Do I need an interface that could be provided more quickly via Flash?  I've been involved in creating some pretty sophisticated interfaces via HTML+JavaScript.  But there are development cost tradeoffs to be made.  As an example Flash is used by Zynga to create their games.
  • What's the cost of Cross Browser HTML compatibility issues?
  • What's our strategy around multiple screen resolutions?
  • Will we need to run in low-end phones with basic web access capabilities?
  • Right now Flash is causing performance issues on mobile devices.  This will be improved, but there will be issues.  What will the impact be of those issues?
  • What audio and video do I have?  Complex animations?  Can these be Flash elements within an HTML wrapper?
  • Do I need audio or video capture?
  • 3D?
  • Do I need raw sockets?
  • Who is developing it?  What skills do they have? How easy/hard is it to source people with the skills?
  • What are the implications downstream for the organization?  Do we believe it will help or hurt us around time of acquisition?

Impact of iOS?

All of the above is greatly impacted by the choice that Apple makes around iOS support.  People want their content to work on iPhones and iPads right now.   To Gain's point, if Flash is on iOS and gets over the current performance issues, then it's going to win out far more often as the delivery mechanism of choice. 

Of course, my guess early on was that Apple would bow to pressure.  But then it became clear they wouldn't in the short term.  Now, no one knows.

Using Flash

Interestingly, I'm right now looking at technical choices for an eLearning Startup.  And guess what - Flash looks like it will make sense as a choice.  Of course, we are trying to hedge our bets and we are definitely making it an element on the page rather than betting the entire delivery on Flash.  The idea is that we could change the approach for that portion if another solution comes along.  iPhones and iPads will be supported as an app - ugh.  But we don't really have another choice for now.

All of that said, I still will tell you - even though you won't be happy to hear it - if this application didn't need these specific features that are supported by Flash - we would choose HTML+JavaScript because it would work on iPads in the browser.  That's why I still believe until we know that iOS will support Flash - it's death is continuing for now.  Choices are being made to avoid it everyday by CTOs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

eLearning Startup Opportunities

I'm going to be moderating a CalTech MIT Enterprise Forum that looks at Entrepreneurial Opportunities in eLearning - basically where do we mutually see a good opportunity to create a successful eLearning Startup.

I've talked a bit about this in eLearning startups:

the startups in eLearning sit in smaller niches or by attacking tangential opportunities in eLearning. They are going after things like:

  • specialized tools and content that meet particular industry or audience needs
  • games and simulations
  • web 2.0 approaches that leverage distributed content creation, social aspects as part of learning, collaborative learning and editing.

and in Business of Learning, Future of Business of LearningFuture of Learning and the #LCBQ : What will the workplace learning technology look like in 2015, there are a lot more thoughts around where learning is heading from a business perspective. 

In the case of the CalTech MIT session, the attendees are mostly interested in where there's opportunity to do an eLearning Startup.  I'm very much looking forward to hearing from the speakers and panelists, but I thought I would use this as an opportunity to both respond to this month's #LCBQ (2011 Predictions) and to prepare for the session. 

Technology's Impact on Learning and Education is Greatly Underestimated

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.

Roy Amara, Institute for the Future.

We are collectively underestimating the incredible impact that technology is going to have on education.  I've talked before about a world in which the Best Lecture is available to us anywhere.  This already is available.  Distance is really dead. 

If we are going to force students to sit through lectures, shouldn't they be the absolute best lecture?  Tell me how you are going to compete with Physics Lectures by Professor Lewin?  People will argue that Dr. Lewin's is not appropriate for all students or in all situations.  Agreed, but you can't tell me that the high school and college lectures going on around the world is the best way to educate students. 

Of course, should it even be a lecture?  How about if it was an interactive experience instead? 

With the death of distance, what does this mean for universities?  Should we all be taking online courses from the very best we can access?  How does a local university with a limited brand compare to an online degree from a much bigger brand?  Or compare to someone who aggregates content from various online sources?

What does this mean for high schools?  My daughter last year took an online summer school course taught by her high school teacher.  This year we are trying to find an online high school course (US history but not AP US history) taught by someone else.  It's hard to find that today, but there are dollars there ready to be spent.

If you doubt this impact, make sure you take a look at what's happening in things like SAT prep, Driver's Ed, Tutoring.  In places that are not controlled by government, there's incredible adoption of technology that has greatly shifted things online.


I'm excited to Rob Angarita co-founder of Cramster that is now part of Chegg on the panel.  Cramster helps students with homework by providing answers to textbook questions and interactive support - think little pieces of eLearning for helping students figure out those problems.  It also wires into an online community and tutoring services.  Chegg is basically Netflix for textbooks.  Rather than buy a textbook, you rent it for the semester.  It will make college bookstores obsolete - think Blockbuster - actually they just won't be called bookstores - they will be called a campus store - they will sell all sorts of other things and handle local fulfillment to the college market.

Of course, just like Netflix, Chegg is going to face a really interesting battle as books go digital.  Textbooks are going to go digital as well.  And when they go digital, there are going to be eLearning Startup successes like Cramster that can address specific needs.

In fact, more broadly publishers will need help to find ways to make their materials relevant in a digital world.  I'm working right now with two eLearning startups doing exactly that.  They are partnering with publishers to make their books come to life as interactive content and tools.


There are also a ton of smaller startups emerging that essentially focus on niche topics.  These can be one person shops that selling training to particular audiences.  I recently heard a podcast from a one-person operation that had a list of people in the world of real estate.  He would put out offers for an upcoming course that he would teach online.  If he got enough interest in the course, then he would actually make it happen.  If he didn't get enough interest he wouldn't offer it.  He was doing $400K per year as a one man shop with virtually no overhead.

For more about this: Long Tail Learning - Size and Shape

Aggregation, Curation and Social Signals

Of course, this also suggests that there are going to be big time opportunities for an eLearning Startup that aggregates offerings for particular audiences.  For example, my daughter wants to take that online high school course.  It can be from anyone as long as it gets her credit from her high school.  We'd like it to be a great experience from a well known brand.  What are my options?  As the number of options grow, the need for directories grows.  This is an eLearning Startup that someone should do immediately.

More broadly, addressing the issue of information overload for particular audiences is going to provide big time opportunity.  Aggregage does this for particular topics - allowing curators to bring in appropriate content and the wisdom of the crowd through social signals to filter to the best content.  This kind of approach (using curation and social signals) is big time opportunity for dealing with the increasing flow of information.  We'll see startups providing rating systems, filtering systems, etc.


With the death of distance, that also means that you have immediate access to people across the globe.  This greatly changes things like tutoring and language teaching.  You can now be working with a tutor or teacher from anywhere in the world.  We've seen quite a few successful eLearning Startups doing these.

But there will be a lot more in things like mentoring, matching,  getting quick help, micro-consulting.  Look at the success of eLance and Amazon's mechanical turk.  Quora (Q&A) is getting a lot of buzz - I'm still not sold, but it points out the continued interest in connecting people around questions, help, content.


I added this after I posted, but here's a great capture that will help you think about the market more generally and who the buyers are for your startup.eLearning-Buyers


Of course, during any gold rush the people who have the sure thing are the ones supplying the gold miners (shovels and jeans).  There are likely going to be lots of opportunities to be an eLearning startup providing tools.  Incumbents will definitely be tougher here.  But we still don't have a really good solution for niche content providers.  The real estate training company has cobbled together a solution.  Lot's of people have tried the marketplace, but white label has not been done well. 

There also will likely be tools around:

  • Creating performance support - Learning meets action.  See: Performance Support in 2015
  • Mobile
  • Augmented reality
  • Communication (leverage platforms, but in a learning context)
  • Virtual environments
  • Integration with Google Docs

And ????

Now it's your turn.  If you were going to do an eLearning Startup - where would you focus?  Or if you are doing an eLearning Startup - what is it?