Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Adobe/Bersin Overview of the eLearning Industry

I listened in this afternoon to the Adobe seminar: Overview of the eLearning Industry. Nothing shocking, but some interesting tidbits. My notes here....

Overview of the eLearning Industry

The evolving state of the industry

Host: Ellen Wagner, Adobe
Guest Speaker: Chris Howard, Principal Analyst at Bersin Associates (research and advisory firm in corporate training and performance management)

Research done by Bersin in the last several months. Collaborated with Adobe to identify trends in elearning industry re: content creation and trends in development.

This session will provide big picture of trends in the industry.
  1. Study Methodology: Studied Adobe customer base -- how using the product and how they might like to be using it.
  2. E-learning Market Overview
  3. Key findings
  4. Industry Data
Corporate Training Market is BIG -- almost $56 billion in the U.S.
Technology = $1 billion of this total

Corporate training trends:
  • blended learning (can't do it all online)
  • on-demand (smaller chunks)
  • rapid tools (get training out quickly)
  • shared services (orgs setting up centrally managed training tech groups)
  • talent management (hiring, development, performance management, succession planning)
  • technology adoption (LMS is maturing in large companies -- 80% of large companies have at least 1 LMS)
  • shifting of spending (more $ on outsourcing and technology)
E-Learning Segment Definitions
  • Off-the-shelf content
  • Custom content
  • Services
  • Technology
Key Finding #1: Informal content is growing.
  • Provide support for SME online, resources, rapid e-learning chunks. Can take a lot of resources, but even small companies can do this with right expertise.
  • 72% of training content is used informally. This is expected to increase.
  • Podcasting, rapid e-learning, short videos, mobile delivery

Content Maturity Model
  • Started with Traditional Content -- modeled after instructor led. Content is hand-crafted (Dreamweaver, Flash)
  • Rapid
  • Collaborative (development efficiency)
  • Enterprise (share info across depts)
  • On-demand -- focus is on target audience -- better access to content.
Most orgs have a blend of these models.

Example: On-Demand architecture
create content in smaller chunks
leverage it across delivery formats
chats, PDF, etc.
This doesn't have to be a big investment

Key Finding #2: The Rise in ASP Models ("externally hosted" or "software as a service" -- SAAS)
  • taking desktop metaphor and putting into a browser
  • trend towards companies giving other people the headaches of dealing with the backend solutions
  • great for small organizations
  • Saba, Learn.com, Adobe Connect, Articulate, etc.
  • Virtual Classroom is the most popular application of ASP solutions
  • Adobe looking at/is partnering with Verizon and Qualcomm

Key Finding #3: Mobile Content starting to take off (still a niche)
  • Ipods, blackberry, cell phone.
  • Huge market
  • Experimentation going on in this area
  • People starting to use it and it's going to get bigger (although it won't replace other media)
  • Good for specific applications: folks in the field, product training, reference material to support a course, sales
  • Assessment uses in mobile technology (drill and practice)
  • In the participant poll, 1 person said "we are now using mobile devices"; 39% said "we are researching mobile"; 24% "no interest in mobile"; the rest not sure...
Key Finding #4: Gaming has potential, but growth likely slow
  • Expense prevents people from using them
  • "Games" has negative connotation in corporate environment
  • Serious gaming -- still not quite the best game
  • Chris Howard calls them "advanced simulations"
  • Trend towards collaborative gaming platforms (SecondLife) -- simulate a real life environment
  • Emergence of gaming engines that make building games easier -- this is starting to emerge
  • Leadership & Management Training
  • Rapid response applications (agencies that provide emergency help to give people a feel for emergency situatiosn)
  • Military
  • IBM
  • Will become easier to build -- and collaborative aspect will make them attractive
  • Forterra Systems, Linden Labs, Visual Purple, Proton Media)
Key Finding #5: Open Source Tools
  • 33% of responders said they are currently using Open Source tools (software available for free and you can get the underlying code and reprogram yourself)
  • Typically used in conjunction with other tools
  • People looking for extensibility and flexibility
  • Typically used for advanced users -- because the tools may need to be debugged
  • Most popular ones were audio (Audicity) and video tools. Investment in use of tools is low, so if it doesn't work, you're ok. Whereas if higher risk (development of entire course), people more likely to use non-open source tools.
Industry Data
  • Adobe and Microsoft most widely used for course development tools
  • Online Meetings (20% don't use, 28% WebEx; 19% LiveMeeting, Adobe Connect (6.5%)
  • Trend of these companies partnering with LMS systems (e.g., Saba and Centra)
  • WebEx is partnering with an LMS provider as will Adobe
  • http://www.adobe.com/resources/elearning/lms_integration.html
Rapid Development Trend
  • How do you expect the % of informal usage to change over 2 years?" 52% of respondants said there will be an increase.
  • Informal content development where info is developed and accessed quickly -- not in context of formal training
  • Compliance -- get user to read something and take a basic assessment -- capture info and show that they "learned" it
  • About half of this content is being configured to fit in with an LMS (if your company has an LMS, then generally yes). Adobe, Articulate building little back-end server technologies that enable you to build straightforward courses, install in LMS and track results.
  • People have an expectation to produce content more quickly -- this drives productivity.
  • Rapid content may get put out there quickly, then later it gets folded back into a more traditionally designed program.
  • This may be a way of getting SMEs more involved in initial content creation -- then professional content developers (IDs) can take it to the next step.
  • A lot of these rapid tools ARE being used by folks without training backgrounds. They may consider it more "information transfer" than formal training.
  • Content Development/Training dept builds templates -- then gives to SMEs -- so that SME can think about key points, objectives, assessment questions -- then template given back to ISDs to organize it better, rephrase it.
  • Lots of folks saying they have no plans to use these (about 50%)
  • The forward-thinking folks are going to use these tools
  • Get users in touch with SMEs and each other -- share info with each other.
  • Have someone to monitor this type of content to make sure it's appropriate.
  • Chris Howard: wants people to rethink this and see the real potential in wikis and blogs -- training managers -- if you don't do this as the training manager, it will happen on its own and bypass you. This may be good or bad. Better off if we can incorporate training material into the wikis and blogs.
  • Ellen: Training community needs to get on the bus or out of the way regarding blogs and wikis.
  • LMS -- manage training transactions and student date
  • LCMS more with content creating (moving more to on-demand)
  • Training Platform/Suite -- brings these together. typically ASP.
To create good e-learning:
1) Know your audience. How are they learning now? How will the applications be used?
2) Understand the business problem that you're trying to solve. Does it need to be solved quickly?
3) Don't let the technology get in the way of what you're trying to do.

This program will be available through the Adobe archive at Adobe.com

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