In late October an annual eLearning conference dedicated to training within companies - DevLearn 2013 – was held in Las Vegas. The conference and the exhibition were organized by the eLearning Guild, which is one of the most active and dominant elearning communities (The second one being ASTD). In this article, I would like to share with you some highlights and observations from the DevLearn 2013.
Let’s start from a well-known vendor – Articulate, which continues to develop tools for tests. Articulate has recently made an attempt to introduce elements of content-authoring tools into their assessment editor. This is reflected, for example, in the following functions:
- using uploaded images for creating drag'n'drop exercises (sorted by type, finding a matching pair)
- using characters in assessments
- creating additional effects and movements of objects
This year Adobe places emphasis on video tools. At the Adobe booth was demonstrated a product, which allows making simultaneous records from camera and from desktop, to mix them together and overlay one on another. Immediately after recording a course developer can mark on the timeline when he would like to display video from the camera and when he would like to display video from the desktop. He can also chose the option of combining video from the camera with one from the desktop and then decide which of them is the dominant.
One of the most popular booths at the exhibition was the eLearning Brothers’ booth, a company providing template packages, themes and characters for course editors. The company is a leader in this field and provides services to both individuals and eLearning vendors. Articulate Storyline also uses ready-made solutions provided by eLearning Brothers, to offer its users graphical objects. The eLearning Brothers’ products have become the model product in the market. One can buy eLearning Brothers’ graphical objects packages and use them in many popular course editors.
A new supplier in the market eLearning services - Geenio - was introduced at the conference. In fact, Geenio is LMS with a built-in course editor and tools for test developing. The system is designed to work through web browser without any additional installation on client’s computer.
Geenio focuses on user-friendly and easy-to-use interface, one we are used to see in modern Internet services. Most extraordinary fact about Geenio is that it is able to work on tablets directly out of the box. Moreover, on iPad you can not only view completed courses, but also create new ones or edit existing ones. Perhaps this is what most surprised guests at the Geenio both in DevLearn. Geenio also allows creating non-linear courses with Pathboard, this tool appears to be innovative and has high usability.
Geenio also plans to add gamification elements. Not just for learning about the product, but also for providing course authors with such tool. There are many other interesting ideas in this project, some of which have already been implemented. Closed beta testing will start soon, but so far only for those who have signed up to participate during DevLearn.
Pathgather is another new product on the market. Visually, it resembles Geenio a lot, but the goal is different and less global. The basic idea is social learning as a basic tool for collaborative work in the corporate sector. It is a modern, visually-attracting LMS with an emphasis on social interaction.
Pathgather offers a tool for convenient storage and cataloging of thousands of online courses and other different sources in one handy place. With a help of Pathgather each employee can compile a “learning path”. In other words, he can share his own methods of learning new stuff, making a “path” of successive resources. The Pathgather’s designers also promise to present a rich set of statistics and a tool for analysis of trends and employees’ activity within the organization. Now Pathgather is undergoing a recording on early access to the product. However, one can preview the product right now and see how attractive it is and how smoothly it works.
HapYak has been also presented at DevLearn 2013. Their slogan is “No matter how you use video, interactive video is more effective. We make it easy”. HapYak knows to create link on a specific moment in video. You say, it is not surprising, YouTube has long been able to do it. However, HapYak take it further by creating a simple navigation interface inside video, wh ere one can click on the link in the navigation menu and get transferred to the right place.
There is also an ability to embed questions into video, known as Videoquiz. It supports both multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions allowing one to enter any text he would like to. There is a possibility of integration of HapYak with Pearson eCollege and other LMS.
HapYak - Video Quiz
In addition, it is possible to make marks directly inside the video in order to highlight something important or to share an expert opinion in an easy way.
This year HapYak also promises to provide detailed statistical reports. What links do users click on? What makes them watch videos longer than usual? What users are the most involved? Reports at the user level, and integration with popular statistics tracking tools, apparently with Google Analytics.