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3 e-Learning Technologies to Watch

By Bob Little / February 2010

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In his recent predictions for the development of learning technologies in 2010, Clark Quinn—a U.S.-based independent consultant with a PhD in applied cognitive science, and (full disclosure) on the advisory board of this web site—suggests that "several technologies are poised to cross the chasm: social tools, mobile technologies and virtual worlds. Each has reached critical mass in being realistically deployable and offers real benefits. . . The need is for learning to break out of the 'event' model and start becoming more timely, more context-sensitive and more collaborative."

Both Quinn's predictions and his readers' responses to them identified some key learning technologies trends:

Three technologies "on the rise" are social tools, mobile technologies, and virtual worlds.

Buyers often opt for a basic, free tool or system in order to take their first steps in these technologies but, once they have proved that technology's usefulness, they look for a more commercially robust solution and solution provider.

These trends were largely confirmed at the U.K.'s Learning Technologies conference and exhibition, which took place in London's Olympia 2 facility at the end of January.

Close on the heels of companies promoting mobile technologies and virtual worlds, headed by (but by no means exclusive to) Italy's Giunti Labs, came the rapid authoring tools developers and resellers, including Omniplex, Atlantic Link, CM Group, and Trainer1. These companies have reported seeing increased interest from organizations wanting to bring control of their e-learning development in-house where it is controlled by subject matter experts who, therefore, need to have access to—and skills in using—standard, simple authoring tools.

Meanwhile, as if in confirmation of this trend, the traditional bespoke and generic content providers—from the public sector specialist XOR to generalists like Epic, e2train, LINE Communications, and Tata Interactive Systems—found increasing competition in an already keenly contested market from relative newcomers to the U.K. market, such as the Mumbai-based WITS Interactive and Gatlin International, from Dallas, Texas.


  • Thu, 15 Jul 2010
    Post by Joshua Kim

    Mark...great interview. A really good complement to Anya's book. From reading this I came away with a couple of thoughts:

    1. Anya would be a great choice to Keynote our conferences.

    2. Anya would benefit from having to put her ideas into practice. I've been involved in a few efforts to create new opportunities, models and environments for post-secondary credentialing where technology is a significant enabler (I'm involved in one now). What you learn is that you can't be a purist. Actually creating something new is hard and messy. I wonder how Anya's thoughts would evolve if she was less of an outsider to the creation of process of hybrid and online programs. My feeling is that she would be both more realistic and more hopeful.

    Great interview.....Josh