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The 9th Annual Enterprise Learning! Conference (ELC) is now open for registration. It will be held in San Diego, Calif., U.S.A., on August 29-30. Its theme is “Building the High-Performance Organization in the Age of Disruption.” Top global learning leaders convene at ELC to share best prac- tices, strategies and lessons learned in this age of transformation. Speakers from Zappos, T-Mobile, Salesforce, Cisco, ADL, Ingersoll-Rand, Future Workplace and Scripps Health are presenting.

—View the full program at: www.ELCEShow.com

Published in Latest News

The new technologies of what is being called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” have the potential to transform the global geography of production and will need to be deployed in ways that address and adapt to the impact of climate change, reports the World Economic Forum in a paper titled, “Technology and Innovation for the Future of Production: Accelerating Value Creation.” The WEF paper, prepared in collaboration with AT Kearney, explores the new technology landscape, focusing on five technologies that will have the most immediate impact on production-related sectors. It raises questions for CEOs, government leaders, civil society leaders and academics about the implications for individuals, companies, industries, economies and society as a whole, and as is intended to bring new perspectives and generate responsive and responsible choices.

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The paper maps the full production value chain of activities of “source-make-deliver-consume-re-integrate” products and services from origination, design manufacturing and distribution to customers and consumers incorporating principles of circular economy and reuse. Production fundamentally impacts economic structure at a global to local level, affecting the level and nature of employment, and the environment.

The transformative potential of technology in production systems is widely recognized.Trends toward higher levels of automation promise greater speed and precision of production as well as reduced exposure to dangerous tasks. They also can help overcome stagnant productivity and make way for more value-added activity. The extent of automation, however, causing significant anxiety about issues of employment and inequality.

—Download full report at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/ WEF_White_Paper_Technology_Innovation_Future_of_Produc- tion_2017.pdf

Published in Trends

With the new SALESFORCE- IBM global strategic partnership, IBM Watson, an A.I. platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, A.I. that powers the world’s No. 1 CRM, seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more. IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

Published in Deals

BRAINSHARK and SEISMIC are partnering to help companies optimize sales readiness and performance, bringing together Brainshark’s training, coaching and content authoring capabilities with Seismic’s advanced solution for sales content management and personalization.

Published in Deals

The National Center for Simulation at the University of Central Florida (UCF) recognized the 2017 class of the Modeling and Simulation Hall of Fame in June. The five honorees are:

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David M. Kotick, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, chief modeling & simulation (M&S) engineer - A pioneer in virtual communications, he is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) leading subject-matter expert in the field, and holds multiple patents in the fields of digital communications within the Live Virtual Constructive environment.

Frederick L. Lewis, Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.) - Served as the president from 1995-2012 of the National Training and Simulation Association.

Robert M. Matthews, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, retired deputy technical director - His imprint on M&S has touched not only a variety of disparate Navy programs across warfare branches, but also a variety of Navy and DoD modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) infrastructure initiatives.

Honorable John L. Mica, U.S. Representative - A champion for the simulation industry through policy, funding and loyal support.

Beverly J. Seay, M&S consultant & UCF Trustee - A founding business leader of the Orlando M&S community who was instrumental in bringing together government, industry and academia to lay the foundation and a set of standards for the integrated ecosystem it is today.

Published in Latest News

By 2025, global e-learning will top $325 billion, a CAGR of 7.2%, according to Research and Markets.

Top learning trends are:

>> Learning through gaming

>> Implementation of I.T. security and Cloud-based solutions

>> Online content & digitization

>> Innovations in wearable technologies

>> Learning management systems switching to Cloud-based systems.

By sector, Higher Education and K-12 account for 65% of the global market share, according to TechNavio.“This market will grow rapidly [through 2020] … and will bring about a transformation in conventional learning methods. Factors such as continuous innovation in e-learning tools, delivery methods, advances in technology, and availability of various virtual communication tools will result in the strong growth of the market during the forecast period.”

By region, North America education market share will reach 55% in 2020. Well-established I.T. infrastructure in North America will bolster growth as organizations implement technologically advanced teaching methodologies in educational institutions.

The content segment will account for more than 68% of the total education market share by 2020. The augmented demand for content development from professional and vocational program providers will drive demand. With the significant rise in enrollment for online courses in countries such as the U.S., Germany and the U.K., the demand for content development will increase rapidly.

—Sources:Research and Markets 2017 http://bit.ly/2rkVJKM, Technavio 2017 http://bit.ly/2qBtOVH, http://www.reportlinker.com/p03621935/Global-E-Learning-Market-Analysis-TrendsIndustry-Forecast-to.html, https://www.technavio.com/report/global-education-technology-e-learning-market

Published in Trends

BY DEAN PICHEE, CEO, BIZLIBRARY, INC.

Unengaged employees cost the U.S. economy $550 billion every year! According to a report by Gallup, 70 percent of workers aren’t engaged at work. The modern worker is changing, and the workplace is not modernizing quickly enough to meet employees where they’re at and engage them. So, in this new environment we’re all navigating, what do employees really want? Security?Stability? More money? In nearly every instance, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “NO.”

In 2016, research conducted by ClearCompany discovered that 68 percent of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy. In fact, many employees value employee training and development more than salary or even benefits. So, if engagement could be increased and turnover mitigated, why is this employee training and development often an afterthought?

There are multiple answers:

>>  It’s Too Long - Along with a changing workforce comes a changing attention span. YouTube has ushered in the era of the short video, and that’s what today’s employees expect. The average attention span of a learner is now said to be in the 5-to 15-minute range. This is due to our inherent limited ability to concentrate, as well as the steady stream of interruptions throughout a normal work day. It’s a fantasy to think that learners can maintain full attention throughout an 8-hour class or a 90-minute e-learning course. They physically can’t do it, and the workplace environment wouldn’t let them even if they could.

>>  It’s Too Boring - In addition to the fact that most training is too long to be effective, it’s often too boring. Let’s face it: we’re all professional TV watchers. We’ve been conditioned to expect visually stimulating content. We’ll gladly play along at home with long-time classics such as Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune. But we have no tolerance for “death by PowerPoint” presentations or click-and- read e-learning where stilted text is read to us word-for-word while we look at static graphics.

>>  It’s Too Expensive - Traditional training — a costly proposition — is much more expensive than many organizations realize. It requires a lot of money to bring people together, whether it is in a room or online. In addition to the direct costs of the training itself, there are often hidden and indirect expenses, such as travel costs or opportunity costs. It’ s no wonder managers are always looking for ways to cut the training budget.

It’s time to give your employees effective, modern, microlearning development opportunities and really support those initiatives. Microlearning is the ideal solution to the employee engagement problem because it addresses the vast majority of issues organizations are facing when it comes to employee engagement. Videos average in length from five to seven minutes so learners can actually focus long enough to absorb the information they need.

Microlearning is done in a way that’s familiar to learners. When you need to learn how to do something quickly, you usually turn to short online videos to demonstrate those things to you. By providing employee training using this method, we can ensure that the learning experience is consistent with what they already do.

IS MICROLEARNING REALLY A SOLUTION?

If done correctly, absolutely! You’ll need to use your program to develop your employees in their current positions, but also develop them in a way that will benefit their overall career. In fact, employee development is the second-most impactful way to improve employee engagement (after recognition).

Gallup studies have shown that 87 percent of Millennials think development is important in a job – making training and development a top priority among the generation that is soon to make up nearly half of the nation’s workforce. Employees who are provided with these modern development opportunities are more engaged at work and more satisfied with the workplace overall, so it’s no wonder that readily available training opportunities often lead to reduced employee turnover. Instead of searching YouTube on breaks, learners can watch an online training video that’s relevant to their job and improves their overall skillset.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Employee engagement, employee turnover, productivity, agility and many more business challenges are all different parts of the same problem — a problem that can be solved with strategic employee development and made more effective with microlearning at its core.

Published in Insights

BY IAIN MARTIN

There is a vibrant future for globally linked higher education, even though the future of dedicated standalone overseas bricks and mortar campuses is very limited. The high levels of capital investment required and the inability to rapidly respond to market changes make these investments very high stakes indeed. There may be situations where a very specific need for high levels of infrastructure (e.g. medicine and engineering) where this may work as a model, but I suspect that this will be the exception in coming years.

We at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) are seeing considerable innovation in the delivery of education to students who spend most of their study time in their home country. ARU serves 24,000 students studying in the U.K. alongside 12,000 international students studying for one of our degrees with an overseas partner. But I struggle to see how proposal for an overseas campus that would be worth developing in the face of more flexible alternatives.

It is time for innovation: ideas that are desirable, deliverable with current technology, and economically viable; and ARU is always looking for transnational education (TNE) ideas that measure well against these three parameters.

MODELS OF  GLOBAL DELIVERY

There is no shortage of models for the delivery of TNE. The challenge is implementing an approach that is sustainable both academically and financially. The next few years will continue to see new approaches tried with perhaps a few surviving the initial burst of enthusiasm. The three current models:

1. Partner-based models sit at heart of our current TNE initiatives. It is likely that this is the space in which new or finessed models will evolve in the short to medium term. There is real opportunity to grow the depth and size of these relationships and certainly, we are looking to this with several partners.

There are many possible variations on the partner model. For example, the University of Arizona has talked about a network of micro-campuses developed in partnership with a range of universities and colleges is one manifestation of this concept. We have many Chinese partners where the students are studying for one of our degrees, spending three years in China and one year in the U.K. The students work with our staff both face-to-face and online and use learning resources developed in partnership. Although they are based at a Chinese University for their first three years, they see themselves as students of two institutions from day one. Our view is that these models offer great opportunities for the future, providing benefit for both students and the in stitutions.

There are many benefits for university and partner in evolving models of TNE and, perhaps more importantly, great potential gains for students. Done well, we can see quality outcomes with a reduced cost of delivery; an opportunity to greatly widen the reach of the university; flexible matching of delivery to users’ must-have requirements; and a real ability to support the wider mission of the university.

2. There are real opportunities for partnership based global delivery of synchronous and asynchronous blended and face-to-face education. With evolving multipoint video conferencing technology and better global broadband provision, the options for real-time online interactions with other students and teachers improves to provide synchronous blending. The concept of asynchronous blending is the idea of periods of online only delivery structurally linked to a period(s) of campus delivery. This is a very flexible approach that, when designed appropriately, could deliver many of the benefits of spending a full three to four years overseas at a dramatically reduced cost for students.

3 I will not spend much time talking about the pure online model. It is self-explanatory and with continued evolution in both the educational technology and perhaps more importantly cultural acceptance of online delivery the opportunities will continue to grow.

THE NEW MODEL  FOR EDUCATION

The emerging commercial global identities of the past five years have been dominated by two characteristics. The first are models that act as a bridge between consumer and provider, Uber and Airbnb being two high-profile examples. The second would be personalization of cost vs.level of service; the budget airline model being a prime example where the basic fare simply gets you from A to B, and everything else is an extra.

Whatever you may think about the ethics of business model that underpins Uber and Airbnb, what they have done very successfully is link a service provider and a consumer in a way that just a few years ago was neither realized or desired. If Uber is a taxi company and Airbnb a new hotel company, what in this model is a university? It depends on what we think the role of higher education provider is, and this again will be nuanced depending on the segment of activity we are talking about: a first undergraduate degree versus a specialist vocationally related PG qualification,for example.

Taking the budget airline analogy, the base price might simply be delivery of the core educational outcomes at the minimum process point possible, and any more is additional. For example, face-to-face tutorials, time on campus, work experience, and/or careers advice would be additional. I recognize that this profoundly challenges many of the notions surrounding a traditional degree.

If we look at a standard degree as an educational journey where we know the starting point, the ending point and the mandatory way-points, could we envisage the role of a global aggregator and integrator of higher education provision? The answer is conceptually yes, but with profound structural and practical barriers.

A global university aggregator would have a range of linked education providers who make available online and blended modules with registration, authentication, education mapping, and records of achievement and revenue collection. But what about issues of quality control, national standards, funding, financial aid and equivalencies? Further, what would this structure do to the incumbent brick and mortar campuses?

Despite these challenges, it does seem possible that a well-run aggregator model will emerge. Whether this focuses on both under and post-graduate delivery or just on the latter is unclear. This is not simply about online provision, if the truly personalized global degree is a desirable outcome then blending, either synchronous or asynchronous could and probably should feature in the educational map we provide our students.

The future of global TNE is exciting and challenging. Existing providers are going to have to work increasingly hard to find new sustainable models. We are optimistic but in no way underestimate the challenges.

—Prof. Iain Martin is the Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, U.K. He has also been Vice President and Deputy Vice Chancellor University of New South Wales in Australia and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Published in Ideas

GLOBALIZATION, VIRTUALIZATION AND DIGITIZATION TAKE EFFECT

BY PRADEEP KHANNA

Three forces have reshaped the way we live, learn and work: globalization, virtualization and digitization. Until recently, there was a fine balance among these forces with each positively reinforcing the others. Now, the fine balance between these forces appears to be changing, resulting in a new world order.

LOOKING BACK

To better understand this, we need to trace how these forces have evolved over the last 25 to 30 years.In the first phase (the 1990s), globalization was the dominant theme. Learning was all face to face. E-learning was emerging. Countries were moving from a local and nationalistic outlook to global thinking. Trade was being globalized.

In the second phase (2000-2010), virtualization became the dominant theme. Globalization continued growing, and these two forces were reinforcing each other. Technology had its ups and downs with the tech crash and subsequent slow growth. These were the times of rapid growth in virtual learning, e-learning, virtual work, virtual teams, offshoring, and global delivery. This phase ended with a severe economic downturn as a result of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008-09.

In the third phase (2010-2016), digitization was the dominant theme, and it continued to drive virtualization and globalization. This was the perfect storm with all three forces reinforcing each other. Digital disruption and digital transformation became buzzwords.

THE DIGITIZATION ERA

The digitization phase has unexpected results.

>>  The cost of education (especially higher education) in the third phase continued to rise as demand increased and costs increased without any efficiency dividends.

>>  Entrepreneurship boomed with strong focus on emerging technologies. Mindshare and media share started getting dominated by artificial intelligence (A.I.), drones, robotics, driverless cars, virtual reality (V.R.), augmented reality (A.R.), mixed reality (M.R.), wearable technologies (W.T.) and Internet of Things (IoT).

>>  The mismatch between jobs and skills started to increase. The value proposition of a university degree came into question. Different pathways to employment/self-employment emerged from start- ups to technology-oriented skills training.

>>  MOOCs (massive open online courses) were supposed to disrupt higher education and skills training. They started with fanfare, and the year 2013 was called the year of the MOOCs. E-learning became online learning. But dropout rates in the online environment were very high, giving rise to blended learning.

>>  The labor market became more tactical with employers saying we have X amount of dollars to pay for Y set of skills for project Z. And once the project Z was over, it was “Thank you very much; nice meeting you; bye-bye.”

>>  Technology-enhanced medical care resulted in increased human longevity. It was no longer about lifelong learning that required dipping in and out of a learning continuum. It also became life-long working.

THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

The three forces of globalization, virtualization and digitization resulted in jobs moving up the skill curve. These forces, working in tandem, drove global economic expansion, albeit from a lowered post-GFC base.

While there was broad economic expansion, the economic benefits were being distributed unevenly both globally as well within country boundaries. Routine jobs were initially moved to emerging economies and, later-on, automated.

Technology became more and more pervasive, and a clear digital divide started emerging. On one hand, we were seeing a demographic digital divide with Gens X, Y, Z and the youngest generation being digitally savvy. On the other hand, we had the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation not so digitally aligned.

The digital divide was also manifesting itself in other ways. On one hand were the educated class working in technology and service sectors with rising incomes from higher skillsets, although needing to continually re-train and/or re-invent themselves. On the other hand were people working in traditional industries (aka the Rust Belt) who were at the forefront of constant restructuring and ongoing job losses, and the consequent hollowing of the middle class.

Something had to give way. The traditional working middle class asserted itself through the likes of Brexit and U.S. elections. Nationalist forces started asserting themselves. And physical and virtual walls started coming up.

NEW WORLD ORDER DEFINED

This is where we are in 2017. The fine balance among the three forces of globalization, virtualization and digitization is being altered. Digitization is now the dominant theme and is driving virtualization. Globalization is being negatively impacted at least temporarily. The new world order is being defined.

One thing is for sure: Being a futurist is a difficult role in the new world order. We can hardly see a year ahead, let alone 10, 20 or 30 years. The future is emerging, and we have to be nimble and innovative all the time. It’s one thing to say change is the new norm, but it is difficult to be constantly adapting all the time. It is akin to asking the question “Can we have an economy where everyone is innovating?”

Our attention span is now down to eight seconds, whereas the information overload is rising exponentially. Neuroscience tells us our brain strongly prefers single tasking, whereas our job overloads constantly require multi-tasking.

Most future-of-work forecasts are indicating at least 40 percent of us will be working for ourselves, giving a big boost to what is being called the “gig economy.” The sharing economy is also set to grow. But when do Uber-type models emerge in education and training?

Considering the lifelong learning scenarios and digital literacy issues, it is difficult to say whether the time has come for digital universities. However, given the mismatch between jobs and skills, corporate universities are definitely getting a leg up. While we are making good strides in personalized market- places, the holy grail appears to be personalized learning at scale.

While there are a number of emerging technology trends like A.I., drones, robotics, driverless cars, V.R./A.R./M.R., W.T., and IoT, it is not an individual technology trend that will reshape the way we live, learn and work. Instead, the fusion of different emerging technologies will have the biggest impact.

—Pradeep Khanna is the founder & CEO of Global Mindset (globalmindset.com.au) with a strong focus on how globalization and digitalization are reshaping the way we live, learn and work. He is an Adjunct Pro- fessor at a number of institutions in Australia, Singapore and India, and Sydney Chapter President of VRAR Association. Khanna is a regular speaker at International Conferences. Formerly, he served as Global Delivery Leader for IBM GBS Australia and New Zealand. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Published in Ideas

THE EXPONENTIAL INNOVATION ERA IN LEARNING TECHNOLOGY

BY SAM ADKINS

The phrase “Crossing the Rubicon” means passing the point of no return. We are at that inflection point in the global learning technology market. Extraordinary innovations in learning technology products are now available, and new products continue to come on the market at a steady rate.

These new products integrate a range of cutting-edge technologies, including cognitive computing, emotion analytics, affective computing, biometrics, artificial intelligence, robotics, game mechanics, advanced psychometrics, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR).

These product innovations are exponential in the sense that they are not incremental linear innovations but rather fundamentally new types of learning products. The common characteristic of these new learning technologies is that they enable real-time behavior modification.

There are two phases of the learning process: knowledge transfer and learning transfer. Knowledge transfer is the transmission of information and skills to the learner. Learning transfer is the ability of the learner to demonstrate mastery. Next-generation learning technology products effectively achieve both phases simultaneously.

A good example is the Smart Helmet from DAQRI (figure 1). It is a hardhat that has a visor that displays guided procedural instructional content over machines and physical locations in real time. The company markets the product to the industrial verticals. It has a compelling value proposition: “Reduce the talent and experience gap with repeatable, fully modularized and contextualized training that captures subject expert knowledge and experience.

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AUGMENTED INTELLIGENCE: THE HOLY GRAIL OF LEARNING

The integration of artificial intelligence into digital learning content essentially accomplishes the “holy grail” of providing true personalized learning that adapts in real time to an individual user’s cognitive abilities. Personalized learning has long eluded learning technology suppliers despite the claims to the contrary. Artificial intelligence finally provides the technology to achieve true personalized learning.

One of the best-known cognitive computing platforms is IBM’s Watson, and developers are building out advanced learning technology products on top of the Cloud-based platform. Pearson, Apple, Blackboard, Sesame Street and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are building new products on Watson as shown in below figure.

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IBM prefers the term “augmented intelligence” over artificial intelligence. “At IBM, we are guided by the term ‘augmented intelligence’ rather than ‘artificial intelligence’ It is the critical difference between systems that enhance and scale human expertise rather than those that attempt to replicate all of human intelligence.”

In April 2016, Sesame Street announced a three-year partnership with IBM to develop educational apps for young children. Sesame Street stated in the press that the apps “will be designed to adapt to the learning preferences and aptitude levels of individual preschoolers. Using Watson’s cognitive capabilities, the app will analyze a child’s response in real time and then intervene with content just for that child.”

The first commercial product built on Watson is IBM Watson Element for Educators. It is an iPad app launched by Apple and IBM in October 2016. In a press release, IBM reported that the product “enables a new level of engagement for teachers by providing a holistic view of each student at their fingertips, including data on interests, accomplishments, academic performance, attendance, behaviors and learning activities.”

A U.S. company called Stottler Henke develops sophisticated AI-based cognitive tutoring systems. It is well known in the global defense industry. The company’s website states that, “These systems encode the subject matter and teaching expertise of experienced instructors, using artificial intelligence (AI). We have developed numerous systems that provide practice-based learning for K-12 education, corporate training, professional development and military training.

NEXT-GENERATION COGNITIVE LEARNING PRODUCTS ALTER THE COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

A flood of next-generation cognitive learning products is hitting the market. A company called Affectiva has offices in Boston and Cairo and sells an emotion recognition platform that generates what it calls "emotional intelligence". The startup recently entered the gaming industry to enable “emotion-aware” games. It released a plug-in for the Unity game engine in October 2016 as shown in below figure.

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A Hong Kong company called Artha sells an edugame for young children called Little Dragon that uses the Affectiva platform. Little Dragon is the first mobile app responsive to the emotional state of each learner, for a happy, personalized and effective learning experience.”

C8 Sciences has a product bundle of mobile edugames called Activate that it says “strengthen a child’s cognitive skills by offering a wide range of cognitive tasks, like memorizing sequences, completing patterns, task-switching, and sorting objects into categories.” The product was developed by Yale neuroscientists.

Israel-based Applied Cognitive Engineer- ing (ACE) develops software-based “brain gyms” under the brand IntelliGym as shown in below figure. “We develop cognitive training programs for competitive athletes using a technology originally developed to train fighter pilots. Our products are used by USA Hockey and the German Football Federation. ACE’s patented technology, Cognitive Simulation, is applicable to a remarkable variety of potential users including competitive sport players, security personnel, fighter pilots, medical staff, traders and test prep students.”

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VIRTUAL REALITY TERRAFORMS  THE LEARNING LANDSCAPE

Until recently, building educational content for the AR and VR technologies was expensive and time-consuming, and development was quite complex. The barriers to entry are fading fast with a host of new AR and VR platforms integrated into devices and operating systems.

Google made available to a limited amount of developers its new Daydream VR platform in May 2016. It is integrated with a new version of Android called Nougat, which allows any smartphones that use the OS to have embedded native VR capabilities.

Google‘s Tango AR platform uses a device’s sensors to map AR content over physical locations. The platform uses motion tracking, “area learning” and spatial awareness technology from Intel called RealSense (a 3-D camera array). The key aspect of Tango is that it creates AR content in real time.

The ArtScience Museum in Singapore has a Tango-enabled exhibit called Into the Wild: An Immersive Virtual Adventure, which tranforms more than 1,000 square meters into a virtual rainforest, which you can explore using a smartphone.

Creator Update for [Microsoft] Windows 10 rolled out in April 2017. It includes native 3-D mixed reality (MR) content- creation tools, including new 3-D versions of PowerPoint and Paint. The new Paint 3-D can generate 3-D objects from 2-D images in real time. And of course, the 3-D content can easily be ported to Microsoft’s HoloLens headset.

NASA has been using the HoloLens head-set for training since early 2016. In March 2017, NASA announced that it had created a mixed reality replica of the International Space Station (ISS). The replica is used to train new astronauts and was built on the Unreal Engine gaming platform. NASA stated in the press that, “We immerse the trainee in a fabricated, three-dimensional environment and have them complete objectives under various constraints. In basic terms, that means we can put our crew in space while they’re still on earth.”

VR-based training is having a profound impact on medical training. In April 2016, a U.K. surgeon performed an operation that was live-streamed in VR using technology from the London-based startup Medical Realities. Nearly 55,000 medical personnel across 142 countries experienced the surgery as if they were operating on the patient. Medical Realities’ product is called Virtual Surgeon. The company says that it “puts you inside the operating theatre over-seeing an operation through the eyes of the consultant surgeon.” The company is building out an extensive collection of VR-based operating room experiences as shown in below figure.

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In January 2017, Canada’s CAE Healthcare launched the world’s first commercial HoloLens medical simulation product. “VimedixAR delivers an unprecedented simulation-based training experience, allowing learners to interact and move freely within a clinical training environment. As learners practice scanning an animated heart, lungs or abdomen, they will observe in real-time how the ultrasound beam cuts through anatomy to generate an ultra- sound image.”

RE-GAMING THE SYSTEM: THE NEW BREED OF EDUCATIONAL GAMES

Dozens of new educational game companies have launched since 2015 and 2016. They are bringing unique VR-based educational games to the market. Most commercial educational games are built on either the Unity or Unreal Engine gaming platforms. Both engines have native support for the major VR systems.

In January 2015, the Russia-based game developer Nival launched its educational VR division called NivalVR. Its first edu-game was InMind, designed to teach brain science. The website reports that, “It essentially allows you to journey into a patient’s brain to search for the neurons that cause the mental disorder.” In September 2016, NivalVR rebranded as Luden.io. In late 2016, it launched InMind2 VR, an advanced version of the game ported to Google ‘s Daydream platform. The new version “focuses on the neural processes underlying emotions” as shown in below figure.

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A unique (and visually stunning) VR educational game is Time Machine VR developed by Canada’s Minority Media. “You are a time-travelling cadet tasked with exploring the Jurassic era and the ancient creatures that once ruled the prehistoric oceans. Use an array of advanced tech tools to track, examine, and discover scientifically accurate creatures like mosasaurs, livyatans, and megalodons.”

Cerevrum launched in early 2016 and has offices in New York City and Saint Petersburg. It claims that, “Cerevrum is rethinking learning itself and designing fun VR neuro-gaming experiences. We targetthe entire spectrum of cognitive ability: memory, perceptual speed, multitasking, executive function and attention.”

INDUSTRIAL INTELLIGENCE:  REAL-TIME AUGMENTED PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT

A major innovation in learning technology is the real-time augmented performance improvement products designed for field and industrial workers. These products integrate physical reality with augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). They also produce impressive empirical performance improvement.

In July 2015, Boeing conducted a study on the assembly of a wing unit using three groups: one with paper PDF instructions, one with the PDF instructions on a tablet, and one with AR objects and guided instructions overlaid on the assembly on a tablet screen. “The AR-tablet group was 30 percent faster and 90 percent more accurate on their first tries than the other groups.

” Japan Airlines uses Microsoft’s Holo-Lens to train flight crews and mechanics. Japan Airlines stated in the press that, “With HoloLens, trainees can interact with a detailed hologram displaying cockpit devices and switches to get more hands-on experience while learning about operational procedures.”

GE licenses the Skylight AR platform from Upskill. According to Upskill, “GE saw a 46-percent increase in warehouse worker productivity during a first-time use of Skylight at a GE Healthcare MRI manufacturing facility. In another study conducted at GE Renewable Energy, a tenured technician yielded 34 percent productivity improvement while installing wiring into wind turbine top boxes.”

Other benefits it expects include increased production quality, better utilization of employees, and faster training for new seasonal workers. To date, seven different business units within GE are working with Upskill to deploy Skylight as shown in below figure.

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A Canadian company called Scope AR launched a product called WorkLink in June 2016. It is designed to deliver what is called real-time “smart instructions” to workers in the field. Clients include Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin, Florida Power and Light, ATCO, and AstraZeneca. The product provides workers with “intuitive, step-by-step instructions in an animated layer that’s locked on their equipment from almost any angle.

THE POINT OF NO RETURN: NEW TECHNOLOGY REQUIRES NEW EXPERTISE

The advent of these new products is rapidly altering the global training and education ecosystem. One of the major impacts is the need for professionals in the training industry to acquire expertise in new technologies that are evolving exponentially, essentially a moving target. One of the soft skills needed now is the ability to adapt to rapid change.

According to Plutarch, when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with his legion in 49 B.C.E., he quoted the familiar Greek phrase Anerriphtho kubos, the equivalent of “There’s no turning back now.”

Sam S. Adkins has been providing market research on the learning technology industries for more than 20 years and has been involved with digital training technology for more than 35 years. Adkins is the co-founder and chief research officer for Metaari, formerly Ambient Insight, since 2004. Previously, his team built The Microsoft Online Learning Institute. He also led the Instructional Animation Lab at AT&T’s central computer-based training (CBT) facility. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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