By offering its Azure IoT (Internet of Things) Hub communications platform to the general public, Microsoft follows its plan to be the go-to Cloud provider when customers — whether startups or enterprise — deploy new business models and processes based on large networks of low-powered connected devices like those from Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Texas Instruments. Part of the Microsoft plan includes convincing businesses to use the service to collect data from devices; analyze data streams; store, query and visualize large data-sets; and integrate that data with back-office systems.

The IoT Hub has a messaging infrastructure for distributed devices to communicate to each other via Azure over widely used IoT protocols such as MQTT, HTTPS and AMPQPS, as well as device authentication.

Fees for Azure IoT run from free for minimal storage up to $500 per month for service that supports up to 6 million 4-KB messages a day.

—More info:


Published in New Products


CareerBuilder and Capella Education are offering a program called RightSkill that aims to fill talent gaps for employers and help job-seekers advance their careers. Set to launch this spring, the collaboration represents the first time that real-time labor data will be paired with competency-based education to design educational programs directly aligned with the needs of employers.

Capella’s programs in high-demand fields such as Web development and information security are designed to be completed in less than 90 days at low cost — money that will be refunded to the job-seeker if he or she doesn’t find placement with an employer within 90 days of completion in the designated field. Then CareerBuilder will leverage its strong ties with top employers to help place candidates with appropriate firms, providing employers with in-demand talent and providing job seekers with opportunities to land higher-skill, better-paying jobs with meaningful career advancement opportunities.

—More info:


Published in New Products

Companies are spending tens of billions of dollars globally on leadership-training programs each year, but that money often is wasted because “the training is not geared to drive business results,” according to a recent survey by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The BCG survey finds business leadership training and talent development often overlook frontline leaders who create value for customers, and the training employees receive often does not have a meaningful impact on business results. Amy Fox, president, founder and CEO of Accelerated Business Results, offers three tips to make training more meaningful, engaging, and easy to access for managers and employees:

1) Make Training an Ongoing Part of Company Culture – Focusing on a one-off event without thorough follow-up, coaching and reinforcement is a recipe for failure. Successful training programs inform managers what they need to do over time to make it successful.

2) Measure Success Based on Business Results – It’s not enough to measure success based on inputs such as days in training or satisfaction with the program. Effective training includes ongoing assessment and evaluation so managers can measure the capabilities employees develop and the results they achieve.

3) Offer Opportunities for Self-Directed, Bite-Sized Learning – Rather than offering event-based training with follow-up as an afterthought, more companies are offering employees opportunities to learn skills on the job through self-directed learning. Micro-learning through mobile apps and other online tools can help.

“With Millennial employees making up an ever-increasing percent of the workforce, more and more companies are finding the old death by PowerPoint training just doesn’t cut it anymore,” says Fox. “More companies are opting for new, on-demand, interactive approaches to training in the form of micro-learning — delivering content in small, specific bursts of information that put employees in control of what they’re learning.”

—More info:
Published in Top Stories

There are deeper reasons than simply reaching new learner populations, which is the majority reason cited by a new survey.


Most industry analysts have been projecting some pretty big increases in market potential for LMS (learning management system) and TMS (talent management system) purchases. What piques our interest is the projection that the global market for these systems is expected to triple by 2020. And this has been less than five years after several founding fathers in the LMS space had said that “the LMS is dead in its current form” at Elearning!’s 2011 Enterprise Learning Conference and Expo.

Included in the statistics are learning content management systems (LCMSs) and human capital management systems (HCMs). There are approximately 500 vendors in this LMS/TMS/LCMS/HCM space globally.

As we looked across the industry, we suspected that the growth might be coming from a strong movement toward online offerings by universities. We speculated that pressures of escalating costs and tuitions were prime drivers to entice colleges and universities to move to the more cost-efficient online delivery modalities. But equally important, it seemed that going online was helping smaller and more aggressive university systems like Southern New Hampshire University to extend their reach to more students across the nation, without the burdensome infrastructure cost of classrooms, dorms and campus facilities.

We also speculated that the growth might reflect a similar movement in the corporate and public sectors, as they also tried to extending their reach to more employees and to their extended enterprise of customers and partners. In order to determine if those hypotheses were correct, we decided to ask our broad readership base some probing questions.

The answers we received show that there are much deeper business drivers than just simply reaching new learner populations, which is the overall reason selected by 62% of the respondents. Improving employee engagement is the second-most selected reason, given by more than 52% of the respondents, followed by improving the user experience (50%) and shortening the time to competency (49%). Toward the bottom of the list of 20-plus business drivers are reasons like improvement of compensation management, expanding global business, shortening the time to market, and helping to attract new talent. Even lower are reasons that have to do with more accurate reporting and compliance tracking.

It became apparent that the top business drivers encompass more than just getting to more learners. It is also about seeking better engagement and user experiences for diverse learner bases. That marks a major shift from organization-centric factors to more learner-centric drivers than we’ve seen in prior surveys. Previously, we saw a very strong bias on acquiring the tools that helped departments better manage the education and training process. Although those factors still come up as key “musthaves,” it now seems that as a community, we just expect those controls to be present. It’s our look to the next level of maturity, the factors that impact the learner experience that seem to be driving a lot of the renewed activity in the space.

The areas that “user experience” encompasses are still being defined by the industry, but it’s apparent that it is more than just the engagement aspects that are being lumped into this criteria. There is talk about including reinforcement training capability to improve topic retention, along with other science-based pedagogies that are still being debated by our learning community. These would include factors like the spacing of learning venues, the type of testing to be employed, and similar items that impact the learner.


One of the areas that we measure yearly is the number of respondents who plan to add, change or replace their systems. The good news is that the movement seems to be relatively fat from prior years. On the LMS side, 33% of the 355 respondents are looking to add, change or replace their systems. On the TMS side, 31% are planning on doing the same. In the past, that number has ranged from the middle 30 percents to the low 40 percents.

The other big trend we see is the rapid movement away from on-premise installations of LMSs and TMSs. Nearly 63% of our respondents now use Cloud and SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions. And now that vendors have proven that their infrastructure can be equally — or more — secure than installations behind a company’s firewall, it frees up organizations to stay more current with releases from the vendors. In the past, upgrades were stalled because the underlying platform (such as Oracle) had to be upgraded as well. That meant coordinating with the rest of the company on that platform upgrade before new versions of an LMS, LCMS, TMS or HCM could be installed. That held up a lot of the new feature sets that companies were pushing hard on the vendors to offer. Now, however, this rapid movement toward Cloud- and SaaS-based systems has allowed both the vendors and their clients to take immediate advantage of newer releases as they become available.

Overall, 86.5% of all respondents own an LMS, LCMS, TMS or HCM system. That’s up from 82% in our last survey. And those planning to add, change or replace their systems are planning to spend an average of $1.1 million, up from $968,500 in the prior survey.

Corroborating the aforementioned business-driver trends, the single most important factor when purchasing an LMS, LCMS, TMS or HCM is “user experience.” Dropping to the bottom of the list are factors like customer testimonials and the size of the client base. So unless the vendor can point to positive learner experiences, quality and great customer service, it is likely to lose the deal to a competitor.


Topping the list of “must-have” features in the LMS portion of the survey are course tracking and completion, assessment and testing, and certificate program support. But once these administrative-type factors are assured, more than 78% of the users say that “mobile deployment” capability is a must-have feature. This capability speaks directly to getting to more learners. And we should keep in mind that “mobile” means more than just phones. There are more than 95 devices in the mobile class, including tablets and laptops.

Lowest on the list of “must-have” features are support for augmented reality (AR), ecommerce and collaborative authoring.

On the TMS side, the top “must-have” features are 360-degree evaluations (84.6%), followed by five features that are all very close to one another in the 69+% range: career management tools; integration with other HR systems; learning content; performance planning; and succession planning and management. At the bottom of the list were payroll, communications and MBO support.

When asked about a range of LMS satisfaction criteria, respondents’ highest rated criteria — reliability — achieves the top score of 2.03, where 1 is excellent and 5 is very poor. That’s a B+, while criteria like “integration with external systems (MOOCs,, etc.)” scores a 3.04. That translates into a C+ rating. Scalability was the second-best criteria, which is another testament to the work being done by vendors in the Cloud and SaaS arenas. Other top pain points include integration with internal systems, as well as new features being made available by vendors.

And when we asked what the most important factors were in selecting a TMS or HCM system, integration with internal systems, user experience and quality are the clear front-runners. And as we saw in the LMS section, customer testimonials and award-winning solution are way down at the bottom of the list of important factors.


When asked about extended enterprise versus internal learning audiences, respondents say internal audiences still dominate the use of these systems, but that the extended enterprise is also competing for attention. Almost 80% of the respondents report that they are focused on internal audiences. But adding up the customer, reseller, channel and supply-chain partners, it’s surprising to see that 72.9% of the respondents also are chartered to address these extended enterprise audiences.

So clearly, this multi-chartered focus is driving many external audience needs from system users. When you consider the nonemployee audience, that usually means functionality around e-commerce, certifications and similar customer- and partner-facing learning activities is being requested. And to satisfy those needs, it’s going to take the same types of functionality that we’re seeing with internal audiences — such as mobile functionality; tracking and recording; and managing the records for all of those constituents.


The focus that our survey respondents have on user experience is about the quality of the education being put forth — from creating compelling digital learning experiences for educational purposes, to reinforcement and micro-learning experiences that help users grasp content in other ways.

What does the term “user experience” encompass? It’s everything from the way we use graphics, sequence tasks, display information, use animation, provide controls for manipulating those animations, and a host of other aspects that determine how well users will learn a topic. This notion is further refined by how each user learns, so it necessarily includes the body of knowledge presented by Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences, as well as the user’s age, his or her level of content expertise, previous experience, and perhaps even common conceptions of learning.

Thus, user experience is made more complex by notions of how we acquire knowledge, how quickly we forget what we’ve learned, and even the spacing between the learning venues. And making matters more controversial in a world where answers can be found in a matter of seconds, the discipline of testing itself is coming under scrutiny. All of these are part of the conversation — and part of the difficulty of arriving at a standard approach.

But we already know a lot of those user experience answers for our own areas of endeavor, so we can look to this area as one that will expand for the LMS, TMS and HCM vendors in the future.


In the combined global LMS/LCMS/TMS/ HCM market, organizations are making their learning more ubiquitous. Tat’s as true for higher education as it is for corporate and government entities. In the higher education space, there seems to be a rush to market for MOOC offerings, as well as the creation of online degree or microcredentialing courses.

In the corporate space, where the industry once focused on only a subset of employees and extended enterprise partners and customers, the learning function is extending its reach to be more all-inclusive.

And lastly, in the government space, organizational agencies are trying to reach out to constituents. A good example is the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, which is making training and coaching available on its new website. Each of these extensions of the learning infrastructure requires the technology platform that helps to make this information and learning available, both when it’s needed and where it’s needed.

Contrary to the expert predictions in 2011 that the LMS was dead in its current form, the LMS market is now projected to be very robust during the next several years — and further, it will triple by 2020. Although we need to wait and see, it does seem that when organizations need to deploy education to a widely-dispersed population of students, there is still no better solution than these foundational systems.

—See the user study:  Register to view the Executive Summary and purchase the full User Studay at

Published in Top Stories


Is your company poised to build the next Uber? Have you started imagining how cryptocurrencies could be used to shore up your company’s digital security? Have you considered that the algorithms your company uses might inadvertently be lying to you?

At the end of each year, I apply a framework to surface the most important emerging trends in digital media and emerging technology for the year ahead. It analyzes consumer behavior, micro-economic trends, government policies, market forces, and emerging research within the context of our continually-evolving tech and digital media ecosystem. My colleagues and I use a core set of five attributes to look for emerging patterns: contradictions, infections, oddities, coincidences and inversions. Those attributes help us identify a set of likely trends on the horizon. Ten, we put each trend through what we call The Five Questions:

1) Where/how are people wasting their time?

2) Where/how are people having difficulty with technology?

3) Where/how are people looking for information?

4) Where/how are people stuck?

5) How do people want to be perceived?

The Five Questions help us qualitatively and quantitatively assess whether or not that pattern is actually a trend that will stick in the future. We also pressure-test the ideas borne out of the trends we identify. Current technology offers great opportunity – along with some unusual new challenges – for managers in all industries. Here are six.


Artificially intelligent computers are now capable of deep learning using neural networks, which you can think of as brain-inspired systems capable of translating pixels into English. Toward the end of 2014, Google researchers unveiled a new project that uses neural networks and deep learning to identify multiple elements of a scene without human assistance. Its software “learned” how to think by processing vast quantities of data. For example, deep learning will eventually allow robots to recognize objects they haven’t seen before and navigate to new locations on their own. Deep learning intersects with numerous fields, and it will soon aid in manufacturing, medicine, retail, utilities, and beyond.


SVPAs started entering the market in 2013. At the time, they used semantic and natural language processing; data mined from our calendars, email, and contact lists; and the last few minutes of our behavior to anticipate the next 10 seconds of our thinking. Most of those original apps have now been acquired. Emu was acquired by Google, Donna was acquired by Yahoo, Cue was acquired by Apple…and the list goes on. When it was still active, Emu was a clever stand-in for a personal secretary. It would monitor the conversation and automatically make suggestions as two people texted. For example, if you asked your friend to see a movie, Emu would immediately geolocate both of you, suggest a nearby theater and show films and times, then check your calendars for your availability. It would even display a preview for you to watch. Once it determined the best time for you to meet, it would help you purchase tickets and enter all the data into your calendar. And it did all of this inside a single mobile application.

In the near future, consumers will begin to see SVPA technology baked into their mobile phones. For example, Google is quietly starting to release a new SVPA function for Android users that detects when you’ve parked your car, marks your parking spot for you on a Google map, and helps get you back to it once you’re ready to start driving again. All without you explicitly asking it to do so. Marketers, credit-card companies, banks, local government agencies, political campaigns, and many others can harness SVPAs to both deliver critical information and to better read and understand constituents.


In spite of harsh criticism about its business practices, 2014 was a banner year for Uber. With a $40 billion paper valuation, the simple app connecting drivers to passengers is now worth more than Halliburton Corp., Aetna, General Mills, Delta Airlines, Kraft Foods, and Charles Schwab. Uber’s fast growth is due to lightning-fast consumer adoption, and that’s because Uber does two things very well. First, it monetizes downtime. For professional drivers, Uber is a fast, easy way to find riders. It’s also been a boon for people who’ve lost their jobs, offering them a way to make money when other jobs are hard to find. Second, Uber provides a seamless payment interface. Riders don’t need to carry cash or even a credit card, as the entire transaction is handled via a simple mobile interface. Uber’s success has inspired hundreds of other entrepreneurs who want to emulate the best features of the company.

So expect to see lots more new, Uberish delivery and intermediary businesses, including fast grocery delivery, helicopter rides, portable ATMs, alcohol delivery, inhome massage service, dry cleaning and laundry, iPhone repair, personal shopping, medical marijuana, dog walkers, and onsite car mechanics. Meantime, consumers will respond to one-click transactions that process payments in the background – meaning there’s a great opportunity for established retailers, transportation companies, banks, and others to leverage what’s becoming standard consumer behavior.


In its essence, an algorithm is simply a set of rules or processes that must be followed in order to solve a problem. In the coming year, we will also begin questioning the ethics of how algorithms can be used, and we’ll scrutinize the tendency of some algorithms to go awry. Programmers are adding subjective judgments to algorithms and allowing them to deliver answers. As a result, those in the big data space are increasingly misclassifying objects, data and even people.

Numerous stories exist of algorithms wrongly identifying terrorism suspects at airports. High-frequency trading algorithms once nearly destroyed the stock market. A glitch in Amazon’s algorithm caused the price of one of its products to spike to $26,698,655.93. During the next several months, managers should discuss how to include accountability systems for algorithms.


Ongoing breaches have continued to dismantle the public trust. According to a Pew Internet and Society poll, 91 percent of Americans surveyed either agreed or strongly agree that consumers have lost control of their personal information and data. Whether it’s fear of a third party monitoring our mobile phone activity or concern about the safety of online transactions, people are increasingly concerned about their privacy, and they’re pointing the finger at business, not maleficent hackers.

So now, businesses must work to meaningfully encrypt their data, and they must make a public showing of the measures they’re taking to safeguard personal info. One new area of particular note: digital consent. Lawyers could soon use our personal data against us in court. Fitbit data, processed through a third-party analytics tool, was used in a courtroom late in 2014, around the same time that the FTC began investigating Fitbit’s practice of selling users’ personal data to advertisers. We will see growing demands for digital consent agreements and increased transparency.


The block chain is the transaction database that’s shared by everyone participating in bitcoin’s digital system. It’s how the cryptocurrency promises complete anonymity while using a crowd-regulated public ledger system. Think of the block chain as a sort of distributed consensus system, where no one person controls all the data. Even if Bitcoin itself never really gains traction, block chain technology has enormous promise. For instance, some people argue that a block chain system would have prevented the massive credit card breach at Target. A new company, Blockstream, plans to turn the block chain into a universal platform that can be used for anything requiring signatures or authentication. It would let people participate in “trustless” transactions, where buyers and sellers work with an intermediary like an escrow manager, a trustee, or other middlemen.

In some way, each of these tech trends will affect your business in the coming year. The best way to prepare for coming disruption is to learn as much as you can, discuss implications with others in your company, and then commit to launching small experiments internally to help you see the trends in motion.

— Amy Webb is the founder and CEO of Webbmedia Group, a digital strategy firm that advises an international client base on near-future emerging technologies and digital media trends. She is also a Visiting Neiman Fellow at Harvard University. More info:

Published in Top Stories

Eighty percent of the focus on an implementation must be about the business and process.

Questions are swirling today about the value proposition of a learning or talent system. Do these systems provide real value? Do the systems meet the expectations of users? Are the systems helping you do a better job of developing people? The answers can all be found in the alignment of the systems to the true needs of the business.

I was recently speaking at a conference and asking about the implementation of the attendees’ learning and talent systems. One question that I asked received a very telling response. I asked, “When you were about to implement your brand new system, how many of you looked at your business processes, mapped them out and used these processes to guide your implementation?” Less than 1 percent had taken this approach. That led me to a second question, “How many of you are happy with the value your learning or talent system provides for you today?” Only about 5 percent answered that they were happy. This is very typical of what we at Bluewater see in the marketplace today. Most people are not happy with their learning and talent systems, but most are also being guided, incorrectly, by the idea that an implementation should happen quickly and painlessly. No need to map business processes when we can just turn the technology on, right?

For more than 14 years, I have been working with companies to help them assess business needs, select learning and talent systems, implement and even operate these systems. A trend I have noticed while completing more than 400 projects over the last few years, is one simple fact: 80 percent of the focus on an implementation must be about the business and process, with 20 percent of the focus being on the technology. As an industry, we have gotten this wrong for so many years because our focus is on technology. Technology itself does not solve problems; it only enables the user of the technology to solve a problem.

Implementation failures occur fundamentally because of four key factors:

1) Everyone is in too much of a hurry.

2) The business processes in the learning or talent systems are established on the fly.

3) Configuration is not driven by what the business needs, but by what the system can do.

4) And the overall user experience is not considered in the purchase.

That covers about 95 percent of failed implementation issues.

If you have a system today, my recommendation is to fix it rather than replace it. The steps described below can and should be used to help you take a fresh look at your existing implementation, not only for when implementing a new system. As your business is going to change over time, you must proactively and regularly re-align your learning and talent systems with the needs of your business.

Step 1. Getting Started - What can we do to achieve a successful implementation or renewal of a learning or talent system? Start where it all begins: with understanding what drives your business. What are your business drivers? These are not your departmental drivers, but rather the corporate goals and objectives regarding revenue, profitability, enablement of your people, and so on. What keeps the doors open at your company? Tat will provide a huge insight into your business drivers. Document these goals, as you will use them later in the process.

Step 2. Create a Map - Map your training and people development objectives and align them to your business drivers. If you find elements of your training and development organization that do not match up to your business drivers, consider eliminating these elements. Once there is an agreed-upon understanding by all stakeholders and an alignment of your business drivers and training and development objectives, it is time to move onto functionality.

Step 3. Functionality - Functionality and technology must come last. They are enablers of what you are trying to achieve. Technology is not the solution, but it will help you get there. The idea is to put your organization in a position to take advantage of the technology you select. Many organizations skip this step and, while they intuitively understand the needs of the business, there is a gap in the actual knowledge of how to get the technology to do what you need it to do. This is because there is an incomplete understanding of the operating methodology required by the business.


Increasingly, I am seeing the business drive requests for talent. These are not the simple job requisitions of years past. Rather, they are deeper requests that understand the value of talent in the business. I have spoken with numerous CEOs who are concerned about the future of talent within their business and their company’s inability to identify who has the skills necessary to drive the business forward. Therefore, the work you do with learning and talent systems is crucial to helping the business understand what talent is available, along with current and future talent gaps and opportunities. This is no longer just about developing leaders. It is about enabling your company’s people for long-term success. Done right, the use of learning and talent systems can finally provide information that will help business leaders make decisions about the future.

Note where I started. It is all about understanding the business and mapping processes to inform how the business needs to interact with your new or renewed learning and talent system, today and in the future.


Reviewing a sample of the organizations we work with, the LMS-only purchase of the past is becoming rare for companies who are doing an in-depth review of business drivers, processes and development needs. Of more than 200 projects we worked on just last year, 76 percent were focused on learning, development and talent management. Of the numerous selection projects we worked on, only the extended-enterprise projects were LMS-only. LMS purchases are still the number one learning and talent system purchase, but now they are combined with performance, succession, recruiting, workforce management, compensation and even HRIS. This is occurring because the need for data in managing talent and the development of people is becoming increasingly important, and the LMS-only approach is limiting. These organizations saw the need to align not only learning and development, but also the ability to measure performance, implement career paths, measure competencies, and identify succession plans for the 90 percent of the organization who are not executives. The HR, learning and development organizations and others found that mapping the needs of the business first revealed a bigger role that their organization could play in the bigger business.

Of the 76 percent of projects that were learning and talent focused, the majority used learning, performance and succession tools together to achieve objectives. But do not focus on performance reviews only, since the performance component of a talent system includes development plans, goals, competency mapping and skills analysis. The idea of including components of a talent system with learning is to provide tools to help analyze gaps in talent against the needs of the business while developing knowledge of where development really needs to happen. Finally, the use of these tools can also provide a degree of personalization and personalized learning.


Your roadmap for implementation and the overall operating plan must be tied together. There are seven key elements that should be the focus of your planning. Each of these elements will help you focus on specific areas where we see great success or failure.

Let’s start with the most important item for creating a proper working environment and that is user experience. If you get the user experience right then the rest of the system flows. If the user experience is wrong, then it does not matter what you have in your system. User experience extends not only to the user interface but also to the user workflow.

Second is content. Content is king. Without great content, the system will not drive any business impact.

Third is all about people. You must establish proper governance of the system, a proper approach to change management and, finally, an administration plan. Do not overlook the needs of your people.

The fourth item is technology. Keep it simple, as it will become a foundation of your operating environment.

Fifth: map all business processes and continually update these processes over time. Know how your business operates in detail.

Sixth, create a data strategy. Know what data you need in your system, what data operates your system, and what data you need out of your system.

Finally, it is all about reporting. I am not sure that I would ever purchase a learning or talent system if I were not 100 percent sure it would provide the reports I need to inform my business. The data we collect in the learning and talent system can transform a business. But that data is only effective if we can report on it.

In this diagram, you see all seven categories their impact on each other. If one area is not addressed, then the wheel will fall apart. If all are addressed, then the wheel will turn properly and drive the business of your organization.

We began with questions about whether a learning or talent system truly offers value, if a system can meet the expectations of the user, and can it help you better develop people. As we see, the answer to all of these questions is not so much about the system, but rather about how the system and the use of the system is aligned — and kept aligned — with the evolving objectives of the business as a whole. Proper selection, implementation or renewal of your system is a result of proper planning. Do the work required, spend a little extra time, get to know your business and the results will speak for themselves.

— Chris Bond, president and CEO of Bluewater, has been transforming the learning and talent management felds through his articles, speaking engagements and consulting services for almost 15 years. More info: www.

Published in Top Stories

Many learning and training professionals are, by now, familiar with the term “MOOC,” but the truth of the matter is that MOOC is only the beginning when classifying technology-friendly modes of learning and training.

MOOC, of course, stands for Massive Open Online Course. The importance of this course is that it is open to a lot of people — students or employees — at the same time. MOOCs represent a distance-based approach to e-learning wherein many learners may participate in a collaborative and interactive fashion. Course contents are distributed using a Web platform under a per-course or subscription model. The unique features of MOOCs include mass participation, social collaborations, interactive forums, and open-ended outcomes. MOOC adoption employs various technologies and solutions including Big Data, analytics, gamification and Cloud.

There are a few key market factors to consider with MOOCs, including low-cost certification, leveraging various technologies (data; smartphone, tablet and wearable device proliferation; and flexible learning experience), cost reductions for corporate training and others. Arguably, one of the main growth drivers of today's MOOC industry is cost reduction for learning and development (L&D) programs at major corporations.

Similarly, COOC stands for Corporate Open Online Course, which is self-explanatory. They’re MOOCs for businesses large and small.

SPOC stands for Small Private Open or Online Course. Contrary to MOOC and COOC, the aim of a SPOC is to offer a small group of people a tailor-made course. University of California Berkeley Prof. Armando Fox coined the word in 2013 to refer to a localized instance of a MOOC course that was in use in a business-to-business context.

SPOCs support blended learning and flipped classroom learning, which variously combine online resources and technology with personal engagement between faculty and students. Early research results point to improved learning and student outcomes using such approaches, as pointed out by Will Oremus in a Slate magazine article. They can include video lectures, assessments (with immediate feedback), interactive labs (with immediate feedback) and discussion forums such as those used in MOOCs.

Reiterating, the target audiences for these three online courses are very broad: individuals, students and workers enrolled by their companies. Their main advantage is that learners can register just by clicking online. They can train, whenever they want to from home, and they no longer have to go out. A lot of people who are at work all day are now able to train this way in the evenings.

Basically, the aim of all three — MOOCs, COOCs and SPOCs — is to offer free training. When you produce a video for an online course, there is no difference in the cost whether it is watched by one person or thousands.
Published in Top Stories

Every day new learning technologies and practices are born. Which are fads and what have staying power?

Join Catherine Upton in this session when she reveals the results of the E-learning User Trends Study.  What drives investment in learning and development. Which tools are learning leaders investing in and why?

Catherine will also be joined by Becky Sterling who will discuss several e-learning trends, predictions and practices.  Share insights with Becky who is on the front lines of development and implementations. Bring your questions and challenges to share and discuss: The role of e-Learning in the consumerized world, Learner-directed learning and enablement, Evolution of learning ecosystems, and how to leverage technologies to create the engaged workplace.


Please login or register to access

Published in On-Demand


To support the U.K. Sepsis Trust, the LMS provider Create eLearning is giving a copy of its platform to winners of its quarterly Prize Draws.

The platform that Create eLearning is donating includes a fully implemented e-learning solution and a custom-designed Oculus Rift training pack. The whole system is worth £25,000, but the winners receive all of this completely free of charge.

In return, these recipients are expected to donate between £5,000 and £25,000 to the Sepsis Trust. Mark Taggart, Create eLearning’s managing director, explained, “Ideally, we’d like to help raise £100,000 for charity in 2016 — as part of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitment.”


Published in Latest News


The newest release of BizLibrary’s learning management system (LMS) is now available to all of BizLibrary’s existing and new clients.

The BizLibrary LMS represents a major step forward in learning technology, with the introduction of an innovative and dynamic recommendation engine that helps create personalized learning environments for each end user.

The system is also fully responsive to help maximize the effectiveness, convenience and reach of the BizLibrary Collection of thousands of online training videos, so employees have unlimited access to content on any device at any time.

Other important innovations include enhanced catalog browsing and search capabilities, a new and improved in-line course player, and a wholly redesigned learner and team administration section and learning activity progress activity dashboard.

The new platform is a completely responsive design so it will automatically re-size to fit any device or screen. It looks great on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, making the learning experience 100% mobile.

—More info:


Published in New Products
Page 10 of 111


You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials