By Bruce Tulgan

Undermanagement can be difficult to identify. After all, everyone at work is surrounded by metrics and meetings all the time. It may seem like management is ever-present. But what is missing in most workplaces is the human element of management: managers providing direct reports with the guidance, direction, support and coaching that they need to succeed.

The reality is that it keeps getting harder to manage people. The vast majority of managers are still struggling to provide employees with the high-structure, high-substance coaching they need. When managers fail to provide that structured leadership, person-to-person, it exacerbates the very factors that make it hard to manage people in the first place. As a result, too many managers are stuck in a vicious cycle of undermanagement. But most don’t even realize it.

The undermanagement epidemic persists. And it is hiding in plain sight in nearly every workplace.

There Are Five Reasons It Is Harder to Manage People Today

It’s always been hard to manage people. Managers have always been stuck in the middle between the employer and the employee, trying to negotiate their competing needs and expectations. But today, managers are telling us that it is harder than ever before.

Why? There are five powerful trends in the workplace today making it harder than ever to manage people:

1) The Pace of Work Is Increasing

The intensity, complexity, and pace of work is increasing – for everyone. Regardless of position or title, continuous improvement is now the norm. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, ongoing skill building and mastery is a requirement.

2) Hiring and Retention Challenges

Hiring and retention challenges mean most organizations are understaffed in key departments, placing additional pressure on employees and managers in those departments. Organizations that disproportionately rely on new, young employees are also more likely to struggle with skill training and wisdom transfer.

3) Fewer Layers of Management

As organizations have removed unnecessary layers of management, the managers who are left are responsible for larger and larger teams. There is an increased likelihood that managers are responsible for employees working in remote locations, or on different schedules.

4) Constant Pressure to Improve Productivity and Quality

Managers are under more pressure to increase productivity and quality from their teams. Today, that means getting more work out of fewer employees, while utilizing fewer resources.

5) Increased Interdependency

More work is handled in interdependent working relationships and cross-functional teams. Managers and their employees are responsible for managing more relationships and moving parts than ever before. Most employees are answering to short-term project leaders in addition to their primary manager.

The Solution Is More Engagement, Not Less

In nearly every one of the thousands of cases we’ve studied, there is a straightforward solution: a commitment to learning and practicing the fundamentals of leadership. That means regularly scheduled, high-substance, high-structure one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports, so that leaders can stay on top of what’s happening and help their employees plan and prioritize for the best outcome.

We’ve watched how consistently practicing the fundamentals of management has dramatically improved the effectiveness and bottom-line results of managers at all levels, in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Is undermanagement affecting your organization? Learn more about identifying and preventing the vicious cycle of undermanagement in our latest white paper: The Undermanagement Epidemic Report 2019.

About the author:

Bruce Tulgan, Founder & CEO, RainmakerThinking, Inc. Bruce Tulgan is an adviser to business leaders all over the world and a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a management research and training firm, as well as, an online training service. Bruce can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , you can follow him on Twitter @BruceTulgan, or visit his website


Published in Insights


-Consumer Tech Trends Impacting Enterprise Learning

By Catherine Upton

If you haven’t recovered from the tech hangover at the Consumer Technology Show, get ready. The rapid pace of development is like drinking from a firehose. What does this mean to those of us working to keep up with all our tasks with an eye to how to do it better? Our editors have provided some insights and implications for enterprise learning.

The State of Data

In 2000, we entered the Digital Age- death to analog devices. This one trend changed the language of our future to digital. Digital devices proliferated and permeated all aspects of our lives. Even young children are bonded to their parent’s iPads.



With digital proliferation, came connection. In 2010, the Connected Age was born. We use our devices to connect with individuals and communities, content and work. Facebook, and the like, changed the way we socialize, date and even marry. Streaming services like Netflix are smart and predictive.  Now, our digital devices, communities and cars are interconnected.

This digital transformation created a digital footprint of all things we do, like, buy, sell and more. This data is aggregated and consumed by machines and fuels AI applications. We are entering the Data Age 2020.

[“The new Internet of Things is the ‘Intelligence of Things,” --Steve Koenig, VP of Research, Consumer Technology Association]


Future Technology Ingredients

This next stage of technology is emerging in today’s consumer technologies. Voice Computing, 5G, AI, Robotics, Biometrics, and Blockchain are the ingredients for the next generation of technology. We see Digital Assistants with voice activation prevalent in most consumer devices. The voice interface will be the interface of the future- no more typing.  AR/VR, Digital Health, and Vehicle Technologies and Resilient Technologies are here today.

[“We spent the last 30 years connecting people. We will spend the next 30 years connecting things,”--Brian Modoff, EVP, Qualcomm]



5G Development

The development of 5G networks will allow overwhelmingly fast transfer of data. Large videos will download in seconds versus minutes. Problems will be solved in seconds with massive data searches and AI interfaces. 5G phones and fixed wireless broadband will be accessible from most major cities by the end of this decade. 5G will connect our cars, homes, appliances and work life.



The Intelligence of Things

Digital Assistants, embedded AI and smart Machine-Learning place intelligence in our environments. It delegates our simple tasks to automation. No more shopping lists as Alexa will know what’s missing in our refrigerator. Apply this to the workplace, and Alexa-like digital assistants will find missing information, assist our decision-making and in many cases, do mundane repetitive tasks so we can create and solve. AI- embedded chips are on our phones that learn, “Say Hello Siri.” Associate our behaviors into one stream vs many singular activities, “Joe’s calling.”



Voice assistants will be everywhere. Alexa, or the like, are in our cars, appliances and workplace tools. Support for AI services, deliverables and tools will determine the winners and losers in the marketplace. Voice will be the interface going forward…less carpel tunnel syndrome in our future.


We are so early in the AI game. Yet, Alexa already has 60,000 skill lessons across 20,000 different platforms. Imagine where we’ll be in 5 years. Almost all repetitive training will be conducted by digital aides. (See article on AI-based learning by Sam Adkins.)




A truly 3D immersive environment is possible with Virtual Reality (VR). With VR, we can now expand our reality to the stars to “explore where no man has gone before.”  TESLA has developed a VR suit, TESLASUIT, where you can be transformed and enter any VR environment. The full-body haptic feedback, motion capture, thermo controlled suit reinvents virtual reality. We have moved from VR glasses to VR presence.


Pictured: TESLASUIT by TESLA Source:

Japan is expanding the VR experience to with VRZone, a VR amusement park. Players literally come into the zone and plug in. Imagine using this application to create an ERZone, MarsZone or SeasZone for study and exploration. Training can become immersive with programs like OilRigZone for fire safety training, etc.



Augmented Reality (AR) Expands Boundaries

AR has moved off your phone to other devices. Like VR, AR now has headsets, glasses and mirrors that can place you in an AR environment, show you a new haircut or try on a virtual dress.   Today, we see AR in used in mapping, shopping, in sporting events- See that yellow line in NFL games? Museums are leveraging AR to augment content and create visualize experiences like life as an Egyptian in 6000 BC. 



Digital Health Promotes Behavior Change

Digital devices have given us insights into how simple activities like walking 10,000 steps a day can save a life. Today, Apple has the largest health history archives in the USA thanks to the Apple Watch.


Pictured: Digital Health Applications: Diagnostics, Health Watch, Sleep Monitors Source:

Imagine if these same techniques were used in the workplace. By wearing smart sensing technologies, workers in hazardous jobs could alter course when gases are detected. Truck drivers who are overly fatigued could be rested. The underlying technology and software for all these practices are being honed in the consumer market. Those high value industries will be the next to test, deploy and benefit from these developments.


The pace of change will continue to accelerate over the next 5 years. AI, AR/VR and many new innovations will enable and empower us as consumer and workers. We are moving from the horse and buggy era to a supersonic jet in years versus decades. Hold on tight to that firehose.

Source: “CES 2019 Tech Trends” by Steve Koenig, VP, Market Research, Ben Arnold, Sr. Director, Innovation & Trends & Lesley Rohrbaugh, Director, Market Research. Download PPT at:


Published in Trends


By Tim Tobin

Choice Hotels is a leading hospitality franchising company with nearly 6,000 hotels across 11 brands around the world. From a learning perspective, is the LMS portal for over 50,000 Choice franchisees to access, complete, and track learning activities. It includes a wide range of required and elective content needed to run their business. The content spans lessons on our proprietary systems, operations and brand programs.

The Mission

Choice Hotels is committed to learning to drive our franchisee's performance. We engage and prepare all levels of learners from front desk and housekeeping to General Managers and Owners. We provide multiple opportunities for learning from the onboarding process throughout one's employee lifecycle. We understand scale by training over 50,000 unique, geographically dispersed learners globally each year. We do so while maintaining a focus on the unique needs and preferences of each of our learners. We make learning easily accessible, fun, engaging, and results-oriented. We seek input from our learners continuously. We challenge ourselves to deliver content that matters most to our learners and their business in the most useful and relevant ways that meet their needs and preferences.

On May 17, 2017, we launched ChoiceU 2.0. The initiative focused on transforming our LMS to be a more engaging, relevant, dynamic and user-friendly learning tool. This evolution did not require a new LMS. We transformed our Learning ecosystem by evolving our learning delivery, processes, capabilities. and content to meet the needs of our diverse workforce.

[ This solution was not all about technology.]

At the Beginning

It all started in 2016 with an enterprise-wide assessment of learning tools, management system and content.   We gathered data from internal stakeholders as well as from our primary learners – franchisees. We obtained input from Owners, General Managers, and across other employee groups such as front desk associates. The purpose of the data collection was to understand what was working well with and what needed to be improved.

Very early on in the data collection and analysis, a common theme emerged. The theme was “we love, but…” There were high levels of support for the tool. However, learners found it to be “overwhelming,” “difficult to find what they were looking for,” and for the more senior roles of owners and GMs “lacking relevant content for their role.” We also learned that our methods of delivery did not meet the learners needs or preferences. To that point, content was typically delivered in 45-60-minute online modules. Our learners accepted the online nature of learning in our geographically dispersed environment, but the length presented operational challenges because many learners are guest facing and not traditional office workers.

With that data in hand, we set out to re-design and significantly enhance the learners’ experience. We wanted to make it easy to access learning and make the content and delivery relevant and engaging. Our goal was to increase course completions and help drive key business results. Those results included Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), Overall Service, Average Daily Rate (ADR), and Likelihood to Recommend (LTR). 

Our Journey

We combined adult learning principles and leveraged available technologies to develop a comprehensive overhaul of The solution was a major transformation that included many new features and functionality. Utilizing our internal capabilities, solutions in general included needs assessment, user experience testing, micro-learning, learning maps, e-learning, video-based content, and business metrics. It is important to note that all of those listed below are new to as part of this transformation.

  •          Created new learning taxonomy

We organized all content by the following four areas: a) systems/operations, b) brand/service, c) leadership/management, and d) functional areas.

  •          Tailored learning and overall user experience to brand and job function.

 Once logged in, the user experience will be based upon the learner’s brand including colors, logos and images.

  •          Integrated interactive learning maps.

One-page roadmaps were created specific to individual’s brand and job function that outlines the content necessary for success in role. Once an activity is completed, the chevron receives a ‘check’ mark. If new content is added, the chevron is unchecked.

  •          Developed Business Solution Maps.

We partnered with stakeholders to identify the top five business challenges facing leaders on property (e.g., preparing for inspection, improving profitability, increasing guest satisfaction, etc.) and built a curriculum specifically to address each of those challenges.

  •          Launched ChoiceU TV

These short (3-15 minute) video lessons are facilitated by an internal subject matter expert or approved business partner.

  •          Incorporated leadership and management content

We partnered with a third-party to add over 80 leadership and management modules in multiple languages.

  •          Supplemented Human Resource and Legal educational resources

Because we are a franchisor, we have limited ability to provide HR or Legal educational resources. We partnered with a third-party provider to include a wide range of these resources to our franchisees.

  •          Added full mobile-enabled functionality
  1. com is fully mobile-enabled across multiple platforms.
  •          Engaged messaging feature

Once logged in, users see the most recent messages. Messages can be tailored to each user by job function and brand.

  •          Added multiple language interface

On the log in page, users have the option to select from five languages to translate the user interface.

  •          Content ratings collected.

Introduced a five-star rating system that allows users to rate and leave comments on every piece of content. Top rated content rises to the top of searches, and it serves as a diagnostic for the ChoiceU team to monitor content.

  •          Enhanced search functionality

Learners can now search by topic, title, keyword, or type of learning.

  •          Easier course registration

Introduced a calendar feature with one-click registration for all live, instructor-led and webinar course; also, once logged in, no course is more than 3 clicks away from registration.

  •          Added documents and Resources section for job aids

Included this new tab to host job aids and other quick tip resources organized by our new taxonomy.

  •          Hosted multiple apps

Introduced brand specific apps to support Daily Huddle/Stand Ups for two brands (Comfort Inn and Suites and Sleep Inn). We built upon their service principles and blended discussion and action into a short (~15 minute) format.

Learners ChoiceU Experience

Personalized Dashboard with Integrated Apps & Live Stream Updates


Relevant Content Centralized in One Location


Learner’s Achievements


Our Results

Results to date have been impressive. We have attracted more students to and they are completing more content. Early indications are showing promise for business results as well. As of year-end 2017, we achieved the following:

  • Surpassed 57K active student accounts on
  • Increased course completions from 336K in 2015 to over 1.3M in 2016 to 1.7M in 2017
  • Increased the number of course completions by owners by over 3x (from 9K in 2015 to over 29K in 2017)
  • Reduced page views by 20% and session duration by nearly 50% indicating learners are finding content faster
  • Achieved nearly 200K completions on ChoiceU TV
  • Increased webinar registrations by over 25% since 2015
    •          Increased brand program adoption rate by 3x with Comfort Service Champions
    •          Achieved 1500 certified Champions in 4 months compared to 1-year w similar previous initiative adoption
    • Superusers – the top 100 in completions – have ADR of $87.04 compared to $79.76 for all other hotels. This same group has LTR of 8.56 versus 8.07 for all others
    •          Increased LTR scores for properties engagement levels with Using Comfort Inn as an example (see chart 1 below), those with no engagement with have average LTR of 8.11; low engagement has 8.19; mid-level engagement has 8.27. Properties highly engaged with have average LTR of 8.46.
    •          Overall Service scores increased from 8.36 for None and 8.83 for high engagement. Similar results exist across each brand with the greatest increase in scores from the None category to Low suggesting that even some levels of engagement with may noticeably increase results across key metrics.


    Chart 1: Likelihood to Recommend Improvements



    This solution was not all about technology. Although was the primary anchor of this transformation, the successes we have realized to date are due to the front end work we did to fully understand the needs of the business and our learners, the current state of, taking into consideration our operational environment (franchisor, geographically dispersed, 24/7 service model, etc.), subject matter expertise in adult learning principles and theory, and how we structured the team to be more customer centric. It would be easy to overlook any single aspect of what went into the solution. However, it was the combination of these considerations that drove the solution.

    [ The successes we have realized …are due to the front end work we did to fully understand the needs of the business and our learners.]

    We asked, listened and understood. Then we tested, partnered, monitored – and continue to monitor results – and modify accordingly. We have come a long way since we initially identified the need, but we have not fully completed the transformation.   In the near term, we are looking at ways to champion user generated content, demonstrate stronger ties to business results, establish additional business partnerships, enhance the user admin functionality, and introduce leaderboards and badges.

    About the Author


    Tim Tobin is CLO of Choice Hotels International. Choice Hotels has been named a Learning! 100 Award-winner in 2017 and 2018.


    Published in Top Stories

     By Sam S. Adkins

    Benjamin Bloom is a household name in the training and education industry. He made two invaluable contributions to the industry: Bloom's Taxonomy and the famous 2-Sigma study. This article focusses on his 2-sigma research and the dramatic impact of AI-based Learning on what he called "the 2-sigma problem."

    A Refresher

    In his seminal 1984 study, Bloom and two of his doctoral students compared the effectiveness of learning transfer achieved by groups of students being taught in a traditional classroom setting, using so-called Mastery Learning, or being tutored by grad students in small cohorts of one to three children. "Most striking were the differences in final achievement measures under the three conditions," wrote Bloom. "Using the standard deviation (sigma) of the control (conventional) class, it was typically found that the average student under tutoring was about two standard deviations above the average of the control class (the average tutored student was above 98% of the students in the control class)." This is the infamous 2-sigma, or two standard deviations of achievement compared to conventional classroom instruction.

    Bloom also wrote “The tutoring process demonstrates that most of the students have the potential to reach this high level of learning.  I believe an important task of research and instruction is to seek ways of accomplishing this under more practical and realistic conditions than the one-to-one tutoring, which is too costly for most societies to bear on a large scale.  This is the 2-sigma problem."


    2-Sigma Solution

    Artificial Intelligence-based Learning has proven to be quite effective at one-to-one personalized instruction and is tremendously scalable. Properly designed, AI-based Learning categorically solves the 2-sigma problem.

    Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) have been used by the US military for decades. All the ITS implementations included comprehensive statistical analysis of mastery outcomes.  I worked with J.D. Fletcher at the US government's Institute of Defense Analyses to compile the mastery metrics for eighteen intelligent tutoring systems. We found three empirical studies that showed that the use of next-generation Cognitive Tutors exceeded the 2-sigma deviation.


    There is now rapid global adoption in all six buying segments across all seven regions tracked by Metaari. AI-based Learning is now going mainstream in developed economies and gaining traction in the developing economies, particularly in Southeast Asia. AI-based Learning truly is the answer to solving Bloom’s 2-signma problem. Look at the newest AI-based Learning applications for proof.

    For more on this subject, view “How AI-Based Learning is Solving Bloom’s 2-Signma Problem” by Sam S. Adkins.


    About the Author

    Sam Adkins is Chief Researcher at Metaari. Metaari is a market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for learning technology suppliers. Metaari principals have refined a sophisticated learning technology product categorization schema. Their research taxonomy is the backbone of their quantitative data repository.  Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Part 1 of this 2 part article can be found HERE.


    Published in Top Stories


    By Sam S. Adkins

    Metaari defines AI-based Learning as education and training technology that enables personalized learning via Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. Conversational AI is a specialized form of Natural Language Processing (NLP). Conversational AIs adapt to individuals and engage in natural communication via text and speech with humans. They learn as they interact with users. Conversational AIs are the foundation of AI-based Learning.

    Metaari published a new market report called "The 2019-2024 Global AI-based Learning Market: Learning in the Bright Air" in January 2019. According to the report, "The international AI-based Learning market reached $1.4 billion in 2019. The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a robust 28.4% and revenues will surge to $3.8 billion by 2023."

    In our report, we identified over 600 AI-based Learning companies. The vast majority are startups that have launched in the last two years and new companies continue to come on the market at a rapid pace. The barriers-to-entry are now quite low since developers can connect to commercial cloud-based AI engines dramatically reducing the cost of development. 

    In this article, Metaari reveals the most interesting applications of AI in education, healthcare and corporate learning and the motivations for adoption.

    The Grail Has Always Been Personalized Learning

    Despite claims to the contrary, true personalized learning via technology was never possible before the advent of AI. One of the best-known cognitive computing platforms is IBM's Watson and a growing number of developers are building AI-based Learning products on top of Watson's cloud-based platform. Pearson, Apple, Blackboard, Scholastic, Sesame Street, Edmodo (now owned by China's NetDragon) and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are selling new educational products built on Watson.

    Other AI-based Learning developers that integrate IBM Watson include Blupears, Cognitoys, ThoughtFocus, Tencent, and Circadence. They develop fundamentally different products. Blupears is an early childhood learning app. Cognitoys develops physical robots (smart toys) that teach kids to code. ThoughtFocus develops virtual teaching assistants for the higher education segment. Tencent develops tutoring bots for consumers and Circadence develops virtual assistants used in corporate cybersecurity training. There are now hundreds of suppliers developing learning products on Watson.

    AI-based Learning developers are also using other AI platforms. Pearson launched their Longman Welcome to English curriculum in Asia in February 2018 on Microsoft's AI. Cerego's adaptive learning platform runs on Amazon's AI. Montessorium's popular apps for young kids integrate Google's TensorFlow AI.

    In February 2018, IBM's Watson division announced that it was providing the "brain" for the AI-based robot called CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) built by Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESL) for the International Space Station (ISS). The robot was launched into space in June 2018. "CIMON’s digital face, voice, and use of artificial intelligence make it a colleague to the crew members. This collegial working relationship facilitates how astronauts work through their prescribed checklists of experiments, now entering into a genuine dialogue with their interactive assistant."


    CIMON Courtesy of NASA and the European Space Station

    China's Liulishuo is the first AI-based Learning company to file for an IPO. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2018. The company uses a conversational AI called Dong Ni Ying Yu (billed as "your personal English teacher") to provide AI-based English language learning to subscribers. In late November 2018, the company reported that "Our net revenues grew by approximately 265% and our gross billings increased by approximately 181% year-over-year." The company had over 80 million users across 20 countries by January 2019. Clearly, AI-based personalized learning appeals to users.

    Massive Capital Flowing to AI-based Learning Companies

    In our latest annual whitepaper on global edtech investment published in January 2018, we reported that "Over $2.90 billion was invested in 197 AI-based Learning companies in 2018." This a dramatic increase over 2017 and the previous two years.

    Just over $1.81 billion was invested to 124 AI-based Learning companies in 2017, a record at the time. Investor interest in AI-based Learning companies is very new. Barely $122.4 million was invested in this type of company in 2016 and only to seven companies. Only $2 million went to a single AI-based company in 2015 and there was no investment in this type of company prior to 2015. The highest round in 2018 went to China's Squirrel AI Learning that raised $150 million in October 2018.

    Yet, AI-based Learning is the one area where the US still has a commanding lead over China. The majority (61.5%) of all global investment in AI-based Learning companies in 2018 went to 102 US-based companies that raised a combined total of $1.78 billion. In stark contrast, $299.7 million went to just twelve Chinese AI-based Learning companies, a mere 10.3% of all global investments to AI-based Learning companies.

    AI-based Learning Effective for People with Special Needs

    AI-based methods have proven to be quite effective at modifying the behavior of people with special needs. Educational robots and avatars, both physical and virtual, are now relatively common methods of intervention. The IBM Foundation and the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) announced in August 2018 that they were collaborating on a platform called Teacher Advisor With Watson "a suite of classroom resources focused on supporting teachers who work with students with learning and attention issues."

    Luxemburg's LuxAI sells a small robot called QTrobot (pronounced "cutey robot") designed "to mitigate the social challenges faced by kids with autism." LuxAI claims that their robot is the first scientifically validated AI-based autism intervention product.


    QTRobot Courtesy of LuxAI

    Brain Power's Empowered Brain product "aims to empower children and adults all along the autism spectrum to teach themselves practical life skills and assess their progress numerically." Empowered Brain "is based on neuroscience from MIT and Harvard and draws on the newest in technology including artificial intelligence, wearable computers, and augmented reality."

    AI Takes Root in the Academic Segments

    There is a growing use of AI-based Learning products in the academic segments across the globe. The products used in the PreK-12 segment are now common in language learning and STEM. Virtual avatars are also being adopted in higher education institutions. They are used as virtual teaching assistants, wellbeing coaches, student advisors, and virtual tutors.

    Pearson hired Milena Marinova, an AI expert from Intel, to run their new AI and Personalized Learning group in July 2018. This is the first dedicated AI-based Learning department formed by an educational publisher.

    Finland's Utelias sells an AI-based Learning robot called Elias. It is used in schools across Finland to teach foreign languages. "The robot recognizes the pupil's skill levels and adjusts its questions accordingly. It also gives feedback to teachers about a student's possible problems."

    The Auckland energy company Vector hired New Zealand's Soul Machines to create the "artificial human" teacher called Will in September 2018. Soul Machines develops remarkably lifelike avatars for clients. The company describes Will as a "convincing and engaging digital teacher." Vector provides the avatar to the schools to teach children about renewable energy.


    Will Courtesy of Soul Machine

    In May 2018, Tencent announced that they were working with China’s central Ministry of Education to develop the AI English Education Teaching Aid System, "which can support adaptive learning and personalized teaching through artificial intelligence." This will be the world's first national AI-based Learning deployment.

    The Japanese government announced a program in August 2018 that will deploy AI-based robotic English language tutors in over 500 schools in 2019. The robots will be NAO robots purchased from SoftBank Robotics.

    In September 2018, Amira Learning launched an AI-based reading tutor called Amira. "Amira is the first intelligent reading assistant able to listen to children read out-loud, assess their oral fluency, and provide AI-driven tutoring. Amira is based on technology licensed from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In studies done by CMU and DePaul University in public school classrooms, Amira produced reading growth comparable to giving each student a human tutor."

    Rapid Adoption of AI-based Learning in the Corporate Segment

    Corporations are now using AI-based Learning products for customer education, personalized employee training, intelligent knowledge management, and performance support. According to Metaari's recent market research, corporations across the globe are currently spending $584.9 million on AI-based Learning and will be spending $1.57 billion by 2023.

    IPsoft's Amelia virtual avatar "observes, learns, and remembers anything you ask. She can read emotions and context during conversations with colleagues and customers. If Amelia is unable to resolve an issue, she will escalate the task to a human colleague. Amelia will then observe how the colleague resolves the issue, learn from it, and apply that knowledge to any similar tasks."


    Amelia Reads Emotions, Courtesy of IPsoft

    A startup called Worxogo has offices in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Mumbai. "Mia, Worxogo’s personal cognitive AI engine, learns, predicts behavior, and coaches employees for improved business impact. It helps them improve their productivity through actionable advice using principles of neuroeconomics and behavioral science."

    New Zealand's FaceMe markets their virtual avatars as digital employees. The avatars are extremely like-like and realistic. They market the product to a range of verticals including healthcare and education. "Solutions to pressing problems related to health and wellbeing, education, and other domains can be found by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data and recent progress in emerging AI technologies."


    Courtesy of FaceMe

    Inexpensive Conversational AI rapid authoring tools, chatbot templates, and so-called pretrained AI models are now on the market. AI-based Learning developers are now able to get products to market very quickly. A basic Conversational AI can be built in the Microsoft Bot Framework in a matter of minutes by simply uploading a FAQ file.


    There is now rapid global adoption in all six buying segments across all seven regions tracked by Metaari. AI-based Learning is now going mainstream in developed economies and gaining traction in the developing economies, particularly in Southeast Asia. AI-based Learning truly is the answer to solving Bloom’s 2-signma problem. Look at the newest AI-based Learning applications for proof.

    For more on this subject, view “How AI-Based Learning is Solving Bloom’s 2-Signma Problem” by Sam S. Adkins.


    About the Author

    Sam Adkins is Chief Researcher at Metaari. Metaari is a market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for learning technology suppliers. Metaari principals have refined a sophisticated learning technology product categorization schema. Their research taxonomy is the backbone of their quantitative data repository.  Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Part 2 of this 2 part article can be found HERE.


    Published in Top Stories


    In this, the second year of honoring  outstanding technologists in the Hall of Fame, Elearning! magazine so honors two new inductees — Adobe Connect and ej4 — both of which have been long-time winners in our annual “Best of Elearning!” awards.

    What is the secret to consistently exceeding customers’ expectations in an ever- changing industry? We asked leaders of both Adobe Connect and ej4 to share their insights….

    Adobe was founded in December 1982  by John Warnock and Charles Geschke (in Warnock’s garage). They established the company after leaving Xerox PARC. Steve Jobs asked to buy the company for $5 million in 1982, but Warnock and Geschke turned him down

    Adobe has historically focused on creating multimedia and creativity software products, with a significant investment in the e-learning market. In addition to Hall of Fame winner Adobe Connect, Adobe also offers Adobe Captivate Prime (LMS), Captivate and Presenter Video Express.

    Adobe has about 15,000 employees worldwide, about 40 percent of whom work in the San Jose, Calif., headquarters.

    Elearning! magazine talked to Adobe Connect’s Senior Enablement Manager Alistair Lee. Here are his insights on the future of learning.


    A: Adobe Connect offers several unique features including persistent rooms, collaborative apps that work inside a virtual classroom, and templates that ensure consistency. One of the biggest unique differentiators though is the ability to truly design your classroom experience. Adobe Connect gives hosts complete control over the look and feel of the virtual room by creating layouts that determine what is shown on the screen at any given time. We’ve found that this ability to craft a learning experience can lead to higher
    levels of engagement and retention ensuring our customers are successful in being able to deliver exceptional experiences is our most important goal.


    A: We’ve just launched version 10 of Adobe Connect, and it includes a brand-new HTML client for participants. Our roadmap includes continuous improvement of this HTML client to help our  customers eliminate barriers to entry for their virtual classrooms, meetings and webinars. Engagement has become ever more important with the evolution of the smartphone, social networks and other distractions, it has become critical to  enable our customers to create immersive experiences that engage participants.


    A: Adobe Connect offers several unique features including persistent rooms, collaborative apps that work inside a virtual classroom, and templates that ensure consistency. One of the biggest unique differentiators though is the ability to truly design your classroom experience. Adobe Connect gives hosts complete control over the look and feel of the virtual room by creating layouts that determine what is shown on the screen at any given time. We’ve found that this ability to craft a learning experience can lead to higher
    levels of engagement and retention.


    A: We plan to continue to add additional capabilities to our new HTML client ensuring customers can quickly and easily attend — and even deliver — virtual classrooms using nothing more than a browser.


    Since 2004, ej4 has delivered the unexpected in the e-learning industry. Its unique style of microlearning training videos combines instructional design with adult learning theories and is delivered via contemporary video design methods. Its modern learning management system is simple, intuitive and mobile so employees have the freedom to learn anywhere, anytime.

    With more than 1,500 courses, ej4’s video content library has just the right amount of important lessons that employees need to grow their skills.

    Elearning! Magazine was delighted to talk with Ryan Eudy, CEO of ej4, who shared ej4’s vision of learning.


    A: Adobe Connect’s customer base spans multiple industries and sizes. Here are two examples of customers that have used Adobe Connect to provide great training experiences.

    University of Arizona’s use of Adobe Connect enabled the development of robust online learning.

    “We needed a synchronous online meeting tool to support both active learning and small-group work,” says Mark Felix, Director of Instructional Support, University of Arizona. “We also wanted a virtual classroom that could be customized. Adobe Connect offered these capabilities and more.”

    In 2018, their implementation earned a 2018 Learning! 100 Award from Elearning! Magazine. Learn more about this implementation at:

    Another customer, BPP wanted to transform learning delivery. They turned to Adobe Connect and saw revenues increase 5-fold with 35% of their courses offered online.

    “Using Adobe Connect, the proportion of course delivery via Online Classroom Live versus in-center or other modes has grown from 0% in 2012 to up to 35% on some programs today,” says Malcolm Bell, Director, BPP Online Classroom Live.

    The goal is to get 100% of the faculty online this year and to increase the number of online live courses.

    “Adobe Connect helps remove their ‘triangle of pain’ of commuting from home to work to school and back,” says Bell. “It gives them the flexibility to log on wherever they are and till get the benefits of live learning.”

    Learn more about this application at:


    A: The ability to collaborate online —sharing your video, voice and screen — has gone from being a distinct use case to a commodity that’s built into several applications today. Adobe Connect has evolved to go beyond simple screen sharing to ensure customers can meet the needs of more complex use cases such as immersive virtual classrooms. We’ll continue to focus on these use cases and the needs of our customers going forward.


    A: The “e” stands for “electronic, as in e-learning.” And the 4j’s describe the services we provide: (1) Just as needed; (2) Just enough; (3) Just in time; and (4) Just right.


    A: We’ve been providing quality products and services since 2004, and to be chosen as a 2018 Elearning! Magazine Hall of Fame recipient proves that we are continuing to meet the needs of our customers. It starts at the top with our founder and leadership team giving our employees the trust and flexibility to do their jobs. We always look for new ways to add value to our client offering with innovative video content, and upgrades and enhancements to our platform and technology. We focus on consistent growth and foster a culture that allows us to achieve it. Our employees are dedicated, passionate about their work, and the most creative individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.


    A: As we prepare new video content for the year, we review what our  customers and prospects have requested through our Learning Consultants. This process allows us to stay on top of current trends in the workplace all while providing our customers with a comprehensive and up-to-date library of videos.

    Each year we also evaluate our current courses to make sure they are updated with information that is relevant to the current workforce of our customers. Through frequent updates to existing content and new content rollouts, our library provides a consistent learning experience to all users. 

    This year, we updated our Thinkzoom LMS to include a new user interface with a customizable dashboard, increased our search functionality, and gave our clients a
    way to manage classroom training.


    A: ej4 is a source for fresh, regularly updated, mobile-ready video content,  delivered in a single consistent format. ej4’s expertise in creating microlearning videos
    gives us the ability to offer both off-the-shelf and custom video content in a way that keeps the learner engaged. 

    It’s not over after you’ve taken our off-the-shelf courses though. “4tify your Learning,” available exclusively on Thinkzoom, continues the training conversation long after a training session is over. For several weeks after learners complete a course, they will be prompted to answer a series of exam questions and watch a video recap to help them retain the information they’ve learned.

    And if you have your own LMS, ej4 can integrate with any other LMS system.


    A: We just launched enhancements to Thinkzoom, and last year, we mapped our content — through our Learning Tracks feature — to 36 Lominger competencies, and we will continue to make finding relevant content easier for the learner. This includes a more robust content suggestion engine that takes the learning habits of the learner into consideration when recommending new content.

    Our product development team meets frequently to review trends in the learning landscape and to find new and innovative
    ways to keep ej4 at the forefront of videobased content. We look at many different ways to evolve as the marketplace continues to expand its acceptance of video.


    A: What’s great about the ej4 solution is that we fit into any organization.  We have proven success in many different industries from A to Y (agriculture to yard services). Clients range from Pepsi, Culligan and Dr. Pepper Snapple, to midsize organizations like The Corridor Group and Hillyard. I invite you to viewtheir stories online: ej4-client-testimonials



    A: We released online microlearning videos before there was even a  market or widely accepted term for it. There’s a difference between a learning trend and a learning solution. We focus on providing solutions that change the behaviors of the learner. People grow business. We grow people. Our customers give us access to their most important resource, their employees. We take that very seriously, which is why we don’t use a “flavor of the month” approach to our content creation.

    Published in Products Featured

    Skills development is a top concern of Learning and Development (L&D) professionals and business leaders — and 69% of L&D leaders say talent development is their top priority. That’s why D2L has added rubrics for employees and managers in the new Magenta release. Rubrics are a tool that instructors leverage to create consistency and set clear expectations for their learners. Soft skills and good-quality feedback can be hard to assess — and measuring skills can be a key ingredient in helping employees continue to progress in their careers. With the Magenta release, Brightspace makes it easier for organizations to evaluate employee skills and provide clear and transparent feedback.

    The Magenta Release includes the following powerful features for businesses and organizations:

    >> A new user experience for rubrics makes it easier to evaluate employee learning and give clear and transparent feedback. Rubrics also help give more timely feedback to employees, allowing instructors to more quickly identify their learning needs.

    >> The ability to assign and assess learning happening outside the digital environment— like presentations, skill demonstrations, or field work — providing an easy way to handle feedback and assessment in the moment.

    >> Powerful new data and analytics tools — Magenta’s new Data Solutions Consulting packages help users focus on defining data-driven goals, completing a needs analysis and feasibility study and building a data solution required to gain insights and answer identified business problems.

    >> A course adventure pack makes it easy for learning and development managers to create content integrating gamebased learning, storytelling, interactive assessment and awards leaderboard elements into training material to help improve employee engagement, retention, achievement and outcomes.

    >> Improvements to quizzing — including a dynamic preview for question pools in quizzes, and more data on quiz attempts with character counts on quiz logs help to streamline the quiz- creation experience.

    >> A Manager Dashboard helps keep employees on track by setting due dates and clear expectations for assignments. Employees can stay also stay better organized and navigate to their courses quickly by having their course cards grouped by role or department.


    “Our primary focus isn’t tests and written assignments—it’s asking students to demonstrate their coaching philosophy and how they put it into practice as they work with their athletes. Brightspace gives us a better way for them to capture those experiences and share them with their fellow students and mentors—for example, by making and sharing videos,” says Jason Sjostrom, Director of Coaching, Canadian Sports Institute Calgary.

    “Now with one system in place on the Brightspace platform, we can track customers’ learning progress, which helps keep them on task. We also leverage D2L’s intelligent agents in almost all our live courses, which allows us to easily communicate directly with customers and large numbers of course registrants within the platform. Having a system that
    allows you to reach out when you need to at certain points of a course, send reminders, and get people moving in the right direction or drive them to discussion boards is very important for our association and our members,” says Nancy Robert, former Executive Vice President, Chief Product & Marketing Officer, American Nurses Association.

    “Brightspace allows us to provide rich content, improve an employee’s opportunities and improve their ability to execute while still allowing them the freedom to do their day-to-day work. This earns buyin from managers and employees alike and makes adopting a new learning program easier for the entire organization,” says Lisa Cairns, Director of E-Learning, Smith.


    Brightspace is a cloud-based learning platform that makes online and blended learning easy, flexible and smart. Brightspace is a quantum leap beyond LMS – it is easy to drag-and-drop content to create engaging courses, supports all mobile devices, has industry-leading uptime and is accessible for all learners. Plus, Brightspace enables the future of learning with a gaming engine, adaptive learning, video management, intelligent agents, templated interactives for course design, full support for outcomes or competency-based learning, and actionable learning analytics.

    D2L has transformed the way millions of people learn online and in the classroom. Learn more about D2L for businesses at

    Published in New Products

    Since 2004, ej4 has delivered the unexpected in the e-learning industry. Our unique style of microlearning videos combines instructional design with adult learning theories and is delivered via contemporary video design. Our modern learning management system is simple, intuitive, and mobile so employees have the freedom to learn anywhere, anytime.



    Our library has just the right amount of content for your learners on the topics you require: workplace compliance (antiharassment and employment law), safety (OSHA and DOT), communication, and more. We also offer a broad range of topics that your internal stakeholders request such as leadership, software skills, and selling skills.

    Here are a few reasons our clients prefer ej4's off-the-shelf video content: 
    >> Thoughtful visuals: Unexpected and surprising design elements, along with creative graphics, better engage learners.
    >> On-screen presenters: Live people, not just voice-over, keep our videos personal, relatable, and engaging.
    >> More updates: Fresh matters. Avoid the hassle of worrying which courses need updating; ej4 regularly updates our courses every two years at a minimum.


    Do you love the thought of creating your own custom courses, but feel stretched too thin? Let ej4 help!

    Give us the topic. Let us handle the script and storyboard, source the talent, create the graphics, and produce the course. We’ll do the work while getting your input and approval at each step along the way.

    Give us the script on the topic you've done 100 times. We can edit the script and graphics for short-form video, allow-ing you to keep the course you created. This process works great for your topics that have a longer shelf life: boarding,product training, employee orientation, your sales process, and more.


    How is your learning technology? Maybe your company has finally gotten big enough that it's time for your first LMS Or maybe it's time to trade in your old, clunky, outdated LMS.

    Thinkzoom is our modern learning management system that easily lets you track employee use, measure comprehension of material, create reports quickly and effectively, and assign classroom training. Imagine giving your CFO hard data on how effective your training dollars are!

    Thinkzoom was created learner-first, mobile-first. All of these features are just a click away.

    Mobile ready: 47% of learners engage on nights and weekends and 58% engage somewhere other than their office desks. Reach learners where they are with mobileready technology.

    Competency-based learning tracks: Courses are mapped to 36 of the competencies in the Lominger Model, allowing you to align training to performance reviews and recruiting criteria.

    Training reinforcement tools: Initial and follow-up quizzes are built-in to ensure the information is retained.

    Authoring tool: Record your own audio or create short videos to complement your usual training with our award-winning authoring tool.

    Classroom training: Create and schedule instructor-led courses from within our LMS. Users can self-enroll or be autoenrolled by admins. Attendance can be tracked in the system and learners can earn points for course completion.

    Contracts with ej4 are "Everything but Ordinary!" Purchase our off-the-shelf content and get our LMS free!

    Published in New Products

    According to TechNavio, the artificial intelligence market will top $968.02 billion by 2022. Health-care applications will lead A.I. revenues with 15% market share. Deep Learning segment will grow 50%. And, the Americas will account for 38.5% of the A.I. market.


    Global A.I. to Grow

    Published in Trends

    Augmented reality, mobile and collaborative solutions top the list of fastest growing learning technologies learning leaders plan to deploy according to the 2018 Learning & TalentPlatforms Study conducted by Elearning! Magazine.

    Fastest 1

    Published in Trends
    Page 1 of 119


    You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials