Learning Technology Solutions Forecast: 2013 Edition


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Learning in 2013 is set to be more collaborative, more social and more mobile than ever. In this report from Cox eLearning Consultants, review the top learning technologies that companies will use in 2013 to keep their workforces engaged and educated. Are your training tactics up to date? Take a look!

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Learning Technology Solutions Forecast: 2013 Edition

  1. 1. Learning Technology SolutionsForecast: 2013 EditionCox eLearning, Consultants, LLCDan Cox | CEO Barbara Sanner | Director of Research x
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary 3 I. Learning Solutions Currently Owned and Results from Last Year 6 II. Learning Solutions Planned for Acquisition 8 III. Most Important Features in a Variety of Learning Solutions 10 IV. Functions to be Supported by Various Learning Solutions 24 V. Predictions for 2013 35 Glossary of Terms 40 References 44 About Cox eLearning Consultants 45 About GoToTraining 46 2© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  3. 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2012 was a year of upheaval in the major categories related to technology, business of corporate learning. Large features related to various solutions, and learning providers were acquired by even staffing changes. The study is derived larger companies. Non-learning, high- primarily from three sources: tech companies saw the benefits of being in the learning business and gobbled up • A worldwide industry survey key players that could quickly advance conducted in 2012, in which 542 their business goals. respondents participated. At the 95 percent confidence level, the Simultaneously, SCORM was getting old survey has a margin of error of +/- 4 and the industry recognized the need for percentage points. change, as a new gunslinger rode into town: Tin Can. This development will carry • More than a dozen interviews were far-reaching implications for how we conducted with experts in various develop and manage learning, and how it learning technologies, solutions and impacts the business of learning. functions – both within the vendor community and with end-users of 2013 looks to be a year that will see the these learning solutions. groundwork laid for major new offerings during the next five to ten years in • Input provided by Cox eLearning learning. This industry report provides Consultants’ staff, which offer a statistics that bear out some of these combined 85 years of learning changes and predictions for what is to industry experience. come. The target audience was primarily The major sections of the report include: comprised of human resources and training personnel at the manager level I. solutions currently owned and follow- or higher, from both for-profit and not- up on buying intentions from last year’s for-profit organizations of virtually any survey size in number of employees or annual revenue, and located anywhere in the II. an analysis of projected buying trends world. for learning solutions, in 2013 and beyond Respondents also included chief learning III. the features that are most important officers, chief financial officers, and in a variety of learning solutions directors of sales and/or marketing, among others. IV. the functions to be supported by various learning solutions The results of the data for each of the solutions are included in this report. V. predictions for 2013 For each solution, an analysis and The report examines learning solutions in interpretation of the results is provided. 3© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  4. 4. The survey data was gathered on two different levels: • First level – An overview of the learning solutions and technologies currently being used by organizations, and the solutions that organizations are planning to acquire in the near future; • Second level – Identification of the key influencing factors (features and other considerations) that users consider critical when deciding to implement a specific learning solution. One of the key goals of this report is to provide end-users of learning solutions with a solid foundation so they can plan a successful implementation. By knowing the trends and plans of the industry, organizations can understand when learning technologies have stabilized and are considered to be robust solutions – that they have moved out of the early developmental stage, when comprehensive implementation can be challenging due to immature or unstable features. Some of the key findings and associated conclusions from this study include the following: • The technologies most planned for acquisition in 2013 or after are: o Mobile learning o Social learning o Video training • The most common learning solution owned by respondents’ organizations was web conferencing systems or software, which was the same solution most commonly owned last year, comprising 16.0 percent of responses in 2012. Learning Management Systems (LMS) (14.4 percent) and authoring tools (13.1 percent) were among the top three solutions cited as being owned. • There is increasing demand for content to be accessible on all kinds of mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones. Content also needs to be accessible online and offline. • The ease of use of a Learning Management System continues to rank as its most desirable feature, and continues to outrank other robust features, including the tracking of various delivery methods and integration with Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS). • Many learning interactions involve more than one type of learning solution. For example, a training video viewed by one person and sent to another, who receives it and views it on a tablet, involves video training, social learning, and mobile learning. • Video training is expanding in popularity and use, and is among the top five learning solutions planned for acquisition in 2013. Its expected uses include training for both internal users and external users, such as channel partners or distributors. 4© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  5. 5. This report also provides ten specific predictions to look forward to in 2013 for the learning industry. A few of these include: • Learning Management Systems will experience a resurgence in 2013, with an emphasis on small- and medium-sized businesses. • Users will demand training that is more “Short-form video doesn’t relevant to their specific job and delivered as displace classroom and long- needed. form learning, it supports it.” • Major shifts will be seen in learning development and deployment. - Jon Peters, CEO Athena Online • The learning industry will begin the change from being “overhead” in an organization, to being a “revenue generator.” 5© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  6. 6. LEARNING TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS FORECAST: 2013 EDITION The first section of the survey identified the learning solutions that respondents’ organizations already owned and the solutions expected to be acquired in 2013 and beyond. “Live as if you were to die I. Learning Solutions Currently Owned tomorrow. Learn as if you were to and Results from Last Year live forever.” Respondents were first asked to identify the - Mahatma Gandhi learning solutions that are currently owned by their organization. Similar to last year’s survey, web conferencing systems/software was the most commonly-cited solution owned by respondents’ organizations (comprising 16.0 percent of responses). This was followed closely by Learning Management Systems, comprising 14.4 percent of solutions, authoring tools (13.1 percent), and custom content development solutions (12.9 percent). The frequency of ownership for these most popular solutions has changed somewhat since last year’s survey. Web conferencing systems/software was the most-frequently cited solution last year, as well, and increased by almost two percentage points, from 14.2 percent to 16.0 percent this year. LMSs moved from third place to second, and increased by 1.7 percentage points. Authoring tools were elevated from fifth place to third, increasing from 10.9 percent ownership to 13.1 percent this year. The table below illustrates the different rankings in frequency of ownership from last year to this year. The solution that respondents’ organizations least likely owned was social learning, comprising only 3.7 percent of responses in this year’s survey, and declining two places from last year’s survey. 6© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  7. 7. Conversely, mobile learning increased in frequency of ownership, moving from the least- owned solution to ninth place – but more significantly, increasing from only 0.4 percent of organizations owning it last year, to 3.8 percent of organizations owning it this year. In last year’s survey, respondents indicated that mobile learning would be the number one solution slated for procurement in 2012, and this statistic validates one of COX’s predictions for this year: that mobile learning will increase in ownership and use, where 2012 can really be considered the first year that mobile learning became prevalent. • Web conferencing systems and Learning Management Systems are the most prevalent technologies currently owned by organizations. • 14 percent of organizations own three key systems: LMS, LCMS and an authoring tool. Last year’s respondents were sent follow-up surveys to determine whether their organizations had followed through with acquiring LMS and/or LCMS solutions, having indicated in last year’s survey that they were in the process of acquiring these during late 2011. • 16.7 percent of organizations indicated that their plans were proceeding, and that they had obtained an LMS in either late 2011 or in 2012. • 25.0 percent of organizations indicated that their LMS acquisition plans were underway, and that they would complete the acquisition process some time in 2013. • 58.3 percent of organizations had postponed their LMS acquisition until 2013, or indefinitely. The most commonly-cited reason for postponement was budget constraints, followed by a lack of IT personnel to assist with the implementation. • Only 8.3 percent of organizations who had planned to obtain an LCMS in either late 2011 or 2012 had followed through on those plans. • Most respondents indicated that they had postponed their LCMS acquisition until 2013, or indefinitely, overwhelmingly citing budget constraints as the reason. 7© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  8. 8. II. Learning Solutions Planned for Acquisition In order to gauge potential future buying trends, respondents were next asked which learning solutions their organization planned to obtain in 2013 and beyond. Solutions Planned for 2013 In 2013, respondents intend to obtain mobile learning solutions more than any other type of technology. Mobile learning was cited by 17.7 percent of responses as being planned for acquisition in 2013, followed by social learning and video training, at 14.8 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively. Clearly, mobile learning is the area of greatest interest for organizations as they plan their learning implementation strategies for the next few years. The top 5 learning technologies planned in 2013 were rounded out with acquisitions planned for LCMSs (8.6 percent) and LMSs (8.3 percent). The least likely solution to be obtained in 2013 was web conferencing systems/software, at 3.4 percent. Given that this is the most commonly-owned solution for respondents, a lack of acquisitions in this area is not surprising. 8© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  9. 9. Solutions Planned for After 2013 For the time following 2013, the learning solution most slated for acquisition was again mobile learning, indicated in 14.6 percent of responses. This was followed by simulation systems/software (12.0 percent of responses), and social learning (11.5 percent). 17.7 percent The top 5 learning solutions were completed by Organizations that plan to acquire the intent to obtain LCMSs (10.6 percent) and mobile learning in 2013. custom content development (7.4 percent). 14.6 percent Organizations that plan to acquire mobile learning after 2013. 9© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  10. 10. III. Most Important Features in a Variety of Learning Solutions Next, respondents were asked to identify the features which are most important to them when considering the acquisition of various learning solutions. These learning solutions include: • Social learning • Video training • Mobile learning • Off-the-shelf content • Custom content development • Simulation systems/software • Web conferencing systems/software. Each of these solutions will be individually addressed. This set of questions was changed in methodology from last year’s survey: Instead of asking respondents to select all features that were important to them, respondents were asked to select only the top three features that were most important to them. Please note: Because multiple responses were accepted, for most questions the n is greater than the number of respondents. A. Social Learning Regarding social learning, respondents were asked which three features were most important to them when considering social learning solutions. The features selected most often were: • integrates with an LMS, comprising 16.6 percent of all responses • delivers to handheld devices, cited in 13.8 percent of all responses • and provides user-generated content management, comprising 10.4 percent of all responses When these three features are considered separately from all other features available, they account for nearly 41.0 percent of all responses received. Certainly, a successful implementation of social learning requires that the solution be fully integrated with an organization’s LMS, and that it ultimately is compatible with mobile delivery. The features that were least desired included support for HTML5 and Flash, and possessing internal profiles. These least-desired features were similar to last year’s least important, which included access to wikis and support for HTML5 and Flash. • Social learning tools must integrate and be compatible with other legacy solutions, such as LMSs, and with newer solutions such as mobile phones and tablet computers. • Affordability and security were also mentioned by some respondents in open- ended comments: cost is a major concern as well as a barrier to implementing social learning solutions; and security must be provided for proprietary content that is accessed in a social setting. 10© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
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  12. 12. B. Video Training When considering video training, respondents altered their views somewhat from features selected in last year’s survey. Easy integration into elearning courses was selected this year more often than any other feature, accounting for 18.2 percent of all responses. Rounding out the top three features selected for video training were availability via the Internet, comprising 14.8 percent of responses, and short in duration (under five minutes) at 14.0 percent. By comparison, respondents last year placed significantly greater emphasis on Internet compatibility, with that feature comprising 18.0 percent of all responses. One reason for this change could be the desire to have video content viewable on many devices, but generally accessed via the Internet. With the prevalence of video on the web and the ease with which it can be produced and disseminated, in most cases, respondents’ views may have turned to other priorities. Emphasizing the desire for short-form video, which was ranked third-highest among all features, Jon Peters, chief executive officer at AthenaOnline, explains that three or four hours was the norm when video on the web was first introduced in the early 2000s. Now, because attention spans have shortened and so much other content is disseminated in bite-sized pieces – and thanks to the widespread use of YouTube™ – people want video training to be short as well, or they will quickly lose interest. “Short-form video doesn’t displace classroom and long-form learning, it supports it,” Peters said. The least-desired features for video training were support of internal integration to other company systems, and being HTML5-based. Considering the ease with which the Internet can be accessed today – via free Wi-Fi and local access points, for example – some respondents may consider HTML5 to be automatic or inherent to video placed on the web, even though this assumption is erroneous. Once development of HTML5 is completed, publicizing its functionality may be needed before its adoption becomes established. Additionally, respondents may expect video training to appear and perform in an organization the same way it appears and performs on the Internet – where additional compatibility software or plug-ins are not needed. • The top three features selected most were integration into elearning courses, availability via the Internet, and videos that are short in duration. These three features together accounted for 47.0 percent of all responses. • The compatibility between other technology solutions common to the corporate training industry and video training will become increasingly important as technology continues to evolve. • The top five features account for more than 69.2 percent of the features selected. 12© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
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  14. 14. C. Mobile Learning For mobile learning, the features of greatest importance to respondents again concerned compatible functionality. The ability of mobile learning to be tracked and managed by an LMS was most-desired, comprising 16.8 percent of responses. This was the top-ranked feature in last year’s survey as well, but accounted for only 10.8 percent of responses. The other top two features most highly desired were that mobile learning provide engaging, interactive content (14.1 percent of responses), and that it be viewable and usable on handheld devices, both offline and online (13.0 percent). These features also ranked second and third, respectively, in the 2011 survey. Similar to last year’s study, once again we find that broad compatibility is in great demand. Mobile learning must be able to support platforms provided by Apple®, Android™, Blackberry®, and others. This is critical, since organizations sometimes will not be able to control which devices are being used by their participants – from employees, “Short-form video doesn’t to customers, to channel partners. In fact, one displace classroom and long- respondent specifically commented that mobile learning would have to work with Apple’s form learning; it supports it.” iPad® in order for it to be implemented in his organization. This compatibility requirement - Jon Peters, CEO could become the determining factor Athena Online regarding whether a mobile learning solution is implemented at all in an organization. Peters describes what AthenaOnline is experiencing: “Companies are now asking us for targeted video content for their field workforce, which can be in numerous locations. The most common request is for content that will accommodate the Apple iPad. We’ve had so many requests that AthenaOnline now has a new mobile application in beta testing, so that we can satisfy these requests. From what we’re seeing, it appears that the iPad is the mobile standard toward which many organizations are moving.” Support for HTML5-based and Flash-based content were the two least-desired features among respondents. The low-ranking nature of these features may indicate that respondents expect mobile learning to inherently contain these compatibilities, such that additional software integrations would not be necessary. 14© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  15. 15. Regardless of how or when mobile learning is implemented, respondents’ desire to track that learning via an LMS clearly reiterates the need for broad compatibility across platforms. • Mobile learning solutions’ seamless integration with an LMS – at a minimum – will become increasingly important. In the future, demand may also warrant compatibility with LCMSs. Wise developers of mobile learning solutions would build compatibility with a variety of systems into their solutions from the beginning. • Content will need to continue to be readable and usable on all types of mobile devices. • A mobile learning solution that can be utilized both online and offline will be highly desirable. 15© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  16. 16. D. Off-the-Shelf (OTS) Content Similar to last year’s survey results, respondents still desire a highly interactive platform (cited in 23.6 percent of responses) that provides “on demand” content (14.6 percent of responses), when considering off-the shelf content. Such content is already developed and ready to be used; however, respondents also expect that accessibility and compatibility are built in to those courses, as well. This is evidenced by the desire for “on demand” content, which can be accessed anywhere and at the learner’s convenience. Short courses are also desired, preferably lasting less than five minutes (13.6 percent of responses). Content repurposing is also a top-rated feature, ranking fourth, and accounting for 10.1 percent of responses. The ability to capture elements of courses and apply them in other course development could be a key selling factor for developers, in the future. The seamless integration of a mobile learning solution with an SCORM (the Sharable Content Object Reference Model) LMS will become increasingly compliance ranked fifth this year – with 9.8 percent of responses – down only slightly from its fourth-place important. ranking last year (10.1 percent of responses). It is interesting that SCORM compliance as a desired feature continues to decline in popularity among respondents. While other features rank higher in importance among respondents, perhaps compliance is also implied or assumed when acquiring OTS content. Aside from the “other” category of open-ended responses, compliance with AICC (Aviation Industry CBT [Computer-Based Training] Committee) standards represented 1.7 percent of responses, down from 3.2 percent of responses last year. SCORM parameters already include elements of AICC standards, so it is possible that respondents prefer to obtain OTS content that utilizes SCORM’s more comprehensive standards. Additionally, it could be possible that the exact differences between SCORM and AICC are not well understood. 16© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  17. 17. • Content that is highly interactive and engaging is most important – to a significant “Respondents overwhelmingly degree – compared to other features of OTS desire content to be highly content. interactive, when evaluation off- the-shelf content options. • The “on demand” nature of OTS content and courses that are short in length are also highly desired. • Organizations continue to desire flexibility and the ability to manipulate and repurpose elements of content, using it in other courses. 17© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  18. 18. E. Custom Content Development When selecting features for custom content, respondents again indicated that highly interactive content is key, cited in 21.1 percent of responses, and up significantly from last year’s survey when it comprised 14.8 percent of responses. Additionally, respondents desire that custom content be compatible and maintainable by the organization’s existing tools and systems, such as LMSs or LCMSs; this was cited in 15.3 percent of responses. The third most-desired feature was rapid development and deployment (15.1 percent), indicating that organizations expect custom content to behave similarly to OTS content, with “plug-and-play” functionality desired. These top 3 features accounted for nearly 52.0 percent of all responses. By comparison, these same three features were most-desired by respondents in last year’s survey, as well; however, the importance of these features has increased in this year’s study, relative to other features provided for consideration in the question. Last year, these top three features comprised 14.8 percent of responses (highly interactive), 14.1 percent (maintained by organization’s existing tools and systems), and 13.2 percent (rapid development and deployment). • Learning that is highly interactive continues to be a high expectation from end users who acquire custom content. Despite its “custom” nature, developers should strive to thoroughly understand the end user’s needs, so they can produce relevant content that is readily accepted by learners. • Despite its customized nature and the time involved in producing a specific learning program, developers of custom content should strive for rapid delivery of the end product to their clients. • The top five features shown in the next figure represent the majority of responses, accounting for 74.4 percent of respondents’ selections. 18© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
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  20. 20. F. Simulation Systems/Software Simulation systems/software remain an up-and-coming technology in the corporate training industry. Despite its ready acceptance and widespread usage in gaming, the use of simulations in training environments remains somewhat erratic, and is still met with skepticism by many. However, this skepticism does not mean that end users have not thought about or researched the use of simulation systems for their training needs. In fact, most respondents are quite definitive regarding the most and least important features they desire. The top three features, listed below, account for 45.4 percent of all responses received: 2013 survey • includes robust feedback and scoring options to assess a learner’s performance, cited in 18.9 percent of responses • contains a large library of quality templates, 13.6 percent of responses • has wizards supporting many learning components, 12.9 percent of responses These top three features are the same as those chosen in last year’s survey, but their order of priority has changed since then: 2012 survey • has wizards supporting many learning components, 13.1 percent of responses • includes robust feedback and scoring options to assess a learner’s performance, cited in 10.8 percent of responses • contains a large library of quality templates, 10.7 percent of responses Interestingly, the desire for robust feedback and scoring options has increased significantly in just one year. This could be the result of organizations’ training managers wanting to implement simulation systems, but meeting some resistance from senior management who strongly desire the measurability and feedback that are more common in other technology solutions. 20© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  21. 21. The growth in the area of simulations for learning has increased over the past several years, as it becomes a more widely-accepted learning tool. Kris Rockwell, founder and chief executive officer at Hybrid Learning Systems, describes the evolution and growth of this technology: “Simulations have long been used as a method of exercise to the test the knowledge and skill sets of learners against ‘real world’ activities in a safe, ‘sandbox’ environment. The idea of simulations has certainly evolved over the years. Many organizations are able to effectively use PC-based systems to run these events for single-learner, and in some cases, multiple-learner experiences. However, the rise of mobile devices in the work force is presenting an opportunity to expand other concepts and take the simulation from the single learner event into a multi-user, collaborative experience.” Rockwell went on to explain how the technology is evolving. “If we accept the premise that mobile devices are ‘always on’ and become a constantly connected part of the user, these devices can be leveraged to act as pieces in a larger simulation ecosystem. Through the use of informal learning capture (as defined by Tin Can with the concept of Activity Streams) – coupled with more formal structured learning capture (through a system such as CMI5) – mobile devices act as a recording mechanism that allows developers to build a more analog, interactive, multi-user simulation, promoting more effective team building and user interaction than traditional PC-based systems. These simulations then become experiences that can be recorded for analysis and performance trends, which ultimately could have a real impact on a much broader spectrum of real world skills and situations.” 21© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  22. 22. G. Web Conferencing Systems/Software Perhaps because of respondents’ familiarity with web conferencing systems, and their prevalence of ownership within organizations, respondents showed very distinct opinions regarding the features they most desire in this type of learning solution. They may be planning an upgrade to the next version or hoping to influence web conferencing providers. Regardless, the features most desired are clear. The ability to record a session, indicated in 20.4 percent of responses, and the capability to provide screen-sharing, 18.0 percent, were, by far, the most desired features. Although these two features ranked among the top 3 in last year’s survey, the ability to record a session moved from third position to first this year. While still important, the features that ranked a distant third and fourth this year included audio conferencing via voice- over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) and telephone (11.2 percent), and support for instructor multimedia/video display (10.6 percent). Support for participant video display (e.g., video conferencing through webcams) increased in importance this year. Last year’s ranking was near the bottom of the features list, and accounted for only 6.8 percent of responses. This year, that feature has risen to sixth place, with 7.7 percent of responses, clearly indicating a greater need in this area. This differentiator among web conferencing systems could become a key selling point in the future, as the industry sees the consolidation of web conferencing vendors, and as the marketplace indicates a need for greater education and awareness regarding each product’s unique functionality. Some new directions in web conferencing have been demonstrated by Citrix®, which has experienced solid and growing market share in online collaboration. Earlier in 2012, Citrix enhanced its online collaboration business by obtaining Podio, which provides a social work platform that is cloud-based, allowing virtual collaboration for teams; this solution fits well with Citrix’s collaboration products: GoToMeeting®, GoToWebinar®, GoToTraining®. 22© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  23. 23. Bob Lee, Senior Product Marketing Manager for GoToTraining at Citrix commented that the Podio acquisition reflects Citrix’s belief that the next wave of collaboration will be based on the integration of real-time (synchronous) and what Citrix calls “your time” (asynchronous) collaboration. He said that Citrix believes that an integrated, collaborative work platform providing both of these capabilities will enable organizations to streamline processes and operations. Tying the collaboration into other critical business systems will allow organizations to make better informed decisions faster, and allow them to better serve their customers, making these organizations more responsive and competitive in today’s ever-changing business environments. • Session recording and screen sharing The ability to record a session was availability are the two most highly-desired the most desired feature in a web features. conferencing solution. • Flexibility to use VoIP or telephone for the audio portion of a web conference is important, given the geographic dispersion of today’s workforce. • 10.6 percent of organizations will look for solutions that offer a video feed of the instructor via webcam. 23© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  24. 24. IV. Functions to be Supported by Various Learning Solutions The next section of the survey asked respondents to identify the top functions that their organization planned to support with a variety of learning technology solutions. These solutions included: • Social learning • Video training • Mobile learning • Simulation systems/software • Web conferencing systems/software. The two figures on the next page illustrate the relative importance of each learning technology solution (horizontal axis) as respondents indicate how they view each one in supporting various functions (vertical axis). Respondents anticipated that every solution could be or would be used to support soft skills training (as high as 15.0 percent Every learning solution is expected of responses for Off-the-Shelf Content), and to support soft skills training and leadership/management training (as high as leadership/management training. 12.9 percent of responses, also for Off-the Shelf Content). Although it ranked higher for some solutions, distribution channel training and support was the function least likely to be supported by any learning technology solution, indicated by only 1.6 percent of responses, for video training. Please note: because multiple responses were accepted, for most questions the n is greater than the number of respondents. 24© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
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  26. 26. A. Social Learning The most-frequently cited functions for social learning support were leadership/ management training (comprising 12.0 percent of responses) and soft skills (11.4 percent), largely unchanged from last year. Given the clearly interactive nature of social learning, these selections are not surprising. Social learning provides an environment of interaction among people in a particular setting, facilitating the exchange of information, and changes in understanding. Since soft and leadership skills both involve interactions with others in an organization, social learning can be an excellent setting for facilitating these information exchanges. The most-desired feature for a social learning solution is that The top five functions to be supported by social learning comprised 48.8 percent of all responses it should integrate with an LMS for this learning solution. - desired by 16.6 percent of all respondents. Distribution channel training and support was the lowest-ranked function, garnering only 3.1 percent of responses. Organizations could consider social learning to be too informal to adequately train business partners and distributors within their channel. Jon Peters of AthenaOnline comments, “Social learning today is what water cooler conversations used to be 10 or 12 years ago, but on steroids. One person would say, ‘So I’m having this problem and I don’t know how to fix it.’ ‘Oh yeah,’ says a colleague. ‘Here’s how I solved that.’ Now, maybe you see a video clip which isn’t completely relevant to you, but you know your colleague or someone you’re coaching would be interested, so you forward it to them. That’s a blend of social learning, video training, and if a mobile device is involved, even mobile learning, all within a couple of minutes.” 26© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  27. 27. Chris Osborn at BizLibrary explains how organizations are changing their thinking, and starting to realize the value of social learning. He illustrates that change in organizational thinking this way: “Years ago, the common adage in organizations was that ‘our most valuable asset is our people.’ In a sense, that was true. But that adage didn’t go far enough. The reality is that the person alone isn’t the most valuable asset. What makes that person a valuable asset is their industry knowledge, experiences, learning, interaction with customers, and understanding of a specific aspect of the business. It’s this knowledge that makes employees so valuable. That’s what makes them an asset.” Osborn went on to say that an individual Sharing the knowledge is the employee, acting alone, is like a silo. key to applying the value of “The way to apply the value of that employee’s each employee’s knowledge knowledge is to get them to share their and experience to improve knowledge, ideas and suggestions. It’s this the overall performance of the sharing of knowledge – through a widely- organization.” accessible social learning platform – that makes the organization smarter as a whole and improves the ‘organizational IQ.’ Sharing the - Chris Osborn knowledge is the key to applying the value of Vice President of Marketing BizLibrary each employee’s knowledge and experience to improve the overall performance of the organization.” 27© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  28. 28. B. Video Training The top three choices for functions to be supported with video training were nearly equal in the eyes of respondents, each within about one percentage point of the other. Soft skills, technical training, and leadership/ management training were the top selections, Sales training and support is also with 12.1 percent, 11.1 percent and 11.0 percent of responses, respectively. These were a top-ranked function for which followed by compliance training (8.7 percent video training is expected to be of responses) and internal product training and used. support (8.2 percent). The top five functions accounted for 51.1 percent of all responses received. Similar to social learning, distribution channel training and support was the least likely function to be implemented with video training, receiving only 1.6 percent of all responses. Clearly it is not a top-five, or even top-ten, function for using video training. 28© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  29. 29. C. Mobile Learning The functions that respondents indicated would be supported by mobile learning were varied, and included a mix of technical training and soft skills training. Respondents anticipated that mobile learning would support everything from leadership skills and soft skills training, to internal product training, technical training, and sales support. In fact, the top four functions were all within one percentage point of each other in rank. Soft skills training ranked slightly behind the others, in fifth place. Jack Pierce, partner and strategist for wslash, LLC, a custom content developer, talks about how tire retailers are requesting content for Apple iPads that they have begun to use in their stores. wslash has specifically developed training courses for Michelin tires, and those courses can now be viewed on a desktop computer, iPad, or any tablet or smartphone. Pierce commented, “Our development software, Zero Engine®, allows each course to recognize what device is being used by the learner, and presents the right configuration of content, in the way a learner expects to use it on that device. So a smartphone becomes an instant performance support device. This is an area of great interest for all of our customers.” The differences among desired uses for social learning versus mobile learning are slight. Four of the top five functions were the same for both learning solutions, and all of those were within four percentage points of each other, and both solutions Are the lines between social had a relatively close number of responses learning and mobile learning in the top five rankings (n = 460 for social learning, and n = 513 for mobile learning). blurred? The only two exceptions were the functions of customer feedback and interaction, which ranked in the top five for social learning, but ranked only ninth for mobile learning; and internal product training and support, which ranked only sixth for social learning, but ranked second for mobile learning. Are social learning and mobile learning that similar? Do respondents believe that they are virtually interchangeable? Certainly, social learning can be experienced via mobile devices, thanks to media platforms such as Twitter® and YouTube. But neither one of these modalities requires the other to be successful. The blurring of lines between the two warrants further investigation. Paul Schneider, senior vice president of business development for dominKnow, explains how “mobile learning” has changed over the years: “Ten years ago, mobile learning meant using a laptop instead of a desktop computer. You had your laptop on the go and you were mobile. Now, with newer devices that are smaller and easy to use, no matter what location, mobile learning is exploding in a myriad of ways. For example, a company can blast out 29© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  30. 30. a message or a mini-course on Monday morning to its sales force, demonstrating a product upgrade, or new sales technique, and with that short blast of training on their phone or tablet, it can instruct the sales team that ‘this is what this week’s focus should be.’” Schneider provided another example: “A couple of employees need to set up an exhibition booth at this week’s conference, but the instructions for setup are lost, or weren’t packed, or aren’t in English, or are just plain confusing. A short course describing the booth’s setup can be downloaded to a smartphone, and the employees can successfully set up the booth. The future of mobile learning is The design for these short, instructional courses the availability of new delivery are more like a smartphone application – than a channels combined with simple traditional training course – and are becoming bursts that tie to a learner’s more prevalent. Imagine the relief that the employees feel when they can set up the booth location and point of need.” correctly and efficiently, not to mention the overtime saved! This seemingly simple use of - Paul Schneider, Senior Vice President mobile technology demonstrates where the of Business Development future of mobile learning is headed: simple uses dominKnow can be just as effective as more complex topics.” In the end, the term “mobile” is less important compared to understanding the audience and making sure that the learning and content design are matched with the way a person works, and how and where they access information. 30© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  31. 31. D. Simulation Systems/Software Regarding simulation systems/software, respondents overwhelmingly indicated that technical training would be the top function to be supported, comprising 12.3 percent of responses. The second- through fifth-place functions were more closely ranked, from leadership/management training (ranked second, 10.0 percent) to computer application skills for end-users (ranked fifth, 8.2 percent). Interestingly, non-technical training functions ranked higher in this year’s survey, perhaps indicating that simulations are becoming more widely accepted, and can be used for a variety of training needs. The five top-ranked functions account for nearly 50.0 percent of all responses received. Compliance training (ranked sixth, 7.5 percent) and sales training and support (ranked seventh, 7.2 percent) also received responses that indicate they could be frequently supported by simulation systems in many organizations. The lowest-ranking functions were unsurprising – executive support (3.3 percent) and distribution channel training and support (2.6 percent). The emergence of the API (Application Programming Interface) known as Tin Can has caused quite a stir in the developer community during the past year. Tin Can captures activities that happen as part of a learner’s experiences, whether online or offline. It allows multiple systems to securely communicate with each other, using a simple vocabulary that is designed to capture a learner’s stream of activities. The steward of the Tin Can specification is ADL, the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative. When asked to discuss Tin Can from a third-party perspective, Kris Rockwell, of Hybrid Learning Systems, commented, “The work that ADL has accomplished with Tin Can is a fantastic step forward. This new way to capture and analyze more informal learning data makes good sense. Utilizing verbs that describe experiences and what is captured, Tin Can has enabled a very versatile, extensible specification that can be tailored to numerous different activities.” Rockwell continued, “I’m certain that Tin Can will continue to expand, and enable more growth. It’s a fantastic step for developers looking to move learning experiences beyond the stale ‘point-and-click’ model that elearning has become. I look forward to watching as Tin Can unlocks new ways of measuring performance that extend beyond the traditional means we have relied on for so long.” 31© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  32. 32. • Responses in this year’s study indicate that simulation systems and software are Tin Can is a fantastic step for expected to support more functions in developers looking to move diverse areas, than previously indicated in the prior study. No longer will they learning experiences beyond the be utilized only for technical training or stale point-and-click model that computer application skills. Respondents elearning has become.” expect them to be used in areas such as soft skills and leadership/management training. • 7.3 percent of respondents indicated that - Kris Rockwell, Founder and CEO their organization will acquire simulation Hybrid Learning Systems systems/software in 2013. • 12.0 percent of respondents expect to acquire simulation systems after 2013. 32© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  33. 33. E. Web Conferencing Systems/Software Web conferencing systems – the most commonly owned learning technology solution both last year and this year – are cited to support numerous and varied functions. The five top-ranked functions accounted for 47.0 percent of all responses received, and ranged from leadership/management training, comprising 10.7 percent of responses, ranked first, to sales training and support, at 8.5 percent of responses and ranked fifth. As businesses expand to serve far-reaching markets, their workforces become more dispersed, as well. Moreover, as remote workforces rise in popularity, the use of web conferencing systems is in greater use than ever before. Even small or start-up organizations can stay connected with clients and employees – and compete effectively with larger rivals – through affordable and easy-to-use online collaboration systems. This continuing rise in usage means that this particular learning solution will likely begin its adoption plateau within the next five years. The top-ranked features for web Continued growth is likely to come from conferencing systems: the existing providers who capture market share, with few or no new entrants to the • ability to record a session - marketplace. 20.4% • provides screen-sharing - 18.0% Additionally, this proliferation could have effects that reach beyond online collaboration tools. Similar to how dialogue windows became a commonly-understood feature because of the widespread use of Microsoft’s office platform, the navigation and controls within the top- selling web conferencing systems could become the de facto tools for all web conferencing systems. Of unique interest was the lowest-ranked function marked for support via web conferencing systems. Distribution channel training and support ranked last, with 2.8 percent of responses. Given that a distribution channel is typically geographically dispersed – sometimes even global – the low rank for this function is somewhat surprising. • 16.0 percent of respondents indicated that their organization owns a web conferencing system, up from 14.2 percent ownership in 2011. • While enterprise customers have adopted web conferencing in great numbers, small- and medium-sized businesses remain the largest untapped market for web conferencing. • 3.4 percent of organizations may obtain a web conferencing system in 2013. • 4.6 percent of respondents indicate that a web conferencing system will be obtained by their organization after 2013. 33© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  34. 34. 34© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  35. 35. V. Predictions for 2013 This report contains much data, analysis and conclusions. This section summarizes what it all means, draws some conclusions, and makes some predictions for 2013 and possibly beyond. Prediction # 1 - LMS Resurgence The LMS will experience a resurgence in 2013 with an emphasis in SMB. Technology for Learning Management Systems continues to march on among the 150+ LMS manufacturers worldwide. Today, a client can acquire a “good” LMS for $10-20K per year and a “very strong” LMS – capable of growing with a client to the global enterprise scale – for $50K per year. These price points will drive new demand particularly in the small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) marketplace. A few smaller LMS providers will integrate talent management and other valuable service offerings that the marketplace desires while maintaining bargain basement price points. Simultaneously, a few of the large LMS providers will reposition their small business operations to more aggressively pursue and serve the SMB client. Prediction # 2 - Full Service LCMS LCMSs will enjoy a broader customer demand in 2013. Learning Content Management Systems in the past were relegated to a few highly specialized practices. In particular, the LCMS was positioned exclusively as an authoring platform for the very large organization that had many instructional designers and content developers working in a collaborative, yet dispersed, environment. In 2013, we will begin to see the early stages of LCMS-related offerings (that already have broad features) add good, yet economical, LMS features, including amazing new methods to manage and distribute content to a diversity of devices. With the demand around mobile devices and greater content manipulation, the LCMS will increase in application breadth and value to the corporation, government or non-profit organization. One area of particularly greater demand for LCMSs will be EPS – “Electronic Performance Support” – where content will be shaped to the industry vertical and will provide information and tools that focus on “performance” instead of “training.” Prediction # 3 – Relevancy Revolution Users will demand training that is more relevant to their specific job and that is delivered as they need it. “Revolution” is not about YouTube and the general demand for video or mobile. Those items certainly contribute to a revolution that is in the making. However, the real issue is all about relevance. 35© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  36. 36. For example, any long-time trainer can look at training videos that are produced today and recognize that they really have not changed in quality and relevance to job functions for the past 40 or more years. Many of the new short videos that are starting to be produced today still tend to be general in nature, versus unique and directed to an industry, or even to a specific company’s operations. The corporations that succeed in our new world will find methods to train staff in unique ways for specific job functions. Training content will change along with training technologies, enabling new ways to deliver training that are more relevant and immediately applicable to an individual’s job activity. Prediction # 4 - NOW Training Information and other learning support infrastructure will emerge to deliver training-productivity support to users anywhere, anyhow. Training, information and anything else that yields productivity must be delivered now to the user – wherever that learner is, and whenever he or she needs it. Our society has become accustomed to immediate gratification, but that is not directly the challenge. Organizations must find ways to continue to bring down operating costs, which immediacy of information can help achieve. Having the right answer now to solve a problem saves money and allows for faster integration. This will begin to happen in 2013, but will be more readily apparent in 2014. Prediction # 5 - Major Shifts True major shifts in learning development and deployment will be seen. There has been a lot of talk over the years about how learning must be customized to the individual’s needs. More recently, this talk has accentuated the position that developmental and delivery platforms will adapt to these user needs. It will be “responsive.” In 2013, we see that vendors will move from the “talk” of “responsive learning platforms” to actually starting to deliver them. Additionally, these platforms will be enabled via the cloud, so that they will be ubiquitously available everywhere and in a transactional, “as-needed” basis. Prediction # 6 - Vacuum A vacuum will occur in the marketplace: fewer solutions from strong, viable players will be available to end-users. In 2012, we saw significant consolidation of many mid-size and large learning providers. Now, there are a few very large providers of combined learning and human resources (HR) solutions (e.g., Oracle/Taleo/Learn; SAP/SuccessFactors/ Plateau), and there are thousands of small, specialty, “best-of-breed” providers. 36© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  37. 37. The large providers offer the security to customers of financial viability while their solutions may be expensive and not leading-edge. The small providers have unique solutions with bargain prices, while they struggle to get a marketplace hold and build financial strength. The mid-tier player who tends to have the best of both worlds does not exist at this time. This vacuum will inevitably be filled in the future. There are three expected results in 2013 and 2014: 1. There will be even fewer large providers, as the giants battle, resulting in a few providers distinguishing their solution offering, customer service and service value. 2. Smaller providers will merge or align in some type of consolidation with another provider, becoming a mid-tier player. 3. Smaller providers will be acquired by the large providers, so that the large providers can bring the leading-edge offerings to their clients. Prediction # 7 - Learning Makes Money The learning industry must change from being “overhead” to being a “revenue generator.” The success of learning in organizations has suffered for two financially-related reasons: 1. Training departments have not distinguished their operations as revenue centers for their employers. 2. The inherent value of elearning software trails that of any other software industry. Successful training departments are finding ways to make money for their organization. They are actively creating courses and enabling a variety of training delivery types: instructor-led training, virtual, automated, knowlegebases, etc. They have done this, but not by choice. Most training departments have been directed by the executive suite to do this or otherwise experience layoffs. The really successful Chief Learning Officers and training executives proactively make these revenue sources happen. Another interesting challenge to the learning industry is the value of elearning software. Today, it ranks among the lowest software industries for revenue production. Recent mergers of learning providers with other software companies (e.g., Learn.com becomes Taleo becomes Oracle; Plateau becomes SuccessFactors becomes SAP) have allowed learning software to be priced higher, at the same price levels as other software products by each organization. Elearning software is now profitable for them. 37© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  38. 38. Prediction # 8 - Social Buddy is My Teacher There will be a rise of star teachers in the social world. We already know that social learning is partially here and definitely will be a part of our learning modality for the next few years to come, if not forever. This will take many forms. One form will be the emergence of people in each person’s social connection who will become a teacher to that person – in major and/or minor ways. A new set of “rock stars” in the learning field will arise, who will distinguish themselves in training via the social mechanisms. These may not be people who would have distinguished themselves in other (more historically traditional) training environments. These may even be “quirky” individuals, but are ones who, in this unique forum, can communicate in illuminating and engaging ways to attract the audience. These clear leader-teachers likely will not be seen in this space in 2013. An audience will only have started to gather. However, 2014 should be when individuals will rise to noteworthy positions of marketplace recognition and following. Prediction # 9 – “Tin Can” is Not Quite Ready Tin Can will not materially affect users of learning until 2014. We applaud the efforts of the Tin Can committee. Our industry has been long overdue for this new specification, and we are looking forward to something much more advanced than what SCORM 2004 provided. However, there is still much to be accomplished. And, once the specification is solidly in place, it will take quite an effort for the learning community to incorporate Tin Can into their learning development. For these reasons, we see little impact in 2013 by Tin Can. 2014 will be the first year that it has a measurable impact on the learning community. Prediction # 10 - Major Mobile Projects In 2013, there will be a major surge in the beginning implementations of mobile learning projects. COX predicted one year ago that “Mobile learning will move from ‘buzz’ in 2011, to beginning implementations in 2012, to widespread deployment by 2013.” This has continued to become a reality. In 2012, implementations were beginning, but still had not achieved widespread deployment. Our discussions with vendors and users confirm that this roadmap is continuing. Challenges exist in several areas, including a lack of a solid, robust authoring platform that can efficiently develop learning across all devices and formats. 38© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  39. 39. BONUS Prediction # 11 - 10%+ Industry Revenue Growth The average learning technology company will grow 10%+ in 2013. The learning industry has perennially struggled financially. The learning software industry has a higher percentage of companies who struggle for profitability than any other software industry. Also, in other software industries, the “gorillas” are $1 billion companies. None of that size exist in the learning software industry. This affects the profitability and stability of the industry. This situation has begun to change with marked improvement anticipated in 2013, due to the following reasons: • Owners and executives are becoming better business managers. Originally, a high percentage of owners were educators or technologists, not business people. Over time, either these non-business people have become business savvy, or they have turned the management of their business over to hired staff who have the business management expertise. • The 2012 mergers of major solution providers have reduced the number of key players. This reduced competition will result in increased pricing, which will benefit the remaining large vendors with their profitability and ability to grow. • 2013 is predicted to be a stronger economy, regardless of which political party wins the presidential election. • The average corporate training department has had their budgets so depleted for several years that there is now a backlog of required needs, which will result in some expenditures being made. • The ability of training managers and training vendors to position learning as a corporate revenue generator will encourage corporate executives to authorize larger training budgets. 39© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce
  40. 40. GLOSSARY OF TERMS AICC stands for the Aviation Industry CBT [Computer-Based Training] Committee, an international association of training professionals who are technology-based, and who develop training guidelines for the aviation industry. AICC-compliant means that training courses that are delivered via technology (e.g., a Learning Management System) adhere to the standards of AICC for their development, delivery and evaluation.1 An application programming interface (API) is a defined set of functions, methods, and/or routines that allow interaction with a specific software program. This specification is intended to be used by software components so they can communicate with each other. Often, an API includes object classes, specifications for routines, variables, and data structures. An API can take many forms, such as an international standard, specific documentation for a vendor, or the libraries of a programming language. An API is source code-based, as opposed to being a binary interface.2 The term authoring systems generally refers to a computer-based system that allows non-programmers to create, or “author,” content for intelligent tutoring systems. An authoring tool is a part of these systems, or is the entire system itself. In developing educational software, an authoring system allows a non-programmer to easily create learning content with programming features, which are often built in, and accessed via buttons and other tools, making it unnecessary for the author to know how to program.3 The confidence interval is also called the margin of error, and is generally expressed as the plus-or-minus figure usually reported in broadcast media poll results. It indicates that, at the confidence level selected, a researcher can be certain that if the entire population was surveyed (not just a sample of the population, as is common for surveys), the entire population would have selected the same answer within plus-or-minus that number. The confidence level indicates how certain you can be of those survey results, if the survey was repeated. It is expressed as a percentage and represents how frequently the true percentage of the population who would pick an answer lies within the confidence interval. The 95 percent confidence level indicates that the researcher can be 95 percent certain, and it is the most common confidence level used by researchers.4 The n refers to the sample size, or number of survey respondents or responses, depending on the question. For example, in this survey, 16.0 percent of respondents indicated that their organization owns a web conferencing system. Cox eLearning Consultants is 95 percent certain (confidence level), at the confidence interval of 4, that if the entire population of all existing organizations had responded to the survey, between 20.0 percent (16 + 4) and 12.0 percent (16 - 4) would indicate that their organization owned a web conferencing system. 40© 2013 Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, Do Not Reproduce