mLearnCon 2013 Exhibitors Show the Direction of the Mobile Learning Industry

More Than Half of the Companies Present in 2013 Did Not Exhibit in 2012

Conferences, Industry News Comments (2)

The recent mLearnCon conference in San Jose is a showcase for the small but growing mobile learning industry. Float was there as an exhibitor, and three Float staff presented at six sessions plus DemoFest.

Speaking of DemoFest, Float was honored to have its Tappestry app and Chad Udell receive the “Best Overall” award from the conference. Thank you to all who voted for us.

The 38 exhibitors who were present in the exhibit hall represented a wide cross-section of vendors of mobile learning products and services. This number is slightly higher than the 36 companies that were at mLearnCon 2012.

However, what is surprising is that 22 companies (61.1%) of the 2012 exhibitors did not exhibit in 2013. Of the 38 companies at this year’s show, only 14 were there last year.

This is an astonishing churn rate and one that probably reflects the uncertainty as to if and when a healthy market for mLearning products and services will develop. (Float has been an exhibitor every year since the conference started in 2010.)

By going to the website for each exhibitor, I was able to analyze the various offerings of the companies in the exhibit hall under 15 categories of products and services. The chart below shows how 61 distinct offerings were distributed across all the categories. The percentages of companies offering a particular product or service category are also shown.

mLearnCon 2013 Exhibitor Offerings

By far, the largest category of products and services is still mobile learning platforms – either learning management systems with mobile additions, or new products developed from the ground up for mobile.

Most mLearning platforms, like their eLearning counterparts, are based on the registration of users, launching, tracking and reporting on content usually packaged as courses, and the administration of assessments. In other words, they are very similar to eLearning LMSs, and are ultimately based on the classroom instruction and testing model.

Rapid authoring tools have a similar focus, in that they are mostly designed to produce presentations and quizzes, coded in HTML5 for mobile devices.

Very few products and services for mobile learning are based on the new affordances of mobile computing, those things that give it a distinct advantage over eLearning. At Float, we are moving in that direction with a series of articles by Chad Udell in the past couple of months, and with the launch of Wayfiler, our geolocational app that produces select content only when a user is in a specific location.

Thank you to all who stopped by the Float booth, chatted with us, and downloaded excerpts from our forthcoming book on mastering the mobile learning development process. (You can still do that by signing up for our newsletter.)

We had a great show, and hope to see you back at mLearnCon next year.

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Gary Woodill is a senior analyst with Float, as well as CEO of i5 Research. Gary conducts research and market analyses, as well as assessments and forecasting for emerging technologies. Gary is the co-editor of "Mastering Mobile Learning," author of “The Mobile Learning Edge,” and the co-author of “Training and Collaboration with Virtual Worlds.” He also presents at conferences and is the author of numerous articles and research reports on emerging learning technologies. Gary holds a doctor of education degree from the University of Toronto.

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On June 27, 2013
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2 Responses to mLearnCon 2013 Exhibitors Show the Direction of the Mobile Learning Industry

  1. Rick Wilson says:

    The stand out characteristic of the analysis is that so many of the purveyors of mobile solutions are in fact extensions or perpetuations of the classic LMS technology behaviors. Nothing like advancing solutions that are founded in 18th century classroom learning mentality. Shame on them. They are not paying attention to the lessons and rules of digital disruptive innovation.

  2. […] One of my main interests is in tracking new developments in the technologies of mobile learning, so I went around to all the exhibitors trying to see what was new from last year. […]

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