#FocusOnLearn 2016 Shows Just How Complex Enterprise Technologies Are

Enterprise Learning Technologies Involve And Integrate More Than People Imagine

Conferences, Experience API Comments (2)

The conference formerly known as mLearnCon is now the FocusOn Learning Conference, being held this year in Austin, Texas, from June 8-10. The new name reflects that the eLearning Guild has moved beyond single-technology learning by placing mobile learning, video learning, and performance support together in the same conference regarding both presentations and exhibitors.

However, this may also indicate the fact that enterprise learning is not about any single technology, but is a complex undertaking that often involves a mix of many different learning technologies. In the history of enterprise learning, there has been a tendency to slap the name of an emerging technology onto the word “learning” to indicate a new direction for the field. Learning has always been multimodal, with many different technologies and formats being used at the same time by creative learning and development departments.

In preparation for Float’s presence at FocusOn Learning, I reviewed the 42 exhibitors at the conference in terms of which learning technologies they were promoting in their websites and in their blogs. I was able to identify 20 distinct learning technologies being used by this group and get a sense of the popularity of each technology as part of each exhibitor’s solutions or offerings. Here they are in order of frequency (n=42):

  • Mobile devices (25)
  • eLearning content (21)
  • Authoring tools (18)
  • LMSs/LCMSs/CMSs (18)
  • Analytics (17)
  • Multichannel / Multiple formats / Responsive (17)
  • Assessment tools (15)
  • Performance support tools (13)
  • Video (13)
  • Social learning / Collaboration tools (12)
  • Audio (10)
  • xAPI / LRSs (10)
  • Games and Gamification (8)
  • Virtual Reality / 3D Goggles (6)
  • Simulations (3)
  • Augmented Reality (2)
  • Haptics (2)
  • Robotics / agents / bots (2)
  • Sensors / GPS / Computer Vision (2)
  • Adaptive algorithms (1)

The exhibitors showed a wide range of different technologies that they featured in their websites or literature. Adobe, Float, and Riptide all mentioned 12 of the learning technologies listed above, while a company like VideoBlocks concentrated their efforts on their single core competency – video. On average, the exhibitors at the conference each promoted just over five different learning technologies in their online materials.

This analysis indicates that the eLearning Guild is probably wise to move to a conference that features many different learning technologies rather than one. It also shows that enterprise solutions are more complex, and involve more integration of different technologies than most people imagine.

We can see learning technologies as ingredients to a solution for a set of business problems, but where the ingredients vary depending on the desired outcomes. Moreover, it is important to understand the entire enterprise and how to integrate learning technologies into the broader IT structure, in order for the use of learning technologies to find acceptance within the more comprehensive set of stakeholders in any client company.

At Float, we try to see the “big picture” first before undertaking any specific set of technological solutions. This is part of our emphasis on human-centered design, on doing strategy and research early, and continually looking for emerging learning technologies that can be part of our custom technology projects.

Additionally, don’t miss these sessions put on by Float representatives:

  1. [FEATURED SESSION] Realizing the Real Potential of Mobile – Chad Udell
  2. Morning Buzz: Data Interoperability and the xAPI – Chad Udell
  3. Advanced Augmented Reality: OCR Case Study on Facial Detection and More – Chad Udell
  4. The ACT Principle: The Key to Effective Performance Support – Scott McCormick

If you would like a copy of my spreadsheet with the analysis of which technologies each exhibitor at FocusOn Learning is employing, please stop by the Float booth or visit this digital version.

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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 3, 2016

2 Responses to #FocusOnLearn 2016 Shows Just How Complex Enterprise Technologies Are

  1. […] annual event in Austin featured many different learning technologies, as I documented in my post last week. As I toured the offerings of 42 vendors on the exhibit floor, this became evident in terms of the […]

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