tech news

Workplace Wearables 

Wearables seem to be flooding the consumer market. According to Wired, as of September 30, there were 266 wearable devices on the market (including 118 fitness wearables), with 23 slated for release before the year is out. Indeed, the recent Wearables + Things event saw a multitude of new devices that can collect your biometrics (like blood pressure and temperature) or count the number of push-ups, jumping jacks, and steps you perform.     

But some pundits are raising the question whether this is where the wearables market can make the most impact? San Francisco start-up OnBeep is betting the answer is no.

OnBeep has unveiled Onyx, a $99, hand-free contraption that clips onto your shirt and wirelessly connects with your cellphone—so that you can instantly communicate with colleagues. Jesse Robbins, OnBeep founder and CEO, told Wired that while the device certainly has uses in the consumer market, he sees Onyx being used more effectively by business teams, such as event planners, construction workers, or restaurant staff, for example. 

If he’s right, Onyx may be the first step toward a future that has a cable technician sporting a live-streaming, head-mounted camera that helps him consult with other technicians and figure what’s wrong with your connection, or a nurse who wears smart glasses to see veins beneath the skin of patients.  

Granted, many questions remain around cost and security. Shane Walker, an analyst at research firm IHS technology, explains that wearables would likely need FDA or CE mark approvals if they report diagnostics related to patient care in any way, for example.   

Meanwhile, some pundits are questioning whether workers will really want to be that “plugged in” to co-workers and managers—All. The. Time. 

In any case, Onyx will provide a nice test case for workplace wearables. Stay tuned.   

TrainingIndustry.com Names Top 20 in Gamification 

TrainingIndustry.com has released its first annual list of Top 20 Gamification Companies. The list is designed to help buy-side organizations in their searches for the right gamification training partners. Selection is based on the following criteria: 

  • features and capabilities of the gamification products/services
  • company size and growth potential
  • quality and number of clients/users 
  • geographic reach
  • awards, recognition, and competitive differentiation. 

Here are the 20 companies listed in alphabetical order. 

  • Allen Communication Learning Services
  • Axonify
  • Breakaway Games
  • BTS
  • Custom Learning Designs
  • Design Digitally Inc,
  • Enspire
  • Gamelearn
  • G-cube
  • Global Training Solutions
  • GP Strategies – Content Development
  • Knolscape
  • NIIT
  • Performance Development Group
  • ProfitAbility L&D Services LLC
  • QStream
  • Raytheon Professional Services
  • Safron Interactive
  • Sweetrush Inc.
  • Tata Interactive 

For more information, visit http://www.trainingindustry.com/top-companies-listing/gamification/2014/2014-top-20-gamification-companies-list.aspx. 

MOOCs Expected to Grow 56 Percent by 2018 

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The Research and Markets study, Global Massive Open Online Courses Market 2014-2018, reports that the MOOC market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56 percent to 2018, according to a report from Research and Markets. 

According to the report, the Global MOOCs market is driven by several factors. One of the major factors that are driving the growth of the market is the rising cost of education. Education is an important aspect for employment in today's world but the rising costs, increasing student loan debts, and declining average pay of graduates have made it difficult for students to receive quality education. As a result, students are opting for MOOCs as these courses are of low cost and provide much better quality of education. 

Commenting on the report, an analyst from the team said: “Big data tools and analytics are increasingly contributing to the increasing popularity of MOOCs. Universities are turning to MOOC providers for large student data analyses. Examination outcomes and assignment grading are made easy with MOOCs because of the online nature, which is otherwise a slow and tedious procedure with traditional data gathering techniques. The records are easily managed with big data tools, giving educators the advantage of real-time data management.”

Further, the report states that the future of the global MOOC market is, however, constrained by certain factors. The main factor is the low completion rates of students enrolled in MOOC programs. In 2013, the average completion rate of MOOCs was less than 7 percent. This was mainly because of the lack of motivational factors such as college credits or certifications. 

The study was conducted using an objective combination of primary and secondary information including inputs from key participants in the industry. The report contains a comprehensive market and vendor landscape in addition to a SWOT analysis of the key vendors. 

To learn more, visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/2889826/global-massive-open-online-courses-market-2014. 

U.K. E-Learning Analyst Names Top LMSs 

Learning Light, the U.K.-based independent e-learning industry market analyst, has produced a list of the top-performing learning management systems (LMSs). Learning Light based its analysis on several factors:

  • cost of ownership
  • features and functionalities
  • development pathway
  • future proofing your purchase.  

According to Learning Light Director David Patterson, “We’ve carried out this research in the light of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS)’s statement that, from September 2014, Individual Learner Records for funded further education courses must show a minimum of 10 per cent of individuals’ learning via materials delivered online. This is going to increase demand for LMSs in the U.K.—and, at present, there are some 600 LMSs from which to choose.” 

Learning Light’s list (in alphabetic order): 

  • NewSpring supports mobile delivery and integrated social learning. It has its own content creation and importing environment, as well as adaptive learning pathways.
  • Docebo has features that include classroom alignment, lots of integration options and APIs. Docebo also has a content market place, which is useful. Future development pathways look good as well.
  • Enable by Virtual College features solid reporting and highly evolved competencies and e-portfolios, driven by Enable's assessment functionality.
  • Kallidus, an LMS that's especially suitable for the mid-corporate training space, links well to blended learning and offers resources management, while ROI calculation is also provided.
  • LearnUpon is a simple e-learning platform designed mainly as an LMS for training companies. It can handle SCORM and other content and is excellent at simply uploading and managing content.
  • Litmos offers a functional, user-friendly development environment to import or build courses. It also can operate as an LRS (Learning Record Store) in recording Tin Can statements that are linked to the LMS.
  • Moodle is a popular open-source platform. Learning Light says the best configurations come from Webanywhere, which can integrate Moodle with Google Apps.
  • Nimble by Elearning 24/7, based on free nimbleAuthor templates, is a skills-orientated LMS. Elearning 24/7 offers off-the-shelf courses, as well. 

To learn more, visit http://learninglight.com.