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Tech Headlines for December 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
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Tech headlines for December 2013 include: Saba Study Shows Two-Thirds of Companies Are Using Social Learning Technology, Google Books Ruled Fair Use, Learning Insights 2013 Released, Voted Most Trusted in Cloud Hosting, New Hope for Abandoned Open Source Projects. 

New Study Shows Two-Thirds of Companies Are Using Social Learning Technology 

While adoption remains a challenge for some, more than 65 percent of respondents are using social learning technology, according to "State of the Industry Study: A Pulse on Social Learning,” a new research report from Saba, in partnership with HCM Advisory Group. The study, which examined how businesses are leveraging social learning, the areas of success, and some of the challenges faced when adopting it, surveyed more than 500 decision makers at companies of various industries and sizes. 

"As companies adapt to today's new world of work, it's now more important than ever that they focus on connecting people and content with social technology," says Emily He, senior vice president, marketing at Saba. "Based on the results of this study, a majority of businesses are already leveraging social learning to foster a culture of collaboration and innovation. As a leading provider of social learning technology, Saba is committed to helping organizations to develop their most important asset, their people." 

Key findings: 

  • Nearly half of respondents cite that the greatest success is achieved through increased collaboration and improved communication between management and employees.
  • Nearly two-thirds of organizations are motivated to use social learning to support a culture of learning, even though half of responding organizations mention challenges with adoption and uptake by employees.
  • Discussion and communication are the primary drivers, with 59.5 percent of organizations using discussion forums, 57.9 percent using internal blogs and 54.9 percent using secure instant messaging.
  • More than half of organizations are using social learning to support communities of practice, with 35.7 percent of organizations planning to develop communities of practice via social learning during the next two years. 

"The evolution from social media to social learning is where forward-thinking companies are moving to accelerate the development of their people and better accomplish business goals," says Sarah Kimmel, director, research and advisory services at Human Capital Media Advisory Group. "As employees and learning leaders become more comfortable with social learning and the value it can add to an organization, the challenges with adoption will ease, allowing for even more creative and productive use." 
"State of the Industry Study: A Pulse on Social Learning" further illustrates the need to provide social learning technology to enhance people development, allowing for real-time communication of knowledge across the entire organization. 

For more information, download "State of the Industry Study: A Pulse on Social Learning.” 

Google Books Ruled Fair Use 

After nearly a decade, U.S. Circuit Judge Deny Chin dismissed the lawsuit from the Author Guild, ruled that Google Books falls within the bounds of fair use in U.S. copyright law. 

Through Google Books, Google scanned some 20 million books in full and built a web service that allowed anyone to search the digital texts. However, users can only view “snippets” of a book if the rights holder hasn’t given approval. 

Fair use rulings focus on four factors. Of these, the most important is whether the use of the work is "transformative." Chin ruled that Google Books passes this test easily. 

"Google Books digitizes books and transforms expressive text into a comprehensive word index that helps readers, scholars, researchers, and others find books," he wrote. "Google Books does not supersede or supplant books because it is not a tool to be used to read books." 

Another factor weighing in Google's favor, in Chin's view, is that Google Books expands the market for books by helping consumers discover books they would not otherwise have known existed. 

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In a statement sent to WIRED, a Google spokesperson said the company was “absolutely delighted” with the ruling. “As we have long said, Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age giving users the ability to find books to buy or borrow.” 

Indeed, most agree that the ruling is a victory for Google, copyright's fair use doctrine, and online innovation. 

Learning Insights 2013

Kineo collaborated once again with U.K.-based e.learning age to produce its annual Learning Insights report. They interviewed more than 20 learning leaders in major companies, including Vodafone, Barclays, BBC, British American Tobacco, Sony, The Co-operative, Boots, Network Rail and many more.

The report sets out 10 trends for learning technology that learning professionals can’t afford to ignore. Some key findings:

  • Learning is becoming more pervasive.
  • Learning must move at the need of speed.
  • We must design higher empathy learning.

Learn more about the 10 trends—and what you can do about them—in the report, downloadable here. In the meantime, let Kineo walk you through the report insights in this animation:

Voted Most Trusted in Cloud Hosting 

The digital marketing and design agency Total Product Marketing has released its first “101 Trust Leaders in Cloud and Hosting for 2014.” The list encompasses many well-known trust leaders from the cloud and hosting sector in a variety of segments, including independent software vendors, service providers, research analysts, media, government, and venture capitalists. 

A sampling from the 101 Trust Leaders include individuals from software giant Salesforce.com (Marc Benioff, CEO), service providers Amazon.com (Werner Vogels, CTO), IBM SoftLayer (Lance Crosby, CEO) and Rackspace (Lanham Napier, President and CEO), managed hosting provider INetU (Chris Kivlehan, VP Account Management) and service provider Telx (Joe Weinman, VP Cloud Services and Strategy). 

“In a few short years, cloud computing has gone from a misunderstood and overlooked sector to the forefront of I.T. and computing,” says Philbert Shih, managing director of the hosting and cloud research firm Structure Research. “Today there is unprecedented activity in the sector as I.T. infrastructure shifts to a cloud-based delivery model. Organizations from the small business to the large enterprise are looking for ways to take advantage of the cloud and providers are positioning to tackle an opportunity that still has its best days ahead.” 

Total Product Marketing’s list will allow organizations to have the right information at their disposal to make decisive business, technology, operational and marketing decisions. 

New Hope for Abandoned Open Source Projects 

In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software. The problem is that open source projects are often abandoned.

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About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at rellis@td.org. 

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