Tech Headlines for May 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ADL Learning App Challenge 2014

The ADL Initiative is hosting its third annual Learning App Challenge. This year, ADL is inviting app developers to submit mobile learning apps designed to support education, training, or performance support.

The objective of the challenge is for contestants to create an app that will help learners acquire knowledge and understanding by manipulating tasks, simulations, or situations that require students to critically evaluate what they are learning.

The judges will evaluate the apps and select the challenge winners based on the following criteria:

  • how well the app provides a learning solution to a stated problem
  • technical quality of the app
  • user experience and usability.

Extra points will be awarded to Apps that integrate with an existing ADL project, capability, or research focus.
Challenge winners will receive a certificate. The challenge will be open for submissions until  September 2, 2014. There is no cost for entering.

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Tell Your Story with Adobe’s New Voice App

Adobe has launched Voice, a free multimedia iPad app that creates narrative, animated videos.  It features real-time motion graphics, audio sweetening, and HD video output without the need for photo or video experience or design training.

Adobe Voice is designed to substitute for and enhance PowerPoint-style deck presentations by placing the emphasis on both audio and visual elements. It’s targeted to small businesses, educators, and students who want to create an original message with artistic flair.

Built on the foundation of After Effects motion graphics, Voice facilitates the creation of animated videos that inform and persuade. Though the final story is output in video format, Voice does not work with video per se, rather presentations are a mix of stills, schematics, text, recorded voice and background audio tracks. You touch the screen to record voiceovers one line at a time with background music automatically added.

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Intrepid Launches Corporate MOOC

Intrepid Learning has announced the release of its Intrepid Agile Corporate MOOC solution. The product is inspired by academic MOOCs (massive open online courses), but is designed specifically for use in corporate environments.

"We believe that corporate MOOCs have the ability to radically change the way we deliver and experience learning in the corporate environment," said Sam Herring, CEO of Intrepid Learning. "Corporate MOOCs have the ability to solve very specific business problems, such as educating customers and partners, identifying and acquiring new talent, and deploying learning solutions at scale."


The MOOC offers learners an opportunity to experience the Intrepid Agile Corporate MOOC solution firsthand. At the end of the three-week MOOC, participants would be able to:

  • articulate the value proposition of MOOCs to an organization
  • identify the critical elements that make a corporate MOOC successful
  • formulate a corporate MOOC strategy
  • develop a high-level MOOC design for their organization.

In conjunction with the product launch, Intrepid Learning is scheduled to host a massive open online course (MOOC) educating corporate leaders about the value of corporate MOOCs as a solution to solve key business challenges. The MOOC is scheduled to begin on June 9.
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Totara Offers Free Downloadable Version of LMS

Totara Learning Solutions announced a significant change to its open source distribution strategy—offering Totara Seedlings, an unsupported version of the popular software. 

Since its launch in 2011, TotaraLMS has been offered as a distribution of the popular education platform, Moodle. For a low-cost subscription fee, customers receive the benefit of code support and maintenance, security updates, error correction, patch updates and a continuing stream of new innovations supported by Totara Learning Solutions.

Richard Wyles, Totara’s chief executive, said that he has always seen his company as an extension of the Moodle community. “We believe Seedlings is the most effective way to do that, compared to our previous direct approach such as our work on open badges for Moodle,” he said. “It might not have been clear just how much we do in the open source realm.”

He added that Seedlings is a great way for software developers to get to know the company and engage in its project, and for potential customers to evaluate the features including upcoming versions.

“We don’t believe in dumbing down our community version to bait customers into buying our enterprise edition,” he said. “Seedlings is the beta version containing our very latest innovations.”

As the name implies, Totara Seedlings contains young, even experimental code, so it’s not suitable for use in a production setting, Wyles added.

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New Analyst Report Examines Growth in E-Learning Market

A new report by Global Industry Analysts says technology advances are fueling interest and participation in e-learning. The report notes that the rise in Internet users, expanding use of smartphones and tablet phones in both personal and corporate environment, and digital content solutions mean “gaining popularity” for e-learning technology.

“The trend brings to fore the accelerating irrelevance of traditional knowledge delivery systems in this digital era, and the resulting shift in focus towards dynamic Internet-based interactive learning systems,” said the GIA report. “The role of technology innovations in driving new opportunities in the e-learning market and in providing better learning experiences for users cannot be undermined.”

The “standardized nature of the Internet” gives manufacturers the ability to create scalable products that can be deployed by any type of customer without the need for investing in additional specialized equipment, the report explains. “Market growth is expected to be fueled by the introduction of 4G communication technology with its high internet access speeds and broadband capacity,” the report concludes.

According to GIA, “Growth in the market is also forecast to come from increasing acceptance of mobile learning in the corporate world as a result of cost benefits, growing base of mobile workforce, proliferation of mobile computing, and changing employee learning styles and the resulting need for a parallel shift in patterns of engagement in workplace learning. Also, growing adoption of second screen learning is helping m-learning emerge as a supplementary addition to existing educational tools and strategies.”

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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 

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