Technology Headlines for February 2013
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Among the latest technology headlines for February 2013: E-Learning Ranks #1 in Investments for 2013, Half of Higher Ed Institutions Still Uncertain about MOOCs, U.S. News & World Report Reveals 2013 Best Online Education Programs, 70% of U.K. Companies Plan to Implement M-Learning, Announces 2013 Top 20 Authoring Tools.

E-Learning Ranks #1 in Investments for 2013  

Impact Instruction Group conducted a survey of learning and development professionals across the nation to get a pulse on technology strategies for 2013. The survey covers topics, including design/delivery methods, leadership support, strategy implementation, and skill requirements in the coming year.  

E-learning ranks #1 in investments in 2013 at 86 percent, with the majority of respondents also focusing on investing in webinars and video for their learning delivery initiatives. Investments for mobile applications and games and simulations still remain relatively low, but interest is growing. Here’s how the data breaks down: 

  • 66 percent will invest in webinars
  • 56 percent will invest in video
  • 22 percent will invest in mobile applications
  • 14 percent will invest in games and simulations. 

According to the study, 19 percent of respondents have fully designed and implemented an L&D technology strategy, along with the training that leverages it. Nearly one-third (31 percent) have new technology devices introduced in various lines of business, but they need to create an L&D. Meanwhile, 6 percent of the organizations surveyed still have no plans to move forward on an L&D technology strategy in 2013. 
Some additional trends uncovered by the data include:

  • Ever-shorter and more focused e-learning courses
  • Increasing sophistication of activities in e-learning, allowing learners to use higher-level critical thinking skills
  • short video segments (three to five minutes in length)combined into an e-learning course
  • Video segments or short webinars combined with performance support tools and job aids
  • Video segments, designed by training, that are part of larger initiatives such as change management and marketing
  • Increasing requests for design and delivery optimized for tablet devices
  • Usage of cloud-based tools to assemble, share, and track learning content
  • The use of games and simulations as a delivery method

For more information, such as how organizations will staff internal technology teams and buy-in from leadership, down load the full report.  

Half of Higher Ed Institutions Still Uncertain about MOOCs 

Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States is the 10th annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The survey is designed, administered, and analyzed by the Babson Survey Research Group. Data collection is conducted in partnership with the College Board. This year’s study, like those for the previous nine years, tracks the opinions of chief academic officers and is aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education. 

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have generated a considerable about of press coverage over the past year. Based on responses from more than 2,800 colleges and universities, the new level of attention may have altered higher education leader’s perceptions and plans for MOOCs and other online offerings. 

The research found that while only a very small segment of higher education institutions are now experimenting with MOOCs (2.6 percent), a somewhat larger number in the planning stages (9.4 percent). The majority of institutions (55.4 percent) report they are still undecided about MOOCs, while under one-third (32.7 percent) say they have no plans for a MOOC. 

Academic leaders remain unconvinced that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses, but do believe they provide an important means for institutions to learn about online pedagogy. In addition, academic leaders are not concerned about MOOC instruction being accepted in the workplace, but do have concerns that credentials for MOOC completion will cause confusion about higher education degrees. 

U.S. News & World Report Reveals 2013 Best Online Education Programs

U.S. News & World Report has released its second annual rankings edition of the Best Online Education Programs.  For the first time, programs administered for distance learners that are 100 percent online will be ranked numerically, just like traditional colleges and graduate schools. Online bachelor's degree programs as well as graduate online degree programs in business, engineering, nursing, education and computer information technology were ranked.  

Online education allows people to attend school without having to quit their jobs or disrupt their lives. According to Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, people with a bachelor's degree earn 84 percent more than those with only a high school diploma over the course of a career—making online education, with its flexibility, an increasingly popular option.  

Online bachelor's degree programs were ranked in three different categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training and student services and technology. All of the online master's degree programs were ranked in admissions selectivity in addition to the bachelor's degree categories.  

The engineering and business master's programs were also ranked based on ratings of their academic reputation by top academics who run online programs at peer institutions.


Best Bachelor's Programs

  1. Pace University (NY)
  2. Dayton State College (FL)
  3. St. John’s University (NY)

Best Business Programs (Graduate)

  1. Washington State University
  2. Arizona State University
  3. Indiana University, Bloomington

Best Education Programs (Graduate)

  1. St. John’s University (NY)
  2. Auburn University (AL)
  3. South Dakota State University

Best Engineering Programs (Graduate)

  1. University of Southern California (Viterbi)
  2. Pennsylvania State University—World Campus
  3. Columbia University (Fu Foundation) (NY)

Best Computer Information Technology Programs (Graduate)

  1. University of Southern California (Viterbi)
  2. Sam Houston State University (TX)
  3. Virginia Tech 

For the full list of rankings, click here.

70 Percent of U.K. Companies Plan to Implement M-Learning  

Mobile research by benchmarking company, Towards Maturity, highlights how more than 70 percent of companies from the Towards Maturity Benchmark Study 2012-2013 of 500 organizations, are planning to implement m-learning in the next two years. 

The 16-page, free In-Focus report, “Mobile Learning at Work,” identifies the key trends in m-learning, helping organizations understand how their peers are using this growing learning technology and how to plan effectively. Usage of mobile devices in workplace learning has been tracked by Towards Maturity since 2006. Data in the Towards Maturity In-Focus report has been drawn from the Towards Maturity 2012-13 online benchmark study with contributions from more than 500 learning and development professionals spanning 28 industries and 37 nations. 

The report highlights that organizations using mobile technologies in learning are reporting more staff and business benefits than those who are not. One-third of mobile users (34 percent) report that e-learning has contributed to improvements in organizational productivity—compared to 20 percent of non-mobile users. One-quarter (25 percent) report that mobile learning has made a significant contribution to increasing organizational revenue. And 29 percent of mobile users agree that learners put what they learn into practice more quickly. 

According to Laura Overton, managing director of Towards Maturity, “Even though some large organizations have started using mobile technology to empower their workforce, for most the question still remains–how do we actually use it in the workplace? Training departments are unsure how to design, develop and implement a successful m-learning strategy that works for their organizations.”  

The report reveals the industry sectors with the highest use of mobile devices are consultancy (80 percent); commercial training providers (60 percent); continuing and higher education (55 percent) and IT and telecoms (55 percent). Private-sector organizations are more likely to be using m-learning than those in the public or nonprofit sectors. 

The report can be downloaded at Announces 2013 Top 20 Authoring Tools monitors the training marketplace looking for the best providers of authoring tools. This second annual list of top authoring tools is designed to help buy-side organizations in their searches for the right training partners. 

Selection to this year's Top 20 Authoring Tools Companies was based on the following criteria:

  • leadership and innovation
  • features and capabilities of the authoring tools
  • company size and growth potential
  • company focus on the authoring platforms
  • strength and number of clients/users 
  • geographic reach. 

Due to the diversity of services included in authoring tools, does not rank the top companies. The companies are listed in alphabetical order.  

  • Adobe
  • Ancile Solutions
  • Articulate
  • Assima
  • Branshark
  • CB Studio
  • CrossKnowledge
  • DominKnow
  • Dupont Sustainable Solutions
  • e-Doceo
  • Edvantage Group
  • IBM
  • Knoodle
  • Lectora
  • Mzinga
  • Rapid Intake
  • Ready Go
  • SumTotal
  • Zebra Zapps
  • Zenler
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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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