Magic Quadrant for Corporate Learning Systems — from Gartner

Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Corporate Learning Systems

Source: Gartner (March 2011)


Market Definition/Description
CLSs continue to expand the functionality and robustness of their components. The five core components that a CLS should provide are:

  • LMS — supports the administration and management of learning programs, such as assessment, records management, provisioning of learning, management of training resources and reporting.
  • LCMS and content authoring tools — enable the creation, storage, delivery and reuse of learning content.
  • Virtual classrooms and multimodal e-learning delivery — underpin various approaches to learning, including formal (for example, instructor-led), structured social, informal and blended styles.
  • Social learning — supports the collaborative learning activities of individuals and teams, as well as the creation and interaction of communities of learners.
  • Professional services — help create custom content, develop learning strategies and support implementation.

Comprehensive report regarding online learning in Austrialia - April 2011

Originally saw this at
one of Stephen Downes’ blogs



In particular, the report outlines the operations of two significant distance-learning institutes in Australia:

  • Open Universities Australia (OUA), a consortium of universities providing distance-learning opportunities for students across Australia.
  • eWorks, focusing on Technical and Further Education (TAFE), equivalent to college education level courses.

This report outlines unique features and best practices of both organizations, details specific roles within the organizations, and explores options for potential collaborations and project partnerships.

Open Universities Australia (OUA), a $70 million for-profit consortium which originated in 1992 with Federal Government funding, is now fully funded from student fees and projected to double in growth in the near term. 70% of students receive financial aid. As a consortium, it relies on the reputation of its constituent members. The board, comprised of participating university chancellors and independent directors from the professional workforce which includes an academic committee, governs the introduction and quality of programs and vets new providers. Most course work is delivered asynchronously with increasing progression towards synchronicity. Demand (rather than supply) drives new courses which are offered to complement existing courses in accordance with market forces. More than $1 million is available to aid in development of online delivery of existing face-to-face courses.

eWorks, a support service of The Australian Flexible Learning Framework (AFLF) develops (rather than delivers) content, based on nationally mandated curriculum competencies for the Vocation Education and Training sector (VET) sector, and coordinates access to existing vendor products into a single environment, generated from a single platform. Standardization of both learning objects and formats for storage and accessibility resulted in a federated search engine: the Learning Object Repository Network (LORN). Success of LORN relies on standards compliance by each state and territory.


The Connected Life at Home — from Cisco

The connected life at home -- from Cisco



From DSC:

How will these types of technologies affect what we can do with K-12 education/higher education/workplace training and development? I’d say they will open up a world of new applications and opportunities for those who are ready to innovate; and these types of technologies will move the “Forthcoming Walmart of Education” along.

Above item from:

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Moodle 2.0 integrations – Alfresco — from Synergy Learning by Joel Kerr

As Moodle 2.0 becomes more established we are finding more and more clients eager to upgrade from their current version.

Not only is the software being recognised for it’s new and improved features, it also makes integrating with third party tools a whole lot easier, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for those moving to Moodle 2.0.

Over the next few blog posts I am going to look at some of these external tools to see what benefits they can bring to your operations….starting with Alfresco.


If you haven’t heard of Alfresco before you might find it a rather useful tool.  It is a Content Management System (CMS), which basically means it can be used for managing the production of electronic content (text files, videos, graphics etc.) via a set of rules, processes and workflows.

Like Moodle and Mahara, Alfresco is Open Source and as a CMS it specializes in:

  1. Document Management
  2. Records Management
  3. Web Content Management
  4. Share
  5. Content Platform
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Who needs textbooks? — from
How Washington State is redesigning textbooks for the digital age.

Who needs textbooks? How Washington State is redesigning textbooks for the digital age.

Jessie Sellers, a student at Tacoma Community College in Washington state, was puzzled when he logged onto his school’s website last December to figure out which book he needed for his upcoming English class. Whereas for all his previous courses, the 24-year-old education major could simply click on a link to view the name of the required textbook, this time there were no books listed at all. It was no mistake: thanks to an ambitious pilot program aimed at reducing the cost of textbooks at public colleges, Sellers and hundreds of other students across the state won’t have to buy textbooks for more than three dozen courses offered this winter.

Washington’s Open Course Library is the largest state-funded effort in the nation to make core college course materials available on the Web for $30 or less per class. Financed with $750,000 from the state of Washington and a matching grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the goal isn’t just to reduce student costs, says program architect Cable Green. It’s also to create engaging, interactive learning materials that will help improve course completion rates. By the time the project is completed in 2012, digitized textbook equivalents for some 81 high-enrollment classes will be available online for the more than 400,000 students enrolled in Washington’s network of community and technical colleges. Even better, the materials can be shared across the globe, largely for free, because they will be published in an open format that avoids the most onerous licensing restrictions. To keep costs at a minimum, the teachers developing the materials are relying primarily on either existing material in the public domain or embarking on the painstaking task of developing materials from scratch.

Global Grid for Learning – 1 million-plus resources — from MJO
Hugh John checks out a BETT newbie, online service provider Global Grid for Learning

Global Grid for Learning (GGfL) aims to connect teachers and students at all stages in education to single sources of digital multimedia learning resources from multiple providers.

eLearning predictions for 2011 and beyond — from Web by Jon Aleckson


This summer I attended the 2010 Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Some very interesting topics came up in the facilitated Think Tanks, and I wanted to share some of the predictions that were developed from these active group discussions regarding where eLearning will go in the next ten years.

Below you will find a table that summarizes the different opportunities and challenges that were predicted to arise in the next ten years by the participants in the conference Think Tanks and by [Jon Aleckson].

Opportunities Challenges
  1. Bridging informal and formal education
  2. Movement between schools to obtain courses needed for custom degrees
  3. Increase in shared knowledge among students and learners
  4. Networking and learning from each other
  5. Resumes will include informal and formal learning experiences acquired via the Internet
  1. Developing standards to gauge education and competency from multiple sources
  2. Providing an authoritative, reliable source for information (e.g. not just Wikipedia)
  3. Physical and psychological distance from other learners and instructors.
  4. Quality measures for informal and formal professional development attained on the Internet.
K-12 Instruction
  1. Reducing barriers to funding, certification, credit and accreditation
  2. Increase access to quality education for all students
  3. Open “course” concept to new blends of delivery and teaching
  4. Providing for more game-based learning experiences and techniques for a variety of learning styles
  5. Using new technology in the classroom
  1. Defining online and blended education
  2. Development of technical infrastructure, internet access and equipment
  3. Maintaining the custodial function of school
  4. Acquiring funding for bold Internet delivered experiences for the classroom
  5. Allowing use of new technology in the classroom
Corporate Training
  1. Just-in-time learning
  2. Greater access to information
  3. Peer coaching
  4. Cloud training
  5. Ability to reach those previously unreachable
  1. Intellectual property rights
  2. Resistance to using open content
  3. Peer review of resources
  4. Unknown impact of open universities
  5. Technical challenges related to size of offerings and rapidly changing technology
  1. Tools allowing for easier collaboration and interaction
  2. Richer media experience (videos and simulations)
  3. Content repositories & Learning Object distribution and searchability
  4. Movement away from static textbooks as primary resource
  1. Growing tension between standard core content and differentiation of content
  2. Where will content for curriculum come from?
  3. What part will student-generated content play?
  4. More copyright issues
Learning Environment
  1. Customized learning spaces, i.e. personal learning environments (PLEs)
  2. Customization of content presentation and access
  3. eReaders and eBooks providing better and more interactive content (just in time)
  4. Changing paradigm of “bounded courses” to unbounded courses where learning is a continuous process that can occur anywhere and at any time
  1. Determining fit and purpose of new tools and pedagogical approaches
  2. Standards for smart phones/mobile apps
  3. Issues with accreditation, privacy and copyrights
  4. Universal access to technology, equipment, and the internet
  1. More involvement and collaboration with online and distance learning initiatives
  2. More part-time faculty teaching for several institutions
  3. Faculty practices and entrepreneurs
  4. Changing role of faculty and PD instructors
  1. What will the primary role of faculty be?
  2. Faculty segmentation into master teachers, mentors, researchers, tutors, etc.
  3. Changing of promotion and tenure to accommodate different roles
  4. Changing pay structure
  1. Continued growth of open education with some program stabilization
  2. Improved learner focus
  3. Increased blending/blurring of traditional on-campus with online options
  4. More collaboration with other administrators to influence policy makers
  1. Managing and maintaining growth
  2. How to blend on and off campus learner programs
  3. Regulatory and accreditation issues
  4. Student accountability issues (plagiarism/doctoring)
  5. Improving faculty/ instructor readiness
International Perspectives
  1. Providing access to education even to remote, rural, and developing areas
  2. Promote intercultural mixing and diversity through education
  3. Improving educational access in segregated societies
  4. Sharing resources and co-producing content to reduce cost
  5. Serve new growing customer groups
  6. Informal learning, sharing own learning with others via internet (e.g. blogs, wiki)
  1. Technological infrastructure of societies
  2. Understanding of different people and places
  3. Eliminating the “we and they” thinking
  4. Illiterate audiences
  5. International/cultural conflicts
  6. Developing culturally aware curricula
  7. Differences in cost of education and fees
  8. Selecting suitable types of content delivery
  9. Refiguring content for different learner communities

Revisiting predictions about content subscription and education — from the xplanation

Excerpt: (emphasis by DSC):

This, in turn, is placing pressure on publishers to respond, and the best response is through e-textbooks. While these two segments represented only 5%-6% of the total market, they cut into the sale of print textbooks and will continue to grow aggressively in 2011. In other words, Content Subscription, through rental or digital is now firmly entrenched in the Higher Education market and will occupy an increasingly large share of the market.

An island no more: A game-changing application suite for LMS — from by Trent Batson

…a “Google Analytics” for the LMS.

…perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of plugjam, allowing both students and teachers to intelligently search open educational resources (OERs) maintained by Merlot and 10 colleges and universities through the new OER Global Consortium inspired and supported by MERLOT, including Johns Hopkins, MIT, Notre Dame, The Open University, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Stanford University, Delft University, University of Massachusetts Boston, The University of Tokyo, and Yale University. Other institutions offer additional OERs, such as Carnegie Mellon, Rice, and others.

…essentially allowing faculty and students to create a portal with a live instantiation of the LMS interface on the same page as social software and other functionalities, literally putting your LMS into the social Web.

Why is all this important? The campus book library of 10 years ago has changed radically: It is now augmented (and perhaps surpassed) by the library on the Web, more easily searched, portable to any Web site, and potentially a broader-based, more up-to-date set of resources than was ever available before to the campus community. With many more Web academic resources becoming available everyday and the LMS, with plugjam, capable of becoming its own “lending library,” each course can be content-rich beyond imagination.

iTunes U downloads top 300 million — press release from

CUPERTINO, California—August 24, 2010—In just over three years, iTunes® U downloads have topped 300 million and it has become one of the world’s most popular online educational catalogs. Over 800 universities throughout the world have active iTunes U sites, and nearly half of these institutions distribute their content publicly on the iTunes Store®. New content has just been added from universities in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico and Singapore, and iTunes users now have access to over 350,000 audio and video files from educational institutions around the globe.

“iTunes U makes it easy for people to discover and learn with content from many of the world’s top institutions,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “With such a wide selection of educational material, we’re providing iTunes users with an incredible way to learn on their computer, iPhone, iPod or iPad.”

Created in collaboration with colleges and universities, iTunes U makes it easy to extend learning, explore interests or learn more about a school. A dedicated area within the iTunes Store (, iTunes U offers users public access to content from world class institutions such as Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, University of Melbourne and Université de Montréal. iTunes U gives anyone the chance to experience university courses, lab demonstrations, sports highlights, campus tours and special lectures. All iTunes U content is free and can be enjoyed on a Mac® or PC, or wirelessly downloaded directly onto an iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad™.


Also see the following graphic (from -- Applied Math & Science Education Repository

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Education Innovation: Top Five Education Industry Trends Predictions from the Gilfus Education Group Make Significant Progress in 2010
Education Industry leaders see tangible evidence of Education Innovation and Technology Trends predicted from October 2009.

In October 2009 the Gilfus Education Group predicted the:

  1. Emergence of robust “Enterprise” Open Source Learning Management Systems
  2. Combination of academic and administrative functionality into a more cohesive experience
  3. Proliferation of “Software-as-a-Service” administrative and academic applications
  4. Growth of independent content object repositories to support teaching and learning
  5. Introduction of successful learning applications from other countries into North America
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Portals, not repositories — from Mike Bogle

From his “Bigger than content” section:

The point here is that, in light of the prevailing aversion to sharing of material, I just can’t see the financial justification or prospect of success in setting up these large, expensive centralised repositories. People seem far more willing to share their materials in a context and environment that they feel a sense of “ownership” and control over.

In order to evolve past this cycle of hoarding and protecting, I think we must address the cultural elements first. The discussion has to be bigger than content, because the concerns are bigger than content.

In my view this is one of the key aspects that PLNs, open education, networked learning, and communities of practice have going for them. Not only do they model sharing and reuse, they demonstrate how it fits within the wider landscape of learning, teaching, personal and professional development – and in fact largely answer the question “what’s in it for me.”

Honestly I can’t say that centralised repositories do the same thing, because they still focus on content, and content by itself is static.

Quote from elsewhere in his posting:

But fundamentally we need to start thinking of content as something that sits within a broader process of participation, engagement, and discourse (emphasis DSC), rather than a singular focal point.

From DSC:
…as something that sits within a broader…learning…ecosystem.

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