So, last week was Learning Technologies UK 2015, Europe’s leading e-Learning exhibition and conference. I went as a free delegate, so I mostly spent my time listening to the free seminars and talking to as many of the exhibitors as I could. As expected there were people discussing gamification, 70-20-10, engagement and more. So I thought I’d share my highlights for anybody who didn’t get a chance to go or for anybody who wants to remember the good times.
This is a hard one to pick because there were so many stands showing so many things. The LMS people were waving apps around, recruiters were offering you chocolates in exchange for your soul and one company (I forget who) seemed to give up completely on the idea of humans and went with a talking robot.
In the end I decided to settle on Key Link Computers Ltd. There stand was simple, just a few laptops and with leaflets. It was what was on the laptops that captured my attention. They had developed a number of physics based 3D e-Learning experiments. The one I enjoyed the most was the momentum experiment. In the simulation you aimed and fired a rifle at a suspended weight. You could then measure length of the swinging weight’s arc. This gave the vertical rise, which in turn allows you to calculate the energy and hence the momentum given to the block. Without doubt this was the best use of simulation based learning I have seen, and the graphics were great too.
Best (free) Seminar
So many of the seminars overlapped that I only made it to 11. I admit this is quite a small sample but I still have a clear favourite. Dreamtek (who make cheesy corporate videos) demonstrated a new digital publishing system in their seminar “Learning and new media”. I have to say I didn’t particularly like the guy doing the presentation. He mentioned that he used to work for Apple pretty much every other sentence and reminded me of a Disney villain. However he was one of the only people to not use an endless list of bullets in his presentation and introduced me to something really cool. Aquafadas.
Aquafadas is a French software development company that offers applications in the field of digital publishing. The application that interested me was an app packager. It offered a development route from PDFs to apps. I have since had a play and it was simple quick and free (sort of). You had the choice of using a cloud based editor or an InDesign add-on. With both of these you could embed video, add effects and more. But the feature that really stood out was that the apps you created could send data to your LMS. This basically means that building eLearning apps has got a lot easier. It also generated some interest from some of our technical authors.
Probably the most important thing about any event, what was the best freebie? I managed to obtain a number of free memory sticks, pens and various toys. All were branded up to the nose by various vendors. In the end the best freebie came down to two.
The first one played into my purest joy, beer. Catalyst were offering key-ring bottle openers. My pure excitement at this meant they offered me a second one straight away. I left with three in the end. However, despite my euphoria, this was not the best freebie.
SCORM LMS won this accolade, they provided me with a windscreen ice scraper. This happens to be something I have been meaning to buy for a few years now but this isn’t the reason I think this was the best freebie. It had the phrase “A simple and powerful tool”. A piece of marketing genius. Whoever came up with that deserved a raise! He should also be the person SCORM LMS put in charge of marketing, as it really feels like TINCAN might finally take a hold as the first choice e-Learning standard in 2015.
There you have it, a quick round up of Learning Technologies 2015. It was a great couple of days and I’m already looking forward to next year.