Aug 24, 2008

Between making yourself and buying off the shelve

E-learning content is basically a make-or-buy decision. Either you find the package that satisfies your needs on the market, and you buy a license, or you don't and than you develop it yourself. I would argue that the industry is or should be shifting to a make-and-buy model, where a company can buy semi-finalized course materials, and put in the extra 20% effort to tweak them to the organization's unique needs. After all, generic e-learning can only satisfy so many needs (Office training would be one), and reinventing the wheel for customized training is a costly matter.

- Companies should be able to buy instructional templates and creative alternatives on specific types of training. I'm thinking of templates for application training, product training, process training, induction, management 'soft' skills, etc. It saves a lot on instructional design to work with a sound and proven template.

- Companies should be able to buy almost-ready content that is approx 80% ready and complete it with their own terminology, logo, picture library and relevant cases and examples. I'm thinking of general training or cross-industry training.

I stumbled upon Kineo, a UK provider that is operating in this in-between market: the offer flatpacks or templates for a fee. Have a look at their store:

What is PENS?

PENS is another standard in the elearning world, and stands for 'Package Exchange Notification Services'. It's a specification that allows for quickly and automatically uploading an e-learning package to an LMS from a supported tool like an authoring tool or an LCMS.

Busuu language learning

Busuu is a new site to learn languages (English, French, Spanish, German). Currently in beta, it offers an orientation test and a community around native speakers. The design is fresh and very visual, something important for language learners. I also like the fact this site does not necessarily assume you want to learn language A from B. In your profile you can select all the languages you know and the level you are at, and the languages you want to know. The tour video doesn't work, but otherwise looks promising. Made in Spain.