“Articulate” superimposed on “the cube!”

I’ve chosen Articulate as my e-learning product. This software suite is intended for users to deliver “rapid e-learning to any community of choice” and comprises a set of authoring tools, a flash-based presentation tool imported from Powerpoint, (WOW!) a quiz making tool to assess and conduct surveys, a means to create interactivity and an LMS.

 The essence of this product is to hand over the reins of development and delivery to the user. In the words of one of their sales support rep, “we provide the hammer and nails, you make the house!”

 1. Market Focus:

Articulate is found in all three vertical markets, K- 12; Higher Ed, Corporate and Government. Given that their focus is to provide the tools all markets are of interest to them. A key element of their success lies in the infrastructure in place to support the tools for each market.

 For example: there is a highly successful blog, created by Tom Kuhlmann who has done a fabulous job of pushing creative instructional design tips out to the marketplace. He has over 10,000 subscribers making it the most read blog in the e-learning industry.

 http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/

 

 2. Types of Offerings:

As Articulate is out of the content/customized content game entirely; they only provide the tools, support, and LMS infrastructure to the user.

 3. Who is the Buyer:

The majority of buyers are found in the corporate setting, with academic institutions and government representing the other key client base. Purchasing is largely made centrally by larger corporate headquarters, and with IT departments at University and government levels. Larger non-profit societies such as the Canadian Cancer Society and The UN are also clients of Articulate.

http://www.articulate.com/company/clients.php

 4. Global Markets

The market focus for Articulate is represented broadly with the exception of areas where there is poor quality internet service. They are represented in 115 countries, including North/South America, Europe and Asia and in more than 12,000 organizations. Now that is serious market penetration! They are also represented in military and maritime organizations.

 5. Development of the Market

This facet of the cube looks to developing the market in a quadrant of possibilities. Articulate is not in markets which have poor internet infrastructure or marginal languages, but flourish in markets which support custom work. They thrive in markets where content can be developed at any level, from the individual through to the corporation and government. It knows no real boundaries other than those with marginal technological infrastructure.

 6. Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

 Again, given that Articulate is a tool which can be manipulated to serve many masters, it can fit within other forms of learning, albeit not always optimally. The real question is how to engage the learning communities to see the value that this learning technology brings to the table and make allowances for its shortcomings by adding instructor led involvement.

 

 Certainly Articulate can work within a well developed learning system. Articulate Online has recently been added to their suite of software tools to track e-learning activity, as their LMS equivalent.

 

 As well, it could serve as the other form of learning technology for a region, however it may not be optimal if this is the only modality for learning.

 

 Articulate is by far one of the most flexible learning technology components, and while it may compete with an existing learning system, it can easily be geared up or down depending on the political circumstance.

 

3 comments


1 davidp { 09.18.08 at 11:34 am }

This seems like a very intriguing venture, especially when it puts lots of power in the hands of individual end users. This is a good thing.

User empowerment has been one of the value propositions that Moodle has brought to the academic domain. Being open source, Moodle contains a set of values that sets it apart from other proprietary LMS tools – a differentiator that has helped Moodle build an academic following.

I’m wondering whether Articulate, given it may be a late entry to an established market, brings with it a sufficient differentiator to set it apart in a very crowded field?

Thoughts?


2 Cheryl Milner { 09.18.08 at 1:47 pm }

I don’t believe that Articulate has as robust an LMS as does Moodle.

Articulate’s strength lies in the fact that one can convert their Powerpoint slides into a flash file. While that doesn’t sound very compelling, it is in the corporate world because these slides can be repurposed to become a component of a larger more integrated piece of training with levels of interactivity that was never available as a uni-directional presentation.


3 Laura Macleod { 09.27.08 at 5:43 am }

What I like about both Articulate and Moodle is that they fit with the academic ethos of ‘knowledge should be free’. I think one of the biggest difficulties for the academic entrepreneur lies in how to solve that dilemma. Knowledge should be free is one of the fundamental philosophical underpinnings of the humanities and social sciences; but we live in a (modified) free market society. Trying to make money from education is always viewed suspiciously. But often open-source and collaborative ventures are too ‘cottage industry’ – industrialization does bring lots of benefits with it, in terms of overall cost to society.

I’m not sure I”m articulating this clearly enough. But it seems to me, based on my own business experience in the last decade or so, that cultural barriers to new business ventures are significant and often underestimated.

Laura

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