Distributing Learning of BC

Correspondence schools in BC were established around 1918. In 1995, the School Act changed the term “correspondence education” to “distance education”. The Revised Statutes of the School Act 1996 recognized a distributed learning school operated by a board to be a “school”. Between 1998 and 2001, the Ministry sponsored a pilot project, Distributed Electronic Learning – computer and internet technology assisted education involving 18 school boards and 2200 students. Bill 33 of September 1, 2006 enabled all school districts offering distributed learning to receive the same funding as any other students in the province.

Currently, the Ministry uses multiple enrolment date collections to fund boards or distributed learning authorities, and every Grade 10, 11 and 12 student in British Columbia is allowed to take any distributed learning courses no matter where he/she is registered. Using the Active Policy, the Ministry provides funding for each educational program of Grade 10 to 12 students who receive instruction through distributed learning. The effect of Bill 33 is the explosive interest in the operation of distributed learning by school boards. Distributed learning is no longer simply a method of instruction that relies on indirect communication between students and teachers using technology. It now offers a dynamic and engaging learning environment which strives to be of high quality. The goals of distributed learning include equitable access to education and the elimination of all kinds of divides.

We have witnessed the power economy has over education. The availability of the Ministry’s funding to students who are multiply registered with distributed learning drove many school boards to start offering distributed learning. Educators who used to be strong advocates of face-to-face education seem to have been converted to technology assisted distributed learning.

With Campus 20/20 in mind, I can see great potential in educational ventures in this field. An obvious trend is that Grades 10-12 will be expanded to K-12, and then to K-postsecondary. As with the vision of Campus 20/20, if a Multilanguage/multicultural platform is supported, distributed learning in BC can absolutely become a global enterprise. Considering the multi-racial trends of BC population growth, it is not an unrealistic dream and plan. There certainly is an opportunity for all universities of British Columbia to be a part of this. In light of UBC already being a community of students from over 130 countries, this venture is highly attractive and unwise to ignore.

Face 1: Market Focus
Public schools/ postsecondary schools

Face 2: Types of Offerings
Distributed learning

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?
Learning bought by province, regions, and nations

Face 4: Global Markets
English/multi-lingual

Face 5: Development of the Market
Start with BC which has a strong network of education, develop into nations which already have established networks, and subsidize part of the revenues of underdeveloped countries and regions, targeting the achievement of the equalization of education throughout the world.

Face 6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning
The distributed learning of BC has already going towards the direction of encompassing and merging with the face-to-face education. This approach is critical.

Alex

September 19, 2008   8 Comments

Multifaceted

I found this Education Channel Partners report which had a very nice section at the end about how to evaluate products. It has a very clear focus on sales and marketing, which my experience is the most difficult part to get right. So rather than the cube, I will use this multifaceted approach.

http://www.siia.net/education/webcasts/06-28-06/ECP_ExecSummaryandSampleProfile.pdf

The product I have looked at is also unique in that it was created as part of a government contract. I chose it because it is one of the best music education sites I have ever encountered. You can look at it here Sound Junction

Education Market Emphasis The Sound Junction site is geared toward K-12 education as well as homeschoolers and could be appealing to some post secondary institutions

Target Education Contacts In the end user category, target contacts in this case would be Technology Coordinators, Curriculum Coordinators, teachers, students, and parents. In the development category, the site was written in conjunction with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the UK.

Sales & Marketing Methodologies & Activities From browsing the site and looking at the user base, I would say that they were likely to have used sponsorships, strategic partners, and also email/blogs as a marketing methodology.

Staffing The site appears to have moderators which implies staff. In the design phase they employed a Technical development company, Atticmedia Ltd. It was commissioned by Culture Online, part of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, of the UK Government.

Geographic Field Sales Coverage Area This product seems to be aimed mostly at the UK, but is also appealing to any English speaking country which is connected to the Internet.

Product & Service Offerings Sound Junction offers Online curriculum, professional development, educational video’s, and games. In addition they also offer alternate ways to browse their site, with their journey mode. They have lessons online and content that was created by commissioned artists.

Purchasing Options It’s free! (and there is nothing for a fee on the site)

September 19, 2008   1 Comment

PROSPERO Learning Solutions

Introduction

When I started my current job as a workplace instructor with De Beers Canada, I was asked to take on the job of setting up the company’s training records using Prospero’s Learningworks Suite™. I was left to figure out how to use the program on my own, as I didn’t receive any formal training on the software. Having a background in IT was a plus, but when things got tough, I did take advantage of Prospero’s technical support department. 

Prospero

Established in 1998, Prospero developed its own unique proprietary methodology for designing, developing and delivering custom learning solutions. They claim that their technique is adaptable to all content, cultures and industries around the globe. They also claim to be able to create solutions capable of accommodating multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and multi-generational learners. 

Courtesy of PROSPERO Learning Solutions

Courtesy of PROSPERO Learning Solutions

 Market Focus

Their award winning products and services are aimed primarily at mid to large size national and multinational companies from all across Canada. Their products are designed to help track and manage a variety of learning initiatives.

Prospero has developed a variety of products and services to meet market demands. They offer several services: placement, learning strategy, Instructor-led training, custom e-learning, blended learning and evaluating and testing services. They also offer two learning management products: Learningworks LMS and Learningworks Lite. A third product, Quizworks is also available.  

 Types Of Offerings

Prospero claims to provide cost effective custom build learning solutions. They accomplish this by implementing the best educational technologies into your custom built e-learning courseware package before tailoring it into your learning management system. You tell them what you need and they will help you to build it! 

 Who Is The Buyer

Prospero is available to any business or organization requiring a custom-tailored solution. All of this from a company which claims to have mastered the art of mapping learning outcomes directly to business goals. Prospero offers quality, service and results! 

 Global Markets

Based on their list of clientele, Prospero certainly appears to have the connections to go global. I didn’t read anything specific to indicate that they were doing so. Their website, however, is viewable in three languages (English, French and Spanish) which seems to suggest that they may be doing business in the United States.  

 Development Of The Market

Prospero has taken an interesting approach to building their customer base. They offer potential clients a partnering program. Their aimed is to establish long-term mutually beneficial partnerships. To this end, they have designed three ways to partner: Gap Partner, Co-Sourcing Partner and Full Service Partner. Each one takes a slightly different approach to partnering which makes it easier for prospective clients to align themselves with a service that best fits their needs. 

 Learning Technology Competing With Other Forms Of Learning

Prospero has been in the business for ten years and they appear to be well established in the learning management market. There well may be many other companies offering similar products and services but not many can match their client base or their expertise.

The key to Prospero’s survival will lie in their ability to incorporate the latest learning technologies into their existing programs. They will also have to come up with new and more innovative product lines and services if they hope to remain competitive.

September 19, 2008   2 Comments

Delmar Cengage Learning

Delmar Cengage Learning

Delmar Cengage Learning is a place where if you wish to improve your knowledge in electronics it’s the place to go. You will find products including books and software, developed in conjunction with leading electronics technology educators and trainers, for DC/AC circuits, Circuit Fundamentals, Circuit Analysis, Electronic Devices, Electronic Communications and more.

Market Focus

The Delmar site is targeted more specifically towards and educator for teaching and personal learning purposes but with that said it offers advanced learning for those students looking at furthering their education.

Offerings

There is a 1-800 number that you can call to find our more of what they will offer to you if you chose to sign up with them. It does not actually state on the site what that offer would be.

The Buyer

Like mentioned above the buyer would most likely be an educator. It does not offer a price list on the site.

Global Markets

From reviewing the site I would say that this site and these products are targeted more towards those who speak English. It does not look like the products are written for any other countries.

Development of the Market

The site at the moment does not show in any way any form of further development.

Competing with Other Forms of Learning

With the budget cuts coming into districts it is getting harder and harder to purchase many items at once. It is now becoming more reasonable to purchase a software which can be loaded to many computers and allow for students to work almost at their own pace. With the tutorials those students who are ahead of the rest can move forward and not become restless.

One problem with this though is that it does not allow for students to take things home to complete so everything must always be done in class.

September 19, 2008   1 Comment

Speaking of free…

Speaking of free…

Here’s a new venture that hosts up to 1TB of media “free.”

Oosah

Maybe someone would like to subject it to a cube analysis, or even a combined cube-pitch analysis if you haven’t posted one as yet.

d.

September 19, 2008   1 Comment

Mitchell1 – OnDemand5

Mitchell 1 “the First Choice of Automotive Professionals” has an online learning tool, “OnDemand5” that is a completely self-sustained website dedicated to automotive repair professionals. The images, tutorials and step by step instructions give mechanics, instructors and auto repair enthusiasts, the ability to fix just about anything on wheels.

Market Focus

This is where Mitchell 1 does well as a market leader of their product. Their approach to vehicle repair gives “OnDemand5” a unique balance between technical jargon and plain English understood by a multitude of readers and users. I’ve seen this software package used at the high school level, Technical training schools with apprentices and in the automotive/transportation industry. Many say they couldn’t live without it. All three sectors use Mitchell1 extensively. Albeit, the majority user is the adult learner.

Offerings

OnDemand5 is a dynamic, interactive service with a “one day turn-around” for Q’s and A’s and 1 888 number from 5:30 am to 4:30, based out of San Diego. Although predominantly a service oriented website, their content is the useful information you access from a monitor which is located inches away from the repair task. They have built course ware and content that they host themselves. Backup of client data happens immediately and a snippet of code sends the customer a reminder of upcoming service to their vehicles. It seems that the technical writers are employees of Mitchell1, therefore, the infrastructure, CMS and all material is housed within the Mitchell Repair Information Company. (MRIC) Interestingly, technical repair manuals are still available for sale.

The Buyer

This e-Learning service, as mentioned earlier, can be used on several platforms: high schools, Technical schools and more specifically, Repair Shops including light duty, heavy duty, diesel and tractor-trailer. In the category of repair, Mitchell 1 dominates with an array of products available to the users, each having it’s own purpose. They are; On Demand5.com – (OnDemand5 Repair, OnDemand5 Estimator, OnDemand5 for Transmissions, OnDemand5 Medium Truck and lastly, Vintage Service and Repair) and the mother company supporting OnDeand5 is Mitchell1.com. Mitchell1 supports, MitchellRepair.com, Mitchell1pc.com, MitchellSupport, ASEtestpreparation, MitchellRep, Tractor-Trailer, and lastly, OnDemand5direct. As you can see… tons of information and support available to the buyer of this service. However, with service comes a price. A site license for a single user runs 159.00 per month with a year long commitment to the license agreement. That’s a whopping 1908.00 dollars, taxes not included. Site bundles are also available. At the high school level, I suspect point of purchase would be through a district wide initiative or on the other side of the scale, as a single user to whoever finds this product useful.

Global Markets

From my research at the site, it seems that Mitchell1 products are developed for the North American market, or any English speaking country. Product line supports repair service for Audi all the way to Volvo and expressed as “Import and/or Domestic” With the huge inventory of repair information, Mitchell 1 by far exceeds competitors such as All Data, Jonko or AutoRepair4U, to name a few.

Development of the Market

Mitchell1 is a high end, supported learning technology that is specific to Vehicle repair. With the millions of vehicles on this planet, Mitchell products is the viable choice for the English speaking market. In other words, they do very well close to home. The range and scope of this business is therefore a strong resource right next door. So far, English is the written language at the site and the indigenous user would be the people who have a vested interest in automotive repair. I have not read where they plan to re-create content material for use in other languages, in other countries.

Face 6 – Competing with Other Forms of Learning

A – Computers in any auto shop years ago was unheard of. Because of the cost of Technology, the climate of most repair shops was not conducive to having a “pristine computer” sitting idle that no one wanted to get it dirty. Now, it’s the complete opposite. Key boards are blackened with dirty fingers and monitors need to be wiped constantly from the probing fingers of inquisitive mechanics. Why worry about a filthy key board when you can by a new Logitech for seven dollars and sixty two cents and just through the old one into the land fill… 🙂 (just kidding!)

B – Many people who are using Mitchell1 have said good-bye to text material. Walk into any garage and ask where the shop manuals are? If the guy is close to retirement he may awkwardly turn around, with his fag hanging from his mouth and hobble to the darkest part of the shop where you then choose to say… “aw… it’s OK, I’ll come back later.” These days, most shops are bright and “cleaner” and the computer is a welcome site. Billions of bits of information is just a key stroke away.

C – The learning technology I speak of is not an imposition to the current system, but rather an addition to. OnDeMand5 is an ideal way of learning via the Internet, in a capacity that is appropriate, quick and up-to-date for the subscriber. My pitch!

sorry, mine are always so long…

ddp

September 19, 2008   2 Comments

An alternative to The Cube

As David Vogt noted earlier in Module 3, “There is nothing special about the CUBE. It’s merely one way of organizing an analysis of a learning technology venture. We’ve offered other approaches and would appreciate further ones coming from you and your research.”

To that end, we’ve posted an article from Technovation that outlines another way of assessing technology business ventures coming out of university research environments. We’re wondering whether you have found others during your research that might be useful to note for the benefit of the class.

If so, please post some links in comments to this post

September 19, 2008   4 Comments

TestToob

Hoping to catch a ride on the social media train, Test Toob is a free web-based service that enables science (users performing science experiments) videos to be uploaded, rated, categorized and viewed. Test Toob, A Community for Everyday Scientists was founded by Lopa Mehrotra in hopes of making science education more interesting to children. It was incorporated in October. The company suggests that it is the first social networking community focused on science and learning.

TestToob received a $25 000 award from the Kentucky Enterprise Fund. In the future they plan to add more social-network features such as discussion forums, information sharing, and photo posting.

TestToob has a goal of attracting 10 000 users by the end of the first year and penetrating the global market and reaching +1 000 000 users by 2010.

Face #1 – Market Analysis
TestToob is targeted at a youth market; school-age children who are performing science experiments or are looking for videos showing others doing science experiments.
While geared to youth, TestToob is also attracting adults in the way of parents and teachers. The information found on the site infers that parental consent is mandatory for those under 13 years of age. Since it has strong educational value, teachers will also be tempted to sign up for an account.

Face #2 – Types of Offering
TestToob is primarily a video sharing site with social network applications coming in the future. The type of offering is predominantly Service but there is addition of valuable content for users.

Face #3 – Who is the Buyer
Targeted at a youth market, TestToob is a free service provided to students, their parents and teachers. Sign-up is free for students, parents and teachers (individuals sign-up, at this point there is no registration at the class, school or division level) and there is no suggestion of premium service for cost or any type of fee for use. TestToob has investors and it has received monetary award to aid in the start-up, but one would assume that a source of revenue is planned. There is no evidence of advertisement; speculation only suggests that it is the user database that provides income.

Face #4 – Global Markets
On first glance, one would assume that TestToob would only be used in wired, Anglophone countries. But one of the videos that I happened to view was of Japanese origin with Japanese subtitles. Many science demonstrations are universal and it is the video that is important, not the audio.
I can see that TestToob could reach a global audience of any quality internet-connected location.

Face #5 – Development of the market
At this point, TestToob is in beta. Even on a quick tour of the site one will find glitches and improvements that could be made.
As it develops, TestToob will need to model itself after more successful competitors like TeacherTube and the giant, YouTube. Supplied code for embedding, a better search structure, higher quality video played in a larger format, ability to comment on videos and a more user-friendly interface need to be developed.
Since TestToob manages user-generated content, it can be used to support a variety of markets. Perhaps in its evolution, TestToob will offer private accounts that are secure and geared toward consumer chosen parameters or group accounts tailored to user preferences.

Face #6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning
TestToob can be used by interested students outside of any formal learning environment. It can be used as assigned homework, supplements to face-to-face learning or as a method of sharing in an e-learning environment.
Teachers may insist that students post videos on TestToob instead of the immensely popular YouTube as there would be a greater emphasis on proper safety measures required before the video would be accepted on the site. The social networking environment designed for use by middle and high school students may be more attractive to student use than educational competitor, TeacherTube.

My concern for TestTube is that with the advancements in Learning and Content Management Systems, students will soon have the ability to post video into the LMS environment with ease. When this happens, there will be no competitive edge left in which TestToob can define its market.

September 19, 2008   5 Comments

PBwiki

PBwiki, launched in 2005, headquartered in San Mateo, CA, provides wiki hosting with over 500,000 wikis hosted (more pages than the English language version of Wikipedia).  PBwiki also provides knowledge management, project management, collaboration and other business workflow services.  Basic functionality for public users is free, additional features are available according to a fee schedule.  Organizations pay on a per user basis.

Face 1: Market Focus


This wiki hosting, file sharing, and collaborative page editing service offered to government, business, academic, and personal users.  Testimonials reflect use by US corporations(RMC Vanguard Mortgage), international businesses (Deloitte, Wal-Mart), Universities (DePaul), educators in the K1-12 system, and the general public users. 

The company represents that 1/3 of the Fortunate 500 are customers and also claims the FDA and Facebook as notable customers.  This breadth of market focus also affects the face of the buyer.

Face 2: Types of Offerings


The offering is consists of both infrastructure and service.  The infrastructure consists of the application software, data-housing server, and predefined templates.  The service consists of training, 24 hour a day product support, and customization.

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?


The buyer varies with the level of utilization.  Public users can be buyers and pay on the basis of features.  Academic and business users can buy directly and pay on the basis of the number of users.  Whether they buy is a user, in an IT function, or management function would be influenced by the use of the wiki and the number of users.

PBwiki also differentiates between buyers in terms of target market and niches in the target market.  The academic market is defined in classroom, library, campus, and district/university niches.  The business market is defined in project management, intranet, extranet, public communication, and enterprise niches.  The public market is not segmented.

Face 4: Global Markets


The site is published in English and available on the internet.  Hence the global market consists of wired Anglophone countries and markets with quality internet service and English language skills.

Face 5: Development of the Market


The accessibility suggests that the market supports export and as there are competing product offerings there is substitution.  Substitution of imports may occur for reasons of US dollar pricing and language.

Face 6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning


This product works well with well developed (classroom) learning systems.  As there are competing product offerings (moodle) that are implemented in organizations (Univerisites), the offering may also compete with imposed learning technology.  Though there is no evidence of this on the site, the offering may also substitute for forms of learning through the digital distribution of multimedia content and collaborative functionality.

 

Disclosure: I have used PBwiki to complement face-to-face teaching and in defiance of IT imposed Moodle.  The functionality that I used was within the free service provided. 

September 19, 2008   2 Comments

First attempt: Ingenia and Recombo 2004

As an inexperienced EVA I decided to focus on both Recombo 2004 and Ingenia pitches.  Their format and the visual aid used by the speakers made it a lot easier for me to follow the pitch.  I’m assuming this format also makes it easier for any potential investor to get the most out of a 12 minute pitch.

Recombo 2004: MacPhee seems very confident about his company’s potential and shares his vision for the long-term.  He identifies key players in the team he’s assembled and highlights they’re relevant experience.  For now, I am impressed with the business model that was presented.  The speaker describes the company’s specific goals and the strategies to reach these goals. He uses clear graphics and relevant examples to get his point across.  MacPhee mentions some of his clients and key partners but also takes the time to mention the competition he is facing.  Furthermore he seems to give a realistic view of the company’s path to success by identifying the challenges that need to be dealt by the company in order to reach the described goals. MacPhee mentions the positive feedback he’s received from publishers/clients and shares his desires for the long-term.
Ingenia: Materi gives an overview of her presentation before she starts her pitch per say.  She describes her company’s activities in detail.  Shares the company’s success to date and briefly mentions the type of team members she is working with.  Materi emphasizes her own personal experience in the field.  She shares the type of clients she works with.  Materi clearly identifies some of the challenges faced by the company and discusses the approaches the firm will take to tackle these. She specifies the market the firm wishes to tap into and describes the logic behind choosing that market.  Furthermore she highlights her personal experience with this market.  She shares Ingenia’s main goal.  Very clearly describes the type of investment needed and the percentage of return that is expected.  Materi seems a lot less confident when discussing the potential challenges.  Some of the language used, such as “we think we can” and “ this will be tough”, is likely worrisome for a potential investor.  Overall, I feel more substantial facts about the firm could have been shared within the allotted time.

If I had the required funds and had to make a decision between both firms, I do believe I would go forward by granting Recombo another chance to further discuss investment potential.  I believe it will be interesting, however, to do this same comparison once I have more experience as an EVA.  The outcome could very well be the opposite.

September 19, 2008   3 Comments

Answers to questions not asked

While reading through the module 2 & 3 materials made some notes in CMap format.  Idea is to develop them over the course of the modules and reference them when designing and evaluating pitches.  Future versions will be made available at a nominal fee – actually will just post them when and if it happens (suppose will need to add version numbers).

Curious about reaction to the blog interface format.  Candidly, I find it more frustrating to use than Vista and find it affects my interest in the course – suppose that qualifies as exploratory learning.  The use of applications (i.e. a news reader) to add basic functionality to the interface attest to user unfriendliness (and still does not resolve direct access to posts or comments, direct/private communication with users)….

It may also be that patience is worn a little thin through repeated interaction with Shaw this week.  At least telephone and internet service seem stable again (the irony of telephone and online customer support when your the reason for customer support is no telephone and no internet connection).  Will peruse the 118 posts and 197 comments currently on the blog tomorrow and resume comment.  Thank you for your patience

September 19, 2008   16 Comments