e-PIKE cubed

e-PIKE™, created by Advanced Integrity Solutions Ltd. (Calgary), is an innovative learning management system (LMS) designed to meet the needs of locations with limited bandwidth connections to the internet. One of their goals is to reach remote communities in developing nations in Africa. The Internet information on this product is very limited. It is very new (March 2009), so I am sure that if it is successful, it might be something we hear about soon.

 Face 1: Market Focus

e-Pike could be purchased by any number of groups considering it is an LMS and authoring software. However, the information provided online leads me to believe that AIS is marketing to corporate groups and governments. Since this infrastructure costs money, businesses and governments must find a way to finance this technology.

The e-Pike information sheet states:

“Applications for this technology include:

• Businesses with remote field training needs (oil and gas, construction)

• Government organizations maintaining remote offices

• Reaching remote communities in developing nations in Africa

• Supporting humanitarian missions abroad

• Allowing countries to rebuild faster from conflict or disaster”



Face 2: Types of Offerings

e-Pike is offering infrastructure only. The fact sheet states: “The e-PIKE™ core uses proven learning management software from the open source community.  With millions of users world-wide this software is fully SCORM 1.2 compliant allowing for e-Learning professionals to upload their course content with confidence of delivering a rich environment for students to focus on their studies. (http://www.advancedintsol.com/news/e-PIKE_product_info.pdf)”


Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Although this infrastructure has been developed for developing nations and remote training field needs, it costs money to have it. I am sure AIS is expecting governments and businesses to purchase this product.  For this reason, I would suggest the learning is bought centrally by corporations and developing regions.


Face 4 – Global Markets

 e-Pike was developed for remote areas and Africa – both areas with no or poor quality Internet service. This is a fairly new technology (released in March 2009), so I am not sure if this technology is actually being used in Africa yet. The company has not declared this technology for any other developing nations, and Africa is a very large and diverse continent, so it will be interesting to see where this product goes in the next few years.


Face 5 – Development of the Market

The remote areas, especially remote areas in Africa, do not support learning technologies. In fact, many of these areas do not even have access to basic radio technology or desks and chairs. As well, even if the infrastructure becomes available, local teaching resources most likely won’t be. Lundell and Howell (2000, as cited in Butcher, 2003) suggest insufficient funding; a lack of computers and other resources; a lack of computer literacy among teachers; and the absence of established curricula for teaching computer skills are hindering schools from using computers for learning. In addition, even schools that have a computer rarely have access to the Internet. In Ethiopia, “nine of the 12,000 primary schools had Internet access at the end of 2001, and ten of the 424 secondary schools (Butcher, 2003, p. 61).” 


Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

 In remote areas of Africa, existing learning solutions are not working.  Many children do not have access to basic classrooms, books, and teachers. Literacy levels are low, as well as limited technology exposure. In 1960, Sub Saharan African governments dedicated themselves to providing primary education for children and by the 1990’s, those countries implemented Education for All (EFA). Suprisingly, by 2001, “over 45 million children of primary school age in the region, almost 42 percent, were not enrolled in school (Zhang, 2006, p.581).”



Overall, I believe that of intent for this project is positive; however, without someone to develop the content and provide the technical support, I have a hard time expecting this project will be successful. Africa is such a challenging and diverse place to market e-learning. In ETEC 511, I had the opportunity to research education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not surprisingly, the level of technology present in Africa is considerably low compared to developed countries. Extension technologies, such as radios and televisions have spread throughout Africa more so than computer technology (2001, http://www.adeanet.org/publications/nesis/AssessmentofBasicEduc.pdf). In addition, neither technology requires the ability to read and write which allows individuals to receive information easily. However, there is still great disparity within each country. In 2001, of the 818 million people in Africa, only 1 in 4 had a radio, 1 in thirteen had a television, 1 in forty had a landline telephone, 1 in 130 had a personal computer, and 1 in 160 used the Internet (Butcher, 2003, p.68).  Along with infrastructure and resource issues, there are issues with cultural perceptions of Western technology and education. There are many challenges involved that might not be answered by e-Pike.



Butcher, N. (2003). Technological infrastructure and use of ICT in education in Africa: an overview. Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). Retrieved on October 7, 2007 http://www.adeanet.org/wgdeol/wgdeol/publications/icttec.pdf.


Zhang, Y. (2006). Urban-Rural Literacy Gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Roles of Socioeconomic Status and School Quality. Comparative Education Review,  50 (4), 581 – 602.

September 29, 2009   7 Comments

iParadigims: Turnitin

iParadigims (Turnitin) Cubed

When I think about e-learning technologies and businesses, I tend to think mainly of the delivery, presentation, and access to information aspects of e-learning.  Turnitin is something different; it is a digital information tracking software that protects intellectual property.  Recently, it has started to evolve into a comprehensive online teaching tool, integrating filing management with both teacher and peer assessment.

Market Focus:

Initially, Turnitin focused on post-secondary institutions and is generally used to check the authenticity of student writing.  Today, however, Turnitin, has expanded the utility of its services to include grade-book options and assessment strategies, and, as a result, has expanded its market to include K-12.  Turnitin is especially useful to teachers of the Social Sciences and English where the volume of student written output is greatest.

Types of offerings:


In addition to searching of plagiarism, Turnitin provides a number of additional services and is evolving into complete management and assessment system for teachers.  The online “Write Cycle” system allows students to actively engage in a collaborative writing workshop.  In addition, Turnitin provides grade-book services.


There has been a definite shift in the content delivered by iParadigims which, interestingly enough, has started to morph into more of a learning interface. It seems like this is natural progression and possibly a necessary one given the emerging competition in this area (ie. Google Docs).


iParadigims provides internet-based services designed primarily to protect intellectual property.   It is expanding this service to include online evaluation and assessment tools.

Turnitin also is designed to allow for open integrations with e-learning systems such as WebCT.

Who is the buyer?

Up until recently, the buyer has been post-secondary institutions.  More recently, however, with the addition of online products, the target market has expanded to include K-12 public schools.  Turnitin services are packaged such that they can be purchased by individual teachers—a fairly expensive proposition which works out to about one dollar/assignment.  The most cost effective way to purchase the service is as a school or department.  The flat rate for a medium to large public school (1500-2000 students) is approximately $3500.00 US.  This fee includes unlimited access to all of the services for a one year period.

Global Markets:

Turnitin is current available in 10 different languages and in 110 different countries.  The only real barriers to market would be the lack of internet in developing countries or the lack of language capabilities.  The primary market, however, is post-secondary institutions world-wide.




September 29, 2009   14 Comments