Category — Mod03:The Global Learning Technologies Marketplace

MindLeaders Cubed


 My workplace has brought MindLeaders into our organization and is piloting its use with our IT department, so my exposure to this is limited to the past 2 months. MindLeaders is a company that has over 25 years experience designing elearning programs. The courses cover topics from software skills to leadership, from workplace and food safety to programming and network administration.

 Market Focus

-Commerical, Government and Educational Sector

 Types of Offering

– MindLeaders offers services, content and infrastructure.

– offers over 3000 e-learning courses (software skills, business skills, compliance training, technical training)

– learning platform – central learning management system

– reference library containing over 13000 electronic copies of books

– online mentors accessible 24/7 to respond to learners questions

– tech labs allows learners to practice IT skills in a safe live environment

 Who is the Buyer?

-Learning is bought centrally by corporations, government or educational sector for employees or students

 Global Markets

-The company is based in Ohio with a global market. In 2007 they merged with ThirdForce a company in Ireland and England. The website indicates they have over 1000 clients in more than 30 countries. I would assume that their global audience would be found only within those countries with solid internet infrastructure. The courses are in English so the learners would need a command of the English language.

Development of the Market

-MindLeaders offers partner opportunities to resell the elearning courses and the learning management platform. As in the case of my workplace, one reason we went with MindLeaders is the economic reason, to send IT staff to off site in class courses is expensive and often involves several consecutive days out of the office. With MindLeaders they can access the courses for a fraction of the price and take as many courses during a year as they like, not to mention read the books in the reference e-library. In this situation, MindLeaders substitutes other forms of learning due to cost. However, MindLeaders also can be seen as working with a well developed learning system to extend the reach and upgrade credentials of employees in such areas as business skills and technical training.  

October 10, 2009   No Comments

Code Baby Cubed

Code Baby

The company I work for, the University Health Network (UHN) has started using Code Baby over the last year.  The company’s by-line is that their products will ‘Digitally Engage Your Learners with Attention-Grabbing Content.  The product allows you to create digital instructors for your eLearning courses and will integrate with your existing LMS or courseware.  We currently use these characters in 3 ways:

 1)     To walk students through course modules as a digital instructor

2)     As characters in serious games that simulate various situations in the hospital

3)     As a character UHNi who delivers 1 minute learning nuggets each week that can be played as podcasts or using any mobile web enabled device.

 Face #1:  Market Focus

ü      The Corporate Market

ü      The main focus is their product offering for companies to enhance their eLearning and/or web presence with the use of 3D characters (they prefer not to call them avatars as they believe their offering is much more sophisticated and integrated than being a mere avatar)

 Face #2:  Types of Offerings

Code Baby offers both content and services

ü      Content – the software that creates interactive digital characters for eLearning

ü      Services – there are 4 services:

  • Art – creating custom 3D characters and their elements
  • Creative – custom conversations that are planned, scripted and storyboarded
  • Training – training for customers
  • Support – support packages for customers

 Face #3:  Who is the Buyer?

I would say that there are really on 2 options here, Learning Bought for Learner and Learning Bought Centrally.  Our group is an example of Learning Bought Centrally.  This was bought and will be used by the entire Toronto Central LHIN (Local Health Integration Network), which is basically all of the hospitals in the city of Toronto.  However, I could also see individual companies buying this software for their learners to augment their existing eLearning offerings.

 Face #4:  Global Markets

The market I see this playing to would be mostly the Wired Anglophone.  There was no information that I could see in regards to facilitation for languages other than English.

 Face #5:  Development of Market

Market Supports Export Oriented Learning Technologies & Substitution of Imports

 Market Supports Import of Content & Infrastructure

 Face #6:  Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

 Learning Technology Works with a Well Developed Learning System. 

We already had a well developed eLearning system when we started to use Code Baby.  It works well with our current offerings and helps to enhance their appeal.



October 8, 2009   3 Comments

Cubed learning


Lifetime learning is a commitment that must be made to ensure medical professionals remain competent.  To serve this function both at distance and at regional conferences, private ventures and institutions have developed continuing education learning modules.  One such provider in the CMEinfo group. Here are the 6 cubes:

Type of Market Focus

Their training offerings are for the practicing physician, and many of the products are focused on the market of those physicians studying for their specialty boards, an upgrading process.  The market is specifically those physicians who cannot leave their practice to attend live CE sessions. This product is well integrated with the rest of the physician education process due to the number of high profile partners and the extent to which they access continuing education conferences.


Type of Product/Offerings

The CME info products include disc-based and live course components that are content focused.  They edit and broadcast conference sessions. The company is now owned by Oakstone Publishing, of Birmingham Alabama. CMEinfo has been providing these educational products since 1989. Many of these products are duplicated onto CD or DVD for distribution. They have partners and provide royalty on sales to them. Abut 26 partner hospitals and large private clinics (Cleveland for example) are showcased.

Global Markets

Though the company is based in the USA, the distribution of the modules is global. There is no information on the website about overseas customers. Because it is not internet based, the content discs could be taken or sent to places where online access is absent or of poor quality. No mention is given of translation so it is probably safe to assume these are English-only products.


Development of the Market

They refer to marketing programs to help promote the conferences they will be taping as well as email, mail, and an online web store to market the discs themselves. Oakstone publishing the parent company is


Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

The e-learning venture works with a well developed live learning system of conferences. These programs will compete with live conferences, though the market for learning at distance will always be there physicians still like to combine holidays and conferences so it will not replace this type of venue.  Online learning is provided by the various institutions themselves in the partner list. They also provide online taped conferences at some of the institutions. (see and for examples). A master listing of all medical schools CME departments is available at

Via the company Practice Solutions, part of CMA company, learning by going on cruises is available and this is another competing venue for LT.

October 6, 2009   No Comments

Global Education Initiative

World Economic Forum  – Global Education Initiative

In its six years of existence, the Global Education Initiative has impacted over 1.8 million students and teachers and mobilized over US$ 100 million in resource support in Jordan, Rajasthan (India), Egypt, the Palestinian Territories and Rwanda. Today, the GEI engages over 40 private sector partners, 14 governments, seven international organizations and 20 NGOs with a Steering Board of nine Industry and Strategic Partners (AMD, Cisco, Edelman, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Satyam, StratReal, and SK Group).

When this initiative was launched in Egypt back in 2006, I’ve attended part of the ceremony, my analysis is mainly reflected from the Egyptian track.

Face 1: Market Focus

Egypt Education Initiative (EEI) has 4 tracks; K12, Higher Education, Life Long Learning and Corporate.

 Face 2: Type of Offerings

As the objective is to encourage Public/Private Partnership (PPP model), each commercial vendor supplied and sponsored either an Infrastructure, Content or Service.

 Face 3: Who is the buyer?

The hosting agency is the World Economic Forum, so such initiatives are normally discussed at the presidential level first during the famous Davos WEF summits. In Egypt, EEI is endorsed by the first lady of Egypt (Mrs. Suzan Mubarak) and the beneficiary stakeholders are; Ministry of ICT, MoE and MoHE

Face 4: Global Markets

Clearly such initiative targets developing countries. So far; Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Rajasthan.  What seems interesting, that WEF is asking piloted countries to extend support to new countries joining the program. This is what’s expected from Egypt to offer for Rwanda.

Face 5: Development of the Market

EEI model is to export best practice facilitated by international private companies (like the Intel Teach program which has been Cubed in this blog) , also capacity building is highly pushed forward to achieve the sustainability strategic objective of this initiative.

Face 6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

As pointed above, technologies are being introduced as the big picture of integrating ICT in Education as one of the means for Education Reform.  Natural resistance is expected and alternatives are offered by starting with pilot model schools (ready for technology environment) in selected urban geography.


Food for thought; What the press reported when the initiative started that the international companies are engaged in this program for free, I believe there’s no such free lunch. What’s in it for the big guys is still something to debate and research further.

October 6, 2009   1 Comment

Engrade Cubed

I was recently introduced to Engrade, as some of the colleagues I’m teaching with are using it with a lot of success.  It is easy to use and very intuitive.  The company, Engrade, is based in San Diego, California, and was founded in 2003 by a team of Internet entrepreneurs.  Engrade is used all over the world today.  Engrade is free and claims to remain free of charge for educators.

Face 1: Market Focus

Engrade seems to be focused for school systems from K-12; or for any company that need to keep track of student records, such as tutoring services, summer camps/courses, or educational services that do not have a required grading system.  Engrade provides services to principals, teachers, parents, and students – all at the same time.

Face 2: Types of Offerings

Engrade provides services to principals, teachers, parents, and students.  Some of these services include updated information of students’ class marks, attendance, work habits, and scheduled tests and exams.

  • For teachers, they are able to input grades of student assignments online.  This can be done anywhere with an Internet access (and the password to sign-in).  It is a paperless gradebook.  The teacher can manage several classes, multiple students, and customized weighting and grading systems as well.  In addition, they are able to communicate privately among colleagues.
  • For principals, they are able to send messages to teachers at once or individually.
  • For parents and students, to check their grades and their information, class marks, missing assignments, work habits, customized feedback from the teacher, etc.


Engrade also provides some infrastructure in that it manages student and content.

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

As this service is absolutely free, there is no “buyer” per se, but there are users.  The people who will be logging in to this service are students, parents, teachers, and principals.  So, the buyer would be people related to the K-12 system (or as mentioned earlier, an academic environment  – ex: tutoring company).

There is nothing to download; however, the only thing that participants must “buy” is access to the Internet.  If Internet access is a problem for the student, teachers can also print out specific pages for students to bring home.

Face 4 – Global Markets

Looking at Engrade, I do not see the option for other languages.  Therefore, I assume that this service is for English speakers only – or those who can navigate student names, numbers, and letter grades simply in English.  As our school is located in Beijing, China, it would be only be fair to say that English speakers in Asian Countries with Internet can also benefit from this service.  Basically, Engrade has a global market as long as there is interest.

Face 5 – Development of the Market

The market is among educators around the world (Engrade claims that over 250,000 educators are using this service).  Engrade is continually improving since 2003.

Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

Every classroom, regardless of public or private, has some sort of grading system.  Teachers will assess the students’ development in one way or another.  Engrade is an alternative to paper gradebooks, and because its functions are very similar to Integrade Pro (or now, PowerSchool Pro – Pearson Education), it may be in competition with electronic gradebooks that the school or school districts are required to use (such as BCeSIS – which I am, unfortunately, not familiar with).

October 6, 2009   5 Comments

One Laptop Per Child – Redux

While Noah Burdett has already completed an entry on this venture, I thought I would expand and look at the project from a different angle.  I have closely followed the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project for a number of years now; the philosophy and controversy behind the project fascinates me.   Negroponte and the program have struggled to get the devices produced, on budget (the XO no longer referred to as the $100 laptop), and adopted by countries.

However, after finding this video:

I think Negroponte may have found a buyer that typically has much deeper pockets than the educational branch of government one would expect this product would be marketed to.  Here, Negroponte partners with the Columbian Ministry of Defense to bring laptops to children in remote areas.

Depending on the motivations of a country’s military, having a wired, educated, distributed network of users in remote locations that have traditionally been under the control of guerrillas or insurgents could prove a boon to these isolated areas.

As adage goes, the military rarely holds bake sales to fund its operations and the paltry $200 cost per device compared to other communications systems typically employed by the military could make this a very interesting experiment – and most importantly, will get these device into the hands of the kids.

Running this through the cube we get:

Market: Developing Nations (and philanthropic individuals in developed nations who participate in the buy one, give one program).

Offering: this is a hardware offering and arguably a service as the mesh network created by the laptops for a community web.

Buyer: Still a national level – only large scale purchases can produce the low price of these machines.  If Negroponte can “pitch” the benefits to branches of government other than education, we will see some significant development of this project.

Piece of the global market: Definitely targeted towards underserved, developing nations with established education system but little other supported technology.

Development of the market: This is a contentious piece.  Many think this project can revolutionize education in impoverished areas – many think that $200 per child could be better spent on teachers, food, clean water, shelter, etc….  The market seems to be still in the pioneering phase.

Integration of learning technology: The environments that these laptops are entering have, almost by definition of the marketplace, little integrated learning technology as we would see it from a western perspective.  The laptops offer a quantum leap in environments where they are placed.

October 4, 2009   7 Comments

Cube: Inspiration 8

Software:  Inspiration 8

Powered by the proven techniques of visual learning, Inspiration 8 supports multiple learning styles with three unique environments for creating diagrams, outlines and mind maps. Using Inspiration, students develop critical thinking, planning and organisational skills for lifelong learning and achievement.

Face 1:  Market Focus

  • Although Strategic Transitions, the parent company of Inspiration 8, markets the software to all ages.  I’d say the main market demographic that they appeal to is the K-12 segment. Although they clearly state that it is meant for students age 10 to adult.  Inspiration is similar to CMAPS the minding mapping software that we currently use at UBC. 


Face 2:  Types of Offerings

  • Inspiration is Infrastructure based.  Inspiration can deliver graphical organization of content through creating visual representation of the course material.  The software allows students to make and create their own connections to the material that they are learning.  As the learn new concepts they plot them in their concept map.  Within these concept maps they can embed hyperlinks to websites, wikipedia definitions, pictures, video etc.  This multimedia graphical display enriches the overall education experience. 


Face 3:  Who is the Buyer?

  • In our district (SD36) the buyer was the curriculum planning and support branch of the district.  They purchased a district wide license centrally for Inspiration a few years ago.  Then they made it available to high school in the district for free.  This central branch of the district has been heavily promoting the software throughout the district.   It is up to each school to use the software through guides or facilitators in the schools.  This form of a buyer is probably similar to other parts of the country where Inspiration 8 is marketed in.


Face 4:  Global Markets

  • A major component of their market is wired Anglophone Countries.  There head office is located in Aurora, Ontario.  But they also provide software to international markets as well.  There products are available in multiple languages; English, French, Spanish, and German.  It seems they are mainly marketing their software to developed nations in North America and Western Europe.  These global markets have a lot of money to spend on education.


Face 5:  Development of the Market

  • Inspiration has great potential around the world.  Large markets are available in Asia.  It might be worth while to develop software for the Chinese and Japanese market.  Chine is an up and coming market.  Although these markets might also have local companies which provide the same software.  In countries like India and China many post-secondary intuitions provide education in English.  This might a great place to market Inspiration 8.


Face 6:  Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

  • Inspiration 8 is just one piece of the puzzle.  It is not a platform to teach e-learning but a tool to add to the e-learning environment.  Because of this there are probably many competing software packages out there. Old technology is also a competitor.  Inspiration’s graphical organizers can also be duplicated with a pen and paper.  Thus the competition is the old technology.  And if schools cannot afford to purchase this software, students can still get the educational benefit of creating mind maps on the board or a piece of paper.  Although it is hard to embed links and pictures into a static piece of paper. 

October 4, 2009   2 Comments

BridgeIT Tanzania

This project, is supported by the International Youth Foundation,  The Tanzania Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, Forum for African Women Educationalists, United States Agency for International Development and Nokia Siemens Networks. It distributes cell phones to teachers and gives them the capability to view information on the phones that helps them teach in elementary classrooms. The project adapts and creates mathematics, science and life skills videos and establishes the necessary technological infrastructure for teachers to access the content in their classrooms.


Face 1: Market Focus

BridgeIT is aimed at teachers in elementary schools, so the focus is k-12 (although there is an element of training involved in that the information goes to teachers to improve their instruction rather than to the children directly).

Face 2: Types of Offerings

The end product of the program is content. Information is provided to teachers on hand-held mobile phones. One of the partners of the program is Nokia, and they presumably are interested in selling mobile phones, so there may be some interest in providing hardware as well which would come under the heading of infrastructure.

Face 3: Who is the buyer?

In this case the buyer would be the schools who have agreed to be part of the project, although at this stage they are not paying for the devices or content. Perhaps, then, the buyer is the International Youth Foundation that is funding the project? Presumably the idea is to develop a product and service that can eventually be sold to schools and teachers across developing nations.

Face 4: Global Markets

This project is aimed exclusively at markets where there is poor or non -existent internet availability. If the product and the project are successful, it might be possible to market this kind of product to vast populations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Face 5: Development of the Market

At the present time, this project is in a market that does not support learning technologies. The hope is that projects like BridgeIT will develop products and services that will become viable opportunities. Presumably this is why companies like Nokia are involved in the project.

Face 6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

This project is bringing content into schools where there was previously no access to this kind of information. This does not compete with any other forms of learning.

October 4, 2009   1 Comment

Investigating an Alternative Marketplace



(From the World Bank)

Project ID: P113441/Project Status: Active (2009)


SSRP is intended to increase access to school education and to improve the quality of school education.


The SSRP project is divided into two parts: basic education and secondary education.  First, SSRP is intended to ensure equitable access to and quality of basic education for all children ages 5-12 as well as to prepare pre-school-age children through Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) for basic education and deliver basic numeracy and literacy to youths and to adults, especially women and marginalized groups.  Second, SSRP is intended to improve equitable access to secondary education by financing the development of physical facilities (i.e. classroom construction and rehabilitation, library and laboratory construction, and school construction for children with special needs) and provide scholarships for marginalized groups, the disabled, girls, and children from poor households.


Learning bought nationally – open to regions – local guide offers via the World Bank


A region with no, restricted, or poor quality Internet service


Market does not seem to support E-learning/learning technologies


Not yet applicable


As an educational venture analyst (EVA), there may be a business opportunity present in this project, for there is no infrastructure (i.e. LMS, CMS, virtual classrooms), no market development around E-learning, and no E-learning system.

October 3, 2009   No Comments

The Hottest Ed Tech Company?

That’s not my title, but someone else has posted something about the company Techsmith, which I do like and use. How they evaluate the conpany may interest everyone … although, cubing it may be better.

I have been thinking of ways to use Jing for creating machinima — a creatve way to have students practise their language skills through storytelling. If you want to watch some good examples of machinima, go here.


October 1, 2009   4 Comments