The ALT Annual Conference 2017: Beyond islands of innovation – how Learning Technology became the new norm(al), will be held at the University of Liverpool, 5 – 7 September 2017.

The 2017 conference will be chaired by Peter Alston and Professor Helen O’Sullivan, both at the University of Liverpool.

Report in the Glasgow Herald about the plans of Paisley-based Bolt Learning grow it's £1m turnover from first year of business by targeting US investment to make its e-learning software the de-facto global platform - the equivalent of Amazon Marketplace for online training.

Managing director Tamlin Roberts said he was targeting US investors because of their “think global” approach.

The Herald reports that Bolt has now also launched virtual reality (VR) training.

“There has been a growing interest in VR,” said Mr Roberts. “It puts workers in a situation they will face and so gives them confidence they will know what they are doing on site.”

Mr Roberts said he was targeting US investors because they had a “get it done” mentality. While investment is part of the 2018 strategy, he believes that fostering relationships now will bring long-term benefits.

“We could grow organically, open an office a year but we would rather get investment to accelerate that,” he said. “It’s about getting serious investment. The aspiration among US investors is bigger. In Scotland a lot of investors do not even look beyond the border.”

Full article available at The Herald.

The January newsletter from Opening Educatonal Practces in Scotland (OEPS) is now available.

The newsletter contains details of new courses as well as sharing best practice resources.

Download newsletter

Nitrospark, is releasing major updates to its Nitroworld – the avatar-based 3D world – and the Nitrospark Games-Management System, at this year’s Learning Technologies conference and exhibition.

Nitrospark’s managing director, Jim Piggot, says that the new versions represent a real leap forward, maintaining the company’s position as the provider of premier, proven games-based learning software.

“Both new releases build on technology that’s been refined over almost a decade,” says Piggot, “adding in new features based partly on customer feedback and partly on our ambitious development roadmap.”

The new release of Nitroworld, version 3.1, adds significant functionality to the program’s developer interface, World Builder tools, Megaboards (interactive displays used to make almost any format of content available in-world), communications between learners and the artificial intelligence of non-playing characters. Nitroworld provides a 3D, avatar-based virtual environment for truly interactive learning.

Nitrospark’s Games-Management System jumps to version 2.1 and features user interface improvements for content-developers and partners – making it easier and more intuitive to create, edit and manage games-based learning modules. The Nitrospark Games-Management System is designed, as the name suggests, to make the development and management of games-based learning programmes as non-technical as possible.

Nitrospark’s products are designed to place games-based learning within reach of almost any organisation. According to Piggot, Nitrospark can make games-based learning as affordable and easy to develop as less engaging e-learning programmes. “There’s no price premium for games-based learning when using our products,” says Piggot. “We’ve broken down that barrier. And our new versions have dozens of new features – but there’s no increase in price.”

Nitrospark is exhibiting at Learning Technologies 2017, on stand M17. As part of the event, Nitrospark will be running a games-based learning programme ‘what do you know about the United Kingdom?’ – which is open to all of the event’s attendees. The ten people with the highest scores will receive a two-month Nitrospark software licence; the highest score will receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab E tablet, worth around £150.

From Training Press Releases

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OEPS are delighted to announce that How to make an open online course is now live. 

It is a new badged open course which explains how to design, structure and produce your own open online course. 

It was written by the Free Learning Team at The Open University and includes sections by the OEPS project team. 

How to make an open online course complements the OEPS course Becoming an Open Educator which was released in September 2016 to focus on how to find open resources, how open licences work, the benefits of using and remixing OER and how they might influence the course you create.

Following a hugely successful year, Totara Learning has selected the winners of the Totara Awards 2016.

Over 70 projects were submitted for consideration from across the global Totara Partner network in 2016, making this the most competitive year yet for entries. Projects ranged from small Totara LMS installations to large-scale international implementations from organisations around the world.

The winners of the 2016 awards are:

  •     Best Business Services Project - Vital Learning, delivered by Envisiontel
  •     Best Technology & Media Project - Telenet, delivered by Deloitte Learning Solutions
  •     Best Financial & Insurance Project - Hampshire Trust Bank, delivered by Think Associates
  •     Best Government Project - Västerås Stad, delivered by Xtractor
  •     Best Healthcare Project - Virgin Care, delivered by Chambury Consulting
  •     Best Hospitality & Travel Project - Pizza Express, delivered by Kineo
  •     Best Education & Training Services Project - University of Canberra, delivered by Catalyst IT
  •     Best Sport & Lifestyle Project - Tennis Australia, delivered by Androgogic
  •     Best Retail Project - Hunkemöller, delivered by The Courseware Company
  •     Best Non-for-profit Project - Humanitarian Leadership Academy, delivered by Catalyst IT
  •     Best Manufacturing Project - A.G. Barr, delivered by MediaCorp
  •     Best Totara Social Project - Club Matters, delivered by Synergy Learning
  •     Top Seller - Americas - Synegen
  •     Top Seller - APAC - Androgogic
  •     Global Top Seller - Learning Pool

Lars Hyland, Chief Commercial Officer at Totara Learning, said: “Our annual awards recognise the world-class solutions delivered by our expert partner network. This year we have collectively experienced significant growth of adoption of Totara LMS across all key industry sectors, as demonstrated by the variety and quality of case studies submitted by our Partners.”

The awards will be handed out at the Totara Partner meetup on 31st January in London before Europe’s biggest annual L&D event, Learning Technologies 2017.

From Training Press Releases

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Jisc have launched a competition to find innovative technology solutions to improve education, research and student life.

Previously known as the Summer of Student Innovation, the competition is in its fifth year and sees successful entrants receive a grant and support to develop their education technology ideas.

The competition is split into two: one for teams or individuals with a product already in development (startups competition) and one for brand new ideas from students.  The "startups" competition launched on 28th November, whilst the student competition will run from Spring 2017.

The submission deadline for the "startups" competition is 20th January 2017.  

Up to five teams will get the chance to join the Jisc six-month intensive accelerator programme to help make their working beta into a viable product.  The package on offer is worth up to £20,000, and includes a grant funding package, mentoring & support, and opportunities to engage with potential customers which will help winners to develop their business and successfully deliver a useable product.

The competition is open to UK registered companies or team members who are resident in the UK.

Entry details are available from Jisc.

Projects currently in development from previous competitions include:

  • Call for Participants - Where researchers and participants meet - providing a secure and trusted connection between researchers and participants
  • Lingoflow - A language vocabulary learning app
  • Startwrite - A web app to help students stay organised and get assignments done on time
  • UniBoard - Online noticeboard to connect university students
  • Unisocs - Subject-specific discussion and progress tracking for students
  • Unitu - A feedback tool to listen and engage with the student voice through student representatives