The Revolution : Rise of the Tablets for eLearning

Battlefield

eLearning and all forms within are normally taken via your desktop computer and either hitting your company’s server with your browser or going to a hosted LMS vendor’s solution. If you wanted to work on creating content, for many people, the route would be and still is creating courses via a desktop based rapid eLearning authoring tool, or via your LMS/LCMS vendor’s tool (hosted or not) or via Dreamweaver or some other type of solution.

mLearning aka Mobile Learning is enabling people in theory to take courses via the smart phone or as some vendors have the nerve to include ” cell phones – as in all-inclusive”, or in reality to use mLearning solutions to enable a collaborative or social learning platform or view documents – such as PDFs or word documents on their smart phones in some manner in which people read the docs and then follow steps. Not exactly, interactive.

If you wanted to have a video conference with multiple people or a webinar with high quality video or full video streaming on your smart phone, you are out of luck.

Battle Plans

Consumer slate tablets will change that, excuse me, all of that. And for people who think that tablets are not going to be a big influencer in the market, lets clear that up, quickly. Forrester Research projected that in the entire 2010, that 3.5 million tablets or really the Ipad or other tabs would be sold. You may have even seen the graphs hitting the net. Unless the Ipad falls off the planet tomorrow, you can take that and chunk it out of the window – Forrester’s projection. To date, 3 million Ipads have been sold, and we still have over 5 months to go. With new slate tablet makers arriving, it is without a doubt to exceed the original projection.

While 99% of the public, believes that the Ipad is the only player in the market, it is not. Others have arrived, some with impressive capabilities to further take this new delivery channel to a whole new level. And more or on the way.

Armies

Ipad, Entourage EDGE, Camangi WebStation, Freescale, Amtek, Asus,Open Peak’s Open Tablet, ExoPC Tablet, Fusion_Garage Joo Joo, Ubuntu Linux SmartQ, EAFT MagicTile. Dell is coming into the battle with the “Streak”, Samsung, Toshiba, Nvida, Archos 7, Amtek and many more. The big monster to arrive at some point – Google.

Weapons

Why will they change the market, oh just a few weapons (features) – and not necessarily they all have them, rather it is a combination of various features. The point is – they exist – and for people who want to truly experience the new world of eLearning on the go – that’s right on the go, can do it. Take a sprinkle of mLearning, add eLearning, which yes, you can state that mLearning is a sub component of eLearning, add a touch of social learning, spin in some desktop if you want to sit at your desk – home or work and whalla – the battle is here.

  • On the Go with Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth and soon to be 4G
  • Screen size – the Ipad is 9.7 inches diagonally 9.56 inches tall and 7.47 inches wide and has a LED-backlight, other consumer tablets are 7 inches or 9 inches diagonally, Asus – 12 inch, one vendor offers dual screens one with LED the other e-ink
  • Display – 1024×768 video, HD built in or with HDMI output (if you want it),
  • Weight – Ranges from 1.5lbs to 1.6bs (Ipad with 3G)
  • Two cameras for capturing video and audio, 3 megapixel web cam, 5-megapixel LED flash camera
  • Accelerometer that allow you to switch from landscape to portrait
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, 16GB of flash memory, 512mb of DDR memory, 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 chip or Qualcomm Snapdragon 1-GHz processor or Nvidia 1 GHz Tegra 2 processor
  • Operating System – Apple, Windows 07, Google Android, Linux
  • 3D desktop framework, Battery life of 10 hours, Stylus, Handwriting recognition, works with Wacom, offers a GPS module
  • USB, Micro Slot SD up to 32GB, On-Screen keyboard or one vendor includes an actual USB QWETRY keyboard, built in speakers, mic, 645b of storage
  • APIs, Open Source, HTML5
  • Pricing - Some vendors are selling for as low as $299 USD, more players in the market, pricing becomes affordable for the masses with a new price range

Formats by Audio, Video, Image, Publication and Other

  • Audio – 3GP, MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), AIFF, and WAV., MP4, OGG, MID, WA, AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC, MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless (Apple),
  • Video – MP4 (2.5MPS – which is megabits per second), 3GP, h.264 (30 frames per second, 720p)
  • Image - JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF
  • E-Reader- EPUB, TXT, RTF, VCF
  • Other -Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, Flash
  • Other Part 2 -Skype out, GTalk, MSN, QQ, Fring

Strategy

  • Cloud computing – SCORM Cloud can be used on your tablet – upload courses or create courses SCORM 2004 compatible
  • Rapid eLearning authoring tools will have to adapt or die – with “Cloud” capability – it only makes sense. Those that refuse to enable eLearning authoring tools in the “Cloud” will go the route of Polaroid who waited too long to get into the market for digital cameras and then when they did, they never recovered or the buggy whip.
  • Consumer slates are multimedia entertainment, which means you can web browse, read e-books, watch video, stream video, listen to music, play games and they meet business needs too – with word, excel, powerpoint to name a few
  • Scribble notes, take screenshots, print and handwriting recognition – which offers the possibility for those who want to do subjective exams or essays, or their end users can actually write in the documents or an actual signature for certification, compliance or other forms of required training
  • Actual video conferencing, streaming real time video, webinars, 3D collaboration, virtual worlds – now you have a full fledged learning solution – social learning – on the go, with all types of social media available
  • Creating high-def video for your courses, or people can upload for social learning or add high-def simulations or movies
  • Has the full power of people going into a LMS/LCMS online and actually seeing it in full screen, not tiny screen, your LMS features for viewing more importantly end users can take courses online via a nice size screen and not small screen. You want to offer an all encompassing simulation course, where end users can interact and are engaged – No problem. Any type of course you want to create or exists off the shelf can still be offered and taken by your end users. Want to learn Spanish with end users talking into the course and hearing it back with crystal clarity – no problem.
  • Create, take and learn anywhere – at the airport, coffee shop, home, work, in the field, on the plane (offline or Wi-Fi)
  • Take photos and immediately add them to your courses, or end users upload them and share – which means you can even share any type of file – again social learning via the “cloud – i.e. hosted by your vendor”.

The Winner

Consumer slate tablets defeating desktops, smart phones. Why? Social Learning, WBT courses, LMS possibilities, “Cloud” authoring tools, Emerging technology, Mobile Learning and all other aspects of eLearning, On the Go, High speed, E-Books – Real time web conferences where you actually see the people – hear them and respond, webinars and much more.

TOPYX by Interactyx works on an iPad, offers HTML5 and will eventually enable end users to build HTML5 courses within their content authoring tool – yes they have fired the first shot, time for a wake-up to the rest of the industry.

The battle cry, “The British are Coming” doesn’t apply, rather “The Consumer Tablets are here, the revolution has started” does, and we no longer need a person on a horse to tell us, the net already has.

Please note

I am not referring that tablets have replaced or will replace the laptop market. Rather they will become a new audience channel that vendors need to be aware of, and understand that they need to design and deliver solutions for this market, in order to meet the on-going demand for “on the go” learning and specifically, solutions that can be built in a cloud, rather than via desktop only software.

by Craig Weiss, E-Learning 24/7 (www.elearninfo.com)

** Guest Blogger **

To see social eLearning and mLearning software in action, request a demonstration of TOPYX and get a 30-day trial site. Visit http://www.interactyx.com/eLearning/Request-Information.html


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