Among the latest industry headlines for April 2012: Blackboard Aquires Moodlerooms and NetSpot, General Physics Corporation Rebrands as GP Strategies, 10 Least Important LMS Features, The Great App Contest, Medical Simulation Corporation Offers Complimentary Knowledge Assessment, and TrainingIndustry.com Announces 2012 Top 20 Training Outsourcing Companies.
Blackboard Aquires Moodlerooms and NetSpot
Blackboard, Inc., recently announced a major investment in open source with news that it has acquired Moodlerooms and NetSpot, two leading providers of open source online learning solutions to the education industry. Both organizations will continue to operate independently to support their clients.
Moodlerooms and NetSpot are official Moodle Partners, and each will continue their current programs to support clients with no changes to their leadership or their support and service models.
In addition, each team will also become part of Blackboard’s new Education Open Source Services group, dedicated to supporting the use and development of open source learning technologies globally.
Leaders from each company recently traveled to Perth, Australia to meet with Martin Dougiamas, founder of Moodle and Managing Director of Moodle Pty Ltd, and present their plans. The meeting included Blackboard CEO Michael Chasen and chief technology officer Ray Henderson, Moodlerooms CEO Lou Pugliese and chief architect Tom Murdock, and NetSpot Managing Director Allan Christie.
“The decision of Moodlerooms and NetSpot to work under Blackboard may sound very strange at first to anyone in this industry,” said Dougiamas, “but it’s my understanding that these three companies have some good plans and synergies. I’m happy to say that Moodlerooms and NetSpot will remain Moodle Partners, and have promised to continue providing Moodle services, participating in the community, and contributing financially to Moodle exactly as they always have.”
Both companies provide hosting, support, and consulting services and products to clients using open source systems, including the Moodle learning management system (LMS) and the Mahara e-portfolio product. NetSpot is also an authorized reseller and service provider for Blackboard Collaborate™. Moodlerooms primarily serves clients in North America, while NetSpot serves a client base in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.
“Both Moodlerooms and NetSpot have built strong reputations for high quality service and support, which aligns with our deep focus in these areas and our overall commitment to providing LMS services and hosting globally,” said Henderson, CTO and President of Academic Platforms at Blackboard. “This direction allows us to provide the choice of an open source alternative with the benefit of a team of leaders from the open source community to guide our sustained contributions and citizenship in that community.”
Leaders from Moodlerooms, NetSpot, and Blackboard signed a Statement of Principles affirming that their work will continue to include regular contributions to the open source community in the form of code contributions, financial support to the Moodle Trust, and support for community gatherings including Moodlemoots.
“This partnership is an historic moment for our company, our clients and the open source community,” said Pugliese, CEO of the Baltimore-based Moodlerooms. “Our company organizes around the principles of affordability, openness and sustainability. Working with Blackboard means that clients using one or more LMS systems can do so more affordably, with greater investment in interoperability and deeper integration between products. Our work will also continue to send a significant portion of revenue directly to Moodle’s core team to help support the improvement of a free and open product.”
“This investment in the open source community is extremely exciting. Together we will help to advance the Moodle project which will lead to stronger options for clients,” said Christie, Managing Director of the Adelaide-based NetSpot. “Our company has delivered on a model that blends the advantages of open source with high quality service and support. We expect that by working as a combined team this investment will be good for NetSpot clients and great for Moodle.”
General Physics Corporation Rebrands as GP Strategies
Global performance improvement solutions provider GP Strategies Corporation, announces the launch of its new corporate brand identity, including a contemporary logo and updated website. General Physics Corporation's 45 years of knowledge and experience is now clearly reflected in GP Strategies' fresh new look. The new image portrays the evolution of a performance improvement industry pioneer to a global, full-service knowledge transformation leader committed to moving people and businesses forward.
"Our acquisition strategy and internal growth over the last several years have enabled us to build our capabilities, giving us the ability to provide a more integrated service offering to support our customers' needs," said Scott N. Greenberg, CEO of GP Strategies. "We continue to build a company focused on our customers' need to put knowledge to work quickly, which is reflected in our modernized branding."
Top 10 Least Important LMS Features
Research from U.K.-based firm REDTRAY reports that eCommerce, compliance, RSS feeds, and links to social media are among the 10 lowest priority features mentioned by learning and development (L&D) professionals when asked to consider requirements for their company’s learning management system. REDTRAY’s new crowd-sourcing research program, LMSwishList, generated the top ten least wanted list by analyzing the thoughts, insights, and opinions offered by the 100+ L&D professionals who have contributed to the LMSwishList project so far.
“As our project develops, it’s refreshing to see the key features that L&D directors really want in learning management systems come to the surface” says REDTRAY managing director Vicky Jones. “For too long, too many providers in this business have been content to bolt on niche functionality without really asking customers what’s important to them.” The result, according to the L&D experts taking part in LMSwishList, is a plethora of ill-defined LMS offers that confuse by attempting to be all things to all companies.
“Two trends are emerging as our LMSwishList initiative gathers momentum” continues Jones. “Firstly, the six to ten core features that all L&D experts want to see in the LMS systems they procure are becoming increasingly clear. Secondly, it’s becoming possible to align niche features with the business sectors that rate them highest. Ultimately we expect to produce not simply one hot list of features that prove popular across all industries, but a series of high definition wish lists that pinpoint priorities and highlight the differences between LMS users in distinctive markets like finance, manufacturing or IT and telecomms.”
The 10 least popular LMS features include:
- license management
- automated email notifications
- third-party vendor management
- budget management
- compliance suite
- CPD management
- RSS feeds and links to social media
- resourcing and scheduling.
Register interest, follow, or participate in the LMSwishList project at www.lmswishlist.com. Participants will receive exclusive first access to new data as it develops, be able to compare their own LMSwishList with their industry peer groups, and download the LMSwishList eBook when it becomes available later this spring. More news available on Twitter #LMSwishList.
Cool Idea: The Great App Contest
Citizens often wish that they could establish more communication between themselves and local government, give their input, and call for more accountability and transparency. Clark County, Nevada has done just that.
Commissioner Lawrence Weekly of District D of Clark County, which encompasses north central Las Vegas, has teamed up with the leader in efficiency and productivity apps, App-Order.com, to launch the “Great App Contest.” The contest is taking submissions from citizens who have ideas for improving the channels of communication between citizens and local government from all over the country.
The winning app will be made into a working app by App-Order.com, who created the “My District D” app two years ago. The “My District D” app gives citizens the ability to report graffiti and other code complaints through their phone, directly to Commissioner Weekly’s office, submitting a picture with GPS coordinates. The submissions are then turned into work orders for the city, notifying the workers who are out cleaning up other areas of the city to prioritize that code complaint if they are nearby. Since its launch in May of 2010, the “My District D” app has been added to the smartphones of over 2,000 citizens.
The winners will be announced later in April. The contest winner will receive $500 and honorable mentions will be award $15 Amazon gift cards.
Medical Simulation Corporation Offers Complimentary Knowledge Assessment
Medical Simulation Corporation (MSC) is pleased to offer healthcare organizations a complimentary opportunity to assess their healthcare provider team’s understanding of the evidence-based guidelines associated with several clinical topics targeted for improvement by the national Partnership for Patients initiative. Representing a $25 value per provider, the online Quality Initiative Knowledge Assessment is currently offered at no charge. The assessment is available for the Partnership focus areas of Central Line Infection, Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia, and Venous Thromboembolism as well as other key quality areas including Sepsis, Stroke, Heart Failure, and more.
“Organizations such as LeapFrog, Healthgrades, and CMS report that hospitals consistently fail to meet important quality standards and are not doing enough to improve the quality and safety of patient care,” says Bill Younkes, MSC President. “MSC is offering the knowledge assessment to healthcare organizations to help them determine if there is a need to implement a quality improvement effort in a particular area or evaluate the results of an ongoing or previous quality effort.”
In addition to the standalone Quality Initiative Knowledge Assessment offering, the knowledge assessment is included in MSC’s full Quality Initiative Programs: clinical-topic specific blended learning curriculum featuring online and hands-on simulation courses along with pre-training and post-training knowledge and confidence assessment against evidence-based guidelines.
For more information about the Quality Initiative Knowledge Assessment and MSC’s full Quality Initiative Programs, please visit www.medsimulation.com. MSC is proud to be a partner in the national Partnership for Patients initiative. As part of the Affordable Care Act to improve healthcare quality, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the Partnership for Patients Initiative in 2011, focusing concerted effort on reducing patient harm by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent by 2014.
TrainingIndustry.com Announces 2012 Top 20 Training Outsourcing Companies
TrainingIndustry.com is pleased to announce our 2012 Top 20 Training Outsourcing Companies list. TrainingIndustry.com continuously reviews companies that provide training business process outsourcing (BPO) services and conducts an annual assessment to determine suppliers' experience and capabilities.
Selection to this year's Top 20 Training Outsourcing Companies list was based on the following criteria:
- industry visibility, innovation and impact
- capability to deliver multiple types of training services
- company size and growth potential
- strength of clients
- geographic reach.
"The Top Training Outsourcing Companies continue to lead and be a source of innovation for the corporate training marketplace. These companies gather best practices through their experience across a wide base of excellent customers" said Ken Taylor, chief operating officer of TrainingIndustry, Inc.
- CGS – Computer Generated Solutions
- GP Strategies
- Hemsley Fraser
- Infosys Technologies
- Intrepid Learning
- Knowledge Pool
- Micro Tek
- NIIT Enterprise Learning Solutions
- Raytheon Professional Services
- Talent2 International
- Tata Interactive
- The Training Associates
"As the Training Outsourcing market continues to evolve away from the traditional comprehensive outsourcing deals, companies in the space are developing deep process expertise that they are bringing to the table in both projects or short term contracts, as well as longer term relationships" said Doug Harward, CEO of TrainingIndustry, Inc.