E-learning Curve Blog at Edublogs

E-learning Curve Blog is Michael Hanley's elearning blog about skills, knowledge, and organizational development using web-based training and technology in education

Entries Tagged as 'ireland'

E-learning blog for Ireland – calling Irish learning professionals

March 17, 2009 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · 61393, e-learning blog, elearning practitioners, ireland, learning development professionals, learning technology

I’m developing an e-learning blog specifically for learning professionals based in Ireland. I aim to use it as a platform to discuss Learning & Development Technology-related topics specific to practitioners based in the Emerald Isle. shamrock

The Great Recession notwithstanding, Ireland has a vibrant technology and knowledge-based industrial economy, and one of the domains we excel in, is in e-learning – most people in the industry have heard of SkillSoft and ThirdForce and HMH, for example.

Equally, academic institutions like Trinity College, Dublin, University College, Dublin, the National College of Ireland, and the University of Limerick run very innovative e-learning programs – particularly at post-graduate level. These organizations and institutions aside, there are over fifty ‘other’ e-learning development houses in the country. Not bad for a country with a population of under 5 million people. By any measure, I think we punch above our weight.

Despite this, there seems to be very few Learning & Development Technology professionals contributing to the blogosphere. Off the top of my head I can think of Brian Mulligan, Michelle Gallen, Patricia Donaghy, Eamon Costello, and some guy called Michael Hanley. I’d love to include the views of Ireland-based Learning & Development Technology professionals in the new blog I’m developing, and to create a space for us to discuss the challenges and opportunities that we all encounter in our activities with learners.

If you’re interested in contributing, just e-mail me here: elearningcurve[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll get in touch with you to discuss my ideas.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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No Flash on the iPhone? I’m cool with that.

February 12, 2009 by Michael Hanley · 4 Comments · e-learning, elearning content, flash, iPhone, ireland, m-learning, online learning, online presentation tool, podcasts

Everyone wants Flash on the iPhone.

Today I had a moment of clarity. I realized there will never be the facility to view Flash-based content on my iPhone. Probably. And you know what? I’m cool with that.

I have been an Apple 3G iPhone owner and user since the model was released here in Ireland in mid-2008. Since I have had the device, I’ve come to rely on it to manage my e-mail accounts, utilize my time, play music, video, take notes (text and audio), and generally be more productive .

I’ve Twittered, Quittered, Facebooked, YouTubed and blogged. 

But for me, the inability to deliver Flash-based interactive e-learning applications on the device has been a significant source of frustration for me for all the time I have used my iPhone.

Oh, the potential that’s there, I said. What a waste, I lamented. Learning “on-the-go” – real just-in-time information-transfer just-out-of-reach, I railed, much like Lear on the heath. All that content, ready to be refactored into a dinky miniaturized format for all my learners: not to be, alas and alack.

More than anything else, my frustration was based upon a positive reading of a very ambiguous statement by Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, who, when discussing the difficulties in bringing Adobe’s most well distributed product to the iPhone said:

It’s a hard technical challenge, and that’s part of the reason Apple and Adobe are collaborating… The ball is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver.*

The implication of this – and other – public utterances by the Adobe Powers That Be is that Apple and Adobe are “collaborating” on developing a Flash player for the iPhone. Logical conclusion: it’s just a matter of time before Flash appears in the iTunes App Store, ready to go.

fake_iPhone_eL 

Not on the jPhone as a Flash movie anytime soon

However, if you believe Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ comments on the popular platform, it won’t be on the iPhone any time soon.

According to Wired, Steve Jobs considers that Flash is “too slow” for the iPhone, and Flash Lite is too limited. Don’t forget that the iPhone OS is a tightly-curated closed platform: Apple call the shots. As Nullriver found out in August 2008 for example, the proprietors have no qualms about pulling iPhone Apps that they deem to extend the functionality of their hardware and software beyond what they (Apple) can control.

Wired again:

Flash does have a reputation for slow performance compared to the other popular web-embeddable language, Java. Traditionally, the best flash presentations are those coded by experts with a keen awareness of its limits—Apple wisely fears iPhones being hammered by the Internet’s inexhaustible supply of badly-constructed Flash garbage.

There is a convergence of historical, cultural and practical considerations to be accounted for:

  1. After many years closely working with Apple (when the Mac was the graphics & DTP  creatives’ / digital media producers’ computer of choice), Adobe Systems grew initially on Apple’s support of Postscript, and later of programs like PhotoShop, Illustrator and Premiere. It can be said that Adobe is taking that relationship for granted. Adobe did not update its Mac software for more than a year after Apple switched to Intel processors in 2007. This must have hit Apple’s revenue pretty hard, as potential users stuck to their PowerPC Macs until they could acquire the compatible Adobe software
  2. Traditionally, Flash has performed badly on Macs. Add to that the aforementioned “badly-constructed Flash garbage.”
  3. The iPhone is not a powerful computer: it is a Web-enabled Portable Digital Assistant (PDA). I would suggest that in many consumers’ minds that to be able to surf the internet in a full-featured Safari browser on the iPhone means that it’s a “real” computer. Apple surely want to manage users’ expectations.
  4. Apple is very aware of these problems. The company went as far as to include a clause in its iPhone developers’ Terms of Service agreement (.PDF) that prohibits Flash from appearing on the iPhone:

    No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s).

The outcome of these (and other) factors is that Safari for iPhone is unable to display a significant portion of the content on the internet. Flash games aren’t supported, videos can’t be streamed from popular television and movie sites like Hulu and the BBC iPlayer, and websites that use Flash to render content or navigation won’t work on the iPhone.

Next time: Implications for m-learning. Will mobile e-learning suffer as a result of this scenario?

______________

References:

*Source: Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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Elearning is weather-proof

February 2, 2009 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · benefits of e-learning, elearning, ireland

The Irish calendar does not observe the typical astronomical seasons (beginning, in the Northern Hemisphere, on the equinoxes and solstices), or the meteorological seasons (beginning on March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1), but rather centers the seasons around the solstices and equinoxes (so that, for instance, midsummer falls on the summer solstice), beginning the seasons at the approximate halfway points between solstice and equinox, following the seasons of the Iron Age (or Celtic) inhabitants of the island.

According to how we measure the calendar in other words, yesterday was the first day of Spring.

Now read on…

As the country experiences the worst snow storm for nearly two decades, according to Irish national broadcaster RTÉ’s website:

The cold snap has resulted in widespread disruption to road and air traffic and the closure of dozens of schools. Sub-zero temperatures and snowfalls in parts of Ireland and most of Britain have led to flight cancellations and long delays for motorists.

So I’m still sitting at my desk at 7.00pm catching up on some paperwork, as the road out of my office is gridlocked and has been for some hours now…parkwest_snow

Assuming this traffic clears, I still have to find my car (which is somewhere under all that snow)…

alfa156_snowed_in

…and I still have to make it home.

It occurs to me, that e-learning is resistant to all of this weather, and traffic.

Normal service resumes tomorrow (as I hope will the weather!).

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The Winter Solstice at Newgrange – watch it live on the Web

December 20, 2008 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · bru na boinne, history, ireland, lightbox, live online, neolithic, Newgrange, streaming media, tumulus, winter solstice


5,000 years ago, an extraordinary people lived in Ireland. They were farmers, hunters and builders. Without the benefit of the wheel, and with tools made only of flint, they carved their culture into history. Along the banks of the River Boyne, they built houses to their dead, repositories to their spirit – monuments to immortality.

Brú na Boinne: Monument to Immortality

I don’t spend all my time involved in learning and development.

No, no, no.

Among my more arcane, but nevertheless very satisfying interests is in the culture of the Neolithic (New Stone Age), and particularly the culture of the Beaker People of Western Europe. An event central to the lives of the people of this culture in Ireland (which resonates with us today) occurs this Sunday, 21st December on the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere.

At ten minutes to nine on the morning of the shortest day of the year, a pale and weak sun slowly rises above a ridge in the Boyne River valley. As its rays penetrate the dawn mist, a solitary building sits atop it hill… waiting. Waiting as it has every year for over fifty centuries to shine once again as a beacon to the Spirit Of Man – a place where people forever bound to the earth can, however briefly, capture the Fire of the Sun and touch the sky.

Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange there is a opening called a roof-box. Its purpose is to allow sunlight to penetrate the chamber on the shortest days of the year, around December 21, the Winter Solstice.

At dawn, from December 19th to 23rd, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the passage. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens within the chamber so that the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. This event lasts for 17 minutes, beginning around 9am.

Newgrange’s accuracy as a time-telling device is all the more remarkable when you think that it was built 500 years before the Great Pyramids in Giza, and more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge.

Thanks to the Irish Office of Public Works (OPW) and facilitated by the good people at Servecast (yo! Julian, Declan, & Sinead!) you will have the opportunity to view this event live online on the morning of 21st December.

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Recession, the challenge to e-learning, and HMH in Ireland

September 15, 2008 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · challenge to e-learning, digital native, e-learning industry, economic downturn, elearning research and development, HMH, ireland, recession

I’ll start this post by issuing a mixed metaphor alert: Gorillatoday, we’re going to talk about an elephant in the room, which also happens to be an 800lb gorilla.

Intrigued? Now read on…

Back in February this year, I wrote the first of my occasional series on Recession and the challenge to e-learning; in that first piece, I concluded by suggesting that

in the era of $100 a barrel oil and the value of virtual classrooms; the ROI of e-learning as opposed to traditional methods; even the impact of traditional ways of teaching on the environment (“e-learning” becomes “eco-learning” anyone?).

Based on an announcement made last Thursday 10th September 2008, I can now assert that we are beginning to see that there is validity in this conclusion. Based on the level of investment one e-learning enterprise has committed to developing the industry in the medium- to long term, the market in now in a place to support the proposition that the ROI on e-learning makes sense, and generates profit.

hmh_logo

E-learning giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) – formerly known as Riverdeep – is to create 450 jobs at a new R&D headquarters in Dublin. Riverdeep had its origins in Dublin in 1995 and under the leadership of Barry O’Callaghan became a global name in the e-learning K-12 market space. As an educational publisher, HMH has over 100,000 customers, generating approximately US$2.5bn in annual revenues, profits in the region of US$1bn, and 50 per cent market share of the US K-12 market, the world’s largest education market.

HMH is to establish its global e-learning R&D centre in the greater Dublin area, creating 450 “high-value” jobs over the next five years.

Fiona O’Carroll, senior vice-president, Digital Products R&D at HMH confirmed the Irish Government’s vision to create a knowledge economy by investing in people, research and innovation was a key factor in the company’s decision.

The new R&D centre will be a focal point for e-learning and educational innovation. Employees, partner companies and collaborating universities will be attracted by the quality of research, people, innovation and commercialisation activity in the centre.

The Centre will involve establishing a globally networked team in Ireland with team members and innovation partners based in the US and around the globe. The company said these jobs should be very attractive to seasoned technology professionals, engineering and technology graduates, highly creative thinkers and innovators in the e-learning space.

As I’ve said in the past, Ireland has a vibrant technology and knowledge-based industrial economy, and one of the domains we excel in, is in e-learning – I guess most people in the industry have heard of SmartForce and Electric Paper, for example. These large companies notwithstanding, there are over fifty ‘other’ e-learning development houses in the country. Not bad for a country with a population of under 5 million people.

In my view, this investment will prove to be a game-changer. As it is, you could say that HMH are the only game in (e-learning) town – if they manage the innovations and outputs afforded by this R&D centre correctly, HMH will grow to become the Google of e-learning. Indeed, the Google approach (especially the famed “20 per cent time”) is a perfect model for any knowledge-based organization that wants to stimulate growth through innovative new products invented and developed by their own subject matter experts. Similarly, this R&D centre will provide the organization with the potential benefits of having an audience for life: if HMH products have the skill and facility to instil the joy of learning in the kids that they currently provide e-learning solutions for, they will have an audience for life, given that these Digital Natives (click on the link for Marc Prensky’s seminal article) will grow up associating the brand with discovering knowledge and the fun of learning. In essence, we can say that the company has the potential to mould a whole generation of learners, which is an extraordinary business opportunity, but also a huge responsibility.

Do I now hear the distant trumpet of an approaching elephant?

I do…

Just an observation really. Rumours of this investment have on the jungle telegraph here in Ireland for some time now, and I was originally going to post on this topic last Thursday (the day of the announcement).

african-elephant2

An African elephant (sans room)

I held back, because I wanted to see what reaction would come for the Irish L&D and e-learning blogosphere. I’m disappointed to say that no-one has posted a reaction to the largest investment in their industry, ever.

I’m sure people are still formulating their thoughts – I for one want to read how others in the e-learning industry here in Ireland are responding to this investment.

_____________

References:

HMH to Create 450 Jobs and Base Global R&D Headquarters in Dublin. Enterprise Ireland Press Release. [Internet] Available from: http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/eicms/interiorpage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRORIGINALURL=%2FNews%2FPress%2BReleases%2F2008%2FPressSep102008.htm&NRNODEGUID={077DB63F-4925-4D96-BEB3-364BF11C8EB1}&NRCACHEHINT=Guest

[Accessed 10th September 2008]

Ireland wins €350m HMH deal after tough worldwide battle. Irish Independent. [Internet] Available from: http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/ireland-wins-8364350m-hmh-deal–after-tough-worldwide-battle-1473370.html

[Accessed 10th September 2008]

[Read more →]

Recession, the challenge to e-learning, and HMH in Ireland

September 15, 2008 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · challenge to e-learning, digital native, e-learning industry, economic downturn, elearning research and development, HMH, ireland, recession

I’ll start this post by issuing a mixed metaphor alert: Gorillatoday, we’re going to talk about an elephant in the room, which also happens to be an 800lb gorilla.

Intrigued? Now read on…

Back in February this year, I wrote the first of my occasional series on Recession and the challenge to e-learning; in that first piece, I concluded by suggesting that

in the era of $100 a barrel oil and the value of virtual classrooms; the ROI of e-learning as opposed to traditional methods; even the impact of traditional ways of teaching on the environment (“e-learning” becomes “eco-learning” anyone?).

Based on an announcement made last Thursday 10th September 2008, I can now assert that we are beginning to see that there is validity in this conclusion. Based on the level of investment one e-learning enterprise has committed to developing the industry in the medium- to long term, the market in now in a place to support the proposition that the ROI on e-learning makes sense, and generates profit.

hmh_logo

E-learning giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) – formerly known as Riverdeep – is to create 450 jobs at a new R&D headquarters in Dublin. Riverdeep had its origins in Dublin in 1995 and under the leadership of Barry O’Callaghan became a global name in the e-learning K-12 market space. As an educational publisher, HMH has over 100,000 customers, generating approximately US$2.5bn in annual revenues, profits in the region of US$1bn, and 50 per cent market share of the US K-12 market, the world’s largest education market.

HMH is to establish its global e-learning R&D centre in the greater Dublin area, creating 450 “high-value” jobs over the next five years.

Fiona O’Carroll, senior vice-president, Digital Products R&D at HMH confirmed the Irish Government’s vision to create a knowledge economy by investing in people, research and innovation was a key factor in the company’s decision.

The new R&D centre will be a focal point for e-learning and educational innovation. Employees, partner companies and collaborating universities will be attracted by the quality of research, people, innovation and commercialisation activity in the centre.

The Centre will involve establishing a globally networked team in Ireland with team members and innovation partners based in the US and around the globe. The company said these jobs should be very attractive to seasoned technology professionals, engineering and technology graduates, highly creative thinkers and innovators in the e-learning space.

As I’ve said in the past, Ireland has a vibrant technology and knowledge-based industrial economy, and one of the domains we excel in, is in e-learning – I guess most people in the industry have heard of SmartForce and Electric Paper, for example. These large companies notwithstanding, there are over fifty ‘other’ e-learning development houses in the country. Not bad for a country with a population of under 5 million people.

In my view, this investment will prove to be a game-changer. As it is, you could say that HMH are the only game in (e-learning) town – if they manage the innovations and outputs afforded by this R&D centre correctly, HMH will grow to become the Google of e-learning. Indeed, the Google approach (especially the famed “20 per cent time”) is a perfect model for any knowledge-based organization that wants to stimulate growth through innovative new products invented and developed by their own subject matter experts. Similarly, this R&D centre will provide the organization with the potential benefits of having an audience for life: if HMH products have the skill and facility to instil the joy of learning in the kids that they currently provide e-learning solutions for, they will have an audience for life, given that these Digital Natives (click on the link for Marc Prensky’s seminal article) will grow up associating the brand with discovering knowledge and the fun of learning. In essence, we can say that the company has the potential to mould a whole generation of learners, which is an extraordinary business opportunity, but also a huge responsibility.

Do I now hear the distant trumpet of an approaching elephant?

I do…

Just an observation really. Rumours of this investment have on the jungle telegraph here in Ireland for some time now, and I was originally going to post on this topic last Thursday (the day of the announcement).

african-elephant2

An African elephant (sans room)

I held back, because I wanted to see what reaction would come for the Irish L&D and e-learning blogosphere. I’m disappointed to say that no-one has posted a reaction to the largest investment in their industry, ever.

I’m sure people are still formulating their thoughts – I for one want to read how others in the e-learning industry here in Ireland are responding to this investment.

_____________

References:

HMH to Create 450 Jobs and Base Global R&D Headquarters in Dublin. Enterprise Ireland Press Release. [Internet] Available from: http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/eicms/interiorpage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRORIGINALURL=%2FNews%2FPress%2BReleases%2F2008%2FPressSep102008.htm&NRNODEGUID={077DB63F-4925-4D96-BEB3-364BF11C8EB1}&NRCACHEHINT=Guest

[Accessed 10th September 2008]

Ireland wins €350m HMH deal after tough worldwide battle. Irish Independent. [Internet] Available from: http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/ireland-wins-8364350m-hmh-deal–after-tough-worldwide-battle-1473370.html

[Accessed 10th September 2008]

[Read more →]

Tags: ········

Elearning Companies in Ireland: RFI

July 3, 2008 by Michael Hanley · 2 Comments · companies, e-learning, elearning, elearning curve blog, ireland

I use the fantastic StatCounter.com Website and Blog Analytics service to measure my Elearning Curve Blog’s metrics; this is not just because they’re an Irish company, but also because they provide very comprehensive and granular logs and metrics. statcounter

Among other things it enables me to review are such statistics as

  • site usage
  • page loads
  • popularity of site by location (for an English-language site, I’ve an unusually large group of readers in Brazil, for example: Olá! Como vai?)
  • location of subscribers (hello also to my most northerly reader in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada)

…and so forth.

According to my “Most popular keyword” reports, a very common query is “e-learning companies ireland.” A recent Silicon Republic report states that there are over sixty such organizations based in Ireland, but from my researches no directory of these companies is available online.

Now, we all know about Skillsoft, WBT Systems, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Electric Paper, Intuition, and so forth, but who else is out there?

I (and seemingly quite a few other people in the blogosphere) would like to know.

So, if you send me your company details via the Comments link at the bottom of this post (name, URL, location, market space etc), I’ll put them together in an easily accessible online directory, not for any other reason than nobody seems to have undertaken this activity before – that I’m aware of, anyway.

[Read more →]

Elearning Companies in Ireland: RFI

July 3, 2008 by Michael Hanley · 6 Comments · companies, e-learning, e-learning industry, elearning, elearning curve blog, ireland

I use the fantastic StatCounter.com Website and Blog Analytics service to measure my Elearning Curve Blog’s metrics; this is not just because they’re an Irish company, but also because they provide very comprehensive and granular logs and metrics. statcounter

Among other things it allows me to review are such statistics as

  • site usage
  • page loads
  • popularity of site by location (for an English-language site, I’ve an unusually large group of readers in Brazil, for example: Olá! Como vai?)
  • location of subscribers (hello also to my most northerly reader in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada)

and so forth.

According to my “Most popular keyword” reports, a very common query is “e-learning companies ireland.” A recent Silicon Republic report states that there are over sixty such organizations based in Ireland, but from my researches no directory of these companies is available online.

Now, we all know about Skillsoft, WBT Systems, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Electric Paper, Intuition, and so forth, but who else is out there?

I (and seemingly quite a few other people in the blogosphere) would like to know.

So, if you send me your company details via the Comments link at the bottom of this post (name, URL, location, market space etc), I’ll put them together in an easily accessible online directory, not for any other reason than nobody seems to have undertaken this activity before – that I’m aware of, anyway.

[Read more →]

Maynooth and the Knowledge Economy in Ireland

May 10, 2008 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · ireland, Knowledge Economy, NUI Maynooth


Just a short post to big up my home town of Maynooth in Ireland, and the range of research being undertaken at my alma mater the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Current research includes:

  • facial expression software
  • AIDS research
  • Wi-Max networking
  • drug delivery technologies
  • Darfur peace talks
  • retail geotechnology

NUI Maynooth

Past academic research in Maynooth included the first description of Quaternions by Sir William Rowan Hamilton. Quaternions form the basis for 3D calculations in computer graphics.

Ruins of Maynooth Castle Keep

A near-contemporary of Hamilton, Nicholas Callan, invented the induction coil, the technology which drives the spark coil in petrol combustion engines, strobe lights and photographic flash guns, and was used by Marconi to send early radio transmissions.

Click here for more.

[Read more →]

Maynooth and the Knowledge Economy in Ireland

May 10, 2008 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · ireland, Knowledge Economy, NUI Maynooth


Just a short post to big up my home town of Maynooth in Ireland, and the range of research being undertaken at my alma mater the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Current research includes:

  • facial expression software
  • AIDS research
  • Wi-Max networking
  • drug delivery technologies
  • Darfur peace talks
  • retail geotechnology

NUI Maynooth

Past academic research in Maynooth included the first description of Quaternions by Sir William Rowan Hamilton. Quaternions form the basis for 3D calculations in computer graphics.

Ruins of Maynooth Castle Keep

A near-contemporary of Hamilton, Nicholas Callan, invented the induction coil, the technology which drives the spark coil in petrol combustion engines, strobe lights and photographic flash guns, and was used by Marconi to send early radio transmissions.

Click here for more.

[Read more →]