FocusOn Learning 2017 review: eLearning industry striving to be more interactive
From June 20-22, the best and most innovative companies in the eLearning industry gathered in San Diego, California for the FocusOn Learning 2017 Conference and Expo. Unlike other conferences in the education and eLearning industries, FocusOn Learning is dedicated to new technologies and trends that are changing the way we approach education.
We at NeoSpeech were at the conference to see what new trends are driving the industry and what it means for text-to-speech technology. The eLearning industry has been one of the fastest growing segments in the text-to-speech space in recent years. From what we saw, it looks like that trend is going to continue into the foreseeable future.
The eLearning industry is pushing to be more interactive. In the past, the focus was all about being accessible. While accessibility is still a key component and driving force in the eLearning industry, the new trend is all about making eLearning, training, and simulations more interactive and engaging for the learners. This is why text-to-speech is being used more and more in the eLearning field.
FocusOn 2017 Conference and Expo overview
Computers and the internet gave rise to the eLearning industry. Before, learning had to be taken place in a classroom with an instructor. When the internet made the world much more connected and accessible, it made it possible for instructors, schools, and companies to provide educational courses to students from anywhere.
Today, technology is advancing greatly and with that the possibilities for eLearning are growing. eLearning doesn’t have to be about presenting PowerPoint slides to teach a course. It can be more engaging, and be delivered through different mediums and on different devices.
And that’s what FocusOn Learning is all about. This conference takes a deep dive into the new trends and technologies, including mobile apps, video, and even games, that can be used for eLearning purposes. The event gathers the biggest players in this field to learn from each other and teach the world how they can take advantage of these new advancements themselves.
eLearning companies are striving to be more interactive
The expo hall allowed us to see firsthand what companies were doing to help push the eLearning industry into the future. By the end of it, we were left with three main thoughts:
- Through eLearning solution providers, it’s becoming easier for any company, school, or individual to create their own world-class eLearning course.
- eLearning companies are trying to improve results by making content more engaging.
- Text-to-speech will continue to grow in the eLearning industry.
The first thought was evident by the sheer number of Learning Management Systems (LMS), authoring platforms, and full-service eLearning solution providers at the conference. LMS’s are software applications that allow administrators to deliver content in their eLearning program to their students. Through a LMS, they can track the progress of each student and see reports and analytics that give them valuable insights into the effectiveness of their eLearning program.
Authoring tools put you in control of creating your own eLearning course. We saw quite a few different authoring tools that were catered towards specific needs. One such company was GoAnimate, a platform that enables anyone to easily create their own animated videos. Users can make videos to market their company or deliver an educational lesson, such as a step-by-step tutorial. With a platform like this, you don’t need to have video editing experience or have the latest video production software, you can just use the GoAnimate platform that simplifies the process.
Another authoring tool provider we spoke to was Gomo Learning, a cloud-based authoring tool that makes it simple to create your own eLearning content. Users can create engaging and interactive online courses through Gomo’s platform.
The rise in the amount of available authoring tools helped lead us to our third thought, that text-to-speech would continue to grow in the eLearning field. Authoring tools can greatly improve their services by adding text-to-speech features, and several already have.
GoAnimate uses text-to-speech to allow their users to add narration to their videos. We spoke with them and they mentioned that this can be a valuable feature for new companies in emerging markets that don’t have much capital. In those cases, it can be expensive and time consuming hiring a voice actor or buying voice recording equipment. By integrating text-to-speech into their platform, the users of GoAnimate can just type in text and have it instantly converted into speech for their narration. This is especially useful in eLearning videos as having speech is more engaging than putting large blocks of text in the video.
Other authoring tool providers use text-to-speech for the same reasons as well. Why put text in your eLearning courses when you can just have important information read out loud to your learners? The whole purpose of an authoring tool is to make it easier for an individual to create high quality eLearning content, so it’s no surprise that text-to-speech is often featured in these platforms.
Regarding our second thought, that the eLearning industry wants to be more engaging, we saw several companies approach education in innovative ways.
The Game Agency is a full-service agency that showed off how they create fun games for eLearning purposes. By making a game, The Game Agency says that they can achieve better results in the learning process since the content is more fun for the user.
Several other companies we spoke with are using mobile apps to deliver content. One allowed users to interact with their eLearning courses through their web cams so they can give answers and receive feedback.
Again, text-to-speech seemed to be a match made in heaven for these eLearning tools. Text-to-speech can provide dynamic conversions in real time, making it possible for games, apps, and computers to interact with users with personalized and relevant messages.
As the eLearning industry continues to evolve, we expect the opportunities for the text-to-speech industry continue to grow. Text-to-speech can help users of eLearning platforms create high quality content, and it can make the content itself more engaging for the learner, and that’s exactly what we saw at FocusOn Learning 2017.
What do you think?
Did you attend FocusOn 2017? What are your thoughts on the future of eLearning and text-to-speech? Let us know in the comments!
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