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E-learning vendors association launched


In what looks to be a major development in the e-learning market, a group of e-learning suppliers have joined forces to form the E-learning Vendors Association (ELVA) in an attempt to clarify some of the confusion in selecting and installing e-learning products in the workplace.

With BAOL, Centra, 7CityLearning, Click2Learn,Docent, fuel, Futuremedia, IgniteBT, Knowledge Pool, Macromedia, Pathlore, Saba Software and Trainersoft as founder members, ELVA has been borne out of a frustration with current marketing activities and a recognition that some of the 'hard-sell' which has taken place in the e-learning market has resulted in customers who, a year down the line, have been less than happy with the e-learning solution they have been sold.

Talking to TrainingZONE earlier today, Acting Chair of ELVA Neil Lasher, who is also MD of Trainersoft, agreed that e-learning has been over-marketed in the past, adding that he had seen a lot of people 'jumping on the bandwagon' of e-learning without having any real knowledge of learning theory. He added that a number of the founding companies of ELVA had expressed increasing concern about the way e-learning events and promotional activities were being marketed to them as prospective exhibitors and contributors, and that ELVA had developed after a number of conversations between providers revealing what Neil terms 'unscrupulous tactics'.

When asked how the formation of ELVA would affect e-learning providers' presence at exhibitions, Neil told TrainingZONE that shows would need to have a conference or sufficient descriptive presentation from vendors running alongside. Neil also questioned whether the content at many conferences was what people were looking for, and argued that there was a need for more small-scale case studies to come through: "We believe the man on the street is now looking for more information on how they inplement e-learning - they're looking for a five point plan, for example."

Neil acknowledges that a lack of clarity within the e-learning market had led to confusion: "With many different types of e-learning suppliers, a vast number of sources of information and a wide range of possible exhibitions to attend, many potential buyers of e-learning were inundated and expressing confusion about where to turn to for high quality, reliable information. We want to make it clearer for them. What we're seeing at present is a confused market leading to an inability to purchase."

ELVA is initially planning a series of open days for conference organisers and advertisers to make presentations to all members. Future plans include the possible publication of new overall standards for e-learning content and technology - ELVA's Chair is critical of the way academic institutions have been responsible for devising existing standards such as SCORM. Neil concluded: "At the end of the day, e-learning is only a delivery method for learning, and learning is still the most important part of what ELVA stands for."

TrainingZONE says: ELVA is both an interesting attempt to turn an existing advertising model on its head and a much-needed effort to clarify the confusing array of e-learning materials and technology on offer. We hope to see the results of the latter soon, and wait to see whether the days of exhibitions full of marketing gimmicks are truly over and done with.


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