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Getting to the Hart of learning technologies


Jane HartIn the latest column looking at what's new in the training and elearning software market, Jane Hart points to virtual world training for business, a free shareware application for digital discussions, the latest release of OpenOffice, an online whiteboard and more smart technologies.

Business Showcase for Virtual Worlds
Cranial Tap launched a business solutions showcase geared specifically towards 3D online virtual worlds. Located on Cortex Island in Second Life®, businesses and organizations can now connect remote teams, conduct research, offer training, recruit candidates and conduct meetings. These solutions are aimed at increasing productivity while reducing operating expenses. The four showcase areas provide working technologies that demonstrate the benefits of Teleworking, Virtual Meetings, Training and Presentations. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the featured solutions. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by Tia, a computer driven character (bot) that provides information related to Cranial Tap and their services. She serves as an example of an automated character that can be used in place of human hosts.

Learnscape Sandbox
Curriculum-free, interactive, self-service learning is the way of the future. Learnscape Sandbox is a safe, fast way to experiment with implementing the most powerful instrument of informal learning and innovation: simple conversation. A suite of low-cost, proven web software provides online space for conversation and collaboration, personal and professional profiles, following group activities in real time (online and/or by mobile phone), sharing insights and developments, building and retaining collective intelligence, scheduling and conducting meetings, monitoring subscriptions to industry and community news, tracking competitive information, collaborative writing, and more. It operates “in the cloud” and is ready to activate the day after you sign up.

CoFFEE is the new groupware application for digital discussions in a live classroom situation. CoFFEE offers customisable tools, such as a threaded discussion forum, graphical concept mapping, voting and more. CoFFEE is open-source and free! Available in: English, French, Italian and Dutch.

ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image. ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows. You can download ZoomIt for free

SocialText 3.0
SocialText moves from a wiki product to a connected collaboration platform. Socialtext 3.0 is a trio of applications: Socialtext People - Social networking for the enterprise; Socialtext Workspace - Group-editable wiki for easy, flexible, enterprise-wide collaboration; Socialtext Dashboard - Customizable home pages that let each person decide where to focus their attention. Socialtext 3.0 delivers connected collaboration with context, both internally within the organization and externally with customers and partners in extranet communities. It is built on a modular and integrated architecture that enables rapid integration with other enterprise systems and makes other enterprise applications social.

Luminosity goes mobile
CM Group announced a new mobile publication option for Luminosity. The new mobile technology within Luminosity means authors can output content to mobile phones and PDAs for offline study; great for businesses that employ large numbers of remote or home workers. In the current economic climate, businesses are looking to cut down on their training spend; the new mobile technology cuts home workers travel time and expenses, dramatically decreasing the cost of training.

OpenOffice 3.0
OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose. Version 3.0 just released

Star Performer
Speech Interactive of Atlanta GA, a provider of e-learning and related content media services, announced the release of its new version of StarPerformer, a next generation ‘learn and do” platform for the development and delivery of  e-learning content and business oriented simulations featuring the intelligent management of user statements and interactions made out of context. The StarPerformer, an off-shoot of their airline experience,  is a combination of industry leading speech recognition, text to speech and dynamic scripting technologies that provides a workforce with the opportunity to gain critical experience by role-playing with a computer.

Dabbleboard is a powerful online whiteboard that's actually easy and fun to use. With a revolutionary new interface, Dabbleboard gets out of your way and just lets you draw. Draw with flexible tools. Reuse previously-made drawings. Share and collaborate in real-time. All as naturally as using a marker or a pencil.

Safety Talks
Many construction companies spend a lot of time and money, using key personnel to retrain workers who may not have learnt the safety message first time round. Furthermore, work stoppages resulting from accidents and failure to comply with safety are extremely expensive. SpeechBubble™ is an animated training aid that runs on any laptop or PC on any platform. These are simple graphic and multilingual safety talks for the construction industry and other work sites. SpeechBubble™ is a concept developed by Bubble (NI) Ltd. SpeechBubble™ is a platform designed in such a way to facilitate communication with multi lingual audiences. Using ‘flick to a flag’ a presenter or trainer can display the same material in whatever languages are present.

One-click meetings. No download. No hassle. Mousecloud is the easiest way to get a web meeting going.

Jane Hart is head of the Centre of Learning and Performance Technologies. For more information go to
Or you can email her
For a daily item of elearning interest, take a look at her blog, Jane's elearning pick of the day.


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