Alliance Member, eCom Scotland, have announced plans to double it's staff numbers to 40, with an expectation that this will raise turnover to £1.6 million, up from £800,000 in the 2013 financial year.

The move is supported by a £100,000 loan from Royal Bank of Scotland through the government-backed Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme.

Managing director Wendy Edie said new staff usually spend three months in training before taking on client-facing work, creating a lag between the costs of hiring these people and the revenues they generate. The loan will allow eCom to bridge that gap.

She added that the additional working capital would not only allow eCom to hire new people, but also “put them through the specialised training process which is essential with a business like ours”.

Steven Hunter, relationship manager at RBS, said: “ECom is a growth focused business. When you combine this with their strong reputation in the market, excellent client base and the ongoing rise in the use of e-learning across the corporate community you have a business with real scope for development and further success.”

Full story at The Scotsman.

Aurion Learning announced that it has been named as a finalist for two E-Learning Age Awards this year.

The online learning and development company was selected from hundreds of entrants globally, to be shortlisted for:

  • E-Learning Development Company of the Year
  • Best E-Learning Project (Public Sector) in partnership with HSELanD


HSELanD was configured and developed in partnership with Aurion Learning andthe Health Service Executive Ireland to provide a central source of online learning and development.

The E-Learning Awards recognise and reward excellence in E-Learning and are the leading, independently judged scheme in the industry.

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for these prestigious industry awards, in particular for E-Learning Development Company of the Year” Said Dr. Maureen Murphy, Managing Director at Aurion Learning. “We are incredibly honoured that our collaborative work is being considered alongside the outstanding projects that have been submitted by all the nominees.”

The recent award nominations add to a growing list of accolades for Aurion Learning who won a prestigious Gold Brandon Hall Award in 2013 for Best in Learning Technology Implementations with HSELanD.

Winners will be announced at the E-Learning Awards on 6 November 2014 in London. For further information about the E-Learning Awards visit http://www.elearningage.co.uk/awards

Love it or loathe it, social media is having a huge impact on our lives. 

Research from earlier in the year shows that up to 74% of the UK population use social media, with Facebook being the single biggest social media platform used in both the UK and around the world.  A PEW Research report from Sept 2013, shows that 71% of all online adults use Facebook.

In December 2013, Facebook claimed to have over 31m users in the UK.  Figures from Twitter show 15m UK users and growing.  Whilst data from LinkedIn noted that they passed 10m users in 2013, which whilst lower than the previous two, is much more Focused on professional and business communities.

So how (or perhaps more importantly), are we using social media to improve and grow the learning opportunities, training & development that we offer individuals, or which our organisations offer to employees, students and stakeholders?

Do we use social media as a tool to deliver the same old content, or are we creating new environments where our learners, instead of the teachers/subject-experts, take centre stage?

Social media allows instructors and learners to easily share information and materials, opinions, views and comments, with the platform giving us a structure around which to organise it all.  But it can also help us to give learners more control over the direction of their learning.

Here's a quick guide to what the main platforms include:

Facebook
Closed or open groups, allow us to share information & materials (text, pictures, videos, etc.)  and have discussions about course-related issues, and any questions learners might have.  Growth rates may be slowing, and if you are going to use the platform, have a look at your demographics.  Current growth looks to be coming from an older age bracket, with younger users moving to other platforms.  However, the current market coverage makes it tempting to use.

Twitter
Can be used to connect learning communities or smaller classrooms over a specific topic or event, sharing highlights, making statements, uploading pictures, etc. Create an account, use a #hashtag and your learners can join in.  Caution with Twitter though, the majority of users read, but don't necessarily interact with other users.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn has thousands of discussions and groups where instructors, educators and “influencers” share views, problems, developments and how-to tips.  And there's an added value compared to the previous platforms as learners can actually see others professional profile and accomplishments, something that can add a bit of kudos to those taking part.

Google +
They're a bit cagey with their user numbers, but there's no doubt that Google+ is becoming increasingly popular, and with the established userbase of Gmail, Docs and Youtube, you can be certain they will continue to grow.   Google + is getting some good write-ups from eLearning people, with video integration, Hangouts and communities all being noted as strong components of their social media platform.

The list of platforms seems to grow on a monthly basis, with the likes of Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp all competing for users and content.  So we've got loads of choices for a social learning platform, but how are we using them, how should we be using, should we be using them, and what happens if we don't use them whilst our learners expect us to use them.

Here's a few more stats to give a flavour for how social media is being adopted:
As of September 2013, PEW Research reported:
71% of online adults use Facebook
17% use Instagram
21% use Pinterest
22% use LinkedIn

Whilst Business Insider found:
“Social” is now the top Internet activity: Americans spend more time on social media than any other major Internet activity, including email.
Social-mobile rules: 60% or so of social media time is spent on smartphones and tablets.  
Facebook attracts roughly seven times the engagement that Twitter does, when looking at both smartphone and PC usage, in per-user terms. 
Snapchat is a smaller network than WhatsApp, but outpaces it in terms of time-spend per user. 
Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn made major successful pushes last year to increase engagement on their mobile sites and apps. The new race in social media is not for audience per se, but for multi-device engagement. 

So with so many options, how are we supposed to know how to proceed with “social” in our learning.  This (along with a number of other topics) is something which the Alliance will be looking at during the Learning Essentials Conference on 31st October.

References:
http://wearesocial.net/blog/2014/02/social-digital-mobile-europe-2014/
http://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/social-digital-mobile-in-europe
http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/
http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/
http://www.businessinsider.com/social-media-engagement-statistics-2013-12
http://elearningindustry.com/the-role-of-social-media-in-elearning

Alliance Members, Safety4Business, the Health & Safety Division of eLearning publisher Learning Nexus and its recently announced preferred Scottish partner, eLearning consultancy, MediaCorp will be co-exhibiting at this year’s RoSPA Scotland Congress.

Now in its 20th year, the congress seeks to celebrate the innovation, partnership working and best practice behind Scotland’s health and safety achievements.

Mediacorp will be showcasing the popular S4B Health & Safety range, consisting of 23 online courses, which received RoSPA approval earlier in the year, as well as some of the other very popular certified IOSH courses and the soon to be released NEBOSH National General Certificate.

Both MediaCorp and Learning Nexus are established eLearning firms which have amassed a wealth of experience in the eLearning industry, and this partnership will grow Mediacorp’s already large portfolio of Scottish customers and provide a springboard to becoming a leading H&S eLearning solutions provider in Scotland.

James Marshall, Managing Director of MediaCorp, expressed his pleasure at the prospect: ‘Attending this RoPSA event is a first for us, however we are delighted to be attending and entering into the Scottish H&S markets with one of the UK’s largest H&S online content providers.’

There’s still time to book your space at this prestigious event, which is being held at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow. To book, please visit the RoSPA website.

The 2014 Learning Essentials Conference from the eLearning Alliance has been set for 31st October.

This years venue is West Lothian College in Livingston.

More details will follow shortly.

Cost:

Members - £99

Non-members - £170

 

Sponsor / exhibitor places are available - please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (07960 811326) for further information.

Exhibitors:

The Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women's Employment Angela Constance has today announced the appointment of new non-executive members to the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Board, which is being further strengthened with two co-opted members.

Donald Boyd, Willie Mackie, Seonag Mackinnon and Grahame Smith have all joined the SDS board and Christine Pollock and Fiona Sasan have also signed up as co-opted members.

Welcoming the appointments, Ms Constance said:

“I am delighted with these appointments that bring a breadth of relevant experience to the expanded board of Skills Development Scotland. to help guide it in its pivotal role to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s Economic and Skills Strategies.

“I also welcome the efforts being made by SDS to strengthen its board further with the co-option of two additional participants, whose senior-level experience in the education and legal sectors respectively will complement the skills of new and existing members. These two new associates strengthen female representation at SDS and their expertise will support SDS’s efforts across all its skills interventions, including the work it will do to support implementation of the young workforce recommendations”.

Hamilton-based company, Mediacorp, which specialises in Learning Management Systems (Moodle and Totara) and ePortfolio solutions, has become the preferred partner within Scotland of content developer, Learning Nexus and its subsidiary, Safety4Business.


The partnership will provide a joint approach to delivering high quality, good value, eLearning propositions to organisations of all sizes in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and include content, authoring tools and learning delivery platforms.  It will also enable public sector customers to be part of Freeshare, an online collaborative community in which courses are created and shared to improve best practice, and save time and money.  With the number of members constantly increasing and the number of courses in the Freeshare catalogue currently at one hundred and growing monthly, the ease, flexibility and value of Freeshare are evident.


Both Mediacorp and Learning Nexus are seasoned e-learning firms which have amassed a wealth of experience in the e-learning industry, and this partnership will grow their already large portfolio of Scottish customers and provide a springboard to becoming leading eLearning providers in Scotland.


James Marshall, Managing Director of Mediacorp, expressed his pleasure at the prospect: ‘Mediacorp has been delivering excellence right across the e-learning spectrum for the best part of 10 years and we’re relishing this opportunity of working with Learning Nexus to strengthen our portfolio still further and push those standards even higher.’


Ken George, Chairman of Learning Nexus is equally delighted with the partnership: “Learning Nexus has served the Scottish e-learning community for over 25 years and everyone in the company is excited by the opportunity of collaborating with Mediacorp to reach even higher standards of product and service excellence. “


About Mediacorp
Approaching its 10th birthday, Mediacorp is an e-learning consultancy company and solutions provider whose people are committed to the transformative power of learning and passionate about harnessing technology to revolutionise learning and performance. The company has many years of experience and expertise, and is known for its innovation, flexibility, versatility and unparalleled customer service. With a broad portfolio of customers across numerous industries, it provides solutions which deliver measurable results quickly and cost-effectively.

About Learning Nexus
For almost three decades, Learning Nexus has prided itself on being a leading independent eLearning publisher and solutions provider. Annually, it engages with hundreds of thousands of learners across the UK, delivering service excellence to industry, commerce and the public sector. With a passion for dynamic learning, Learning Nexus is well placed to offer a wide range of quality, cost-effective eLearning tools and services with measurable results.

About Safety4Business
With over sixteen years of experience in health and safety eLearning, Safety4Business is one of the UK market leaders, specialising in the design and publication of accredited Health & Safety eLearning courses. Safety4Business is the Health & Safety Division of Learning Nexus.