2017 Winner: Innovation In Information And Communications Technology Sponsored By TELUS
Making eLearning Available for Everyone
As more industries and institutions around the world look toward digital solutions for their content management problems, innovative technology companies will answer the call. In the eLearning sector, Leara eLearning is making it easier than ever for educators and trainers to provide instructional material to their students.
“ELearning is the future of education and education is how we’re going to solve the world’s problems,” says Connor Gottfried, CEO of Leara eLearning. “Whether it’s energy or waste or whatever it might be, it’s going to be education that will allow that to happen.”
To ensure barriers to learning are removed, Calgary-based Leara eLearning developed Respond5, a multi-device content authoring tool that allows any instructor who has content to add it to a course and deliver that course to any device regardless of screen size or pixel dimensions. This makes the product highly compatible and available.
Gottfried says, “It’s like the WordPress of eLearning.”
Learning at your fingertips
With Respond5, Leara’s clients can deliver instructional material anywhere at anytime through smartphones. Gottfried explains, “It has allowed our clients to deliver training to their learners regardless of geography or any other restrictions because we’re all carrying our smartphones all the time. Previously you had to sit down and take a course on your computer. Now you can access that [content] exactly when and where you need it.”
Leara also provides eLearning solutions for clients in construction, transportation and medicine, while also improving the education sector. One of their early clients was PCL Construction, which has been using Leara’s technology to reach their learners on every device outside a traditional classroom setting.
“Industry stands to make large financial gains by investing in eLearning,” explains Gottfried. “They can cut their costs and deliver their training without bringing people into classrooms.”
“It’s more than reaching just a specific learner,” adds Gottfried. “It’s removing all the barriers and the boundaries.”
Although Leara’s clients have primarily been from industry, they have recently been shortlisted for an award for the best authoring tool for educators in K-12 and post-secondary. The advantage for educators is that it allows content to be updated live after it has been distributed to each individual student through multiple course cohorts.
The other advantage comes from powerful analysis of quiz questions by integrating with Google analytics. This allows the educator to view a large collection of data easily to see how long students spent on each page and what the responses were to better address learning gaps. As Leara continues to develop their authoring tools, they are ensuring that both academia and industry will reap the benefits.
“We truly believe that education can change the world,” Gottfried says. “It’s a dream of ours to make it accessible to anyone, regardless of where they are.”
On the horizon
Moving forward, Leara is partnering with a charity in Uganda that is using solar powered tablets to bring eBooks to students in areas without electricity or Internet.
Through the partnership, Leara is providing their software to build courses to go beyond simply providing eBooks.
“It’s that’s type of thing that really drives us,” says Gottfried. “It’s that idea that we can make a change in people’s lives through the power of education.”
Gottfried explains that Alberta has been the perfect place to develop this technology. He adds, “We’ve got amazing technology infrastructure, fantastic high-speed Internet, educated people and beautiful nature around us to keep everyone balanced.”
It is this combination of infrastructure, people and nature that allows for the perfect environment to help Leara continue creating innovative eLearning technologies.
“You know we’re going to conquer the world,” Gottfried enthuses. “We’re going to expand our market share. We have a significant number of really cool new features, specifically in the areas of social learning. Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud are called SMAC technologies and that’s the driving force right now in eLearning. We have all of those as core technologies of our product and we plan to expand even further.”