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Blackboard Announces Integration With Amazon’s Alexa
Blackboard has announced its partnership with Amazon’s Alexa to launch a new Skill for its flagship learning management system (LMS), Blackboard Learn. Learners (and their parents) will be able to get information about their profile and coursework simply by asking Alexa.
The initial Skill allows students to ask Alexa to access information about their profile and coursework. For example, students could access course information by asking questions like “Alexa, when is my next English essay due?” The functionality is expected to expand into asking about grades, course announcements, and messages. The goal of this integration is to simplify access to school-related information for end users and to incorporate seamlessly into their everyday lives.
According to Amazon, “the Alexa Education Skill API is a new set of interfaces that allow Education Technology (Ed Tech) developers to build voice experiences for parents and students 13 and over.” The API gives LMS vendors access to the voice model for common education requests so they will no longer have to spend development time on voice design. To develop the API, Amazon worked closely not only with Blackboard, but also Kickboard, ParentSquare, Coursera, and Canvas.
In order to use this Skill, students will need to link their Blackboard and Alexa accounts. The integration is currently in preview and expected to go live later this year.
Source: Blackboard at SoftwareReviews, Report published January 2019
Voice design is more prevalent and becoming increasingly important as more applications look to integrate with Siri, OK Google, and Alexa. Amazon is seeking first player advantage by partnering with LMS systems before Apple and Google, and with the API those vendors will not have to commit resources to voice design.
The ability to speak with Alexa enables learners to access information as they go about their day and could be a huge benefit to those with accessibility needs as they don’t need to log into a device to receive accurate course information. Although the functionality is still developing, it might be enough to convince some users and families to adopt Alexa in order to have voice access to LMS content.
Pearson released the results of its Global Learning Survey. This is the first time that Pearson has undertaken such a study to capture the opinions of 11,000 learners across 19 countries. The study uncovered eight key trends indicating a shift to life-long, learner driven education.
Absorb LMS has acquired Tampa-based eLogic Learning LMS. This is the second acquisition in its aggressive acquisition growth strategy, following its acquisition of Torch LMS in May.
TalentLMS 4.0 features several new features along with an improved user interface. While none of the new features are game changers, they are marginal improvements that TalentLMS users and administrators will enjoy.
iSpring has released an update that includes three major improvements to its Learn LMS platform. These updates are focused on making the role of admin easier and to cut down on the amount of time spent managing content and user lists.
SumTotal 19.2 is its second release of 2019 and solidifies its focus on creating an end-to-end talent development solution. Its new SumTotal Intelligent Assistant (SIA) is the highlight of the update, providing users the ability to translate web searches and internet content into relevant training content within the SumTotal LMS.
Docebo’s latest product release, Docebo 7.7, increases personalization for enterprise learning and brand identity. The release also includes improved automated content suggestions through its artificial intelligence and course enrollment based on personalized learning paths.
Absorb LMS has acquired Utah-based Torch LMS. This acquisition is the first in its acquisition growth strategy, financed through its Silversmith Capital Partners investment.
eLogic Learning claims to be taking the lead in mobile support by releasing its iOS app. However, offering a mobile experience has been table stakes in the industry for quite some time.
Adobe Captivate Prime Introduces Gamification for User-Generated Content and a New Manager Compliance Dashboard
Recently, Adobe Captivate Prime released an update that is more than just tweaking the interface. The latest update introduces social tools, gamification, and user-generated content tools as well as improvements to compliance monitoring.