Berlin set for Online Educa conference

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Augmented reality glasses, virtual reality goggles, and data and analytics that personalise education and drive businesses success will all be under discussion at Online Educa Berlin (OEB) next week. It will be the 20th edition of what is hailed as the 'largest global conference for technology-supported learning and training for the corporate, education and public service sectors'.

ICT-enhanced learning and training is estimated as a US$56.2 billion industry. This growth is being spurred on by the continued popularity of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and emerging trends such as mobile learning, wearable technologies, digital skills-training such as coding making its way onto national curriculums, and universal badge systems that accredit online education.

Shyamal Majumdar, head of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, who will be a keynote speaker at OEB, said: 'ICT has a crucial role in expanding access, improving quality and enhancing relevance of technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Thus, "ICT in TVET" has been placed at the top of UNESCO-UNEVOC’s agenda. UNESCO-UNEVOC aims to further explore the potential of technology including MOOCs and open educational resources (OER) as provisions of learning support.'
Audiences at the event will be introduced to some of the game-changing technologies on the market today, including the META SpaceGlasses, the first wearable Augmented Reality computer that lets you create and share digital objects in the real world; the Oculus Rift and other applications for online assessments, gamification and learning analytics.

With recent figures showing that e-learning saves businesses at least 50 per cent when they replace traditional instructor-based training with digital methods, corporate learning and training will be a major topic at OEB. Chris Bishop, strategic partner at Future Workplace – an organisation analysing how companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Hitachi and Disney are harnessing wearable technologies to revolutionise how work gets done – will be part of that discussion alongside corporate learning practitioners from organisations including Philip Morris International and adidas Group.

Bishop describes the influence of such technology developments: 'When I explain wearables to organisations, I compare this trend to the early days of the Internet, in the early 90s, and then social. Fast-forward 20 years and we can’t imagine not being without it, and it’s certainly driving revenue. We will see the same pattern emerge for wearables.'

The event, from 3 to 5 December, is expected to attract around 2,000 participants from more than 100 countries.