I had the opportunity to speak with Montreal-based Content Partner, A.D.A.M (formerly Taimma Communications) and their Vice President, Thierry Semoff about the organization and their ongoing relationship with Saba and the Content Connect Program.
What is your business focus and what markets do you serve?
Our company, originally known as Taimma Communications, has experienced significant growth and success over the years, and was acquired in 2012 by Ebix, a leading international supplier of on-demand software and e-commerce services to the insurance industry. Taimma Communications merged with A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix. A.D.A.M.—the company that pioneered online health content—is dedicated to creating and offering the most effective and innovative educational solutions possible for teaching medical science and improving health literacy. Together with our team of in-house educators, medical writers, editors, programmers, and medical illustrators, we are developing exciting education solutions that continue to win awards year after year. The acquisition by Ebix has empowered A.D.A.M. to broaden its offering and expand in new markets globally. A.D.A.M. now has offices all around the world.
What do you find most compelling in partnering with Saba?
Saba has been a long-time LMS provider and major player in the eLearning industry. Saba has created and maintained a consistent brand over the years and partnering with such a mature business within the eLearning industry is a great opportunity for A.D.A.M. Through the Content Connect Program, Saba enables us to feature our course offerings in an online community, which may help us build our network of partners and customers.
What do you think are the key trends and formats that will dominate the future of eLearning?
More and more, people crave mobile-sized learning, served with a side of social media. In the past years, a number of companies and organizations have acquired iPad tablets for their troops. Because Flash is not supported by Apple devices, such as the iPad and the iPhone, the industry is moving towards HTML5, a new standard that works across platforms. HTML5 is still in its infancy and does not allow as much interactivity and flexibility. Hopefully the HTML5 standard will become more robust over time.
Another major industry milestone was the release of the TinCan API in April 2013. In a nutshell, the TinCan specifications will allow communication of progress and results from outside of the learning management system (LMS), extending the value of SCORM. This opens the door for new learning opportunities and gives more freedom to instructional designers. For example, in addition to formal eLearning programs, results from games and live classroom activities could also be tracked and reported to an LMS using the TinCan API. We believe that further development of the TinCan API is a key element for the future of eLearning.
What is one example of an innovative piece of content you offer that customers would be interested in?
Innovation is our middle name! Despite the lack of Flash support on Apple devices, we have pushed the envelope and have been able to create native Flash-based iPad applications, available through the iTunes store. As opposed to most HTML5 eLearning courses currently working on iPad, our applications are fully animated, immersive, and interactive. Over 80,000 people are using our apps, and we receive great feedback every day. We make sure that constructive feedback makes its way to our development team to further improve our learning programs. Mobile learners can take advantage of gestures specific to tablets and phones, such as swiping and pinching the screen, or dragging and dropping elements of content. The information is literally at the users’ fingertips. Our Flash-based iPad applications exploit these functionalities to a maximum, to create truly engaging eLearning experiences.
How would you describe your offering’s differentiation or value proposition for our joint customers?
A.D.A.M. is putting a lot of energy to build a comprehensive library of off-the-shelf courseware that covers a wide array of disease states and therapeutic areas. In addition, we offer our clients to create custom off-the-shelf courses if they do not find what they are looking for in our current library. Our clients appreciate the flexibility—they benefit from a collection of courses that have the same look and feel, and they can provide input on the development of new off-the-shelf courses.
Another key differentiator is our 3-tier offering. While Flash courseware is highly animated and interactive, HTML5 courseware is toned down, and much less interactive and rich. Nonetheless, many clients require HTML5 eLearning programs because of the limitations of Apple devices. Our approach is different. A.D.A.M. offers 3 options:
Our R&D team has invested a lot of effort to create Flash-based native iPad apps that can communicate progress and test results to an LMS, using the TinCan API or other specifications. We have worked closely with some of our clients’ LMS to put this into place, and it’s working! These clients benefit from best-in-class, highly interactive Flash-based courses that run on the iPad and that can deliver test results to their LMS. The quality of these programs does not even begin to compare with HTML5. The bottom line is, A.D.A.M. offers flexibility and our clients have several options at their disposal.