As this is my first post as an official member of the Chamilo community please allow me to introduce myself, I am Cedric and I am currently in charge of Business Development at BeezNest.
Today was the first day of the AELF show at CNIT, Paris (www.aelf.fr), which I attended. As this was the first edition of this e-learning forum we were not expecting it to very big in size but I must say the number of visitors was relatively limited. This is probably due to the fact that the date and location had to be moved at the last minute because of works taking place in the original venue. The show was nevertheless interesting, and about 30 companies exhibiting their (expensive) solutions over there seemed to target businesses and focus on 3 areas: Social networks for businesses, Technology Watch and news alerts, and virtual environments for training purposes.
I was a bit disappointed by the fact that very few of the companies were actually offering open source solutions for education, apart from Scenarii which specialises in documentary architecture solutions, virtual environments and training solutions (all SCORM compliant).
Conferences were organised all day but mostly resumed to companies promoting their solutions, although a few subjects and questions were raised that were worthy of attention.
I came across this interesting multilingual project financed by the European Commission which is called Babel Web. The project manager introduced to us the fact that the whole point of the project was to make it shine as a Web 2.0 initiative because it included the following guidelines: interaction from users, the use of rich media, and the social aspects.
As the presenter was struggling with tabs and windows, and capricious videos from Youtube, it quickly became clear that a key and crucial element from Web 2.0 was missing in the project: seamless navigation. I will not comment on the visual aspects of the project, which you can appreciate for yourself. http://www.babel-web.eu/
I raised a question at the end which was essentially to try to understand why they decided not to use existing open source technologies such as Moodle at the beginning of the project. (Chamilo was not yet in place when they started the project.)
The answer came as a bit of a shock, since 80% of the audience was composed of teachers: “This project was not meant for educational purposes, so we did not want to use an LMS.” as in implying: there is no way you can have a social and fun educational learning environment.
So there we are. After seeing what is available on the market today, I sincerely believe that Chamilo can hold its own against a lot of licensed software and against EU funded projects. Chamilo has really achieved and grown so much with the help of each and every one of you.
Essentially, the only thing leaving Chamilo behind at this point is the fact that we are not famous enough yet, but I am pretty sure that thanks to your help, it will just be a matter of time.