Updated on October 14, 2020. eCreators is no longer a Moodle Partner.
On OpenLMS’ first community call since the acquisition of eCreators by LTG, which houses the Moodle Learning Management System services provider along with a dozen elearning brands, Director Phill Miller was already incorporating some of the language and cultural elements the new acquisition has championed at home in Australia. “Now comes the real work, integrating the teams and platforms, and continuing to provide the best possible Moodle experience in the world,” stated Miller shortly after the deal was formally closed and approved by regulators.
«We’re doing a different format than usual. This is not going to be us talking about product. Today we have some tools for how to use virtual classrooms.» — Phil Miller, Managing Director, OpenLMS.
The announcement was a surprise for many insiders, including parts of the teams. This was due mostly to regulatory issues given the fact that Learning Technologies Group is a publicly listed company in Britain. But Miller and Dean Saunders, eCreators Co-Founders and CEO —now OpenLMS head of Product—, had been working on the deal for over 18 months, time during which a close friendship was formed. The like-mindedness upon which it stands has strengthened. During separate interviews with Miller and Saunders, it became clear how advanced the work on aligning principles, values and language is thus far.
Details are still forthcoming, many of them were shared publicly on the community call. It was the first time I saw both interact. With the acquisition, LTG adds over 400 additional clients, mainly in Australia and Asia Pacific. The geographical expansion (and eCreators corporate focus, versus OpenLMS’ mainly academic market stance) is one of the main reasons why the acquisition made sense. The other one is the content angle eCreators has been home brewing, which over time became a unique and award-winning differentiator as an LMS provider. The close proximity in which the LMS development and the content team remain has infused both sides, leading to a more intuitive navigation and savvier subject interaction. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense how this powerful formula was ready to scale. Saunders confirms they have been opening to a sale or merger for a while now, but only in OpenLMS they found the right kind of leadership that would ensure their efforts would be protected, and emboldened.
The authorities might have blessed the union, but Saunders and Miller are taking it one step at a time. For the time being, both operations, brands and clienteles will operate as usual. But soon enough this will change. First order of business is the integration of operations on an area basis. Each team will introduce their technology to one another, to identify the “best of breed” and consequently focus on those. As a result, two Moodle-based products that still remarkably stand apart from Moodle will merge. A delicate process that will take place layer by layer.
With LTG now boasting the largest Moodle operation in the world handled by a single organization, one of the most innovative Moodle customizations, and some of the most iconic and beloved open learning brands, the Open LMS + eCreators deal becomes a mandatory reference for the open source learning world. Miller was aware of the weight of the crown well in advance. In fact, it was arguably a factor for the decision. With Learnbook, which he states to “love,” the acquisition of eCreators reads more like an extension on his focus on user interface and customer experience. Once a threshold of coordination and learning between teams is achieved, the next focus is on effort reduction.