The United States may not have had robot invaders from space in mind when drafting federal cybersecurity standards for the utility industry. And yet, a robot invasion is the very premise for a game that aims to teach utilities employees those standards and why they’re important.
Over the course of about 10 chapters, players read about different tools they can use to repel an animated robot attack on a facility they’ve built. The game explains why certain tools—door badge readers, for example—are government mandated and illustrates cybersecurity best practices to employ at work. Each chapter concludes with an assessment to prove employee understanding.
The game engine comes courtesy of Andrew Scivally and his team at eLearning Brothers. Founded in 2009 and based in American Fork, Utah, the company has amassed 1,500-plus games, quizzes and templates to sell to corporate clients in search of more compelling digital learning materials for employees. Its thousands of customers, across over 100 countries, include the likes of State Farm and Amazon.
Even with competition on the rise from online course providers that have moved beyond education and into corporate learning, Scivally sees plenty of growth opportunities in the industry, he says. To support that pursuit, eLearning Brothers has acquired two companies: course-building tools provider Trivantis and learning management system provider Edulence.
“This is a big leap for us,” says Scivally. “We want to play in the major leagues.”
eLearning Brothers’ CIP Defender game
Stay Above Competition
Founded in 2009, eLearning Brothers currently offers more than 500 pre-made online courses in areas from management to workplace safety to cybersecurity, and which also work on mobile devices. Corporate customers can also design their own courses with templates, 3.5 million stock images and graphics.
The suite also includes tools for customers to create games, including trivia-style Q-and-A activities and a Scrabble-type word scramble game. The company charges $1,500 for one game available to 2,500 players, with $499 for every administrator added to the game. The company has subscription packages that reach $1,500 a year available for its asset libraries.
In Trivantis and Edulence, Scivally has made two long-time partners part of his company.
Founded in 1999 and based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., Trivantis is perhaps best known for its authoring tool Lectora and its virtual reality course builder CenarioVR. Trivantis has served businesses, government agencies and educational institutions in more than 125 countries. Customers include PepsiCo, Bangkok Airways and Sony.
The other acquisition, Edulence, was founded in 2002 and is based in New York. Customers of Edulence’s learning management system, Knowledgelink, include Lincoln Financial Group and AARP Services.
The deal is financed by a private equity firm that Scivally declined to name and will take eLearning Brothers from 55 full-time employees to about 100, Scivally says. His company will not lay off any employees as a part of the transaction, he adds.
The acquisitions bring eLearning Brothers some new customers, but the three also served many of the same businesses. The company’s clients are mostly based in the U.S. eLearning Brothers will explore packages to offer customers that include eLearning Brothers products and those of the newly acquired companies, Scivally says.
A look at the CenarioVR dashboard
Scivally doesn’t have an interest in expanding into K-12 or higher ed institutions, and views the overseas market as saturated. But by some accounts he faces tough competition at home, competition that was partly blamed for the recent failure of education technology company Instructure to break into corporate learning.
Instructure, perhaps best known for its Canvas learning management system popular among colleges, saw lower than expected adoption rate of its corporate learning product, Bridge. Company executives expressed disappointment in Bridge during the lead up to Instructure going from a publicly traded company to selling to a private equity firm for about $2 billion.
Part of the problem for Bridge may have been too many players already in the corporate learning space, which is about three times the size of its academic counterpart, according to an October report from investment bank SunTrust Robinson Humphreys.
Scivally is also unconcerned about a possible recession due to COVID-19 causing companies to slash learning and development budgets. In fact, he claims the outbreak has led to the best first quarter sales period as companies quickly move orientations and content online for employees working from home.
He says government-mandated regulatory compliance training provides reliable recurring revenue for his company. Plus, he believes companies have become so invested in employee education as a retention tool that they can’t go back to policies before online learning. "Companies are looking at digital learning and saying. ‘This needs to be part of our plan,’” he says.
This is not the first acquisition for eLearning Brothers. In recent years, the company has added to its image and graphics asset libraries in the acquisitions of eLearningImages.com, Get My Graphic and SolidStockArt.com.
Scivally predicts there will be more consolidation among companies that offer corporate training services. He has plans for more acquisitions to expand eLearning Brothers. Earlier this year, corporate learning software provider Cornerstone OnDemand acquired a former competitor for $1.4 billion.