Redwood Performance Group
"A blue profile of a head appears to the left of the screen. The image is a hologram or projection. To the right, a hand reaches out to touch the head's nose with the tip of a finger."

The use of interactive digital technologies for learning is advancing at breakneck speed here in Ontario! And the pace of advancement in digital media, AI, gamification, and technological innovation is unlike anything I’ve witnessed before. 

I’m fortunate to have deep insight into the digital revolution impacting virtually every sector. In addition to my Redwood responsibilities, I sit on the board of Interactive Ontario. The organization is dedicated to furthering Ontario’s video game and interactive digital media community to achieve long-term growth and prosperity.

A few days ago, I sat down with Lucie Lalumière, Interactive Ontario President & CEO. Lucie was generous in sharing her thoughts below on how interactive technologies are driving the rapid advancement of eLearning.

Why is Interactive Ontario’s work important?

Interactive Ontario (IO) plays a crucial role in nurturing and advocating for Ontario’s Interactive Digital Media sector. Our work is pivotal because it supports a sector that drives technological innovation and economic growth. Our efforts foster creative expression and educational advancement through interactive digital media content.

By representing and supporting companies that create video games, XR experiences, and eLearning applications, we ensure the continued vitality and expansion of a key industry that contributes significantly to Ontario’s creative economy and global competitiveness.

Why is learning an important aspect of Interactive Ontario’s mission and activities?

The global eLearning market is expanding rapidly, offering significant economic opportunities for Ontario’s interactive digital media companies. By supporting the development and export of high-quality eLearning content, Interactive Ontario helps its members tap into this growing market, contributing to the economic growth of the sector and the province at large. 

eLearning content plays a crucial role in workforce development and lifelong learning. As industries evolve and new technologies emerge, there’s a constant need for skill development and updating. eLearning content provides a flexible, scalable solution to meet these needs, helping Ontario’s workforce stay competitive in a global economy.  

Your organization represents over 400 digital media companies in Ontario. How has the work of these cutting-edge companies impacted the learning industry? 

Interactive digital media companies in Ontario leverage cutting-edge techno-creative skills to produce innovative eLearning content. These innovations range from game-based learning environments that increase engagement and retention to XR experiences that provide hands-on training simulations in safe, virtual settings.

Often, these smaller, agile companies are more willing to take risks on niche markets or innovative concepts, filling gaps in the market that larger companies may overlook. Their work transforms traditional education and training methods, making learning more engaging, personalized, and effective. This impact is seen across various sectors, including academic education, healthcare training, and professional development.

Can you share a few highlights of advocacy wins you have achieved on behalf of the industry with the government or other organizations? 

One of our most notable advocacy wins is making the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) more accessible to small interactive digital media businesses producing games in Ontario. Small companies often operate with more flexibility than their larger counterparts, enabling them to innovate and adapt quickly to new technologies and market trends.

This agility fosters creativity and leads to the development of novel ideas, technologies, and content. They are also often more willing to take risks on niche markets or innovative concepts, filling gaps in the market.

This agility fosters creativity and leads to the development of novel ideas, technologies, and content. They are also often more willing to take risks on niche markets or innovative concepts, filling gaps in the market.

We see events like September’s Serious Play conference bringing together gaming technology and learning. What do you find the most exciting aspect of applying interactive digital technologies for learning?

The most exciting aspect of this trend is the recognition of gaming technology as a legitimate and powerful tool for education and professional development. Events like the Serious Play conference highlight the potential of games and interactive digital media to enhance learning methodologies.

They bring together interactive digital media experts and learning and training industry stakeholders, triggering opportunities to collaborate on innovative projects. That is why we are so excited to see the Serious Play international conference returning to Ontario in July 2024.

Conversely, do you see any barriers to streamlining the adaptation of interactive digital technology for the learning industry? 

Barriers to adaptation include the need for greater awareness and understanding among educators and decision-makers about the benefits and applications of interactive digital media technology. Developing standards and best practices for integrating these technologies into curricula can also be complex. Often, it requires collaboration across sectors and governments.

Is there a current or emerging interactive technology trend that excites you?

Extended Reality (XR), also called spatial computing, refers to virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) technologies. XR is particularly exciting because of its potential to create deeply immersive and personalized learning experiences.

XR technologies can simulate real-life scenarios and environments for training, education, and entertainment in ways previously unimaginable. Learners benefit through hands-on experience and a more profound understanding of complex subjects.

Can you share your thoughts about AI and its future applications in the learning industry?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will profoundly impact all aspects of our society, including education and training. Over the next few years, adaptive learning platforms may leverage AI to customize educational content to individual learners’ needs and progress. This personalization could dramatically improve learning outcomes by adapting to learning styles and providing real-time feedback and support.

What excites you when you look ahead as an active participant in this industry?

The combination of a skilled workforce, supportive government policies, a collaborative ecosystem, cultural diversity, growing consumer demand, and a commitment to innovation and R&D underscores Ontario’s potential to continue expanding its influence and leadership in the global interactive digital media market. We at Interactive Ontario are proud to contribute to the growth of our exciting techno-creative sector in the province.

Any final thoughts on interactive digital technologies for learning?   

The Ontario eLearning sector is poised for tremendous growth as its highly skilled interactive digital media entrepreneurs increasingly collaborate with educational and training experts on innovative interactive content.

Buckle up, because we’re in for exciting times ahead!