Learning Light has recently released their 4th report on the state of the elearning market, with a focus on UK, rest of Europe and China. This is a comprehensive report that includes detailed information on how elearning is evolving. It is good to see that after the economic devastation we have recently felt, the elearning industry is now growing again, I know that this is probably at the expense of the ‘face2face’ training industry, but this was inevitable as year on year technology advances are changing the way we function. The rapid growth of smartphone and tablet devices has driven the self-learning or BYOD approach, this indeed has probably been difficult to factor in to the overall adoption of technology in learning, however it is a significant factor for most corporate businesses – do they know what their people are accessing as learning resources? Maybe when Tin Can becomes a commonly used function of SCORM this will be easier to track and analyse.
The scope of elearning deliverables has dramatically increased, however it would be interesting to know what the performance and knowledge retention rates to these solutions are. The elearning industry has been guilty in the past of latching on to new technology enhancements without any real substance of learning behind it, and as Learning Light have quoted from Michael Allen of Allen Interactions – “Some elearning uses are effective – magnificently so. Others are not”. We certainly believe in the power of learning technology as a form of creating realistic learning approaches.
It is interesting to see that budgets are moving away from L&D departments, will this add a better or more complicated dimension to learning acquisition? Certainly if budgets are becoming more dynamic to learning needs that can only be a good thing – this will hopefully be the end of the statement ‘we need it now but we have no budget for it this year’!
Learning Light states that there are approximately 532 learning technology companies in the UK, and the market value has grown to £567M. You don’t need to be a mathematician to realise that this is a very challenging market to survive in especially if you are a small business. Yes companies have come and gone and recently there have been some significant mergers and acquisitions, but I cannot help feeling that this industry is missing a defined learning technology leading company (or a group of). For years the larger companies have been seen as the safer option to work with, while smaller or start-up companies have struggled to get a foot hold in the market. The danger here, is that while the smaller suppliers hold the innovation keys to the industry, in many cases this is passed by for the safer option.
There is a lot of detail in the Learning Light elearning report and it is an essential resource to view how the market is shaping up for the future. What I have covered in this article is only a small snapshot of the great work these guys have done. So do check it out on Learning Light’s website