European e-learning Summit delegates’ discussions (see: Summit urges wider recognition for e-learning above) were informed not only by their experience of the e-learning world but also by the latest – third – definitive report into the UK e-learning sector. The report complements similar reports of 2007 and 2009 and, this year, provides analysis on e-learning in 19 other countries too.
The 2010 report suggests that the annual size of the UK e-learning industry – the largest single market for corporate e-learning in Europe – is around £472m. The report forecasts growth rates for the next 12 months of some 4.7%.
This contrasts with previous growth predictions of some 25% in 2007 and around 8% in 2009. Subsequent reports have shown that Learning Light’s predictions have proved roughly accurate – with the UK corporate e-learning sector growing appreciably over the period – but the current prediction takes into account the current challenging economic conditions around the world as well as in the UK.
‘The UK e-learning market 2010’, produced by Learning Light, an organisation which focuses on promoting the use of e-learning and learning technologies, concludes that the UK remains the largest but not the fastest growing European market for e-learning.
Learning Light’s analysis of the market indicates that, while France will enjoy considerable growth (7.64% on a market size of £375m), as will Germany (7.75% on £242m), the e-learning markets in most Scandinavian countries will grow faster, albeit from a lower base. The fastest growing e-learning markets are identified as those in Eastern Europe – notably Slovakia – which will be driven by government and EU funded projects.
One of the report’s co-authors, Gillian Broadhead, commented: “While few of our interviewees failed to see the potential for growth in the corporate e-learning market, many also felt that the present economic downturn and the large reductions in Government expenditure in the UK will dampen demand.”
Her colleague, David Patterson added: “In terms of technology trends, we see considerable innovation and potential disruption to business models driven by open source technologies, mobile and smart devices, e-books, the Cloud and software as a service (SaaS). We retain our fundamental belief that this industry is evolving and will continue to do so, its appetite undiminished in its wish to exploit new technologies, devices and approaches to deliver effective learning.”
“We do, however, remain perplexed,” said Glynn Jung, a learning specialist, head of Learning Leadership and co-author of the report. “Given the widespread acknowledgement that e-learning is now both effective and engaging, it’s curious that we’re not seeing a greater drive toward the adoption of e-learning by corporate leadership.”
Comment: This is an extensive, impressive and illuminating report. Its findings are made all the more noteworthy by the presence of two previous reports which use the same definitions and modeling criteria – allowing ‘moving average’ and similar analyses of the corporate e-learning sector for the first time. Anyone can ‘nit-pick’ – over definitions and nuances – but there’s far more truth than falsehood in ‘The UK e-learning market 2010’.
Copies of Learning Light’s latest report on the e-learning market can be obtained from Learning Light’s E-learning Centre website, price £499. A brief summary of the report is available for download, free, from http://www.e-learningcentre.co.uk/