Although, in one form or another, learning management systems (LMSs) – or virtual learning environments (VLEs) as they’re known in the education world – have been around for nearly a quarter of a century, no-one seems to be able to define either adequately or accurately the size of the market they serve.
One of the most optimistic estimates of the size of the worldwide LMS market comes from the LMS provider, eLogic Learning. It believes that, ‘in 2015, the market was worth somewhere around $165 billion. At a 5% increase every year, that puts us on track for an almost $182 billion market in 2017 and hitting almost $240 billion by 2023.’
It adds that, ‘corporate eLearning has grown by a staggering 900% in the last 16 years. And, approximately 77% of U.S. companies offer online training as a way to improve their employee’s (sic) professional development. eLearning has also led to an increase in revenue for 42% of companies.’
That’s potentially great news for would-be investors in the LMS sector.
Yet, alternatively, Capterra – a Virginia-based Web service that aims to help businesses find the right software solutions – is far more cautious in its estimate of the LMS market size. It quotes MarketsandMarkets’ view that the global LMS market will grow from just $5.22 billion to $15.72 billion by 2021.
However, Capterra also claims that over 87% of e-learning-using organisations have web-based LMS solutions although it adds that, in 2016, 31% of LMS buyers switched to a new LMS system. It also quotes LMS producer, Docebo’s assertion that ‘large companies comprise 30% of all LMS buyers’.
Intuitively, Capterra’s – and Docebo’s – views of the LMS market would seem to have some degree of validity, much to the disappointment of venture capitalists looking for a substantial, quick and easy return on their funds.
Russian and Chinese Markets
Of course, MarketsandMarkets is vastly more cautious in its view of the size of the LMS world market than is eLogic Learning.
However, something which may help to support eLogic Learning’s figures, is that the Russian and Chinese LMS markets – both of which could be very large indeed – are only beginning to be accessed by Western businesses and market analysts. So far, the most accurate Western research into the Chinese e-learning market was conducted by the UK-based market analyst, Learning Light.
Published in the summer of 2014, the Learning Light Report says that, ‘Some 50% of China’s large companies are said to be using LMSs’ – although it also adds, ‘At present, some 85% of China’s expenditure on training goes on traditional, instructor-led training; with 15% being invested in e-learning.’
This might qualify Learning Light’s earlier comment – or hint at an enormous potential market for LMSs once China’s employers increase their usage of online learning materials.
If the Chinese market for LMSs is going to reflect that of the West, then it might be worth noting Capterra’s observation that: ‘Users select LMS software mainly based on functionality (53%), followed by price (32%), support (5%), company reputation (3%), and software popularity (3%)’.
Of course, would-be successful LMS producers and vendors must bring their LMS to the attention of potential buyers in order to promote their products’ functionality, support and, of course, price.
To help them, the network-based media and publishing company, eLearning Industry, has now developed a pay-per-click (PPC) platform.
Comprising the largest online community of e-learning professionals in the industry, eLearning Industry was created as a knowledge-sharing platform to help e-learning professionals and instructional designers connect in a safe online community where they can stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and technologies, and find projects or jobs.
Christopher Pappas, eLearning Industry’s managing director, explained, “LMS vendors can use this PPC platform to generate traffic to their websites and get immediate results. Furthermore, the platform’s users can get a visual perspective of their PPC campaign’s activity – including how well it performed for their business on any given day.
“The platform’s in-built metrics allow LMS vendors to fine-tune their PPC campaigns. Notably, these metrics enable users to review how much their campaign actually costs – allowing them to quantify the results that eLearning Industry is bringing to their business.”
Christopher added that, unlike competitor services, which charge vendors, on average, some $2 to $25 per click, the costs of the eLearning Industry platform’s premium package start at 50 cents per click, for a monthly cost of $250 – in other words, some 500 clicks per month.
The eLearning Industry platform allows users to have an LMS product profile with full feature breakdown, product rating, and reviews, visible to thousands of eLearning professionals and companies. In addition, the PPC platform enables vendors to:
- Place their listing – hyperlinked to their target URL – in the position that reflects their bid. In other words, the higher the bid, the higher their position in the listings.
- Have more control over how their money is spent through location-based bidding.
- Track their campaign’s performance – that is, identify the conversions they’re getting from the directory – by enabling the conversion tracking feature.
In today’s increasingly online-sales-orientated world, this new PPC platform might be not just a useful promotion tool within Western LMS markets but it might also be able to permeate into the Russian and, maybe, even the Chinese LMS markets.