According to Laura Overton, managing director of Towards Maturity (TM), some 20 per cent of the respondents to TM’s latest benchmarking survey said that their e-learning initiatives had been negatively affected in the last year with reduced resourcing or stalled plans as a result of the economic climate. Writing in the November edition of E-learning Age, she added: ‘As a result of the recession, we find organisations have had to focus back on the primary drivers of access, flexibility, quality and cutting costs to improve learning and development provision and increase business benefits.’


The TM benchmarking survey revealed that one in four organisations are allocating 30% or more of their learning budgets to technology, compared with just over one in ten some 18 months ago. However, the survey found, many budgets have fallen over that time so real spend may not have increased accordingly and many plans to use technology to deliver learning have been thwarted as a result.


Laura concluded: ‘The industry is not completely immune to recession’ and went on to add: ‘the danger in difficult times is that we may fall back on what we know and are familiar with rather than the innovation that we need to succeed.’


Comment: It’s interesting that previous recessions over the last, say, 20 years, have prompted growth in what we now call e-learning – that is the delivery of learning via technology. Some three years ago, Learning Light’s e-learning sector report correctly predicted annual growth of some 25% in the sector. Last year, it correctly (again) predicted growth of less than eight per cent – and the latest (2010) report from Learning Light suggests that the sector will only grow by around 4.7% in 2010/11.


This time around, the recession doesn’t seem to have led to rapid growth in the e-learning sector. Any ideas why?