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E-Learning Is Gaining Ground

October 27 2009 - A new report from Ambient Insight shows that the market for Self-paced E-Learning in the US will reach $16.7 billion in 2009. The report, The US Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis also shows that demand for online training is growing by 7.4% and predicts that revenues will reach $23.8 billion by 2014.

According to Chief Research Officer, Sam S. Adkins:

"In the past two years, the rate of growth for online learning products has slowed. Yet, despite the recession, and in many cases, because of it, the demand is positive in all the online learning buyer segments. There are distinct revenue opportunities in each of the buyer segments."

E-learning and online training expenditures are estimated for eight buyer segments:

  • consumer
  • corporations
  • federal government
  • state and local government
  • PreK-12 academic
  • higher education
  • non-profits and associations; and
  • healthcare

The report predicts that corporations will be the top buyers of online trainingthroughout the forecast period, followed by higher education and PreK-12 e-learning buyers.

Ambient CEO Tyson Greer commented:

"We see the highest growth rate in the healthcare segment, followed by PreK-12 and higher education. The healthcare industry has been recession resilient and online training suppliers competing in that segment have been relatively immune from recessionary pressures. The rate of growth in the academic segments is due in part to the success and proliferation of the for-profit online schools."

Ambient Insight forecasts spending on six types of Self-paced E-Learning products for each buyer segment

  • IT-related packaged courseware
  • non-IT courseware
  • custom online learning content services
  • LMS hosting services
  • course authoring tools, and
  • installed LMS platforms.

They predict that non-IT self-paced courseware will generate the highest revenues throughout the forecast period.

Adkins added:

"The good news is that there are still large untapped revenues for suppliers. For example, the small and medium business (SMB) buyers were slow to adopt online training until the recent recession. There is now a relatively healthy demand for Self-paced eLearning products and services in the SMB segments."

A free Executive Overview is available.

Web-based learning second to classroom learning

A study back in 2004 showed that classroom-based training and printed books were still the most popular learning delivery methods but web-delivered learning was gaining ground. The research by Echelon Learning, a consultancy-led learning publisher showed web-delivered learning to be the second most popular method of acquiring both skills and knowledge.

Respondents in the study were given five questions to answer:

  • What was their preferred delivery mechanism for acquiring a skill?
  • What was their preferred delivery mechanism for acquiring knowledge?
  • What was their preferred delivery mechanism for resolving an immediate business need?
  • What was the relative importance of certain attributes when acquiring skills, knowledge or resolving a business need?
  • How important were certain delivery mechanisms when implementing a blended learning program?

Classroom-based training received an average score of 4.29 out of 5 to remain the most popular method of acquiring a skill but the option of web-delivered learning is increasingly used in self- development and accessing and referencing knowledge.

Echelon's David Hill commented: "The richness of classroom based training is being successfully complemented by web-delivered learning, which came second in popularity in both the 'acquiring skills' and 'acquiring knowledge' polls' and is increasingly being used for self-learning."

When respondents had to acquire information immediately to meet a business need, online text-based materials were given the highest score (3.55 out of 5), followed by classroom based learning (3.35) and books (2.81). According to David Hill, this pattern of results is because the Internet has opened up the capability for 'instant research and reference', enabling performance to be supported at the time of need.

When choosing development materials, respondents rated the 'depth of content' (4.06) highest, ahead of 'speed of access' (3.75), 'tutor support' and 'level of interaction with material' (3.73 each). Level of interaction with other learners was rated lowest (3.64).

"Unsurprisingly," Hill added, "Respondents rated classroom based and web-delivered learning as the key delivery mechanisms of a blended program.

This particular combination makes it possible for knowledge to be developed before the training exercise and learning to be accessed after the training sessions on a 'when needed' basis.

"It appears a no-brainer means of saving money and making training more effective."

The study was based on questionnaires returned by over 100 training and HR professionals in February 2004.

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