eLearning is in the process of reinventing modern training.
Using modern elearning authoring tools and technology trainers can now provide learners with the opportunity to learn on-demand, in a highly modular fashion, via a range of mobile devices or on a PC.
High levels of functionality can also be incorporated to enhance the learning engagement and recall process, including virtual role play scenarios and edu-gaming.
Of course we know that elearning promises to change the world of learning, but what’s the current status; what’s the reality behind the hype?
Rapid Growth Is Undeniable
Best estimates suggest that the global e-learning market will reach around 107 billion dollars in 2015, having grown from $32.1 billion in 2010, so that’s nearly double digit annual compound growth over the period.
Off the shelf and bespoke elearning content is big business.
Emerging Economies Fuelling Forward-Looking Growth In 2016
Looking at it from a more regional perspective, this report from Docebo tells us that Western Europe is the second largest purchaser of elearning products after North America.
However, the picture is set to dramatically change and Europe is set to be overtaken by Asia in 2016, which is forecast to be the second biggest purchaser of elearning products and services in 2016.
In fact, neither Britain or the US has made it into the top 10 countries for elearning growth.
UK’s growth rate is set to be around 16.9% while countries like India, (55%), China, (52%), and Malaysia, (41%) have much higher growth rates.
So, elearning growth in the UK is solid, but by no means spectacular in a global sense.
How Is eLearning Impacting Overall Training Delivery?
Given all the hype, excitement and big numbers circulating around the subject of elearning, what impact is it having in the actual class-room?
Is it really having an impact on corporate training methods?
Interestingly, while there are no signs that learners are rejecting elearning, it certainly hasn’t won learners over completely and has not been accepted as a routine replacement for traditional class-room based learning.
This research from officeteam shows that class-room based training was still the preferred method of training delivery, with 55% of employees valuing this form of training the most; whereas just 18% of learners valued on-line courses the most.
Despite this preference for face to face training over elearning, it seems that employers are offering elearning, (62%), at a similar frequency to face-to-face learning, (67%), suggesting there may be a little disconnect between L&D strategy and learner preferences.
Are Employers Pushing eLearning In An Environment Where It Is Not Wanted?
For now possibly, but as the more digitally native millennial generation become the dominant workforce cohort, we could see a sharp rise in positive sentiment and uptake of elearning.
For now however, growth in elearning usage is modest but not explosive and has not yet superseded class-room based learning.
Yes, this study showed that 47% of training hours last year were delivered via face-to-face learning which was an increase of 3% versus the previous year, yet 28% of training was done via elearning which was just a 2.6% increase on the previous year.
Interestingly, the usage of virtual classroom learning (with a remote instructor) decreased by 10% year on year and so this form of elearning is not proving to be that popular.
So while elearning content is an important addition to the learning mix and is showing healthy growth, it is still secondary to class-room based learning in terms of learner preference and actual usage.
However, as the digitally native millennials start to dominate the work-place we could see the balance shift towards elearning.