As more and more organisations embrace e-learning as a valuable tool for growth, the market size shows no signs of slowing down.
It could easily be said there’s a training and development revolution
happening, and consistently, we see more brands and organisations seeking to be involved. Ease of accessibility, technological developments, increased user demand, and the low cost of delivery will all play a part. In Western Europe and North America, we see a growth in the amount of smartphone and tablet users entering the workplace, and an increase in the demand for, and engagement with e-learning. In regions such as Latin America, Asia, China and Australasia, with large and widespread populations, will also see an increase in demand for distance learning. E-learning produces results across the board, from SMEs to large universities and governmental programmes.
Research shows that factors such as learning flexibility, ease of access and engagement, and low cost look to be driving an increase from $165 billion in 2015, to more than $240 billion by 2023. Other than cost and flexibility, however, there are several factors fuelling this growth drive globally, leading to this increase in involvement. Key areas such as the US, and Asia-Pacific regions are likely to exhibit the most scope for this growth. In the US alone this year, the rising significance of these services, will take market size to a predicted $27 billion by 2023.
Added to this, we see an increase in the number of internet users with internet enabled mobile phones in regions such as Latin America and India. India particularly is set to display the highest growth in market size, at 17%, which could lead to its repositioning as a global market leader playing a key role. Governmental regulatory schemes have and will be launched, aimed at increasing literacy levels in villages and rural areas, and these developments are also likely to drive a further increase in engagement with e-learning. Further increases in demand across this timeframe for e-learning provision may also be driven by the lack of quality education in the region. Similarly, in Latin America, the introduction of initiatives by governments to give every schoolchild a free laptop, will further fuel the rise of market size there by 14% every year between now and 2023. In the UK, a 5.5% yearly increase in the same time period, will largely be driven by the involvement of small and medium sized businesses, universities, via distance learning, and new dot com entrepreneurs.
There are ifs and buts to be considered, of course, and the road is long. The industry will face several challenges in the years leading up to 2023. The requirement for a comprehensive and well developed IT infrastructure could possibly pose a challenge in some regions, to demand for provision, and in these regions, technological obsolescence could bring the potential to further hamper the growth and development of the industry. The industry would need to act proactively in this regard. Balanced against these factors, though, we will see an ever increasing demand for distance learning, and the use of mobile devices as tools for delivery.
We know that the workplace has always provided learning opportunities, with behavioural change a key focus. We now see business leaders seeking more sophisticated methods of delivering and tracking staff training and professional development. Social and informal learning, delivered directly to mobile devices, combined by the dual key enhancements of gamified learning and repetition, as well as driving behavioural change, offer the opportunity to engage users in structuring their own learning, and e-learning offers employers better change management via data analysis. Crucially, in tight financial times, companies and organisations are feeling the pinch, and so, as with everything in business, cost is king. Put simply, e-learning costs much less than the alternatives, is more productive, more effective, and easier to deliver. The benefits then, are clear, and the predicted growth a natural conclusion.
The future of e-learning will almost certainly be the future of learning full stop.