E-learning becomes a potent force in business training
The world of education and training can sometimes fall victim to fads, with new approaches to learning often turning out to be little more than a flash in the pan. According to e-learning market research, however, this is not the case with one of the biggest changes ever to sweep across both teaching and learning. The market for online courses and other e-learning technologies has grown at a phenomenal rate since its inception, and this growth is projected to continue surging upwards at a steady clip.
Ambient Insight Research has determined that the e-learning market in 2010 experienced sales of slightly more than £20 billion. Just five years later, in 2015, that figure is expected to surge by almost £5 billion; an increase of nearly 25%.
Reasons for the growth of e-learning
The growing popularity in e-learning is due in part to the proliferation of truly mobile internet-connected devices. While a laptop computer is technically mobile, it can be more difficult to use whilst on the road. Certainly, few people standing in a queue will begin checking email on their laptop – but this is a commonplace sight among those who connect to the internet using a tablet computer or mobile phone. This greatly enhanced access to the internet has meant that e-learning can take place anywhere, at any time.
Another reason for the spread of e-learning in both the academic and business worlds has been the changing nature of the internet. The online environment was once a bastion of flat text pages with few interactive features other than hyperlinks; today’s web is a media-rich environment complete with interactive simulations, streaming video and audio, and widgets that allow for personal annotation of course material. Many e-learning training modules now make heavy use of these interactive features, creating a highly innovative course environment that can be individualised to suit the needs of the learner – or of the company arranging the training.
The spread of broadband internet has also been a factor in the growth of e-learning’s popularity. Until companies had access to unlimited bandwidth at reasonable rates, it was not practical to enrol workers on courses making heavy use of resource-intensive technologies.
Not just for academia
The public perception of online learning focuses quite heavily on secondary and university instruction, but in practice e-learning is just as useful for on-the-job training. As e-learning authority, Andre Joubert writing for Gadget explains: “E-learning has long been recognised as offering considerable advantages over conventional classroom-based training when it comes to training employees and management quickly, efficiently and conveniently. There are online courses that offer recognised and accredited qualifications in everything from human resource management and marketing to project management and software applications development.”