E-Learning Industry

E-Learning Industry

John Gordon (John Gordon Organisation Ltd., UK) and Zhangxi Lin (Texas Tech University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch119
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E-learning is the process of teaching and learning using electronic media, generally distributed over a network. For a thorough coverage of e-learning, see Anderson and Elloumi (2004). The market for e-learning is the market for the provision, delivery and administration of learning services through the use of new media and network technologies. Following the success of e-commerce, e-learning provides an effective pathway to bring education and training beyond national borders. With the deployment of technology, e-learning can make education and training accessible to even more people and more places around the world. E-learning also is a large information industry that has shown continuous growth over the past few years and is now a key e-commerce-based market. The e-learning industry has gone through many of the development cycles as other high-tech industries, and suffered from the dot-com boom and bust of 2000. It has now entered a period of steady growth, and the future bodes well for its development as a key element in the support and delivery of education and training.
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Market Overview

Learning normally takes pace in a stakeholder-rich environment, with the learner interacting with the organization, the training/education provider, the payment agent, fellow learners and any awarding body. The end goal of a learner is acquisition and/or certification of a competence or knowledge and understanding of a subject. In order to achieve this goal, the learner engages in the consumption of services and educational content via infrastructural tools. These relationships are shown in Figure 1 (Hämäläinen, Whinston, & Vishik, 1996).

Figure 1.

Attributes of the learning industry

E-learning is one of the fastest-growing, knowledge-based industries on both sides of the Atlantic and is the single most important transforming influence on education and corporate training and development across the globe (Sloman, 2001). However, it has not grown as expected. In the United States (U.S.), for example, the market for e-learning content and services was expected to double in size every year, reaching approximately $11.5 billion by 2003. The actual figure for 2003, according to Clark (2003), was only $5.2 billion.

Some of the reasons for this lack of growth are the general downturn in the high-tech markets as well as a slow uptake of e-learning, and resistance to e-learning from end users (Sloman, 2002). Even industry experts have recognized that the expectations of e-learning have been “unrealistic” and “overhyped” (Straub, 2002). Today, however, the e-learning industry is consolidating and growing in a more coherent manner.


Segmentation Of The E-Learning Market

The e-learning market can be segmented as follows:


The corporate e-learning market is concerned with major corporations and other private sector companies. By year-end 2005, according to Gartner Research (Lundy, Arevolo, & El-Gabri, 2003), e-learning will be the fourth most-used Internet application behind Web infrastructure, e-mail and search (with 0.7 probability).

International Data Corporation (IDC) admits that the worldwide corporate e-learning market is not growing at the rate once predicted (IDC 2003). However, the group still is confident that it is growing. IDC now predicts that market growth will be affected by the global economic slowdown, but that “normal market growth” (IDC 2003) will resume in the near future.

IDC predicts that the worldwide IT education and training market will reach $23.7 billion by 2006, and that worldwide corporate e-learning market to be $6.6 billion for 2002. IDC predict a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 35% for e-learning through 2006 (IDC 2003).

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Learning Market: The e-learning market is the market for the provision, delivery and administration of learning services through the use of new media and network technologies.

IMS: IMS is originally an abbreviation for Instructional Management Specification, and is now also commonly used as the short form for the IMS Global Learning Consortium (www.imsproject.org/), a group of interested parties (companies, academics, standards bodies, etc.) IMS is systematically trying to create workable specifications for all aspects of the learning process – aiming from enterprise issues through content creation and management to modeling learning styles. IMS has established working groups in every conceivable activity in the e-learning domain. The IMS Global Learning Consortium is specifically involved in development of specifications – leaving standards creation, accreditation paths, and so forth – to other bodies.

Corporate University: A corporate university is a university-style campus set up by a company to provide tailored learning, training and development activities for its staff. Corporate universities typically offer qualifications at various levels.

Lifelong Learning: Lifelong learning is an expression used to indicate that acquiring new knowledge is a continuous process that does not end after one leaves school or university. The learning continues uninterrupted throughout one’s professional life and even after retirement, spreading to embrace all stages of life and all social groups to the possibilities offered by e-learning.

Value Chain: A value chain is the sequence of business processes and functions through which value (utility) is added to products and services. It can be useful to consider such value chains to understand how they work, and how they can be improved, and dis-intermediated.

IEEE-LTSC: IEEE-LTSC stands for IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (http://ltsc.ieee.org/). The LTSC was set up by IEEE to develop standards and to recommend practices and guides for anyone developing tools and content for the e-learning market. Standards developed under the auspices of IEEE-LTSC will be put forward to ISO for full standardization. The most significant contribution from the IEEE-LTSC has been their draft standard for Learning Object Metadata (LOM), their implementation of the IMS Metadata specification. This has emerged as the most mature of all the emerging standards.

E-Commerce: E-commerce is a short form for electronic commerce, which is the process of buying and selling goods and services online.

E-Learning: E-learning is the use of new multimedia technologies and the Internet to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services as well as remote exchanges and collaboration.

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