By: Neal England
For millennia, learning has taken place in a shared space. Teachers and students were together—perhaps in a classroom, lecture hall or laboratory. The evolution of e-Learning has now provided unique opportunities for students to learn online and on their terms whether minutes or hours away from their instructor.
With a less-structured setting that solves multiple challenges, personalization and flexibility seem to be the standout benefits of e-Learning. Higher education and K12 students can complete tasks without comparing their speed to their classmates’. For those with dyslexia or who struggle with the theoretical aspects of traditional learning, e-Learning enables access to helpful audio materials, simulations, and practical applications. Course maps are flexible, pre-assessments allow for the teacher and software to make recommendations for specific student’s needs, and they can be designed around students’ interests.
Depending on individual learning styles, students can now choose materials and activities that suit their own needs. And while students may not have wanted to request help when surrounded by other classmates, they are more willing to reach out for personalized support in an e-Learning setting. A major trend also driving e-Learning growth is the rising acceptance of gamification. Game-based learning introduces a level of increased engagement to the learning process. In fact, 81% of college students found that e-Learning tools helped them improve their grades, according to Statista.
e-Learning is currently the fastest growing market within the education industry and has grown upwards of 900% since 2000, according to KPMG. While much of this expansion was accelerated by the pandemic, this disruption to classroom education trend shows no signs of slowing down, evidenced by the fact that expanding telecom and broadband improvements in internet accessibility and reliability have resulted in internet penetration increases to nearly 5 billion individual users in 2021, up from nearly 4 billion in 2018. The e-Learning market has now surpassed $315B in 2021 and projects a 20% CAGR in 2022 through 2028, according to Global Market Insights.
e-Learning is not just trending within the student learning space. 40% of Fortune 500 companies now use online learning for corporate trainings and the U.S. government spent more than $2.6 billion on e-Learning products for staff members. According to Coursera, 92 million consumers registered for some type of online learning, up from 71 million in 2020 and 44 million in 2019. LinkedIn announced plans to offer an online portal designed for enterprises to provide their staff with training videos & materials on machine learning and management strategy. The emergence of Microlearning is enabling businesses to provide effective training, certification, and ongoing education to their employees.
M&A transaction volume has consistently increased in the e-Learning market with strategic acquirers accounting for a strong majority of all transactions. The global e-Learning market is fragmented and made up of a significant number of major, medium, and small vendor companies. Large vendors tend to rely on global sales and distribution networks, while smaller players tend to focus on regional markets. All players compete on price, curriculum quality, and technology. North America makes up more than a third of the current global market and is expected to maintain its dominance through 2025. The United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and China also offer prominent markets.
While overexposure to electronic devices is an e-Learning challenge, the benefits seem to outweigh the risk. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, it seems likely that students and employees will be able to learn more through virtual and augmented reality—once again allowing for a practical learning experience that seems to be serving well.