Current Trends in Today’s eLearning Industry

Growing and evolving are the best ways to describe today’s elearning market. And the industry is experiencing many advances, according to Docebo, {insert description here}, who recently published a report called Learning Market Trends and Forecast 2017-2021.

These changes include increasing budgets for elearning programs, new developments in technology, enhancements in virtual training tools, and a surge in social learning as an important educational tool.

In fact, David Kelly, executive vice president of The eLearning Guild, recommends that today’s learning and development leaders become educated on digital learning because it will inevitably become part of their overall strategy. “Even if your training department is not proactively looking to shift towards this change in human behavior right now, your organization will eventually be impacted,” he says.

Let’s examine some of the exciting virtual learning trends, which are predicted to significantly impact the eLearning market throughout the next few years:

eLearning Industry Growth

In 2016, the eLearning market’s global size was estimated at more than $150 billion. And the number is projected to grow by 5 percent from 2017 to 2024.

This industry growth is driven by several factors, such as the recent demand for eLearning solutions; allotting a lower budget for eLearning compared to traditional training; an increase in learning flexibility; the effectiveness of new, virtual training tools; a boost in employee productivity due to eLearning services; and a rising interest in distance learning.

Corporate eLearning Development

In line with the growth of the eLearning market as a whole, the global corporate eLearning market is also expected to grow. This market includes all forms of electronically-supported learning and teaching tools used by organizations to facilitate the continuous learning and development of their workforce. Specifically, the market is projected to expand to $31 billion in revenue by 2020.

The reasons for this growth?

Organizations are making the shift from traditional teaching methods (like in-person, face-to-face classes) to eLearning solutions as a way to reduce training delivery costs and improve instructor productivity.

Student with headset on doing English language test

Additionally, social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies have facilitated the adoption of eLearning solutions because these technologies enable organizations to reach a larger number of students at a fraction of the cost of traditional, in-person training.

Positive attitudes and strong beliefs toward self-improvement and training are other reasons to consider. In fact, studies show that:

  • 63 percent of working adults consider themselves professional learners. These adults have pursued training to improve job skills or expertise related to career advancement.
  • 73 percent of adults consider themselves lifelong learners.
  • 89 percent of millennials think it is important to constantly learn at their job. Millennials value knowledge and experience. They recognize the importance of continual learning and believe that happiness equates with learning.

A shift to the cloud

Data servers resting on clouds in blue in a cloudy sky

IT spending is moving away from traditional IT offerings (environments used for hosting data, services or applications that are operated by an organization, such as a data center or mainframe) in favor of cloud services. Specifically, this cloud shift is estimated to reach $111 billion, increasing to $216 billion in 2020.

And it’s no wonder. The cloud not only offers a reduced cost of hardware, but a wide variety of applications and the ability to work from anywhere, saving a great deal of time and money. When you compare in person training vs. online training, for example, companies can reduce their training delivery costs between 30-70% by switching to online training.

According to Deloitte’s Josh Bersin, cloud computing and SaaS are the dominant delivery models in today’s learning management systems. Bersin suggests that moving to the cloud should be a top priority for organizations. “While only about 45 percent of companies have moved to the cloud, the trend is clear,” he explains. “It can help simplify your life and offer you a far more integrated core system.”

Job-Specific Training Content

The most common areas of corporate training content focus on job-specific training. According to the Brandon Hall Group Training Study, more than 40% of today’s corporate training is job specific. The study found that 27% of training focuses on job-specific technical skills, aided by virtual training labs, and 13% focuses on job-specific soft skills.

Important Training Goals

Productivity and performance are on the minds of today’s training departments. In fact, many learning and development teams consider improved productivity and performance to be a major goal. In addition, converting training and knowledge into business outcomes, as well as helping employees grow and learn, also top the list of goals.

Social Learning

Learning via observation, imitation and modeling—also known as social learning—is picking up momentum in the workplace.

In fact, according to 2016 research published by Brandon Hall Group, social/collaborative tools top the list of learning technology priorities for learning and development professionals. And these tools even beat out mobile technology.

While social learning has been around long before the development of technology, it is clearly playing an important role in the future of corporate learning.

Some believe the reason has to do with the fact that eLearning technology is now mature enough to support social learning.

Another reason for this momentum may be directly related to the millennial generation. As this generation takes hold of the largest share of the labor market, the needs and demands of these workers are becoming a priority. And the social learning experience—part of the millennial generation’s DNA—becomes very important in today’s workplace.

Organizations that are focused on harnessing the power of millennials are quickly realizing the importance of giving this generation exactly what they want at work: engagement, interaction, flexibility and instant access. Afterall, millennials were raised on social technology. And as more companies add social learning to their corporate training programs, they are realizing its importance and value.

The world of eLearning is continuously evolving. While this can make the virtual training world difficult to navigate, the key to success is for organizations to leverage these trends and use them to power their training strategy today—and in the future.

In the words of David Kelly, “The trends that are driving digital learning are here for the long-term.”

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