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The UK e-learning market 2009
David Patterson, Glynn Jung and Gill Broadhead
The UK e-learning Market 1
© Learning Light Limited 2009
Contents I Forward by Creativesheffield ...................................................................... 4 II About Learning Light ................................................................................... 5 III Acknowledgements and thanks................................................................. 9 1. Introduction ............................................................................................... 16 1.1 background to the report................................................................... 16 2. Executive Summary ................................................................................. 17 3. What is e-Learning?................................................................................... 19 3.1 e-learning - definitions .......................................................................... 19 3.1.1 e-learning components .................................................................. 19 3.1.2 e-learning, e-publishing and learning tools .................................... 21 3.2 How e-learning is flowering .................................................................. 22 4.0 Players in the UK e-Learning market .................................................... 23 4.1 “Movers and Shakers” 2007 ................................................................. 23 4.1.2 UK’s e-Learning players................................................................. 24 4.1.3 Note on UK e-learning consultancies............................................. 24 Table 1 Large companies active in UK with e-learning as a non-core activity .................................................................................................... 24 Table 2 Companies active in the UK wholly or primarily engaged in eLearning.................................................................................................. 25 Table 3: Looking back to the Epic UK Marketplace survey (2007).......... 27 Table 4 Interviews and other news: ........................................................ 29 News and views on who’s doing what .................................................... 29 4.1.3. Consolidations, Mergers & Outsourcing ........................................... 30 5.0 The Survey interviews............................................................................ 33 5.1 Market Trends ...................................................................................... 33 5.1.1 Continuing growth…? .................................................................... 33 5.1.2 Signs of a Slowdown...................................................................... 34 5.1.3 Importance of the public sector...................................................... 35 5.1.4 Where is business coming from..................................................... 36 5.1.5 Where are the threats .................................................................... 36 5.2 Technology Trends............................................................................... 37 5.2.1 The impact of open source ............................................................ 37 5.2.2 Web 2.0 – learning 2.0................................................................... 38 5.2.3 Social networking and e-learning................................................... 39 5.2.4 Future technology trends ............................................................... 40 5.3 Future Industry Trends ......................................................................... 41 5.3.1 New business models .................................................................... 41 5.3.2 Industry structure – mergers, acquisitions and liquidations............ 42 5.3.3 Skill Shortages............................................................................... 43 6. 6. Trends in the market .............................................................................. 45 6.1 That was then: the Hambrecht report 2000 .......................................... 45 6.2 This is now: the 2008 CIPD survey on e-learning................................. 45 6.2.1 Extract from “Reflections on the CIPD Survey” by Donald H. Taylor ................................................................................................................ 46 7. Role of large corporate suppliers ............................................................... 47 8. The size of the UK market ......................................................................... 49
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8.1 A forecasting model.............................................................................. 49 8.1.1 background to the forecast ............................................................ 49 8.1.2 The Market in 2006 ........................................................................ 50 8.1.3 Adoption levels .............................................................................. 50 8.1.4 Percentage of training budgets ...................................................... 50 8.1.5 Continued growth........................................................................... 51 8.1.6 2009 doom or gloom ...................................................................... 51 8.1.7 Higher and higher .......................................................................... 52 8.1.8 Can we be confident in this forecast of continued growth? ............ 53 8.1.9 How does the UK compare with Europe ........................................ 53 8.1.10 A US perspective ....................................................................... 54 8.2 Sizing the market - summary................................................................ 54 9.0. Industry Trends ....................................................................................... 55 9.1. Trends in learning platforms – more competition and more choice.. 55 9.1.2 Moodle ........................................................................................... 55 9.1.3 Moodle Plug Ins ............................................................................. 56 9.1.4 Software as a Service (SaaS)........................................................ 56 9.2. Content – How you use content is now King ................................... 57 9.2.1 Generic content:........................................................................... 57 9.2.2 e-reference systems and Academies............................................. 57 9.3 Bespoke content – tougher price climate = more innovation ........... 58 9.4 Gaming and learning......................................................................... 59 9.5 Rapid Development – threat or opportunity ...................................... 59 9.6 Web 2.0 – learning 2.0 – Social networking and Informal learning . 60 9.7 Mobile, Handheld, Portable or…..? ................................................... 60 9.8 e-assessment ....................................................................................... 61 10.0 Drivers of growth.................................................................................... 61 10.1 Compliance 2.0 .................................................................................. 61 10.2 Lifestyle learning............................................................................... 62 10.3 The training industry gets e-learning. ................................................. 62 10.4 The ROI model can make sense and delivers much more learner impact......................................................................................................... 63 10.4.1 The e is for environmental ........................................................... 63 10.6 e–Learning 2.0 into the Small and Medium enterprise ....................... 64 10.7 Marketing moves into the e-learning market....................................... 64 10.8. Services ........................................................................................ 64 10.8.1 Consultancy: a cottage industry? ................................................. 64 Appendices .................................................................................................... 66 Appendix A - The 2008 CIPD review of e-Learning.................................... 66 The CIPD report on e-Learning (2008) - summary ................................. 66 Appendix B – Donald H Taylor response to CIPD Report ......................... 68 Extract from “Reflections on the CIPD Survey” by Donald H. Taylor ...... 68 Appendix D – expert predictions for 2009 - eLearn Magazine.................... 71 Appendix E Readers’ responses to “Expert” predictions ............................ 77 Appendix F How did they do last year? Seb Schmoller reviews 2008’ expert predictions.................................................................................................. 79
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
I Forward by Creativesheffield
Creativesheffield is pleased to be supporting the publication of this important report. As the report demonstrates, the global market for e-learning content is growing at a rapid rate as both large and small businesses and educational institutions are seeking to deliver their learning in a smarter and more cost effective way. Much of this is enabled by advances in digital and new media applications and through the deployment of new technologies. The digital and new media industries in the Sheffield region are growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the UK in terms of specialist companies and new jobs. This is due in no small part to the significant cluster of e-learning businesses in the city which have made Sheffield the UK centre for such activity. The city is home to one of the largest applied e-learning services organisations in the world; Ufi learndirect, as well as a breadth of companies covering the full spectrum of e-learning solutions and online information services. Sheffield is also home to Learning Light who have become a recognised centre of excellence in the use of e-learning and Learning Technologies and helped to further accelerate the growth of the already substantial e-learning sector in the city. This growth has been assisted by the arrival this year of the first phase of the Sheffield Digital Campus, a 600,000 sq ft development in the city centre specifically designed for digital and technology businesses. The sector will also benefit from the Digital Region, a high profile £100m pilot project that will be completed in 2012, to roll out next generation broadband across Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
James Wilson Investment Manager Creativesheffield T: E: +44 (0)114 223 2345 firstname.lastname@example.org
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
II About Learning Light Learning Light is a centre of excellence in the use of e-learning and learning technologies in the workplace. Our knowledge base contains over 400 papers offering insights & advice on how to utilise e-learning & learning technologies. We have undertaken a Systematic Literature Review of the available papers on the effective use of elearning, in conjunction with the University of Sheffield. Learning Light works closely with both the University of Leeds & Sheffield, our most recent joint publication is: “The Use of e-Learning in the Workplace: A Systematic Literature Review” by Maggie McPherson, School of Education, University of Leeds, Miguel Baptista Nunes, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield and David Patterson, Learning Light. Learning Light operates www.e-learningcentre.co.uk one of the leading resources on e-learning in the UK. Learning Light is supported by Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency for Yorkshire and the Humber.
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
David Patterson gained 20 years general managerial experience, including strategy and planning, sales and marketing and supporting change programmes in the food distribution industry, before enrolling at the University of Sheffield to study for a MSc in information systems, sparking his interest in elearning. He has worked for Learning Light for four years, where he provided business development advice and investment support to e-learning and learning technologies businesses across Yorkshire. David has maintained a close link with the university and utilises the network to continue his research interest in elearning and information systems.
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
Glynn Jung and Learning Leadership
Glynn Jung is widely known across the UK and North America in both Learning and Development and Technology Enabled Learning circles. From his early days (1972) in training at IBM’s Research Labs. where he worked with mainframe CBT blended with books and U-Matic videotapes, to his most recent market research and learning strategy projects in Europe, Middle East and North America… he’s been around a bit. Learning Leadership is a small organisation formed by Glynn in 2003 after nearly 19 years with Thomson NETg as, variously, Head of Consulting, Head of SAP Business Unit and finally head of special projects outside the USA. Projects scaled from 245000 learners in 87 countries to 20 teachers in a primary school. In 2003 Glynn started to develop new ways of achieving improved performance and working relationships, using technology when appropriate, with improved diagnostics to pinpoint priorities and focus energies in learning. Now part of a virtual network of small organisations which Glynn has brought together, Learning Leadership works in public, private and third sectors, including in the fields learning strategies, relentless change and resilience, team-repair and managerial coaching. Glynn is regularly commissioned by organisations to research, report and advise on specific learning issues and develop strategies in business, health and the community. He also leads blended learning development projects for commercial and non-commercial, most recently an interactive-video programme on subconscious bias conducting appraisals
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Gill Broadhead Gill Broadhead has specialised in learning & development programme design and implementation that optimises learning technologies, for more than 15 years. Previously as learning and development consultant for the royal mail she assumed a lead role in the design of core skills learning pathways to support people development and enhance the performance of 164,000 operational employees. The programme was designed to meet the needs of the business and establish a flexible workforce with career development opportunities. In addition, her projects included the development of an on-line regulatory compliance programme for more than 1000 customer facing employees to assist the transfer of knowledge and best practice into the workplace to meet business critical timescales. Prior to this she was training manager for BT where she was responsible for designing people development and engagement programmes to align to business and training need for specific business operational units.
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
III Acknowledgements and thanks We would wish to extend our thanks to Yorkshire Forward, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Sero Consulting who have all supported Learning Light and especially to Creativesheffield for their support and sponsorship of this report. But, most importantly our thanks go to the following companies and individuals we were able to interview for this research report. Company Assessment 21 Interviewee Gerard Lennox Web site and About http://www.assessment21.com Assessment21 offers a genuine 21st century approach to assessment and marking - taking e-assessment way beyond multiple choice and lower learning levels. http://www.aurionlearning.com Aurion Learning is an award-winning educational design company founded by the current Managing Director, Dr. Maureen Murphy. Aurion Learning designs interactive and motivational online learning programmes and learning support tools including online continuous professional development, (CPD), 360 degree assessment and performance management. Aurion Learning has a strong track record in the public sector, education, health and central government as well as the private and Voluntary & Charity sectors. http://www.btl.com BTL Group Ltd provides technology solutions for e-Assessment and eLearning. We provide a turnkey service for the design, scripting and production of learning packages, including components such as needs analysis, assessment, portfolio kits, courseware and accreditation tools. We provide both the on-screen assessment content and the delivery systems and services.
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Dr. Maureen Murphy, MD
www.desq.co.uk Since 1998 we have been creating innovative and exciting digital learning experiences. We bring the best of new media to learning. We blend entertainment and education, learning and play. We make digital learning materials to support formal education in schools and colleges as well as informal learning experiences. http://www.e2train.com Based in Cirencester (UK), we have been delivering award-winning learning and performance technology solutions since 1995 to an enviable portfolio of customers across a diverse range of business sectors that have all benefited from our experience and expertise.e2train is a proven and reliable supplier to both the public sector and blue chip private sector corporations. e2train team has had a solid track record in delivering both off-the-shelf and bespoke learning systems. http://www.eorigen.com/ eOrigen is a leading producer of high quality media-based training and communication programmes. Working collaboratively with clients we develop exceptional solutions that entertain, educate and, most importantly, empower people. We’ve found that compromise is not the answer. After all, today’s media literate audience can’t be expected to deal with anything that’s not immediate and memorable. We’ve been designing training for many years so we understand what makes good learning – the focus must be the user. People absorb information by seeing, hearing and interacting. Video can show how things need to be done or bring high drama to a dull procedure. Used correctly, rich-media will get the point across instantly.
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http://www.epic.co.uk Since 1986 we’ve developed over 5,000 hours of e-learning carefully tailored to each client’s needs. And our passion for elearning design is endorsed by over 50 industry awards. http://www.fisconline.co.uk The FISC E-Learningonline™ platform allows companies of any size to create, manage and distribute online learning on any subject matter, quickly, easily and inexpensively. http://www.futurate.com We collaborate with our clients to craft high impact print and mission critical websites and software; and we apply our expertise to producing effective digital strategy, e-Learning, usability and technical web standards. http://www.i-ed.co.uk/iamlearning.shtml i- am Learning is a CURRICULUM ONLINE APPROVED, personal revision and assessment system which uses games based learning to make revision fun and interactive. I am Learning can be used stand alone or will integrate with your Learning Platform, providing ready-made curriculum linked revision and assessment material instantly in your VLE. http://www.intellego.co.uk Intellego Group is a learning and compliance solutions specialist. With domain expertise across the healthcare, retail and financial services markets, Intellego works with organisations to solve challenges in the following areas: 1) Learning infrastructure 2) Performance improvement and 3) Compliance management. Intellego is an AIM listed PLC headquartered in Teddington with a
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
creative team based in Newcastle. http://www.kineo.com/ We bring fresh thinking and innovation to deliver high quality e-learning that starts with great design and follows through to successful delivery. We deliver learning solutions for some of the world's leading organisations. These range from 20 minute rapid e-learning modules delivered in days, to 20 hour custom solutions; and from hosted online learning portals to capability building with internal teams. We're passionate about new technology and how it can enhance learning and performance. We've got the design and delivery experience to make things happen fast. We're committed to helping our clients succeed with their performance and learning goals. http://www.line.co.uk/ We have been delivering interactive learning and communications since 1989. We help our clients develop their business case for it, and then deliver everything from design, through content development to full technical implementation. http://www.myknowledgemap.com/ MyKnowledgeMap today has a wideranging set of interests, covering all aspects of learning technology. We have worked as the lead partner on national NHS infrastructure projects, helped to support many of the UK's Sector Skills Councils and National Skills Academies, and developed complex systems for Universities, building on their existing infrastructures. We have run trans-national projects, and formed development partnerships in Eastern Europe. http://www.peakdean.co.uk/ Peakdean Interactive offers unrivalled expertise, high levels of technical competence and a wealth of experience in all areas of e-learning, blended learning
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LINE Steve Ash Communications
My Knowledge Map
The UK e-learning Market
solution development and performance support. http://www.pixelearning.com/ PIXELearning is a world-leading provider of immersive learning simulations and 'Serious Games' for organisational learning and development, business education and marketing communications. http://www.ptktraining.com PTK Training is a learning and development organisation, successfully delivering bespoke e-learning and instructor learning solutions to both the private and public sector. We believe in delivering high interactive, challenging and exciting learning. By identifying the critical needs of your business and the infrastructure / logistics in place our approach enables us to achieve significant results for you http://www.realprojects.co.uk/ Using our creativity and experience we design custom e-learning modules that benefit your learners and your organisation. Working with your content experts we discuss the options that are available to create compelling and creative e-learning solutions. Working with your content we can help to design and develop your e-learning modules and deploy them quickly. If you have existing training material such as PowerPoint slides we can quickly and effectively transform your content. http://www.safaribooksonline.com Today Safari Books Online offers a depth and breadth of technical content that no other electronic reference resource comes close to matching. Safari Books Online has become the trusted search for technology information. Without question, Safari is fast changing the way that corporate, academic, and training organisations
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
access information. http://www.skillsoft.com SkillSoft is a leading provider of e-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education and small to medium-sized businesses. SkillSoft enables business organisations to maximise business performance through a combination of comprehensive e-learning content, online information resources, flexible learning technologies and support services. http://www.virtual-college.co.uk Founded in 1995, Virtual College has developed into one of the UK's leading providers of total solutions within the e-learning arena. Our key objective has been to help enhance the traditional learning solution through the careful integration of technology. This total solution embraces all aspects of the learning experience and, unlike many other e-learning providers, extends to actual programme/qualification delivery resulting in a unique blended delivery solution. The knowledge and experience that this delivery provides helps ensure that we strive to continually improve the solution. The company has developed a comprehensive product range focused specifically on helping businesses improve their performance through the adoption of new ways of learning. http://www.webanywhere.co.uk WebAnywhere Ltd has been established for over seven years and provides innovative website and multimedia solutions to schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. As a leading edge technology focused company, we are always up to date with the latest Internet trends and developments. We are well placed to deliver the full range of ICT, including full
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
training for your staff. Since 2002, we have dealt with primary, secondary, nursery and special educational needs establishments. As well as web design and content management services, we offer a wide range of additional products, such as surveys, pupil eRegistration and Google Analytics, plus fun, interactive technology, such as radio podcasting and video – 'vodcasting'. The Workshop Mark Pearce http://www.theworkshop.co.uk We design and develop world-class, innovative learning solutions that create tangible business results. Our products engage, enthuse and inspire learners and deliver accredited qualifications. We have the skills and experience in-house to develop learning solutions in all media, and are world leaders in e-learning and accessibility issues. http://www.xoolon.com/ Xoolon is an online interactive sports community bringing together schools, pupils, clubs, associations and governing bodies within the sporting industry. Each school has access to their own internally editable PE website enabling communication and assessment around sport and fitness.
The opinions and analysis put forward in this report are those of the authors alone.
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
1.1 background to the report In January 2007 Learning Light commissioned a briefing paper on the e-Learning market in the UK, “UK e-Learning Report” which we posted on our e-Learning Centre website www.e-learningcentre.co.uk . The Report has since become our mostly frequently visited and downloaded resource but the rapid rate of change in our industry means we need to be able to respond to the increasing requests for advice and information received by Learning Light with a new, comprehensive Report. The focus of the new report is similar to that in 2006, but we have necessarily updated the content to reflect the changes and trends within both the industry and the UK marketplace. We also include Appendices including the latest CIPD survey of e-learning and pundits’ prophecies for 2009 and beyond some comments on the accuracy (or otherwise) of earlier prophecies. We particularly seek to offer positive suggestions for both commercial opportunities and for how e-learning can deliver rapid ROI and performance improvements to organisations and communities in these turbulent times. In addition to our own experience and expertise within Learning Light we’ve drawn on independent sources, including: o Seb Schmoller, Bersin, Learning Leadership,, David Wilson at Elearnity. o BECTA, e-skills, Towards Maturity, DCKTN and The Digital Britain 2009 Strategy, industry SIGs and research bodies o Training Outsourcing Inc., UK industry leaders and niche players) o Game Based Learning (GBL) practitioners An important part of the process of information gathering and interpretation has been a series of interviews with organisations engaged in the e-learning market, from micro-businesses developing innovative technologies to established major service and product suppliers in the UK. Our goal has been to provide both suppliers and purchasers with an understanding of what’s possible, what’s available and where e-learning services and products are going. We also comment on the convergence of technologies and design techniques for business, entertainment, gaming, learning and assessment. Finally, we include some analysis of public sector procurement patterns derived from the Learning Light Market Intelligence and Tender Information Service.
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© Learning Light Limited 2009
2. Executive Summary This report is designed to offer an overview of what we believe is the present state of the UK’s e-learning and learning technologies industry. We begin by offering a brief model of what we believe is the present working definition of what is meant by e-learning and learning technologies, and we are indebted to Michael Allen for his definition and illustrations. It is from this that we put forward our proposition that the UK e-learning and learning technology industry is indeed flowering! We spend the next sections setting out the evidence that we believe underpins this proposition. This report began as a simple attempt to update the report written by John Helmer on behalf of Learning Light valuing the UK e-learning industry. It is from this original report that our analysis begins, but one we have significantly developed by both interviewing a number of leading players (vendors) in the industry to ask their view of the market and by further seeking to quantify the market size. However, we begin by updating John Helmer’s work with “what is going on” in the industry and draw some historical comparisons with other reports, such as Epic’s market report. This series of semi structured interviews were conducted over 2 months in 2009, with over 24 companies spread across the UK. The edited narrative of the interviews is included in an appendix with the full version of the report, and a synopsis in the short version. The principal finding is that the UK e-learning industry remains robustly positive in its view of the market and the prospect for continuing growth. The interviews also sought to understand the dynamics of the industry as it saw itself, its ability to change and adapt to new technologies and business models and its views of the likely structure of the industry in years to come. We have drawn on our own financial modeling, the on-going and valuable work of John Helmer and other research made available to us to assess the size of the market. In truth we can now offer a “tri –angulation” of what we believe the market size to be and the likely growth potential. The financial modeling and third party research all correlated in a robustly positive trend of continued and significant growth for the UK e-learning industry. The market size estimates varying between £300 million to £450 million, and growth rates forecast of between 6.7% and 8%.
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Finally we present a set of trends, both technologies and market drivers which we believe will underpin this growth, again based on our interviews with the companies, and other research and opinion gathered.
Our premise being that this industry “flowering” is based not just on organic growth as more and more companies seek to utilize e-learning and learning technologies – though we do highlight that training companies (sometimes a little unfairly seen as the enemy of e-learning in the UK!) and more medium sized enterprises are adopting e-learning, but that there are other factors are at work. One key factor highlighted is the role of marketing departments in commissioning learning to support customers, and secondly the adeptness with which the UK e-learning industry is adopting and exploiting new mediums of delivering learning is crucial to the industries growth trajectory. This is illustrated in how the UK’s e-learning industry has adopted gaming and immersive learning scenarios, rapid development tools and is perhaps more expert in its adoption of Web 2.0 and Social networking than the IT industry and is on the cusp of delivering true “portable flexible learning” – or as we search for another cool term - m.learning 2.0! It is the fascination of both the learning and development community and the marketeers particularly with social networking that bodes so well for the e-learning industry. Despite the difficult times, resulting in undoubted downward price pressure and cuts in training budgets and public sector projects we believe that the UK’s e-learning industry, and its two principle hubs, Sheffield and Brighton are set fair to weather the economic downturn. There is no doubt that companies will come and go, just as they did in easier times. We can only reflect the optimism and confidence, the innovation and enthusiasm and the e-learning industries undoubted focus on delivering the right learning for the individual and organisation that so characterised our research findings.
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3. What is e-Learning? What is e-learning? There are many terms and definitions applied to this particular genre of learning. We have used e-learning and learning technologies as our principle terms of descriptive reference. Previous terminologies used have included “Computer Based Training” (CBT), “Tele-learning” and still the quite widely used expression “on-line learning”. Increasingly we see the term “Computer Enhanced Learning”, we have also seen “Computer Mediated Learning” used as a term. In attempting to answer this we have turned to Michael Allen and his work “Creating Successful e-learning” (Pfeifer 2006) as a starting point. 3.1 e-learning - definitions Allen describes or defines e-learning like this: “The term e-learning applies to the broad range of ways computing and communication technologies can be used for teaching and learning.” He does add – “Some uses are effective – magnificently so. Others are not.” 3.1.1 e-learning components Allen then seeks to illustrate the components referred to as below:
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Allen proceeds to offer a second definition to overcome the issues around just simple presentation of content, and provides the following definition: “e-learning is delivery of carefully constructed instructional events through computing technologies.” This Allen argues is a more useful definition as it excludes simple communication, unless they are used in a context configured for learning. Accordingly we present two more diagrams seeking to define and conceptualise e-learning, firstly a slightly amended version of Allen’s to support the use of communication and publishing of e-learning:
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3.1.2 e-learning, e-publishing and learning tools
And secondly, in the view of the reports authors, and in the light of the interviews undertaken with twenty plus e-learning companies we feel that
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below we illustrate how e-learning is evolving – indeed flowering. This model seeks to build and illustrate for the purposes of this report the whole fragrant flower that e-learning and learning technologies is. 3.2 How e-learning is flowering
How e-learning is flowering
(Based Michael Allen’s model)
Learning resources e-learning 2.0
Can all of this flowering really have happened in two years, well, below is a
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slide Learning Light began delivering more than three years ago, developed by our then colleague Jane Hart.
From automation to the Workplace innovation In
online versions of f2f courses (web-based training) CONTENT
formal, instructional self-paced courses INDIVIDUAL LEARNING
CONTENT outsourced, or in-house specialists
e-Learning 1.0 e-Learning 2.0
new tools: SHARING blogging COLLABORATION wikis SYNDICATION podcasting new ways of RSS learning social networking
Niche specialists e-Learning 2.0
informal, workflow-based, embedded learning ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING SOLUTIONS rapid e-learning, free Web 2.0 tools SMEs and others small/mediumsized orgs
Indeed 2009 saw the publication of e-learning 2.0 by Anita Rosen, with the cover subtitle “Proven practices, Emerging technologies to Achieve real results”. This book reviewed the range of technologies now available. The big question is what are the next petals to be added to the e-learning flower! The challenge and purpose of this report is to understand the e-learning market and how it is flowering and what new petals will burst into bloom, will it be learning devices and mobile learning, or will it be e-learning 2.0 and informal learning as the tools to create learning organisations.
4.0 Players in the UK e-Learning market 4.1 “Movers and Shakers” 2007 In April 2007, following the Learning Light study, the author of that paper John Helmer released a new report on the “Movers and Shakers” in the U.K. e-learning industry, based on a study carried out by Epic. The Epic study identified 157 companies providing e-learning services in the UK but research was limited to those whose financial performance is available from Companies
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House, 34 in total. This excluded major players like Tata, Line and Brightwave which from our perspective made the survey of limited value, particularly since it’s generally accepted that 8-10% of revenues nationally are generated by the Top Ten players on any list. The study also, understandably, tended to focus on competitors to Epic or players in Epic’s market sectors (e.g. Defence) John had previously offered 3 listings in the Learning Light 2007 study, which we have updated and which appears in the tables below. We follow the tables with an update on the fortunes of the 34 companies which Epic studied in detail. 4.1.2 UK’s e-Learning players In this Section we bring up to date the tables of players included in the previous Report, viz.: o large companies active in the UK with e-learning as a non-core activity o companies principally engaged in e-learning as core business o companies featured in the 2007 “Movers and Shakers” report 4.1.3 Note on UK e-learning consultancies The majority of e-learning businesses in the UK are micro-businesses or SMEs meaning they do not have to submit full accounts to Companies House. This also includes UK registered trading arms of multinationals. Consultancies in particular are typically small and often invisible to sector scrutiny because they operate as Associates for big organisations, particularly IT companies, training companies and outsourcing organisations. We are also witnessing the emergence of social enterprises, CICs and not-forprofits within the industry, helped by access to Open Source technologies. Because there are so many tiny consultancies in the industry in the UK we have decided that a list of their names would add little to the value of this Report. At Learning Light we are committed, however, to supporting the interests of this community, particularly in Yorkshire and Humberside, and maintain and develop a comprehensive registrar of consulting organisations in the UK. Table 1 Large companies active in UK with e-learning as a non-core activity Accenture Amaze BDP Media BSG BT Capita Computer Software Gatlin Frost & Sullivan Group HP I BM ILX Group plc Kaplan KnowledgePool Logica CMG
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Macromedia Europe Ltd Oracle Plateau Systems QA Rhema Group Tribal Group
Matchett Group Parity PPI Learning Raytheon SAP UK Vega
NIIT UK, Cognitive Arts and Element K Pearson Premier IT Reed Learning plc Thales
Table 2 Companies active in the UK wholly or primarily engaged in eLearning aardpress Absolutely Training Academy Internet Academee (now part of Oliver Wyman) AccessPlanIT Atlantic Link Ltd Atlas Interactive Ltd Attic Learning Auralog Aurion Learning Balance Learning BBC Worldwide Interactive Learning BdM Development Blackboard Bourne Training (now merged with RedTray) Brainvisa Bridge2Think Ltd Bridge-Learning Brightwave BTL Group Ltd BYG C2 Workshop Can Studios Caspian Learning CIA Training Cobent Ltd Coggno ComplyWise Copia (now part of Intellego) Corous Course-Source Ltd Cross Knowledge Cylix DACG Limited
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Information Transfer Insite Objects Interwise Intellego Jenison Kineo Knowledge Solutions learnDirect LearningGuide LearningMotion Learning Pool Line LM Matters Ltd LMD Learning Solutions Ltd m-learning Mohive Music Factory Mycourse Limited MyKnowlegeMap NetDimensions Limited Netviewer GmbH New Wave Learning Noor Informatics NuJuice October Systems Open Mind Ltd Omniplex Outstart PageForward Learning Panviva Peakdean Pixelearning Ltd Plateau Learning Systems RedTray Rosetta Stone Language Learning Safari e-Reference Saffron
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datango AG datmedia Ltd DeltaNet International Desq DTV
Sales 101 SanScrip Seminar Serco learning Simulacra Media Ltd
e2train e4Learning Echelon Publishing Edvantage Group Eedo Knowledgeware E-learning WMB Electrovision Element K (now subsumed in NIIT) Ellerton Training Services Ltd Embrace Learning Engage revision ENI Enlightenment Productions eOrigen Epic EQHO Communications Ltd ETS Europe UK FISC Fuel Europe Fullard Learning Futurate Futuremedia GBS Corporate Training Giunti Labs Global Learning Alliance Happy Computers Harbinger Harlequin Training Solutions Headlight Communications HT2 ltd i-education Idigicon ikonami IMC (Formerly Communication AG) Infinity Infobasis Ltd Information Multimedia
SkillGate Ltd Software Training Technology (STT) Sponge UK SSR-i STAR Consulting Ltd Tata TIS Teknical Telematica Texthelp Systems Ltd The Orange Group Ltd The Working Manager Thirdforce (embraces former brands Electric Paper, AV Edge and CLM. Mindleaders name still retained) Time2study Traineasy Ltd Trainer1 Trax UK Ltd Tribal education services Trivantis TTS Europe Ltd Umbel (TfA Group) Upskill Video Arts VTN Technologies Vuepoint Walkgrove Watsonia Workshop WBT Systems Webanywhere Webarchitects Wired Red UK Ltd Xperience Xoolon Xyleme
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Table 3: Looking back to the Epic UK Marketplace survey (2007) The 34 companies in the Epic 2007 study; how they are faring Company Comments Academy Internet bought by RedTray February 2009 Adval Group defunct Assima going strong Atrium disappeared Communications Attic Learning disappeared Easy i now formally known by name of parent company SAI Group, compliance specialists EBC sold to Futuremedia, who in turn were acquired by EdvantageGroup Enlight disappeared Epic Bought by Huveaux Group in 2005 and sold to entrepreneur Andrew Brode in 2008 FT Knowledge Going strong Fuel IT acquired by LRN (compliance training specialists) and renamed Futuremedia 2008 acquired by EdvantageGroup from Norway gtslearning The driving force in CompTIA e-learning for IT industry. Going strong. Happy Computers Continues to win awards for its e-learning and blended learning. Imparta Still a force to be reckoned with especially for Sales and Marketing training Ivy Learning (Ivy Budget end of market. Soft) Jenison One of the success stories of UK industry. Grown from a budget off-the-shelf supplier to a recognised force in the industry KnowledgePool Now one of the largest LBPO companies in the world learndirect Solutions Still in there, never really cracked the corporate market but still arguably the largest supplier of level 1 and 2 training in Europe LRI Strong player in leadership and management market MARIS Technologies Still going strong; uses offshore production Outstart Major player in LCMS sector Pennant Track record in defence, nuclear and heavy industry PTT Pretty solid player in IT training market QuestionMark Long established online survey and assessment software supplier
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Redtray RTIX RWD Technologies
Thomson NETg TPG Academy XOR
Still growing both organically and by acquisition (Bourne, Academy Internet etc). acquired by Ultimate Software in October 2006 and brand name disappeared 21 years old, this US-led has successfully emerged from the SAP / ERP training sector to become a major performance management supplier, including eLearning US-led dominant force in big-budget HCMS market Although the massive 3-5 year library deals are declining in popularity it’s hard to fault SkillSoft’s service levels, product focus or strategy (e.g. acquiring Books 24 X 7 and Thomson NETg). NETg merger pretty much faultless. Originally Docent & Click2Learn, then further growth by acquisition (Pathlore 2005 and Mindsolve 2006) Electric Paper, Mindleaders etc…steady growth in revenues and now entered US market via Mindleaders but also actively selling Mindleaders in UK gone The Project Group acquired by PPI Learning in 2008 Technology-led and successful across Europe in major and online training programmes.
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Table 4 Interviews and other news: News and views on who’s doing what o Academee merged with Oliver Wyman in 2009. o Atlantic Link is aggressively forging ahead with development tools and platforms – firmly a top ten player. o Assessment 21 – interviewed: new launch business pioneering the next generation of e-assessment. Attracted significant investment and doing well. o Aurion – interviewed: Belfast based company have carved a niche with CPD management systems, community portals and public sector bespoke work. o BTL – interviewed: well established business seeing solid growth in o e-assessment. o Brainvisa and Harbinger represent two of the new wave Indian companies who have swiftly and successfully cracked both UK and USA.. o Auralog, Rosetta Stone and GlobalEnglish continue to lead the way, in different styles, for the online language sector with Middle East and New Europe major markets. o Caspian Learning – doing well in the world of immersive learning solutions, and the Thinking Worlds tool has attracted great interest. o Cobent and ComplyWise In the general compliance technologies (now part of BSI) are the ones most commonly met. o CrossKnowledge’s mix of blended learning products plus academic studies and their own Faculty seems to be a winning mix. o DESQ - interviewed: Sheffield based pioneer of gaming and learning, firmly believes the trajectory of e-learning will continue upward. o e2Train - interviewed: LMS vendor continuing to win work, and confident in the future o e-origin – interviewed: Leading the trend back to film in learning o Epic – consolidated and coming back strongly with some real innovation and energy o FISC – interviewed: with a blue chip client base and a firm focus in compliance for financial services, FISC continues to prosper o Futurate – interviewed: innovators extraordinaire, it is all about the future with real insight. o i-education– interviewed: a young business already beginning to make a global impact o Intellego – interviewed: Still doing well in the world of compliance and regulation with in depth expertise in several vertical markets o Kineo –– interviewed: a major success story, Brighton and now Sheffield, and heading – arriving in the USA o LINE Communications –– interviewed: very probably the UK market leader in e-learning content, expanding into Europe o Mezzo Film – a film maker that launched the innovative Training Pod concept – deploying e-learning on a data stick into the NHS
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o My Knowledge Map – interviewed: making the virtual academy model really work, and more. o Peakdean – interviewed: long established player who produces quality e-learning for a wide range of blue chip clients o Pixelearning – interviewed: It looks like a breakthrough for Pixelearning, as they continue to prosper in the US Market o PTK training – interviewed: New start for very experienced CEO o Real Projects – interviewed: Doing a great job in pioneering e-learning in East Anglia. The driving force behind the Norfolk e-learning forum o Safari on-line – interviewed: Bringing books into the 21st century o Skillsoft – interviewed: Still a major player proving e-learning really does work – true trail blazers, and still up there. o Umbel – apparently prospering o Virtual College – interviewed: Another very successful practitioner of the virtual academy model o Webanywhere – – interviewed: UK market leader in providing school web sites and one of only four UK Moodle partners – going international from Keighley o The Working Manager active in similar areas but each a different product o The Workshop – interviewed: The Workshop continues to prosper on its values of excellence and innovation, winning bigger and bigger clients. o Xoolon – interviewed: bringing sport and e-learning together – and it won’t stop at just sports – life style learning leaders.
With the industry containing so many SME organisations founded and managed by bright, creative people rather than entrepreneurs or strong operations management it’s only reasonable to expect some will go stale or run out of new ideas to meet new market situations.
4.1.3. Consolidations, Mergers & Outsourcing In the run up to the publication of the 2007 Report there was the usual string of acquisitions and mergers, as below, o o o o o o o o Saba completed acquisition of Centra Edvantage Group completed acquisitions of Kognita and FutureMedia Blackboard and WebCT completed merger under the Blackboard brand FutureMedia completed acquisition of ebc QA and Interquad merged to form QA-IQ, (now QA again) NIIT acquired Element K Redtray merged with Bourne Training Academy Internet integrated key assets Adval
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Earlier in this Report we revisited the Epic marketplace survey to see how the 34 companies surveyed had fared. To show how the market moves on we repeat the table from that part of the Report. Company Comments Academy Internet acquired by Redtray February 2009 Epic sold to entrepreneur Andrew Brode in 2008 Fuel IT acquired by LRN 2007 FutureMedia 2008 acquired by EdvantageGroup KnowledgePool Now one of the largest LBPO companies in the world RTIX acquired by Ultimate Software in 2006 SkillSoft acquired Thomson NETg 2007 Thirdforce acquired MindLeaders in 2007 to (a) consolidate Thirdforce presence in USA and (b)create competitor in UK to SkillSoft and Element K Thomson NETg acquired by SkillSoft in 2007 TPG Academy The Project Group acquired by PPI Learning in 2008
The trend to outsource L & D continues worldwide. One problem this can throw up for suppliers is the disconcerting experience of turning up to a client meeting to find that the client’s HR operation has been outsourced, and that instead of talking to their regular contact they now have to negotiate with the outsource provider – typically a competitor or with a different service focus and offering from the supplier. HR, IS and logistics are typically the most outsourced functions in the enterprise, and the consideration that e-learning involves both HR and IS means that much heat is being generated by the idea of Learning Business Process Outsourcing, (LBPO), which is no longer a peculiarly American phenomenon. In the USA LBPO is big enough to merit its own league table and industry association (see: http://www.trainingoutsourcing.com/Index.asp) . Several companies are making a determined play for the space in the UK, including Accenture, IBM, QA, KnowledgePool, Capita, Logica CMG, Serco, Cap Gemini. This movement into managed learning is coming from both top down and bottom-up. Top-down - Looked at from the perspective of a large management consulting firm the managed learning market is a subset of the HR outsourcing market (which is itself a subset of the wider BPO market). As clients move to outsource increasing numbers of their HR processes to external suppliers, Learning and Development comes into the frame as a candidate for wholesale outsourcing.
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Bottom-up - For training and e-learning companies, a move into managed learning arises out of an aspiration to get further up the food chain within the organisations they supply, and to offset the ‘lumpiness’ of their training revenues by locking clients into longterm programmes with recurring fees. There is an argument that organisational e-learning is now too complex a beast – what with the proliferation of learning modalities (pod casts, wikis, blogs, virtual classroom, KM, etc. etc.) and new ways of combining them coming on stream all the time - to be left to mere training managers. Outside (and outsourced) help needs to be sought.
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5.0 The Survey interviews In seeking to validate further our research into the market, we undertook a series of semi-structured interviews with a wide and representative group of e-learning and learning technology companies. The response to the survey we conducted with industry leaders in preparing this Report has been so positive and the outcome so productive that we plan to repeat the exercise on a regular scheduled basis going forward. Here we hoped to both understand the mood of the industry, and capture its views as to current Market Trends, Technology Trends, and Future Industry Trends. We spoke at length to 24 companies from Brighton in the South and Newcastle in the North, to Norwich in the east and to Belfast in the west, and of course as you would expect to a number of companies in Sheffield – where we believe the UK’s hub of e-learning is located. We spoke to companies from the new and very small to the large and well established, and those on that aspirational journey toward success (i.e. somewhere in the middle) as we sought to build our picture from an industry perspective. 5.1 Market Trends We began our interviews with a series of questions around the market trends and prospects for e-learning in these difficult economic times. 5.1.1 Continuing growth…?
our opener being: The e-learning industry has enjoyed considerable growth in the last few years, do you anticipate this growth to continue?” The overall view: Looking good, with the economy driving demand……. And that’s not all……
Learning Light Synopsis:
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The response to this question from the twenty four companies interviewed was one of undoubted optimism toward the future growth potential for e-learning and learning technologies. There is no doubt that the economy is viewed as both a challenge and an opportunity, but many other reasons were put forward for this optimism. Common views were that the e-learning market is still a long way from maturity and there remains abundant growth potential. That the ROI models that e-learning can offer are getting more and more compelling. That contrary to expectation demand has not fallen away in the sectors where e-learning has traditionally done well. The growth potential was now being realized as e-learning and learning technologies had now passed the proof of concept stage, and interest levels were getting higher and higher While impressed, and pleased with the overall positive nature of the responses we sought to probe deeper and understand what potential issues could slow demand, and to identify whether there had been changes to the sales cycle as the economy contracts. 5.1.2 Signs of a Slowdown Accordingly, our next two questions where: “Are you witnessing a slowdown in demand and, if so, what factors do you believe are causing this?” And “Have you noticed any changes in terms of sales cycles and starting projects?” The overall view: Some slowing in signing contracts and some delays overall, but an increasingly, opportunity rich environment Learning Light synopsis: The companies recognised that there were a number of factors that dampened demand in certain areas and uncertainty in the economy had slowed some sales cycles, but the demand drivers of speed, cost saving and overall rising interest in e-learning solutions have mitigated this. There is some noted downward price pressure in the market, and a trend toward in-house development using the new content tools that are appearing on the market. However, we believe that the interest level and opportunity pipeline is
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mitigating any negative or downward trend at present. 5.1.3 Importance of the public sector Next we sought to focus on the importance of the public sector: The public sector has always been of considerable importance to the e-learning and learning technologies industries. We were keen to know more about patterns of public sector procurement and specifically whether the creation of a specific public sector CPV code (Common Procurement Vocabulary- 80420000) for OJEU procurement of e-learning services has had an impact. This CPV was previously attributed to training services till June 2008. Learning Light, with its Market Intelligence and Tender Information Service tracks public sector procurement trends closely. Our view is that usage of this new CPV code is slow in its uptake, with public sector procurers using a wide range of CPVs in their procurement, some seeing e-learning as a custom software development service, and in one instance attributing a CPV relating to ICT network infrastructure to procure social networking applications. Accordingly our next question asked: Have you noticed changes in public sector procurement patterns and opportunities? And as the second part: Has the pattern changed now that e-learning has its own CPV? The overall view: The public sector is very important to the industry and the trend remains positive
Learning Light synopsis: “We can almost hear the buyers’ pencils being sharpened!” At present there seems to be little evidence of a major slow down in the uptake of e-learning by the public sector. However, we believe that public sector expenditure will come under significant pressure. e-learning on the one hand could be well placed to deliver savings, but e-learning vendors will also experience greater challenges in justifying the ROI they can offer. There is no doubt that public sector procurers will be demanding greater and greater price reductions, and it will be framework agreements and more competitive mini tenders that will drive
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this cost saving agenda.! We were surprised that very few of the elearning vendors were aware of the newly designated CPV for e-learning services.
5.1.4 Where is business coming from Our next question was designed to see how well the e-learning industry is marketing itself, and whether levels of interest are growing outside sectors that have already adopted e-learning – i.e. will e-learning break out as has so often been predicted, so we asked: Is business coming from places other than expected? The overall View: No but well Yes actually!
Learning Light synopsis: This provoked a mixed and almost contradictory response, with some companies telling us that they deliver tightly focused marketing operations specialising in specific sectors and others that work is coming from the unexpected or usually not! It is apparent that business is coming from differing angles, the one most significant trend is the increasing role marketing and communications departments are playing in using e-learning. The second surprise is that business is still coming from sectors of industry that has been badly hit by the recession such as automotive and financial services
5.1.5 Where are the threats Our final and rather “cheeky” question for the first section was designed to sum up views toward the overall economy and introduce the next section of the interview as we asked our interviewees about the changes in technology in our industry. Which is the biggest threat to your business, the economy or new industry developments? The overall view: We are all realistic about the economy, but it seems to be an opportunity, as do new industry developments
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Technology did not appear to be perceived as a major threat, the majority of responders felt their organisation could adapt and utilise the new and emerging technologies. As noted in the sections above, the industry was realistic about the economy, but the very firm view was that the recession was an opportunity more than an issue. Learning Light Synopsis: Neither is perceived to have precedence over the other, both are seen as challenges and opportunities.
5.2 Technology Trends Having raised technology as an issue or opportunity, we were keen to get a more detailed understanding from the companies of what will shape the industry from a technical perspective. We were keen to understand, for example, the impact open source and web 2.0 would have on the e-learning industry. Were these developments likely to have an impact upon the industries revenues and structure? Or would they prove disruptive or an opportunity for further market growth? 5.2.1 The impact of open source Our first question was devised to open the topic and bring the much discussed Open Source technology to the fore. Some interviewees immediately focused on Moodle, others did not. Responses varied depending on the type of businesses, but the picture is mixed in its view, but confident in its ability to adapt and assimilate and crucially confident enough to ensure its integration in pursuit of improving learner performance: What do you feel is the impact of open source on the e-learning industry? The overall view: Its nothing new, we adapt to it and adopt it where appropriate
Learning Light Synopsis:
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This really was the Moodle, Ning, Snagit and Coggno etc… question. In short, it is our view that the adoption of Moodle and open source in general will be driven around one of cost benefits analysis and appropriateness. If companies are looking for a rapid tactical deployment of an LMS – Moodle may well be the one. There is no doubt that the M word stimulates some of the strongest views in the e-learning industry. This however should alert the industry to a major change as there are over 200 Learning Management Systems (LMS) and 75 Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) on the market, and just the mention of one can produce such debate! Discussion around open source in general can be seen as slightly more philosophical, and its impact both in the industry and on the industries clients.
Learning Light Synopsis: Beyond Moodle there was much less controversy about the role of open source software. The e-learning industry proves itself at being adept in adopting and adapting all manner of new technologies Technologies do not appear to be the issue to an industry such as this, it is much more about creating good learning in the eyes of the companies.
5.2.2 Web 2.0 – learning 2.0 Our next question focused on Web 2.0, an area of hype or an opportunity for e-learning, or even what was referred to as Learning 2.0. The responses generated a wide range of responses, with almost all seeing the importance of web 2.0, but many offering a word of warning to temper the enthusiasm expressed. Do you feel web 2.0 technologies in general will grow in importance and use in e-learning?
The overall view: Yes, Yes but use web 2.0 with a “health warning”
Learning Light synopsis There is in our view huge demand emerging from learners (and increasingly from their organisations) to translate what is happening in the web 2.0 environment and translate the techniques and technologies
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to the world of learning and development, and nowhere is this illustrated better than in the rise of social networking. Web 2.0 – or Learning 2.0 or whatever it is called and rebranded in future years is now here for the long term. It will evolve and improve and emerge in ways not yet considered by the mainstream of L&D, and will increasingly overlap with the marketing and communications function. The companies interviewed reflected both the excitement and interest of Web2.0, but were quick to point out that the usage must be tempered by one of appropriateness – hence the health warning! We however believe that the e-learning industry is very well placed to benefit from these trends as we drive toward the new learning organisation.
5.2.3 Social networking and e-learning Hence our next question, where we sought to focus on the rise of social networking in particular: How do you anticipate social networking environments impacting upon the e-learning industry? The overall view: Yes again- to anticipated growth and influence, but with that health warning Learning Light Synopsis Open source, web 2.0 and social networking all add greatly to both the debate and the opportunity. While some may see the new technologies as a threat to more conservative business models, these technologies undoubtedly provide huge opportunities to the content development and creative companies in the e-learning eco-system. The threat to the LMS and VLE vendors is there, but again it appears that they too are adapting to these developments and can take comfort in the innate and understandable conservativism of many private sector organisations to adopt these technologies. In contrast it is our view that it’s the public sector – often seen as a late comer to the e-learning industry- that is adopting the web 2.0 and social networking applications. We believe this to be because firstly there is no existing e-learning technology whose integration they need to consider and secondly because the culture of sharing good practice in the organisation is often more established. It is our view that these technologies will offer greater choice and greater creative opportunities to improve the learner experience – which
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the digital native learner, generation Y learner, or millennial learners comes to demand. However, the industry must take care to ensure clients are not confused, overwhelmed or exposed. We are confident that the e-learning industry is of a level of maturity now that it recognises that the crucial selection criteria of any learning technologies should be their appropriateness for each specific need. It is interesting to note that the L&D community is hugely interested in the power of social networking, but that it is the marketing and communications departments that are increasingly driving its adoption.
5.2.4 Future technology trends Our final question for this section asked our interviewees to pick out the trends they sort as likely to be important in the industry in the coming years: What new applications of technologies e.g. e-reference, online seminars, online coaching, e-assessment, mobile learning or serious gaming are you seeing or becoming interested in? And What other technologies have you noticed being introduced and used to deliver learning?
The overall view 1) Mobile – maybe this time, but its really about being portable, 2) Games – going that way, keep it real and get it more real, but the devices/consoles are a key consideration and their access is jealously guarded by manufacturers, 3)e-assessment has arrived, 4) don’t write off text – e-books and e-reference could be big…. 5) eportfolio is now firmly established 6) content is still crucial and how you use it is king! Learning Light synopsis It is difficult to summarize the wealth of views given to what was such an open question, but the answers illustrate one of the key trends that runs through this industry review – the sheer creativeness and openness in adopting technologies for learning that this industry has. Indeed we would recommend you read the interview narrative in the long version of this report.
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Instead quite simply we reflect and agree with the overall industry view as put forward above:
Mobile – maybe this time, but it’s really about being portable Games – going that way, - but not all the way onto consoles..yet? Devices make a difference – Nintendo DS or i-phones – cool ones are best! Keep it real and make it more real – film and TV quality production of learning e-assessment has arrived Don’t write off text! – e-books and e-reference could be big…. e-portfolio is now firmly established and e-Passports, including SmartCards are part of the education world Content and instructional design are still crucial, and how content is used is King! It is interesting to note the still apparent disconnect between the video games industry and the e-learning and learning technologies industry. We make no predictions as to how this disconnect will be overcome, but do note the disparity in size of typical e-learning developers and video games developers. Do see our interview section with leading gaming and learning developer Jake Habgood. 5.3 Future Industry Trends In our third section we asked our respondents their views regarding the structure of the UK’s e-learning and learning technologies industry. 5.3.1 New business models Our first question, given the characteristics of the industry was: Do you feel new business models are impacting on the industry?
The overall view: Yes (but not so easy for new entrants) – tools driven models, content aggregation models, new models to exploit IP, rapid development models, new relationships – partnerships and alliances and SaaS – software as a service all feature in the future development of the industry Learning Light synopsis
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The e-learning industry is used to change and innovation, as many of the respondents pointed out, with new business models almost seen as the norm. This creativity and innovation is only likely to accelerate. The barriers to entry from a technology perspective are not high, but the barriers from a learning perspective are. We believe there will be a continuing trend toward collaboration and alliances both within the industry and in partnerships with IT Consultancies and training providers as “the blend” continues to be more and more influential. The industry will continue – almost relentlessly - to adopt and adapt new technologies and techniques to deliver more effective and engaging e-learning. It is this innovative “colonisation” of new and emergent models that gives the industry its strength, and is responsible for designing in further growth.
5.3.2 Industry structure – mergers, acquisitions and liquidations In our next question we asked about the structure of the industry, we were keen to know what the industry felt about the likelihood of takeovers and acquisitions, given that this industry has seen quite a number, and would there be an acceleration in this driven by the economic downturn. Likewise would the number of new entrants to the industry slow, and the number of liquidations increase? Do you anticipate the industry structure changing in the next 12 months – mergers, acquisitions, new starts and liquidations?
The overall view, and not a surprising view given the e-learning industry make up – which is principally one of Small and Medium Enterprises, especially in the content development sector was one of Yes we will see consolidation as companies try rapid growth strategies, Yes – we will see continued new starts – often driven by take-over consolidations, but this is the norm. and Yes we will see liquidations but we will also see lots of collaboration
Learning Light Synopsis We were intrigued to understand the industry structure and why this apparent ceiling to growth, it was perhaps Mark Pearce at Workshop that crystallized our views on this matter: “The industry has some similarities to the design and advertising industry, but has yet to see its “WPP” emerge.
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This is probably because e-learning professionals have a slightly different mindset and are more passionate about delivering good learning content than outright growth.” The industry should be very attractive to new starts and technology businesses seeking new markets. However, at the content development end the market competes on creativity and cost, with an understanding of the learning requirement of the client often the key differentiator. It is these businesses that appear to have difficulty in scaling. They then use and choose the appropriate technologies. It is this that will drive growing levels of collaboration and occasional consolidation by acquisition as larger companies acquire niche vendors. Indeed we may see large service providers acquiring specialist content developers. We also noted the trend in the industry to partner beyond the industry itself, the development of long term partnerships with IT consultancies and with training providers was noted and highlighted by some interviewees. We believe this evolving partnering with training businesses to be a significant trend likely to lead to a change in the industry structure and provide foundation for further growth. As Safari On-line’s Collinson puts it – more alliances than acquisitions. Other models appear to have a differing market. Can tool vendors bypass developers and supply direct to users? What role does generic content have to play in this market space? Can large service providers in the LMS world supply to the more medium sized companies or will Moodle come to dominate that market
5.3.3 Skill Shortages Our final question was to understand the issues faced by the industry in skills shortages and development. Learning Light has tracked the e-learning jobs market closely in the Sheffield city region, and 2008 saw, we believe, an almost 20% growth in job numbers on 2007, based on our survey research. 2009 has seen a change in the pattern toward skills requirements, with companies seeking to acquire skills on a “contractor” basis as opposed to a full time employment basis.
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We believe this indicates a degree of caution in how the growth of the company payroll is managed, yet reflecting the continuing demand for skilled personnel. We have excluded the requirement for subject matter expertise and instructional design services which is very often acquired on a contract based procurement of services. Consequently, while the number of vacancies in the Sheffield City Region for e-learning professionals appears to have only slightly declined compared to last year, the type of employment offered has switched significantly from full time employment to contract employment. Have you or are you experiencing skills shortages for employees or specialist sub contractors?
The overall view: Yes, without doubt
Seventeen (85%) of our interviewees reported skills shortages when seeking employees or specialist sub contractors. We propose to undertake a new piece of research in the coming weeks and months.
Learning Light Synopsis The skills issue appears to be quite complex and multi-faceted. Many companies reported across the board shortages – and are “always looking for talent” as Workshop’s Mark Pearce puts it. The biggest single specified requirement would appear to be a shortage in good quality Instructional Designers. The most common theme across almost all the companies is a shortage of experience at quite a number of levels. A number of companies – for example Line and BTL- have developed a “grow their own” policy.
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6. 6. Trends in the market
6.1 That was then: the Hambrecht report 2000 The Hambrecht report “Exploring e-learning: a new frontier” in 2000 defined three supplier segments in e-learning: Technology, Content and Services. Learning Light’s 2007 report commented on how the lines had continued to become increasingly blurred since then, with providers branching out into other areas driven by client need and converging technologies changing the shape of what was possible. 6.2 This is now: the 2008 CIPD survey on e-learning The 2008 Learning and Development survey included a special section on e-learning. Key findings included: o 57% of responders reported that they are using e-learning. o 27% plan to do so over the next year Two statements seem to command near universal support. o 'e-learning is effective when combined with other forms of learning' (95% support) o 'e-learning demands a new attitude on the part of the learner' (92% support). In organisations using e-learning, it is likely to be offered to about 60% of the employees, but taken up by only 30%. In using organisations, e-learning now accounts for 12% of “total training time” Only 7% of respondents including e-learning in their top three practices and only 8% described it as “very effective”. Optimism for the future of e-learning is rife. As well as asking what percentage of training time is currently delivered through e-learning (12%) CIPD asked what this figure would be in three years time. This produced the answer 27%. This phenomenon ‘we’ll all get it right over the next three years’ has been observed in previous CIPD surveys and earlier ASTD surveys. What is striking is the inability of this sort of survey to define the whole technology-enabled learning spectrum… formal training; formal learning; informal learning; collaborative learning and JIT e-reference. Just as we are finding it virtually impossible to size the market because it’s hard to find its boundaries, so professional HRD practitioners cannot comment on learning forms outside their remit and often their cognisance.
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Particularly interesting is Donald H Taylor’s response, below. 6.2.1 Extract from “Reflections on the CIPD Survey” by Donald H. Taylor At first glance the CIPD 2008 Learning and Development survey is a mess of contradictions on e-learning. Yet these figures, which might smack of woolly thinking, actually tell a clear story of changing attitudes to learning technologies. They are also part of a fundamental change occurring within the learning and development function itself. The most important thing about these figures is that we can believe them. They are not the frothy enthusiasms of vendors and early adopters; they reflect actual learning and development practice today. And the message is simple: for those that use it, e-learning is now simply regarded as part of the learning mix, and practitioners are increasingly confident with it. If people know what they’re doing with e-learning, this explains why only 7% considered it a ‘most effective’ practice. For them, this phrasing makes no sense. You might as well ask whether books are an effective learning practice. e-learning is a medium of delivery. Any effectiveness depends not on the medium itself, but how it is used. Six years ago, the question could have made sense, because e-learning then implied something quite narrow. In 2002, e-learning essentially meant the delivery of courses. In providing materials and a structure for self-study, it was similar to its predecessor’s computer-based training (CBT) and computerassisted learning (CAL). e-learning added to these the concept of central planning and tracking via the learning management system (LMS). In 2002, e-learning for most people meant an electronic analogy of the classroom: courses that were centrally prepared or commissioned, with attendance and assessment data collected by the learning and development. In the absence of any agreed definition of e-learning, those polled for this CIPD survey will have taken e-learning to include the much wider range of electronically delivered learning 2008, from LMS-delivered courses to EPSS and to the use of social networks and ….informal learning. This broad understanding of the meaning of e-learning will explain why – in spite of the apparent contradiction of only 7% rating it among the most effective training practices – 47% of respondents said they used it more than they did two years ago.
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Total training time …the wording of (the survey) questions invites the respondent to consider the narrow definition of e-learning. The very phrases ‘offered to’, ‘taken up’ and ‘total training time’ suggest online courses and the centralised world of the LMS. If the survey had asked, ‘What proportion of your employees use Google, Flickr or access an online help system, or email/IM colleagues for assistance?’, the results would certainly have been different. In other words, where the questions are not worded to restrict the sense of what e-learning means, this survey shows comprehensively that in practice it has gone through the five stages of the Gartner hype cycle and is now resolutely past the trough of disillusionment and up on the plateau of productivity. Social networking and instant messaging will join tools such as email and ‘webinars’ among technologies that can be used to support learning, but can do much more besides. They will be part of a trend taking technologysupported learning away from page-turning on the screen to being a social experience, and from a centralised ‘push’, to individually driven ‘pull’. In his essay for last year’s Reflections report, Charles Jennings of Reuters bemoaned the fact that only 56% of organisations had a written learning and development strategy. He pointed out that it would be inconceivable for a chief executive not to have an explicit strategy and suggested that it should be as inconceivable for a learning and development department not to have one either. 7. Role of large corporate suppliers Large companies in IT, Business Consulting and Managed Services (e.g. IBM, Accenture, and Capita) who have traditionally offered training to their clients, have seen opportunities in e-learning and fostered in-house operations. In some cases these have shown rapid growth, eclipsing their traditional stand-up training operations with those companies. Here, entrenched client relationships and the ability to offer the scale of operations that large clients need, give an inbuilt advantage over smaller, ‘boutique’ outfits.
The LBPO Top Twenty Every year TrainingOutsourcing.com offers a listing of the Top 20 LBPO companies worldwide and the Top 20 IT Training companies. Unsurprisingly many of the same big names appear in both lists. Training Outsourcing is now planning to release additional sector surveys including Learning Technologies.
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The most recent Top 20 outsourcing companies list is as below. They’ve not been ranked because of the widely differing ways they book and allocate revenues. The Top 20 as at June 2008 (alphabetical order) Accenture ACS Adamant CGS DDI Delta College GenPhysics GeoLearning Global Knowledge Innovatia Intrepid KnowledgePool Logica NIIT Element K Raytheon
Convergys Expertus IBM LionBridge RWD
These ‘Top 20' companies indicated that their revenues were generated through multiple solution areas. As in previous years, the largest percentages of revenues came from training content development (33%) and delivery (27%) - see chart below for revenue breakdown of the 'Top 20”.
Revenue Segmentation Breakdown
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8. The size of the UK market
It has always been difficult to give an overall size to the UK e-learning market, since companies like Accenture and IBM do not break out e-learning revenues in their financial reporting (and in some cases outsource elements of their elearning to boutique providers, providing a risk of double counting). Also, a large number of UK players are either privately owned UK companies or UK registered companies privately owned overseas (e.g. Plateau Systems) and revenues fall below the Companies House reporting threshold … And finally… how do we price WIKIs, Blogs and all the other informal collaboration and sharing tools, particularly free open source products? One “best guess” stated in the last edition of this Report (2007) was that the total value of the UK e-learning market was greater than £160m, but unlikely to exceed £250m all told. Interestingly within six months of producing the Report for Learning Light, the author John Helmer used a calculation based on average revenues and number of identified companies in the UK to suggest a different “best guess” of the UK market for e-learning products and services as being between £500m and £700m, i.e. nearly 4% of private sector training spend. But you’d have to add in about £25m for UfI learndirect…. A third approach (not based on reported or “interpreted” revenues of suppliers) tackles this from a percentage of training budget for industry sectors against forecast GDP for the UK. But again what are we measuring when we talk about e-learning. Does web-delivered Video Arts videos or DTV films equal e-learning?
8.1 A forecasting model
8.1.1 background to the forecast As noted above, in January 2007 when our first report e-learning market report was published, our estimate for the market varied between £160 million and £250 million, and we believe the market was enjoying growth of over 25%. In the time between this report and now, Learning Light has developed a sophisticated market forecasting model, based on a series of variables, including our Market Intelligence and Tender Information Service. Since the June 2008 update of the CPV (Common Procurement Vocabulary) codes, e-learning has become a recognised code in the world of government procurement and OJEU we have been able to gain far greater incite into public sector procurement patterns. Our other variables we have modeled include the growth (or decline) in GDP,
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the expenditure on training in the UK – which we believe is closely related to company turnover and hence GDP. We have also modeled what we believe to be the level of interest and uptake of e-learning by companies and organisations, and the proportions of training budgets being spent on e-learning and learning technologies. It is in the later two categories that Learning Light in addition to its close monitoring of public sector procurement contract awards uses its unrivalled network of organisations and associates along with its research skills to synthesize these key trends. 8.1.2 The Market in 2006 Accordingly on reflection (and with the benefit of our forecasting model and information service) we believe the market in 2006 to have been worth somewhere near to £229 million. We do not however consider that the market grew as rapidly as we previously believed. Indeed we believe the market grew in the order of 12% from our 2005 reverse forecast measure of £203 million. 8.1.3 Adoption levels We believe uptake of e-learning has grown amongst organisations steadily from the low usage levels (30% of companies) forecast in 2004 to over 57% of organisations using e-learning in 2008 (CIPD Annual Survey 2008). And interestingly 82% of public sector organisations using e-learning, but only 42% of private sector organisations using e-learning. The Learning Light model adopts a greater degree of caution with uptake levels, we believe some 45% of organisations are using e-learning in 2008 and we project growth to 47.5% in 2009. 8.1.4 Percentage of training budgets It is more difficult to estimate the amount of overall training budgets that are now directed toward e-learning. CIPD research indicates 12% of training time is devoted to e-learning – a long way from the 30% in the USA! Indeed we have seen even higher adoption level numbers in the USA – up to 50% of training delivered in the non education sector uses e-learning! An analysis of a Toward Maturity survey indicates e-learning expenditure as a percentage of overall training to be 13%. The Learning Light model uses a slightly more conservative forecast for 2006 and 2007, with 12% in 2008 and a forecast of 13% in 2009. This reflects our view garnered from the industry that the UK e-learning
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market is not mature. 8.1.5 Continued growth Based upon our assumptions we believe the market continued to grow into 2007 and 2008, with growth rates of 13% to 13.5%, and accordingly we would value the market in 2008 to have been worth £294 million. Our forecast model and its assumptions are underpinned by a marked increase in employment in the industry in Sheffield – a city with arguably the UK’s largest eco-system of e-learning and learning technology companies. Learning Light with its partner organisation Creativesheffield undertook a skills and employment survey in June 2008 which indicated a 20% growth in employment numbers in the e-learning companies surveyed in the previous 12 months. Our ability to track public sector contracts awarded was able to identify a number of significant contracts awarded to Sheffield based companies that account for 35% of the growth in the market from 2007 to 2008 alone! 8.1.6 2009 doom or gloom
How big will the slowdown be? Or will this be the defining moment for e-learning and learning technologies as companies turn to e-learning in increasing numbers as a way to reduce training costs and even improve their environmental credentials by traveling less for training! The Learning Light model forecasts a 3.5% contraction of GDP, and this will without doubt be reflected in a reduction in training budgets as companies and organisations cut costs and reduce employee numbers. Indications from the USA, point to an 11% reduction in overall training expenditure from 2007 to 2008 (Training Industry report). Our model sees the overall training expenditure decline by £200 million in line with GDP to just over £5 billion. Our £5 billion is principally the amount spent on training by companies and organisations – including government departments based on the assumptions that training represents a % of company turnover. The UK Government spends £12 billion on adult skills (£4.5 billion on FE (Further Education) and adult skills and £7.4 billion on HE Higher Education. Source: Leitch Report 2006. We do however see a continued adoption of e-learning by companies – as
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noted above to 47.5% and an increase in the percentage (of the reduced) training budget dedicated toward e-learning to 13%, from 12.3% in 2008. Our forecast shows the e-learning market place growth to slow by more than 50%, but stays in positive territory at a growth rate of 6.7%, and the industry breaks the £300 million barrier with revenues of £313 million in 2009. 8.1.7 Higher and higher
If we accepted the CIPD level of uptake to be that 57% of companies now use e-learning we could value the market at more than £370 million for the non education market!
However, in 2009 we became aware of another research project undertaking a similar analysis such as ourselves, and were fortunate to be able to share findings. This research indicated that we were perhaps a little cautious in our figures for the UK and the market was closer to £450 million in the corporate and non education sector and an additional £150 million in the education sector. In addition these researchers forecast growth for the UK market at over 8%. We accept that these forecasts are never likely to be completely accurate, and can offer what can only be described as trends. We believe we can now offer a valuation tri-angle made up of the work of John Helmer, Learning Light and our research associate.
2006-7 £800 £600 £400 2009-10 projection 2 £200 £0 2007-8 Learning Light John Helmer Additional single forecast
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8.1.8 Can we be confident in this forecast of continued growth? e-learning is and continues to be a difficult market to put boundaries around, and in the context of the training and education market, e-learning appears to be miniscule. The series of interviews conducted indicate a strong belief in growth…. We do however believe that the future market for e-learning remains robust, with interest levels in e-learning continuing to grow. Learning Light operates the web site www.e-learningcentre.co.uk which is enjoying record numbers of site visitors. Enquiries to ourselves regarding e-learning continue to grow, and we still see a significant growth of vacancies in companies in the Sheffield eco-system. However, we do note that the vacancies have changed in recent months from full time positions to fixed contract posts, reflecting the degree of uncertainty in the market. We believe the government initiatives with Train2gain will bring stimulus to the training market, and mitigate some undoubted decline that will take place and which will further underwrite the growth of the e-learning component of the training market . We note an increasing trend to promote the environmental benefits e-learning can bring, and while this in itself is not yet a major demand driver, it will certainly underpin the e-learning market. 8.1.9 How does the UK compare with Europe We have made some attempt to contextualize the UK market in the overall European market. These figures are estimates, drawn from a number of sources. We believe the UK e-learning market to be along with Scandinavia the most developed markets in Europe. We believe the overall Scandinavian market to be worth €1 billion. This would compare to the UK’s market size of between €650 and €700 million, - which has probably declined in view of exchange rate changes. The Scandinavian market is forecast to grow at over 8%, a figure that could equally be applied to the UK market, given their comparative maturity.
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The next largest market is anticipated to be the French market with growth projected at over 15%, but off a lower base – we would estimate at between €300 – to €350 million. We believe that an aggregation of the UK, Scandinavia and France will represent over 80% of the European market at present. Data for the rest of Europe – Germany, Eastern Europe and Southern Europe is difficult to obtain.
8.1.10 A US perspective The latest (February 2009) Bersin research in the US market revealed that training spend per learner fell between 2007 to2008 and is likely to fall further in 2009. In large organisations expenditure on online learning also fell for the first time ever and there will be continued pressure in 2009. ASTD’s recent survey showed that over 50% of respondents are being challenged to do more for less with their budgets. Although there’s a glut of industry leaders and pundits around the globe willing to offer their predictions, you’ll find that these don’t necessarily become reality. In the appendices to this report you’ll see expert predictions (from eLearn Magazine) on what to expect through 2009, which may or may not accurately inform market growth estimates. Mischievously you’ll also find in Appendix D Seb Schmoller’s review of expert predictions for 2008 and how they actually stacked up… 8.2 Sizing the market - summary Repeatedly during our three month research project we encountered genuine optimism for the industry. Some respondents admitted they were surprised by not only the volume of business they were signing up but also where the work was coming from. A number of MDs of Companies have come back to us during our research and said it seems like “business as usual” after a somewhat prolonged winter break.
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9.0. Industry Trends
In this section we present a synopsis that we believe from our research to be some of the key trends that will come to define the e-learning and learning technologies industry as it goes forward.
9.1. Trends in learning platforms – more competition and more choice
The Learning Management System “LMS” is the most common technology term in general use in the industry, but there’s a raft of Management Systems and platform acronyms in use : The letter game: o o o o o o o o o o LMS = Learning Management System, or LMS = Learner Management System LCMS = Learning Content Management System CMS = Course Management System (classroom and e-Learning together) CMS = Competency Management System TMS = Training Management System (classroom only) VLE = Virtual Learning Environment MLE = Managed Learning Environments KMS = Knowledge Management System EPSS = Employee Performance Support System
This area of the market is also one of the most contested, with a wide range of vendors competing. However, one word did raise considerable interest amongst our interviewees – and seems to define a new category in this market, the open source VLE: Moodle. 9.1.2 Moodle Our view, based on our research is that Moodle and indeed other open source VLE platforms such as Sakai will come to play an increasing role in the marketplace. Moodle will support tactical quick and practical launches of e-learning, and we see an increasing number of content development providers incorporating
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Moodle into their offer as a way of expediting the delivery of an e-learning programme. We are already seeing the emergence of a growing number of a Moodle “plug ins” applications for both the corporate and education market. This can only drive further adoption of the Moodle platform. We believe this already crowded LMS/VLE market will benefit from what we refer to below as “Compliance 2.0” and the growing interest in e-learning and learning technologies in mid size corporate organisations and the medium sized SME businesses will further drive adoption of both open source and proprietary applications. 9.1.3 Moodle Plug Ins A particularly interesting addition to the market is Moodle plug-ins and wraparounds such as MOOMIS : Moodle MIS, which seems to cover off all the known weaknesses of Moodle e.g. Communications, Competency Management, CPD, Events Management, Groups, Performance Management and Reports. It also offers a less clumsy interface. From our perspective it’s quite often the simplest tools that are of interest…NING, JING and SnagIt for example and LMS vendors and Moodle plug in developers must take care, so as not to make their systems offerings increasingly complicated and cumbersome. Both Kineo and Keighley based Webanywhere (one of only four UK Moodle partners) see strong and continuing growth for Moodle in both the education sector, (where Moodle is being effectively deployed and integrated with school management systems) and in the corporate market. 9.1.4 Software as a Service (SaaS) However, we do not believe that it is outright doom and gloom for the LMS vendors. Indeed it is our view that this market, though crowded will continue to grow. The value proposition between open source solutions and proprietary software will become clearer, with price as only one metric of measurement in the true cost of ownership calculation. Two LMS vendors FISC and e2train both report that Moodle is having little impact upon their businesses. LMS vendors will seek to adapt their business models by offering SaaS deployments and deeper integration to ERP and HR systems that exist in closed corporate worlds where open source solutions may not be viewed quite so favorably as in the academic marketplace.
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One privately commissioned survey in January 2008 identified hosted services (ASP and Software as a Service) as becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to capital investment in behind-the-firewall implementations. This is certainly the strategy being pursued by e2train.
9.2. Content – How you use content is now King 9.2.1 Generic content: SkillSoft absorption of the former Thomson NETg appears to have gone well and the new SkillSoft can demonstrate increased services and support services on a genuinely global basis. Despite taking what SkillSoft described as their only real competition out of the market, we continue to see a number of new and innovative competitors emerge. There’s an opinion that there has been a gentle decline in the perceived value of all-you-can-eat catalogue libraries, the fact that there are new entrants into the market indicates that the value of generic content overall remains strong. Indeed we are seeing added value services increasingly being offered with greater and greater levels of integration of content in to these services, and we remain of the view that the creative use of content, (be it generic or bespoke) will be the key differentiator. 9.2.2 e-reference systems and Academies The net result has been the emergence of smaller libraries, in duration, size and value, and the emergence of new categories in the market: e-Reference systems and on-line academies. Books 24 X 7 is undisputed leader in terms of volumes of digitised business books for on a knowledge engine. For IT technical content there are Safari Online’s e-Reference system and GetAbstract books digest system. Europe and the UK are particularly well-served in this new eReference and knowledgebase sector: The Working Manager, My Knowledge Map and Virtual College are examples of developers pursuing the Academy model, all using an array of competency assessment tools and federated search engine technologies. Other examples include the Umbel system, a configurable and customisable supervisory and management knowledgebase. This task-based system can be customised to reflect clients’ own
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competency models and competence frameworks. Finally (though we know there are more, particularly niche market players such as Intellego) we need to mention CrossKnowledge who seem to be bridging the e-learning/ILT/e-reference markets successfully. 9.3 Bespoke content – tougher price climate = more innovation Bespoke content development has in the past been the healthiest area of UK e-learning, perhaps due to the fact that a bespoke operation carries less upfront risk than a products business. We have seen very strong growth from a number of companies in this field, with several Sheffield based companies including the Workshop, Desq as well as London and Sheffield based LINE Communications and Brighton and Sheffield based Kineo all growing strongly. Indeed our tracking of the Sheffield based companies saw 2008 as one of considerable expansion in job numbers, a 20% growth in employment numbers. Not a mouse is moved in anger until a customer has already agreed to buy the end result, and marketing costs can be kept fairly minimal. However, with elearning becoming more established within large organisations, increasing price pressure is beginning to be seen, and a questioning of the costs involved in continually reinventing the wheel this way. The demand for bespoke content development we believe will continue and get stronger and stronger. We anticipate (and indeed are seeing) that new genres emerge using the values of TV and film production. This is true of Belfast based Aurion Learning and Leeds based Mezzo films. The demand for ‘realer’ and ‘realer’ and more relevant content will continue, manifesting itself in scripted scenarios and more and more sophisticated immersive learning scenarios and simulations. The key defining element will be the capability of the industry to deliver good learning design. This more than any other factor we believe will be both a barrier to entry to the market and a potential barrier to growth. We have also detected a change in attitude emerging amongst developers who now seek to retain IPR to exploit products jointly developed with clients. This we believe will grow in significance in coming months and years. The willingness and ability and undoubted creativity of many bespoke content
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developers to adopt and adapt both rapid development tools and techniques, as well as the web2.0 and social networking applications gives continuing confidence in this segment of the industry.
9.4 Gaming and learning
We anticipate continued growth in the serious gaming or immersive learning genre. Coventry based Pixelearning are having increasing success in North America, with a growing roster of blue chip clients. Sheffield based Desq report continued interest in the use of games in e-learning, and the arrival of the Caspian rapid 3D authoring tool for Immersive learning all add to the market dynamic. It is however the demand for this learning style that will in the end drive demand through to the industry. We, however remain less clear as to how, or indeed if the video gaming industry and the e-learning industry will collaborate or converge. In the full interviews synopsis we present the views of a leading exponent of the use of video games for learning – from the games developer’s perspective. 9.5 Rapid Development – threat or opportunity Tools – rapid and self authoring will drive demand as well as drive down costs and seed both issues and opportunities for the e-learning industry. We, like many others in the industry have been impressed by the speed of growth and expansion of Kineo, a company who built its business model around rapid e-learning development tools. The emergence of rapid tools that allow much greater self authoring potential to trainers or subject matter experts we believe will have considerable impact on the market place. We anticipate an emergence of new business models – the North American market has seen this, with companies such as Red Vector and Udutu developing and utilising rapid tools (and offshore rapid development). Already we have seen companies such as REAL Projects adopt this “tools based development” model to some success. It would appear logical that more and more learning can be developed by inhouse teams and following that logic we would anticipate seeing the uptake of tools by in house learning development teams. However, as yet we see the e-learning developers themselves utilising the
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rapid tools with considerable effect to deliver against new and evolving demands for rapidly deployed e-learning. Some put their faith in rapid e-learning – which promises drastically to lower the cost and time it takes to produce bespoke e-learning, but which may involve a readjustment of expectations difficult for some to make. Rapid production methodology leans heavily on the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule – and to really make inroads into costs must require some degree of reliance on generic materials as a starting point. However, the pragmatic view this requires runs counter to the prevailing culture in training departments (especially within the public sector) with many organisations persisting in seeing their own skills issues as unique and unprecedented. 9.6 Web 2.0 – learning 2.0 – Social networking and Informal learning There was undoubtedly great enthusiasm among some of the companies interviewed for the use of web2.0 and social networking, coupled with a very clear health warning as to the appropriateness of its usage. The key message from our interviewees was one of “appropriateness”, - the learning requirement must be paramount, prior to the choice of technical solution. Web 2.0 and Social networking will without doubt find a role in the learning and development mix, and will quite possibly go a considerable way in supporting and delivering the “informal learning” agenda. However, its usage and its effective integration into the overall learning and development mix will be dependant upon the creativity, innovation and learning design skills of the solution vendor. We are non the less greatly taken with the concept coined by Jay Cross (2007) in his work “Informal Learning” of “Learnscapes”. “The emergent way of learning is more likely to involve community, storytelling, simulation, dynamic learning portals, social network analysis, expertise location, presence awareness, workflow integration, search technology, help desks, spontaneity, personnel knowledge management, mobile learning, and co-creation”. Cross (2007) p41 9.7 Mobile, Handheld, Portable or…..? Will it be mobile learning, handheld learning or will it become portable learning? Our research highlighted that mobile learning was finally becoming of age, after several false starts. Until now M Learning has been one of great
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promise, but with few really good tangible examples for the corporate market. The arrival of Adobe Flash Lite is having an impact for developers allowing richer content to be developed. 3G mobile networks now allow improved levels of connectivity. The choice of platforms – from i-phones to netbooks, via Nintendo DS are all now providing better and better portable learning devices. The Apple impact cannot be underestimated – both the devices and the arrival of i-tunes U will embed learning into portable devices, and be seen as cool. The netbook is another major factor that will support the growth of portable device learning opportunities. Epic have successfully used the Nintendo DS to deliver specific learning requirements. 9.8 e-assessment Despite the anticipated arrival of e-assessment for a number of years, and surprisingly little comment from the e-learning industry itself, we believe that e-assessment will grow strongly in importance. The demand drivers we believe are firmly in place, and the applications being offered now deliver on the ROI model. Our view is that higher education will prove receptive to the time savings and quality consistency e-assessment tools can now offer. We provide an insightful piece based round an interview with Assessment21’s Gerard Lennox who provides us with a clear understanding as to why this segment of the market is set for strong growth.
10.0 Drivers of growth
10.1 Compliance 2.0 It became quickly apparent in our interviews that interest levels for e-learning remained strong in areas that conventionally given present economic circumstances we would have anticipated a marked fall in demand. By this we mean the banking and finance industry and the automotive sales industry. Sheffield based FISC, Kineo and LINE Communications have all reported continuing high levels of interest from the financial services sector. However, the financial services industry in recognising a failure in regulation is
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we believe embarking upon a range of new Compliance driven learning and training. Many financial institutions are already LMS operators but others are not. Secondly the content in use by many organisations is quite dated, and suffering from the law of diminishing returns. We foresee a significant level of demand for new and more interactive content to deliver the softer end of compliance training as well as defining leadership and decision issues in a learning format. As we live in an ever increasing litigious world, compliance in health care, health and safety, government directives such as the WEEE directive for example will drive the need for both interactive content and the auditable evidence of the training being delivered. While Compliance has often been seen as one of the early drivers for the adoption of e-learning, its importance is still too great to be written off as one of yesterday’s driver of demand. Indeed it is our view that this market will be significantly stimulated by recent events. 10.2 Lifestyle learning The evidence of our research and interviews strongly indicates a growing realisation and receptiveness toward e-learning across a widening swathe of organisations, institutions, associations, hobby groups and loose federations of common interest that may spring up rapidly and disappear equally rapidly. Learning will continue to grow and grow beyond the formal organisational and educational frameworks. Peer to Peer learning and sharing across all these varying modes of communications and collaboration will flourish. User or learner generated content will become more and more important. This trend is difficult to predict and even harder to prevent, given the speed of technical development, and the transient and promiscuous user pattern. 10.3 The training industry gets e-learning. In addition we firmly believe that the UK training industry will embrace e-learning to a much greater extent. Indeed we would argue that the relatively slow adoption of e-learning and learning technologies in the UK (in comparison to the USA) has been in part due to the reluctance of the training industry to adopt and endorse e-learning. We believe the training industry (in certain cases) has seen e-learning as a threat, and some, but not all used every opportunity to discredit e-learning.
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The industry itself has been aware of this, but now firmly believes that it has overcome the arguments first deployed against it by the more traditional training industry. We have noticed a much greater level of interest from training organisations in how they can use e-learning, given the challenges of the present economic climate. Training budgets will increasingly come under pressure and training organisations (in house or third party) will increasingly need to offer “more for less”. The culture of learning will change in organisations and the need for ‘Just in Time’ learning will increase, leading to the disaggregation of many linear courses into small knowledge nuggets of learning. The rise and rise of social networking – from Facebook to Linked-in or Naymz, via Twitter will create the opportunity for learners to request solutions to problems from peer groups across the organisation (or indeed the world). Add to this Blogs and micro-blogs and Wikis and other open source environments such as Ning and the traditional training industry will be challenged. The rise of the Play Station generation has likewise put new demands upon both schools and employers as to the quality and means of delivery of learning and training. 10.4 The ROI model can make sense and delivers much more learner impact Traditionally e-learning benefits have been promoted with ROI and the ability to scale consistently to support global delivery as key benefits. In addition, LMS vendors typically stress the ability to schedule and track learning and development. We are now seeing speed of development and deployment as a new and key differentiator coming to the fore, as a way of measuring return on investment.
10.4.1 The e is for environmental
The environmental agenda for e-learning is at present still latent. However, an increasing number of e-learning companies are adding environmental benefits to the marketing mix of their offer.
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10.6 e–Learning 2.0 into the Small and Medium enterprise Interviews uncovered trends towards medium sized businesses expressing growing interest in e-learning and learning technologies. Our slide presented on page 20 “from automation to innovation” illustrates what we believe to be this trend. It is our view that the availability of rapid e-learning tools, the emergence of web 2.0 will support the uptake of e-learning and learning technologies in medium sized organisations. New pricing models – software as a service in particular will enable access to larger applications by medium sized companies.
10.7 Marketing moves into the e-learning market We noted several instances of e-learning commissions being led by marketing departments in organisations. This is a trend we expect to continue and grow in importance. Marketing departments appear to be impressed by how e-learning companies have grasped the use of web 2.0 technologies and social networking as means of engagement. It is also true to note that many of the leading e-learning players keep a foot in the marketing and communications camp as well. This has proven to be more than a happy co-incidence but undoubtedly this has added to our confidence in the growth of the market, as marketing departments seek to use e-learning to support products and services in the market.
10.8.1 Consultancy: a cottage industry? e-Learning consultancy is something of a cottage industry in the UK, most companies engaged exclusively in the field being microbusinesses. As industry watchers we have Learning Light, the e-Learning Centre, Seb Schmoller, Jane Hart, and a handful of other quasi-equivalents to Jay Cross, Bersin & Associates, or Brandon Hall. A standard growth strategy for most learning technology companies, content companies and training specialists is to offer consultancy in one form or another and some are quite sophisticated operations. BUT many of the big
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players, including outsourcers, rely on the services of Associates from the micro-businesses. We have noted the growing success of LINE, the Workshop and Epic in offering consultancy services. This is a trend we expect to continue, and the Sheffield cluster of e-learning companies is particularly well served by a rich eco-system of specialist consultants such as Keith Shaw, Phil Green and others. The growth of Sero Consulting has been particularly impressive, and has been effective in using the consultancy eco-system made up of companies such as Psydev, Dunelm and e-loki. While there is real disappointment with the continued insistence by public sector procurement to play safe by engaging major players who can then carry all project risks, the up-side is that so many major players act as an employment agency for the SME and micro business sectors.
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Appendices Appendix A - The 2008 CIPD review of e-Learning The CIPD report on e-Learning (2008) - summary Our 2008 Learning and Development Survey included a special section on e-learning. This recorded steady progress in the acceptance of e-learning, but that much remains to be done. Key findings included: o More than half of the respondents (57%) reported that they are using e-learning. This is the first time that the proportion has topped 50%. o Of those who are not using e-learning more than one quarter (27%) plan to do so over the next year. a key part of training delivery. o In organisations using e-learning, it is likely to be offered to about 60% of the employees, but taken up by only 30%. Two statements seem to command near universal support: o 'e-learning is effective when combined with other forms of learning' (95% support) o 'e-learning demands a new attitude on the part of the learner' (92% support).
Respondents to the survey were asked 'which of the following training and development practices do you believe are most effective?' and were invited to choose three practices from an extended list. E-learning came next to bottom with 7% of respondents including it as one of the three – in-house development programmes and coaching attracted 55% and 53% respectively. When asked 'How effective do you think e-learning is as a learning and development intervention?' only 8% stated 'very effective' with the majority (64%) saying that it was 'fairly effective'. In those organisations that are using e-learning, it now accounts for about 12% of 'total training time'. The figure recorded for the United States in 2006 by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) was 30% . Optimism for the future of e-learning is rife. As well as asking what percentage of training time is currently delivered through e-learning (12%) we asked what this figure would be in three years time. This produced the answer 27%. This phenomenon ‘we’ll all get it right over the next three years’ has been observed in previous CIPD surveys and earlier ASTD surveys.
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Appendix B – Donald H Taylor response to CIPD Report Extract from “Reflections on the CIPD Survey” by Donald H. Taylor At the beginning of the decade, there was huge interest in e-learning. Does the interest continue, and how far has e-learning lived up to expectations so far? Donald H. Taylor, Chair of Learning Technologies, investigates these questions, and asks whether shifts in the learning and development profession’s attitude to e-learning suggests that the profession itself is changing At first glance the CIPD 2008 Learning and Development survey is a mess of contradictions on e-learning. Just 7% of those polled regard it as among the most effective learning and development practices, yet 57% of organisations use it and 27% of the remainder plan to use it within 12 months. While only 8% of those who use e-learning as a learning and development intervention would rate it as ‘very effective’, 64% believe it is ‘fairly effective’. Yet these figures, which might smack of woolly thinking, actually tell a clear story of changing attitudes to learning technologies. They are also part of a fundamental change occurring within the learning and development function itself. The most important thing about these figures is that we can believe them. They are not the frothy enthusiasms of vendors and early adopters; they reflect actual learning and development practice today. And the message is simple: for those that use it, e-learning is now simply regarded as part of the learning mix, and practitioners are increasingly confident with it. In this survey in 2002, 54% agreed that ‘e-learning involves the possibility of wasting a lot of money’, a figure that six years later has dropped to 38%, with just 14% agreeing strongly. The intelligent customer has arrived. If people know what they’re doing with e-learning, this explains why only 7% considered it a ‘most effective’ practice. For them, this phrasing makes no sense. You might as well ask whether books are an effective learning practice. E-learning is a medium of delivery. Any effectiveness depends not on the medium itself, but how it is used. Those familiar with e-learning will almost certainly be using it as one part of a delivery strategy that also includes, for example, classroom delivery and book-based self-study. Six years ago, the question could have made sense, because e-learning then implied something quite narrow. In 2002, e-learning essentially meant the
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delivery of courses. In providing materials and a structure for self-study, it was similar to its predecessor’s computer-based training (CBT) and computerassisted learning (CAL). E-learning added to these the concept of central planning and tracking via the learning management system (LMS). In 2002, e-learning for most people meant an electronic analogy of the classroom: courses that were centrally prepared or commissioned, with attendance and assessment data collected by the learning and development. E-learning has come a long way since then. In the absence of any agreed definition of e-learning, those polled for this CIPD survey will have taken e-learning to include the much wider range of electronically delivered learning materials available in 2008, from LMSdelivered courses to electronic performance support systems (EPSS), to the use of social networks and Google to support informal learning. This broad understanding of the meaning of e-learning will explain why – in spite of the apparent contradiction of only 7% rating it among the most effective training practices – 47% of respondents said they used it more than they did two years ago. Of a list of 13 practices, this was the third greatest increase. But if it is being used widely, the survey suggests that it is not being used very effectively. Although 52% of those using e-learning claim it is ‘offered to’ 75–100% of employees, 57% say that only 0–25% actually ‘take it up’. This explains why 66% of respondents estimate that less than 10% of ‘total training time’ is delivered by e-learning. Again, though, the wording of these questions invites the respondent to consider the narrow definition of e-learning. The very phrases ‘offered to’, ‘taken up’ and ‘total training time’ suggest online courses and the centralised world of the LMS. If the survey had asked, ‘What proportion of your employees use Google, or access an online help system, or email/IM colleagues for assistance?’, the results would certainly have been different. In other words, where the questions are not worded to restrict the sense of what e-learning means, this survey shows comprehensively that in practice it has gone through the five stages of the Gartner hype cycle and is now resolutely past the trough of disillusionment and up on the plateau of productivity. The key statistic here: 65% of respondents strongly agree it is more effective when used with other forms of learning. E-learning is now simply part of the mix. People don’t necessarily find e-learning easy (80% rightly say it requires new skills for learning and development practitioners), but it is no longer regarded
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as revolutionary. Six years ago it excited the profession: 34% agreed with the statement that ‘e-learning will significantly alter our training offerings’. When this year’s survey asked for ‘the major change affecting organisational learning and development over the next five years’, the CIPD did not even include e-learning among the options offered and nobody mentioned it under the catch-all answer of ‘other’. It has taken e-learning about ten years to reach this state of maturity. In 2008, as in every year, we can expect other learning technologies to come to the fore, which could still be grouped under the widening banner of ‘elearning’. Most of them will already be familiar, and their extension into the learning field will be part of the natural extension of what e-learning means. It has already moved away from a centralised to a more diffuse idea of learning, and these new technologies will continue that movement. Social networking and instant messaging will join tools such as email and ‘webinars’ among technologies that can be used to support learning, but can do much more besides. They will be part of a trend taking technologysupported learning away from page-turning on the screen to being a social experience, and from centralised ‘push’, to individually driven ‘pull’. It is difficult to imagine, given the results of this survey in comparison with that of 2003, that any of these tools will have the dramatic impact on perception (if not on reality) that e-learning did in the early part of the decade. The learning and development professional is just too savvy now. And this acceptance of e-learning as one of many tools reflects an important change in the learning and development function’s priorities. As noted above, when asked to identify ‘the major change affecting organisational learning and development over the next five years’, respondents did not answer ‘elearning’. The most popular answer, significantly ahead of the others, was: ‘closer integration of learning and development activity and business strategy’. In his essay for last year’s Reflections report, Charles Jennings of Reuters bemoaned the fact that only 56% of organisations had a written learning and development strategy. He pointed out that it would be inconceivable for a chief executive not to have an explicit strategy and suggested that it should be as inconceivable for a learning and development department not to have one either. Implications for practitioners 1. Don’t do e-learning to tick a box. If you are one of the 57% of organisations with a 0–25% take-up of e-learning, ask yourself what you can do to improve this number. If you cannot, consider whether the money could be better spent elsewhere. 2. Investigate your organisation’s current informal use of e-learning. Do employees poll peers in other organisations via social networking tools? How much do they use Google? Where can the learning and
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development department help in providing swifter access to wellqualified experts, and online access to rich, sure sources of information? 3. You are not alone. Network with your peers in other organisations to share good practice in the implementation of learning technologies. 4. Establish how learning technologies can provide the data demanded by your organisational learning and development strategy. If you don’t have a strategy, write one. Appendix D – expert predictions for 2009 - eLearn Magazine Pressure to reduce costs. Technology … favoured over registrations in hotels & hours in classrooms away from customers and clients. In the good old days, an instructional designer would develop, and an instructor would deliver all together, same time and place. When the ideas, examples, or exercises veered off mark, or were stale, the instructor fixed it. Thus the need for analysis (now) grows even greater. How else to anticipate what is needed, what must be committed to memory, what can be sought at the moment of need? How else to determine readiness & eagerness? Allison Rossett, San Diego State University, USA Alternative interfaces … big this year: more Wii toys hooked up to computers, orientation-sensitive interfaces, gesture-based presentation software, even brain-wave and body feedback games… a lot of discussion of identity, data, and computational portability; cloud computing; and virtual machines…. calendaring and event-related services will become widely popular:… increase in synchronous online classes, conferences, concerts, and other Kantian (time and place based) applications. Kantian computing also embedded into devices as well: cameras, phones, PDAs, laptops, cars, belt buckles, keychains et al. Recommender systems will improve enough to become actually a little bit relevant, appliances will be more connected and data intelligence (summarisation, visualisation, and decision support) will be huge. Stephen Downes, Researcher, National Research Council, Canada Researchers will continue to make progress in discovering evidence-based principles for the design of e-learning, including new applications of the science of learning to educational games, simulations, and pedagogical agents. Richard E. Mayer, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA …cell phone will emerge as the learning infrastructure for the developing world. Initially, those educational applications linked most closely to local economic development will predominate… parents will have high interest in ways these devices can foster their children's literacy. Countries will begin to see the value of subsidising this type of e-learning, as opposed to more traditional schooling. Chris Dede, Harvard University, USA Training professionals are accustomed to being at the leading edge of downturns in the economy but this downturn is a genuine game changer.
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Three trends are worth watching: (1) radical react mode; (2) fragmented application of ADDIE and ID; and (3) extreme gigs for an army-of-one. Organisations in crisis don't plan, so get used to all assignments being reactionary and due yesterday. Processes like ADDIE & classic ID will be used selectively or fragmented due to time and cost pressures. Downsized training organisations & one-person consultant firms will find they need to do it all and rely on tools, technology, and temporary alliances with other armies-ofone to survive. Margaret Driscoll, Consultant, IBM, USA … the emergence of new corporate-focused Virtual Learning Worlds (VLWs) or Massively Multi-Learner Online Learning Environments (MMOLEs) (will) nudge out interest in consumer-oriented versions of 3-D worlds that haven't made the adaptation to corporate needs. MMOLEs will contain elements that make them more corporate-friendly like SCORM compliance and avatar behavior tracking….. one or two major 2-D virtual classroom vendors to release 3-D environments…. increase in budgets for creating e-learning at the expense of face-to-face learning and an increase in the use of social media in corporations. The increased adoption will be modeled after the Wikipedia-type applications of Pfizer (Pfizerpedia) & the U.S. intelligence community (Intellipedia). Karl Kapp, Assistant Director, Institute for Interactive Technologies Professor of Instructional Technology, Bloomsburg University, USA Schools will have to offer to train students to do actual jobs and they will do this online. The first two, which I know of, to step up to the plate are ISIL in Lima, Peru and La Salle, in Barcelona, Spain. Real education, according to the second president of the United States, John Adams, "...is about learning to live and learning to make a living" an idea that got lost between the late 1700s and today. Roger Schank, John Evans Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Psychology, and Education, Northwestern University; CEO Socratic Arts Organisations will no longer be able to afford the production of sophisticated courseware… more reliant on employee-generated content and increasingly appreciate the potential of Web 2.0 approaches for informal, social, & collaborative learning & knowledge sharing... also be a growing trend toward adopting a top-down approach to using social media in organisations by building a social media/learning strategy and implementing a platform that integrates a number of social media tools for enterprise use. Jane Hart, Social Media & Learning Advisor, Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, UK … growing population of the world with quality, accessible, and abundant educational opportunities—especially the rise of e-learning in both the government and the private sector— eager to spend billions …in 2009 for the delivery and marketing of e-learning programs that have been recognised as essential alternative delivery methods for education & training around the world in this economic crisis. … we find ourselves in a world … where virtual reality puts people inside a computer-generated world and ubiquitous
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computing forces the computer to live out here in the world with people. Ugur Demiray, Editor-In-Chief, Turkish Online Journal of Distance EducationTOJDE, Anadolu University, Turkey Free online courses, programmes and universities will increasingly be discussed, debated, and ultimately enrolled in…. trend toward teaching language online will continue to mushroom and lead to greater acceptance not just of teaching languages in free and collaborative ways, but of entire courses, programmes and degrees….. high schools, universities and corporate training centres will need to adjust their policies, procedures, and philosophies related to teaching and learning. Curt Bonk, Professor, Indiana University, USA The risk (to suppliers) of relying on free tools and services in learning will become apparent as small start-ups offering such services fail and as big suppliers switch off loss-making services or start charging for them. The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement will strengthen, will face up to the "cultural" challenges of winning learning providers and teachers to use OER. Large learning providers and companies that host VLEs will make increasing and better use of the data they have about learner behaviour, for example, which books they borrow, which online resources they access, how long they spend doing what. Seb Schmoller, Chief Executive of the UK's Association for Learning Technology (ALT), UK … the global transition from the industrial age to the network economy will kill off much of the training and education programmes as we have known it. In its place will arise a more natural approach to learning through collaboration and sharing… great times ahead: fulfilling, bounteous learning unprecedented… the journey to this promised land will be brutal and unforgiving for people and organisations who resist change and lobby for "back to the basics." Jay Cross, Internet Time Group LLC, USA ….. online content is becoming easier to maintain. Social interaction and social presence tools such as discussion forums, social networking and resource sharing, IM, & Twitter are increasingly being used to provide formal and informal support that has been missing too long from self-paced instruction….extremely optimistic about the convergence of "traditional" instruction and support with technology-based instruction and support. Patti Shank, Learning Peaks, USA …. increased interest in open source software as well as tools and methods that enable online collaboration. E-learning will finally break free of the courses-online model as more people realise the business benefits of networked informal learning. Everyone will be looking at lower cost options for their training and development. Harold Jarche, Canada …. opportunities for new technology-enabled educational innovations in which the repetitive routine lecturing, administrative and related repetitive tasks are
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replaced with e-learning options, and the teachers—though fewer in number— will have more opportunities to serve as student mentors…. combination of personal mentoring plus tailored e-learning environments for students could usher in an age of personalised learning analogous to the movement toward personalised health care. Richard C. Larson, Founder & Director, MIT LINC—Learning International Networks Consortium, USA I hope for greater government support for e-learning around the world with mentoring for the less privileged communities. Yehudit Judy Dori, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, and Visiting Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA The ordinary: Mobile will emerge, not as a major upheaval, but quietly infiltrating our learning experiences … more use of games as a powerful learning opportunity and tools to make it easier to develop. Social networking will become the 'go to' option to drive performance improvements. The extraordinary: we'll start realising the power of consistent tagging & being able to meta-process content to do smart things on our behalf. We'll start seeing cloud-hosting as a new vehicle for learning services. Clark Quinn, Quinnovation, USA E-learning could enable campuses to fulfill their obligation to serve the incoming tidal wave (of unemployed learners) by expanding the capacity of their pipelines. It may mean focusing on delivering good product to the customer efficiently and trimming administrative salaries ,hiring more faculty, and deploying innovative technology. David Porush, CEO, MentorNet, USA The parallel requirements of thrift and quality—two values traditionally seen at opposite ends of the continuum—will combine to drive a more scalable model for online "eWorking." Thrift and quality are both needed for online support to be a scalable and acceptable replacement for face-to-face training. "Learning" as a discrete activity will take a back seat to the contextual tagging & appearance of appropriate knowledge chunks in support of specific tasks in real time. These tagged "coherent chunks" will be semantically integrated with an organisation's tacit knowledge to form a dynamic user-driven package combining both vetted and open source (contributed, shared) content, one small package at a time as needed. Jonathon Levy, President & Cofounder, LeveragePoint Innovations, Inc. Instructional designers ….will increasingly use newer electronic communication tools such as wikis and social networks as well as older tools such as listservs, discussion forums and blogs to cultivate learning communities… Whether tethered to distinct courses, as is now common in higher education, or as ongoing communities of practice, the challenge is to create structures and activities that generate informal content—such as stories from the field—in support of learning, training, or performance goals. Peter J. Fadde, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology & Cocoordinator of Center for Interactive Learning Research (CILR), Southern Illinois University, USA
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Education and training via e-learning (increasingly enhanced by the availability of cloud computing) will grow. Cloud computing will be the dominating factor for e-learning practices, as it allows for cost-effective, efficient, and an environmentally friendly form of educational and training opportunities. …. individuals with specific expertise will be able to offer their unique professional development services throughout the world at a much more affordable cost than traditional academic and training institutions. Badrul H. Khan, Founder & President, McWeadon.com, USA …. investing in learning will make or break companies and organisations…. evolving from an industrial age into a knowledge age, so content will become key in 2009. Social media use will increase because it saves money as it keeps knowledge in a central place (quick retrievability, international access,…). Educational policies will enable educational institutions to come to terms with new learning technologies and not banish them bluntly. Mobile learning will grow, especially in developing countries, as landlines are skipped in those regions. Inge de Waard, eLearning advisor, Ignatia Webs, Belgium "The Year of Implementing 2.0." Previous years spent getting our industry to see new Web technologies as having powerful learning applications. My advice to the e-learning community: pay close attention to the culture in which you are implementing. Ignoring the impact on culture will be the Achilles' heel of e-learning implementations. Brent Schlenker, New Media & Emerging Technologies Analyst, The eLearning Guild, USA Learning professionals start to move beyond using Web 2.0 only for "rogue," informal learning projects and start making proactive plans for how to apply emerging technologies as part of organisation-wide learning strategy. In a recent Chapman Alliance survey, 39 percent of learning professionals say they don't use Web 2.0 tools at all; 41 percent say they use them for "rogue" projects (under the radar screen); only 20 percent indicate they have a plan for using them on a regular basis for learning. Early adopters such as Sun Microsystems and the Peace Corp have made changes that move Web 2.0 tools to the front-end of the learning path, while still using structured learning (LMS and courseware) as critical components of their learning platforms. Bryan Chapman, Chief Learning Strategist & Industry Analyst, Chapman Alliance, USA …. IT has proven a prominent candidate for cost reductions in times of uncertainty. This creates business opportunities for the wider adoption of open source, free, and user-generated technologies and content for e-learning. Organisations will give special attention to open source during this year. The public sector in mature economies will increase its share of e-learning technologies, content and services in order to retain economic growth in the corresponding sector. …. companies will intensify their competition over public sector e-learning projects. … new synergies shall emerge between the
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traditional public sector IT providers and e-Learning related companies. Web 2.0 tools will continue to thrive and will be used to facilitate semantic tagging and annotation in already existing content, making it possible to incorporate such content in educational curricula, as well as in cultural and scientific digital resources libraries. Spiros Borotis and Angeliki Poulymenakou, Athens University of Economics & Business, Greece Learning professionals' fears of obsolescence, expectations of connected employees and demands for quicker solutions will drive the rest of us to increasingly abandon traditional instructional design in favor of experimentation—creating messy, loosely structured courses supplemented with low-cost social software & old-school support tools like job aids. Employees, craving personalisation, will "go rogue" using tools and creating content that best suit their needs—whether supported by the organisation or not. In order for corporate learning management systems and talent management systems to thrive, they too will "go rogue" by putting on their invisibility cloaks and becoming a suite of widget-like, integrated, mashed-up applications existing inside and outside the firewall. Janet Clarey, Brandon Hall Research, USA I have been exploring frameworks during 2008 that give designers and developers the ability to create applications that can reside both online and on desktops; a capability that is quite frankly a little overwhelming when one thinks in terms of interoperability. The full impact of this implementation can be realised when we consider how the array of cloud applications can be leveraged irrespective of time, place, connectivity, device, etc. This is the level of interconnectivity that will usher in a new paradigm in online learning. Phil Ice, Director of Course Design, Research & Development, American Public University System, USA There are three reasons why e-learning will continue to grow in 2009: (1) The economy …more companies will be attempting to achieve cost savings using e-learning technologies. (2) As students attempt to make better use of their time and money, they will continue to avail themselves of e-learning opportunities. (3) companies trying to establish a reputation for being ecofriendly, will use e-learning as part of their green initiatives. Matt Bovell, Vell Group, USA ….a time when more money is spent on training. The reasons are: (1) Good companies (particularly in the financial sector) use training as part of an exit package. … as people are released, budgets are provided for the release packages and some of this is spent on training. (2) Individuals want to distinguish themselves from the market. This means they have to spend money on training to provide that differentiation. Many training companies see this time as challenging, but not a time to expect a large decrease in training revenue. Peter Parker, Owner, EPCoT Systems Ltd and Management Consulting Consultant, UK
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Appendix E Readers’ responses to “Expert” predictions From a number of Universities and the following: Accenture Education VET EscP Consulting Servitium James Cook University International Computer Science Institute Internet Time Group International Islamic University Islamabad . …..some key assumptions that are probably wrong. 1. Open source is not, actually, free. Someone has to build it, someone has to maintain it. Open source is simply transferring an up front and usually meagre licence fee for a long term highly specialised labour cost, which in many cases ends up creating situations where organisations are completely hamstrung by their IT department/gurus. 2. Consumers will probably not get increasingly sophisticated in building their own training…. people are losing essential creative skills, basic historic and heuristic abilities… to even reach them, e-learning needs to become more like movies or television shows, or for that matter facebook apps… pop culture is the actual language people are increasingly speaking. E-learning will have to be "sold" to people and will compete directly with the latest movies, hit TV series, and the swarm of competing social networks, both general and highly specific (a la ning.com) So, the future of e-learning is, the courses that engage (shock etc) and entertain first, then educate later, will be the only ones to be efficacious. 2. E-learning is poised to grow because of lowered costs, increased awareness of potential for incorporating new technologies in enhancing educational content, and networking advances already available. The primary reason is the availability of the infrastructure worldwide at reduced costs. 3. ….. we will see a shift towards web-based managed services provid(ing) recording, transmission, storage, and content management in one site… might even contain experimental media analytics approaches for automatic indexing, etc... 4. ….Adoption of Learning 2.0 approaches will start in earnest in the second half of the year. LPO or Learning Process Outsourcing will gain momentum in 2009. The use of the mobile as a learning platform shall see renewed interest - … The use of virtual worlds for learning will acquire more importance - if things are right, it should mark the beginning of the end for traditional virtual classrooms. Games and simulations will see an increased adoption. 5. If… the online learning is authentic, engaging, media rich with high levels of online facilitator support, the learning experiences can easily eclipse that of
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the classroom. Following this approach makes online learning just as expensive as face-to-face although the scalability is better than the traditional approach. Web 2.0 and virtual environments will bring outstanding opportunities for formal and informal learning experiences, but will not save organisations substantially with costs. 6. … year for companies to reuse content that they have previously created by starting to utilise EPSS solutions that can provide this information to users at the moment of need. Providing immediate assistance to enable individuals to accurately perform a task utilising a combination of resources from a single point of initiation. We face a credit crunch and a knowledge crunch but if we utilise tools effectively we can ensure that the knowledge captured by SME's is shared at the time it is needed 7. ….. a year where learning is moved more directly into the workflow and out of the classroom….. learning at “the moment of need”. Ubiquitous and lessexpensive technology, social networking, peer-to-peer collaboration and user generated content are among the contributors to the increasing reality of workflow learning. Add ….. continuous pressures on budgets, the requirement to show business value for training spend (Return on Learning), the predicted frequent job changing of the new generation of employees - you have a training business that will push more learning to the actual workplace and strive to embed learning into tasks. I see this as going beyond traditional performance support and into something much richer, much more customisable, and much more personal... 2009 won’t see the reality of this, but will move us to this type of ideal. 8. ….. we are nearing the do-or-die point for those classroom trainers who have been resisting e-learning. Organisations (will) take a hard look at travel and other costs associated with traditional classroom training, and based on cost (rather than quality) will increasingly shift old business to new delivery methods. While I welcome the move to increased use of e-learning (as I never did understand how the classroom got to be held in such exalted esteem), this isn’t necessarily good. It breeds the “convert” (rather than transform)-aclassroom-course-to-online-mentality. … a shift toward buying or building whatever is the cheapest instruction, and away from thoughtful instructional design. …. we will see increasing understanding of evidence-based practice but worry that it will be ignored in favour of easier, crank ‘em out approaches. …as much a hope as a prediction: the increasing use of social media may create the perfect storm for learners to start taking charge of training offerings and let-me-get-it-myself content.
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Appendix F How did they do last year? Seb Schmoller reviews 2008’ expert predictions Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine, and Blog on education. Predicted: Better prioritisation will lead to more purposeful activities, such as social networking to make meaningful connections as opposed to demonstrating popularity. Less-democratic processes will lead to a clearer distinction between expert-generated knowledge and the overwhelming quantity of information available everyplace, making it easier to discern information quality. Ultimately, time is one of our most valuable resources, and I am hopeful that in 2008 it will be easier to learn, as well as to create and locate high-quality learning content. Grade: B Social networking came into its own in 2008, raising millions of dollars for social and political causes. And we saw attempts, at least, to popularise 'less democratic' processes in the writings of Andrew Keen, the growth of Citizendium and, of course, the Britannica Blog. But none of these made it easier to discern information quality, and it didn't become appreciably easier to learn or locate high quality content. Richard E. Mayer, University of California, Santa Barbara, US. . Predicted: When considering innovations in e-learning for 2008, it is tempting to focus on advances in technology—such as the use of games, virtual reality, and pedagogical agents. However, the most important innovations in e-learning will involve advances in our understanding of how to design e-learning environments that help people learn—such as how to design serious games, VR environments, and online agents that promote appropriate cognitive processing during learning. Basic research on learning and instruction will provide new guidance for instructional design, including which instructional features promote which kinds of learning for which learners. Grade: D Basic research did occur in 2008, as it does every year, but it is far less clear that we saw any particular advance in our understanding of how to design e-learning environments (unless you consider practical work such as CCK08 or Jokadia or Wikiducator). Looking up "Basic research on learning and instruction will provide new guidance for instructional design" on Google tells us the current state of affairs: an old ITForum paper on information age learning, Gagne's nine steps, and a 2005 paper on ISD. So generally a prediction demands specific results, and this just did not happen in 2008. Stephen Downes, Researcher, National Research Council Canada. Predicted: The "middle path"—proprietary lock-in services, like Vista, iTunes, Facebook, and Second Life, will be abandoned for more open commercial alternatives rather than free and open source software and content. "Personal networks" will be created by individuals to manage and share their contacts and information sources; people will "peer" into each others' networks or
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subscribe to filtered versions of each others' network feeds. Digital devices will be synched using online services that will offer a publishing option for "live updating." Finally, open academic publishing will have its strongest year. Many government agencies will require that funded materials be made openly accessible. Useful libraries and indices of open academic content will appear, pushing commercial providers to offer some free content just to stay in the game. Grade: C While people avoided Vista like the plague, nobody was abandoning iTunes, Facebook or Second Life (though, in fairness, the criticisms did begin to mount). Personal networks were created but, for the most part, were not used to create filtered feeds. Devices were synched, but mostly were used to make phone calls, listen to music and download apps from an app store. The number of Open Access mandates increased, commercial publishers leaned toward free, but useful indices did not emerge (though ticTOCs, released December 20, is a start). Saul Carliner, Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Educational Technology, Concordia University, Canada. . Predicted: I see these trends emerging: (1) continued integration of e-learning into the broader, everyday context of learning; (2) increasing interest in informal learning (and, as seen through ebbs of interest in performance support and workflow training, only limited incremental practical developments); and (3) a somewhat increased interest in digital video for learning as a side benefit of both the early 2009 transition from analog TV to HDTV in the U.S. and the hi-def DVD format-war seemingly being won by Sony's Blu-Ray technology. Grade: C+ This prediction is essentially a projection of three existing trends, none of which demonstrated any particular strength, coupled with a known future event (the conversion to HD) and the projection of a very likely one (the win by Blu-Ray). The best part of the prediction is the observation that the increased interest in performance support and workflow learning would result in only limited practical developments. Jay Cross, CEO, Internet Time Group, USA Predicted: The suffix "2.0" will be appended to almost everything. Get ready for LMS 2.0, Performance 2.0, and even Google Search 2.0. But be careful when you get to Web 3.0, Third Life, and the other 3.0s. E-learning, knowledge management, corporate communications, and talent management will continue to converge. Some companies will mash them together and put it all under a CPO (Chief People Officer.) Finally, hierarchies will crumble as executives see the speed at which Web-savvy new hires penetrate silos, talk directly with customers, and get things done. Grade: D Yes, we got LMS 2.0, Performance 2.o and Search 2.0 - all in 2007 or earlier. No credit for predicting past events. Yes, we saw a convergence of e-learning, knowledge management, corporate communications, and talent management - in, for example, competences and skills databases. Yes, we saw the Chief
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People Officer. At Wal-Mart. In 2004. A fad that didn't become a trend. But most of all, hierarchies didn't crumble in 2008 - though just about everything else did. Michael Feldstein, author, e-Literate weblog, USA Predicted: This year we will see universities begin to provide institutional support for Facebook and other Web 2.0 tools, not as replacements for the LMS but as adjuncts to them. Also, 2008 will be a blockbuster year for the participation of young people in the United States elections, thanks in part to the use of Web 2.0 sites to educate them on the issues and to mobilise them. Blackboard will show measureable market-share loss for the first time. All LMS vendors will benefit, but Moodle and Sakai will benefit disproportionately. Grade: A Detailed and specific predictions, all of which came true. The Open University, for example, was one of many institutions to develop a Facebook application. All LMS vendors adapted web 2.0 tools. Young people were a dominant influence on the U.S. election, sweeping established candidates and pitting a choice between 'change' and 'maverick'. Blackboard did lose market share, with Moodle benefiting. Sakai, meanwhile, maintains only a sliver of the market. Carol Barnum, Director of the Usability Center and Professor of Information Design, Southern Polytechnic State University, USA Predicted: The WOW factor is upon us. A recent two-part story on NPR reported that one in five students is now taking courses via distance learning. With so many students learning online, more attention needs to be paid to the question of usability, particularly to understanding the user's experience. A few years ago, there was little mention of usability in the same conversation as e-learning. Now it comes up, even if the meaning is in the eye of the beholder. But, here's an interesting point, which could signal convergence: U.S. News and World Report 2008 Best Careers issue puts "usability/user experience specialist" on its list of top careers with bright futures. With the growing interest in e-learning and the growing prospects for usability specialists, there is indeed optimism that the two spheres will not only overlap but merge. Grade: D We saw a video on YouTube and a paper at E-Learn but no significant up tick in the importance of usability in online learning and certainly no sign of the two spheres merging. And the U.S. news and World Report Chart? Usability specialist is still on it, but with only a 'B' for job prospects and on the bubble. Mark Notess, Indiana University, Very There Consulting, and member of eLearn Magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, USA Predicted: 2008 will be a banner year for distance learning enrolments. Economic and geo-political instabilities will lead more people to seek new employment credentials. The steep growth of baby boomer "first retirements" will also fuel the trend, as people in their 60s look for second careers or life enrichment. The distance learning build-out of the past several years will
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come into its own, but some of the persistent learner-experience issues will contribute to continuing high attrition. These issues will generate new research and experimentation, resulting (eventually) in major improvements to both program management and technology platforms. Grade: BBonus marks for predicting economic instabilities (geo-political instabilities are a given). As for distance enrollments, everything I could find (such as this article and reports such as this and this) showed that while enrolments were up, they were not dramatically up. The rest of the prediction was too vague to evaluate. What does it mean to say that a build-out ' will come into its own"? And while there may have been "persistent learner-experience issues" but we don't know what they were, and there was no indication that attrition was more or less an issue this year over previous years. Karl Kapp, Assistant Director, Institute for Interactive Technologies and Professor of Instructional Technology, Bloomsburg University, USA Predicted: Content within corporations and universities is going to become more and more disaggregated and learner created. Truly valuable content will be found as short videos on YouTube, entries on blogs, or a favourite page on a wiki, none will be housed in a Learning Management System. In fact, I predict a corporate version of YouTube will emerge just as the academic version, TeacherTube previously emerged. Formalised "instructional design" will begin to look more like "instructional assembly," in that what is traditionally thought of as a course will really be the efforts of an instructional designer to assemble disaggregated pieces of related content into a coherent flow for novice learners or learners who are not comfortable with assembling the content themselves for whatever reason. Grade: BContent did become more disaggregated and learner created, continuing a trend that has been evident for several years. Penalty for non-falsifiability: if valuable content were housed on a learning management system, this would not be evident to the wider internet. No corporate version of YouTube emerged. 'Instructional assembly' did not emerge as a wide practice, maybe in a few years. Angeliki Poulymenakou, Assistant Professor in Information Systems; and Spiros Borotis, Researcher, both at Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece Predicted: The proliferation of e-learning 2.0 will create new challenges for the quality of e-learning content, i.e. the need to create meaningful support structures to assist learners navigating through and evaluating the plethora of new user-created forms of learning resources. Moreover, emerging online social communities, e.g. Facebook and MySpace, will provide new and alternative ways of rapid e-learning through various applications and groups. Regarding the use of e-learning in Europe, an emerging field concerns the support for contemporary employment arrangements like flexicurity, as well as for ensuring the provision of equal opportunities. Grade: C Quality continued to be a challenge for e-learning content in new media, but
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no new challenges emerged. While support systems for learners would be useful, the need for them did not grow appreciably in 2008, and no new systems were created (it's interesting that in 2008 user-created resources were largely ignored by most commentators). New facebook applications and groups supporting learning were created, but not at any increased pace from preceding years. Following from a 2006 report, Europe did establish a commission on Flexicurity, but otherwise discussion of the concept seems to have slowed in 2008. Jane Hart, Head, Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, UK Predicted: Open source and other free tools will continue to dominate the e-learning market, but these will be used to create simple informational types of e-learning rather than complex instructional solutions. Here are some tools which I think will do well, or even better, in 2008: Google Docs (now that it has embeddable presentation functionality), Slideshare (with narrated presentations) will go from strength to strength, as will VoiceThread. YouTube and other video sites, including those that specialise in instructional videos like TeacherTube, as well as aggregators like SuTree, will dominate. Tools like Gcast and Gabcast will make podcasting even easier. Grade: BWhile open source and free tools were important, it is hard to say that they "dominated" the e-learning market - not while commercial systems such as Blackboard and Desire2Learn are still viable, not while content creation tools like Camtasia and conferencing tools like Elluminate still dominate their sectors. Google Docs didn't enjoy a good year, though it remained popular. Slideshare remained strong, but has slipped a bit. VoiceThread failed, languishing at 23 on Hart's list. TeacherTube, as noted, has been dropping. SuTree, Gcast and Gabcast/ Nowhere to be found. Prof. James Hendler, Tetherless World Constellation Chair, Computer Science Dept., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA Predicted: The Semantic Web is beginning to spread. It's already being used underneath a few popular Web sites, and there are a large number of startups springing up in the area. My prediction for the coming year is that users will start noticing more Web sites that seem to offer more views of more data and that they will be able to make more of their preferences known to applications. Within a couple of years, this will become expected of educational systems, especially library systems, and educational Web site providers will need to start learning more about this technology. Grade: D Not to put too fine a point on it, but predictions that the semantic web will spread have been around for years. And for years, that spread simply hasn't been happening. Same in 2008, which was the year of Ajax and the mashup, and not the year of the Semantic Web at all. Curt Bonk, Professor, Indiana University, USA Predicted: There is a distinct shift recently from the clamour over a particular technology or Web 2.0 tool to how they can be combined for multiThe UK e-learning Market 83 © Learning Light Limited 2009
pedagogical and multi-technological experiences. There are Facebook groups for Second Life educators; Facebook groups established to generate research on YouTube; people blogging on their Second Life adventures and putting up related pictures in Flicker; classes creating wikibooks with students from around the world, which have these learners blog on their progress and create pod casts of their final products. Yet another multi-pedagogical/multitechnological example is when college students collect sounds from different cities or locations and index them using Google maps. A new term for these "mash-ups" will emerge in 2008 in various training and education sectors to help focus on the wealth of learning-related aspects or possibilities that can now be realised. Grade: C Some marks for predicting the clamour over combining things (no points for the undefined 'multi-pedagogical and multi-technological experiences'). The long second and third sentences are not predictions, but rather, descriptions of the state of affairs (at the end of 2007). No new term for 'mash-up' came into being in 2008. Jonathon Levy, Senior Learning Strategist, Monitor Group, USA It appears the moment we've been anticipating may be arriving. Much of our work in 2008 will address RFPs for new models of performance-based learning both from companies and universities! We are responding to requests for capture of tacit knowledge, and integration of resident expertise that people carry in their heads into a semantic knowledge ecosystem. There also seems to be recognition that there is no longer time for learning activities to be separate from the "doing." We see a growing market for innovative "smart tools" that transcend "e-learning" and imbed new knowledge acquisition into the context of doing actual work. Grade: D If there was a new market in performance-based learning, it wasn't really evident. Certainly, it had been talked about for some time, and companies like Accenture had launched human performance groups. But beyond the usual level of hype for things like Second Life (which even dropped off a bit in 2008) there was no particular emphasis on simulation or immersion in learning. The same with workplace learning and EPS systems. And 'smart systems'. No new developments over and above the general background noise that has existed for years. And nothing new on jonathonlevy.com after 2006. Seb Schmoller, Chief Executive of the UK's Association for Learning Technology (ALT), England Predicted: My predictions for 2008: Effective use of RSS by learners, teachers, and learning providers will become more normal. Meanwhile the offline capabilities of browser-based applications like Google Reader will grow, making a big difference for users with only intermittent Internet access. The hype surrounding social networking will abate, with a greater understanding developing about when social networking supports learning and when it is a distraction. And many more people will break free from Windows or OSXbased systems, and begin to rely instead on cheaper, lighter, disk-free devices, with their "stuff" stored somewhere on the Internet rather than locally.
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Grade: B+ Pretty good predictions. More learners, teachers and providers used RSS; the jury is out on whether it was used more effectively, and the numbers were not staggering. Off-line browsing capacities did improve, but the impact was limited. The hype around social networking didn't abate appreciably, but it leveled off, with criticisms about the appropriateness of using Facebook in learning becoming more common (also, the popularity of the term 'creepy treehouse'). Windows and OSX proved more resilient than predicted, actually gaining ground by occupying the OLPC platform. But cheaper, lighter, diskfree devices were huge in 2008. Richard Larson, Director, MIT Learning Interactive Networks Consortium (LINC) and Mitsui Professor, Engineering Systems, MIT, USA Predicted: The year 2008 will be the year in which open source educational materials will be co-invented by educators from around the world and will be as easily uploaded onto a searchable website as are the videos on YouTube. Quality control can be maintained either by official moderators, or— preferably—by market forces guided by user comments prominently displayed. The content can be incorporated into class-based or distancebased courses. Each educational entry can be small (an educational "snippet"), medium (30 minutes of a class), or large (one week's worth of work). Grade: F The YouTube of open leaning materials? Didn't happen? Quality control mechanisms? Nope - all that was tried with MERLOT years ago, and the whole quality-review thing just isn't catching on. Incorporating open learning content into courses? Sure - nothing new there (and not any easier, either). The concept of 'snippets' was "invented" long before 2008 - they were called learning objects or information objects. For a prediction, this really is a surprising submission. Margaret Driscoll, Managing Consultant, IBM, USA Predicted: The e-learning buzz for 2008 is virtual reality (VR) for training (the 3-D variety). Industry pundits are selling decision makers on VR's immersive, distributed, virtual, and collaborative attributes. This stuff is so cool that mainstream TV shows like "CSI: NY" have an option called "Second Live Virtual Experience," Sears has a prototype store, and MTV is already in season three of "Virtual Laguna Beach." Recall the e-learning tsunami of hype and you will quickly see the parallels. Look for a rush to create a VR training program, a lack of adequate funding and time to execute, and no grounding in educational practice or theory. VR is Valhalla for die-hard constructivists. Grade: AHard to say that this prediction, though narrow, wasn't spot on. As 2008 progressed, it was clear Second Life had peaked in 2007. By the end of it, organisations like Reuters had bailed and Second Life was fading from the mainstream. Google pulled the plug on Lively. "The companies that rushed to set up bases within the cult virtual world of Second Life appear to have wasted their time as many have shut down and others are "ghost towns", an
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Australian researcher has found."
Mark Oehlert, Innovation Investigator and Gaming Specialist, Defense Acquisition University, USA Predicted: I predict that I will: (1) continue to look for social networking functionality to become integrated into e-learning platforms; (2) ask why/how standards like SCORM stay important/relevant as de facto Web standards like AJAX, REST, and SOAP seem to address the same issues in a more complete way (and if I am wrong here, please someone tell me); (3) continue to watch as gaming design and instructional design talk past each other and fail to find a satisfactory hybrid solution; (4) continue to argue that mobile learning (as opposed to "immobile learning?") will not cross into the mainstream as long as we continue to fail to adapt our design to the fact that most mobile devices are first audio devices and, distantly second, visual devices. Continuing to define "mobile learning" mainly by it association with one class of technology (cell phones) will have a similar effect. Grade: D Telling us what you are going to talk about for the next year is a bit of a cheap dodge. Also, predicting that things will not happen is also a bit of a dodge. A prediction that is a question is definitely a dodge. Yes, web 2.0 technologies were integrated into e-learning platforms, but this was announced prior to 2008. Patti Shank, President, Learning Peaks LLC, USA Predicted: Learning content, activity, and assessment authoring tools continue to improve. There are great tools with a short learning curve (for example, Adobe Captivate and Articulate Presenter) and tools with a longer learning curve that are really excellent (for example, Lectora, and Flashform). Savvy instructional designers are starting to realise that they cannot be involved in the development of all instructional content in their organisations. Designers are beginning to help others author content and that should leave the more complex projects, where quality of instruction and assurance of skills is needed, in the hands of capable instructional designers. One oh-so-hopeful prediction: Instructional design programmes will begin teaching instructional designers to write. Why this critical skill isn't considered a must-have has me scratching my head. Grade: BThere's no real indication that instructional design programmes began teaching instructional designers to write. Saying that the tools will improve is kind of like throwing rocks at trees in a forest. And designers have been helping others author content for many years now (these days you find mostly instructional design tools intended to assist authors). It's not all a wash though. It helps when somebody explicitly identifies cases where your prediction is being realised. Clark Quinn, Quinnovation, USA Predicted:
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The cynical: There will continue to be "eLearning Solutions Providers" with no one on the executive/management team who really understands learning; a total LMS/CMS/Portal/eCommunity all-singing, all-dancing solution will be announced, but it still won't be the answer. The optimistic: mLearning will cross the chasm this year, and more organisations will take a wise perspective toward using technology to populate the "performance ecosystem." Both: Exciting new Web 2.0 applications will keep appearing, but we won't be better at avoiding hype and looking for real learning affordances. Grade: BI searched high and low for a 2008 announcement of "a total LMS/CMS/Portal/eCommunity all-singing, all-dancing solution" but didn't find one (I even left out the singing and the dancing). Did mLearning cross the chasm? That's a bit of a judgment call. It was certainly more popular, but not arguably mainstream, with most activity in the form of pilot projects and test runs. Exciting web 2.0 applications kept appearing, but arguably the economic crash has made us a lot better at avoiding hype - at least for the next few weeks. Ben Watson, Director, Microsoft Learning, Canada Predicted: Somehow in 2007 the power of the human touch passed the learning industry by when FaceBook, MySpace, and YouTube roared to life and gained prominence while search engines continued to grow their dominance by becoming the learning tool of choice for individuals. In 2008, expect the learning industry to continue to struggle to remain relevant as these technologies, and others, continue to bypass corporate-structured learning while individuals continue to vote with their virtual feet while creating relevant content on their own. Ironically, competing demands for attention will drive people to single-source as much of their learning as possible. Grade: B+ The learning industry struggled to stay relevant. Many training departments failed their organisations. And with the crash in the fall, learning was first on the chopping block and schools, colleges and universities faced funding cuts. And we began to see a shift in emphasis from institutions creating learning to students creating their own learning. We haven't seen the move toward singlesource learning, though iTunes is definitely offering itself as a candidate. David Porush, Co-founder and Chairman, SpongeFish, USA New gadgets and communications tech tease us with visions that "it's all gonna change." Radio, television, the first PCs"—all inspired millennial prophecies of revolutions in learning. The simple fact is that most people still learn formally in classrooms very similar to the Sumerians' of 3200 B.C. What has changed most stunningly is the breadth and instantaneity of our informal learning. My prediction? Formal learning will still take place in classrooms or virtual simulacra of classrooms. But this year social networks for sharing what you know informally and personally will be the big news. Grade: C The key aspect of Sumerian classrooms, at least according to Porush (who
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appears to be the primary source for such references) is that "The discipline of the schoolchildren being tutored in script 'canalises' their thought processes, reinforcing certain pathways." Formal learning can still be contrasted with informal learning, a concept that gained ground steadily in 2008. Were social networks for learning big news in 2008? Not particularly more than most anything else. A more concrete prediction would have been helpful here. Philip Lambert, Vice-President, Red Hot Learning, Canada Predicted: 2008 will be the year that serious games get serious attention from corporate training departments. More studies will show the positive learning effects of games, and, as practitioners quote positive ROI from serious games that far exceed the ROI provided by other forms of e-learning, many corporations will jump on this exciting new bandwagon. By the end of the year, it will be apparent that, just as in the early days of e-learning, people who do not know what they are doing will create games that do not teach effectively, do not engage learners, and are not used. This will lead some to question, once again, the validity of using games to teach. Grade: A Games received a lot of attention in 2008 and, in particular, as predicted, studies showed the positive effects of learning from games. Proving ROI was more of a challenge, generating some debate, but specific claims were made. In addition, other people built ineffective games. What's missing thus far to any great degree is the questioning. Just a matter of time, though. Overall, the predictions were a pretty mixed bag, with lack of specificity, predictions of past events, and obviousness being the main culprits. 2008 was an especially difficult year to predict, and those who simply predicted 'more of the same' (more social networks, more virtual reality, more YouTube, more mobile learning) tended to fare poorly. It's likely that in 2009 the people who based their predictions around the current economic crisis will meet a similar fate. Predictions of an impact amount to predicting past events, but identifying the specific impact will be more difficult. And what will technology do in the mean time? If you focused on the economic downturn, you probably missed that.
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