Sunday, September 23, 2007

E-learning industry

E-learning (also spelt e-Learning) is a computer based method of teaching (and learning) that substitutes or augments traditional classroom education. This system can involve virtual environments, animation, video, audio and text. It is an anywhere, anytime education/training process that is cost effective and more efficient than a crowded class room. It is only natural that more and more corporations, institutions and other customers are shifting to E-learning.

These buyers are constantly looking for cheaper and more efficient systems. This naturally puts a great deal of pressure on the providers who have to work with reduced margins and the reality of new products cannibalizing the earlier ones. It is a constant struggle in which some fold up and many get absorbed by the bigger operators. The suppliers have to be alert and target their products to specific sectors to successfully cater to the vast demand for E-learning materials.

Basically, E-learning contains three parts – content, services and technology. It could be said that content is the most important among these. Even with the best of technology and services, there would be no takers if the message conveyed is sub-standard.

This has a similarity to a conventional classroom – even the most interesting subject can be made boring by an incompetent teacher. The same goes for poorly presented E-learning material

After four years of recession, the E-learning industry in US is back on the upward curve. The turnover of these products and services was over $10 billions in 2006. The expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 30.8% during the period 2006-2011.

But the projected growth of E-learning industry in the US will not be in the same pattern that had prevailed till now. There is an expansion in the customer base, which used to mainly consist of government agencies and corporations. That mode is transforming rapidly.

A major report, The US Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2006-2011 Forecast and Analysis segregates the present E-learning market into eight segments: consumer, corporations and businesses, federal government, state and local government, PreK-12 academic, higher education, non-profits and associations, and healthcare. Each section has its own specialized needs. This presents a continuing challenge to the suppliers.

In the changing scenario, the success of the suppliers of E-learning products depends on anticipating or understanding the requirements of the new customers and catering to them efficiently and economically.


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