The expanding (job) market in e-learning

If you’ve been wondering, perhaps gloomily on the day after the Budget, whether cutbacks in university funding will affect your own job in e-learning, you may want to read some good news about the expanding market in e-learning elsewhere in the world.

The global market for e-learning reached US$27.1 billion in 2009, according to Ambient Insight. The Worldwide Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2009-2014 predicts a five-year compound annual growth rate of 12.8% overall, but an impressive 33.5% for Asia. Key findings from this report include: a resistance to content that has been translated from another language but not truly localized for specific countries, and a boom in global demand for courses offered by for-profit international virtual education providers. SkillSoft is one of the world’s largest commercial e-learning suppliers, having absorbed Smartforce, CBT Systems and NETg over the years. It has now been acquired by a group of private equity firms for approximately $1.1 billion. Or you may like to read a recent Sloan Consortium report – Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States, 2009

Meantime, 48.3% of Korean internet users  took some form of e-learning in 2009, according to the Korea Times. Those under 19 years old made the most use (72%) while those aged 50 or more made much less use (18%) of e-learning.

If you’re interested in the flourishing state of e-learning in 39 countries across Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia, turn to the comprehensive two volume set of PDFs edited by Turkey’s Prof Ugur Demiray.

True, you might have to leave the UK to take advantage of the job opportunities in these markets, and you might even have to learn another language or two. Strange that, when you think of how much is being done online, globally… and in English.

It isn’t surprising that registrations for the MA in Online and Distance Education at the Open University have risen sharply in the last couple of years. The expanding market in e-learning augurs well for BDRA’s own proposed MSc in Innovative Education and Training, to be launched worldwide later this year.

David Hawkridge

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