‘The UK e-learning market 2009’, a report by Learning Light, a company limited by guarantee organisation which focuses on promoting the use of e-learning and learning technologies, reveals that – despite the current recession – the UK e-learning and learning technology industry is flourishing.
The report’s principal finding is that the UK e-learning industry remains robustly positive in its view of the market and the prospect for continuing growth. Using financial modeling and third party research, the report suggests that the annual size of the UK e-learning industry is currently between £300m and £450m; with growth rates forecast of between 6.7% and 8%.
“Our premise that this industry is ‘flowering’ is based not just on organic growth as more companies use e-learning and learning technologies but also on other factors such as the role of marketing departments in commissioning learning materials to support customers,” commented one of the report’s authors, David Patterson. “Another key factor is the adeptness with which the UK e-learning industry is adopting and exploiting new media for delivering learning, such as gaming and immersive learning scenarios, leading to the eventual contextualisation and personalisation of learning being promoted by companies such as the LCMS producer, Giunti Labs.”
The report recognises that the current recession has resulted in downward price pressure on developers and vendors; while cuts in training budgets and public sector projects have also had am adverse effect. Nonetheless, Patterson and his co-authors – Glyn Jung and Gillian Broadhead – remain optimistic that the UK's e-learning industry, concentrated in its two principal hubs around Sheffield and Brighton, is set fair to weather the economic downturn.
“There is no doubt that companies will come and go – just as they did in the easier times,” said Gillian Broadhead. “We can only reflect the optimism and confidence, the innovation and enthusiasm that characterised our research findings.”
In January 2007 Learning Light commissioned a briefing paper on the e-learning market in the UK. The subsequent report, which was posted on Learning Light’s e-Learning Centre website became extremely popular and now, after some two years, Learning Light felt it was time to update the report’s facts and figures.
“An important part of the process of information gathering and interpretation for the 2009 Report 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,” said David Patterson. “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.”
According to James Wilson, of Creativesheffield, which supported the publication of Learning Light’s report: “The global market for e-learning content is growing at a rapid rate as large and small businesses, along with 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 to the significant cluster of e-learning businesses in the city.”
The report is available, as a free download, from Creativesheffield's website.
About the Report
This report began as a simple attempt to update the report written by John Helmer, on behalf of Learning Light, in 2007 on the size and value of the UK e-learning industry. The 2009 Report updates this by 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. This series of semi-structured interviews was conducted over two 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.
About Learning Light Ltd
Sheffield-based Learning Light is a centre of excellence in the use of e-learning and learning technologies in the workplace. Its knowledge base contains over 400 papers offering insights and advice on how to use e-learning & learning technologies.
Learning Light works closely with the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, and has undertaken a Systematic Literature Review of the available papers on the effective use of e-learning in conjunction with the University of Sheffield.
Learning Light, which is supported by Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency for Yorkshire and the Humber, occupies a unique space in the e-learning and learning technology sector networking with:
• Suppliers of e-learning and learning technologies to support the growth of the sector
• Buyers seeking out learning technology solutions to improve the effectiveness of their business or organisation
• Leading organisations worldwide who provide it with market knowledge from around the globe
• Provides unbiased and impartial advice to both suppliers and buyers
• Hosts events and workshops that provide the platforms to impart and gain knowledge by encouraging collaboration and sharing of best practice
• Acts as a conduit between suppliers and buyers to forge successful business partnerships
• Provides market intelligence and benchmarking information gained from its many contacts and networking partners
•Provides access to research materials from leading learning technology professionals.