The key messages coming from the Summit delegates were:
• The use of technology to develop, deliver, store and manage training (a definition of e-learning) is core to the whole training sector.
• The e-learning industry needs a single, independent and impartial (in terms of e-learning producers) national voice to promote the industry to Government. This is true not just in terms of the UK Government but also true for all European Governments.
• This is not just a case of coming together to lobby Government but also banding together to source contracts collaboratively – both as individual contracts with smaller customers and as consortia to fulfil large contracts placed by, for example, global businesses and Government departments.
• E-learning needs to be seen as being about transforming business performance (helping users sell more; deliver compliance for less; reduce costs and increase profits) rather than just another tool for the HR learning and development armoury.
In addition, delegates raised concerns over:
• e-learning’s name, credibility and visibility among business leaders.
• the apparent dearth of certified instructional or learning designers – and the mechanism for developing them to a consistent standard.
The Summit delegates, drawn from the private and public sectors as well as academia, came from as far afield as Italy, Greece, the Czech Republic and even, in an observer capacity, Australia. Their discussions were informed by, among other things, ‘The UK e-learning market 2010’, a report by Learning Light, an organisation which focuses on promoting the use of e-learning and learning technologies.
Speakers at the Summit included not only David Patterson, of Learning Light, but also Carin Martell, Business Development Manager at the leading learning content management (LCMS) and digital repository (DR) solution provider, eXact learning solutions; Kirstie Donnelly, director of service design and development at learndirect, and Piers Lea, the managing director of LINE Communications and a member of the European Learning Industry Group (ELIG).
Summit delegate Matthew Lloyd, managing director of e-learning solutions provider Omniplex, commented: “Discussing key issues in e-learning - such as the shift from bespoke e-learning content creation to the in-house use of rapid authoring tools; the growth of e-learning for mobile delivery, and the morphing of structured e-learning programmes into less structured electronic performance support - was most stimulating. Moreover, I believe that the delegates reached a consensus on a way forward for the industry which should help to raise its profile as well as help it contribute to the approaching economic recovery.”
Another delegate, Dr Ladislava Knihova, an e-learning specialist from the Czech Republic, said: “I have greatly valued this Summit. In addition to providing a valuable networking opportunity with the e-learning world‘s senior champions, the event enabled issues to be discussed - and a consensus reached – which can bring cohesion and collaboration, helping this industry to meet the challenges of today’s business world.
“It was good to see competitors in the e-learning market coming together in Sheffield to collaborate in practical, ‘hands-on’ discussions on current key issues – most notably addressing how to raise the profile of e-learning with national governments throughout Europe,” she added.
”I’ve been in this industry for 16 years and never before have I been involved in discussions about e-learning like those at the Summit,” said Patrick Fitzpatrick, managing director of PTK Learning.
“We were delighted to be able to host the European e-learning Summit,” said Creativesheffield’s chief executive, Paul Firth. “Holding such an event in this city helps cement Sheffield’s recently won accolade of being the UK’s ‘e-learning capital’.”
“It was clear that the Summit presented a dynamic opportunity to discuss key issues of mutual value,” said David Kay, of Sero Consulting and the chairman of Learning Light. “We’re delighted to have helped to provide the industry with that opportunity.”
About the Learning Light 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 updated 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. Much enhanced compared with Learning Light’s previous e-learning market reports, the 2010 version includes interviews with over 40 of the UK’s leading e-learning companies, along with a number of other organisations and individuals across Europe. The report details not only the UK’s e-learning market but also those of 19 European countries.
Copies of Learning Light’s latest report on the e-learning market can be obtained from the Learning Light and E-learning Centre websites, price £499. A brief summary of the report is available for download, free, from the.e-learningcentre website.
Over the last 10 years, learndirect has pioneered the large scale delivery of learning - supported by people but enabled by technology. Over the last ten years learning with learndirect has been shown to transform people's lives and helps businesses thrive. Whether it is to get a new job, a promotion or to gain the confidence needed to do more with their lives - helping people is at the very heart of what learndirect is about. learndirect has opened up opportunities for many who'd been turned off by education by offering people a new way of learning. This has been done on a large scale - after all, more than 2.8 million learners to date can't be wrong.
Creativesheffield is the UK’s first ever city development company, charged with delivering Sheffield's economic transformation. Its core activities are:
• Investment – to support the growth of Sheffield’s indigenous business base and attract quality inward investment to the city.
• Marketing – to achieve a positive shift in the perception of the city by publicising Sheffield’s strategic events and promoting the city to the outside world.
• Regeneration - to develop Sheffield's physical infrastructure to internationally competitive standards.
• Innovation – to create initiatives that will promote the growth of the city's scientific, creative and cultural knowledge base.
Creativesheffield is funded by Yorkshire Forward and Sheffield City Council.
About Learning Light Ltd
Sheffield-based Learning Light (learninglight.com) 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, which operates the e-learningcentre.co.uk, one of the leading resources on e-learning in the UK, 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 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.