Carin Martell, International Alliances Manager at the leading learning content management (LCMS) and digital repository (DR) solution provider, eXact learning solutions, was one of the keynote speakers at the European e-learning Summit, held in Sheffield from 17th to 19th November.
Presenting ‘A European Perspective’, Martell outlined world population and economic trends – to set a context for the future development – and value – of e-learning.
She explained that the average age of people in Europe is rising while the populations in Asia’s growing economies are both young and plentiful. She commented: “For example, some 80% of the population of Pakistan is under 30 – and 1bn workers will join the labour market in Asian economies such as those of India and China in the next ten years.
“Europe’s ageing population, especially in southern Europe, suggests that, as a European community, we’ll experience both labour and skills shortages – and this will put each constituent national economy under pressure to remain competitive in world markets. Like the US, Europe should create a bigger ‘home’ market and upskill its workers in order to compete with the Chinese, Indian and US economies in particular.”
Martell believes that e-learning can help by spreading interoperability and standards across each European country’s learning activities – affecting everything from European competency based education and accreditation systems to learning delivery technologies and delivery mechanisms.
“We need to break out of our corporate and national knowledge and skills silos and embrace the opportunities for personalised and contextualised learning that digital learning technologies bring,” she argued. “We should be exploiting cloud technologies and introducing learning without physical or virtual boundaries.
“There are new technologies and solutions being introduced into learning today that are radically changing the way people learn,” Martell continued. “There are new business models – for example, which are not based on the traditional ‘pay per user’ idea – and there are new ways of getting learning content.
“There is also a shift from feeding learners knowledge to guiding, mentoring and coaching learners, helping them to develop knowledge for themselves and others,” she said. “All of this is being made possible by new developments in learning technologies – and, if they are adopted, these could keep European economies competitive in world markets despite population changes and global economic recession.”
The European e-learning Summit delegates – Europe’s top e-learning strategists, content and systems developers, drawn from the private and public sectors as well as academia – discussed the European and world markets for e-learning, identified industry trends and the key issues in e-learning today. The Summit was organised by Learning Light, the Sheffield-based company which focuses on promoting the use of e-learning and learning technologies, and was supported by learndirect and by Creativesheffield.