Learning Light’s definitive report into the UK e-learning sector in 2009 not only highlights Sheffield as the UK’s ‘e-learning capital’ but also states that the sector is ‘flowering’.
‘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.”