Back in 2004 I was working a summer internship at an automotive supplier, and during my time there I was tasked with helping set-up an internal “corporate university”.
This was my first taste into what we know as e-learning today, and it sure was different.
- The technology was clunky and expensive (the LMS was around $30,000 per year)
- The online courses were tedious (literally a recorded PowerPoint presentation)
- Participation was abysmal (it seemed that people only took the content when ‘forced’)
But these were the early days. The industry was really starting to gain traction. Companies were seeing the importance of having a robust and consistent training strategy for their employees.
The e-learning universe has grown considerably since 2004. There are learning management systems everywhere at various price-points. Ranging from free to tens of thousands of dollars.
Creating courses is a lot easier as well. You don’t need a fancy tech degree to put together an impressive online course.
Participation rates have gone up too (though completion rates are another matter).
Why the shift in participation? Simple: it’s the new “normal” way that we learn.
Even informal education is digital based. YouTube is second only to Google in terms of searches. Sure the videos offer entertainment, but it is also a go-to resource when we need to learn something quickly.
Millennials Driving Industry Growth
One reason that the e-learning industry continues to rise in popularity is because millennials are helping to drive the growth. Learning online (or remote) is the expectation for them today.
Consider some of these facts (as originally shared by EdTech Magazine).
- 65% of students have taken online classes at some point
- 150% increase in number of students selecting an online course as part of their college curriculum over a 10-year span
- 71% of students believe that online learning provides increased flexibility to take classes (and for the ‘me’ generation, that is a big deal)
The list goes on but I think you see the point: e-learning is here to stay because it is the evolution in how we prefer to learn. It cut costs and increases convenience.
Seeing as online learning is the expectation today it will be interesting to see how the space evolves further, something we are already catching glimpses of this through micro-learning initiatives and the rise of mobile learning.