The global e-learning market is estimated to cross USD 275 billion by the year 2022, and some reports even suggest it to cross USD 330 billion by 2025. At a healthy rate of 7.5% annual growth, it clearly shows that the demand for an electronic version of the training is not going to run out of gas for the next 7 years (Unofficially, I’d bet a decade, but the numbers restrict me to an official time horizon of 7 years).
Although there are many, let’s look at the three major factors that drives this ecstatic growth, and how these very factors have helped the instructional designers in redefining learning.
Significant cost reduction:This is probably the show-stopper reason you can give to your manager. With the traditional brick and mortar classes, your manager (or the client) probably ends up paying more. Paying the trainer staff, handling the logistics for both trainers and trainees, and managing the infrastructure (such as classrooms) means you shell out large on both the fixed cost (infrastructure) and the variable cost (logistics and accommodation). Too many rows on the cost side I must say. E-learning, however needs a one-time cost (and maybe nominal maintenance and update cost) that is planned once and may run for long-term.
Flexibility: Imagine a company with its employees deployed across the country (as big as India), or at least working on different shifts. A traditional classroom approach will find it difficult giving equal opportunities, tracking assignments, and managing skill sets across the geography and demography. With e-learning learners access the courses based on the skill sets, at their own pace and time. Oh! and did I mention they can get access to it from anywhere? Quite obvious, isn’t it!
Time: With the increase in learners a traditional classroom approach needs more time and resources to churn out the same learning curve in the same time frame. Either that, or it will take more time to train the trainees. And with time multiplied by the resources required, it all boils down to one thing – we need more money. Fortunately, that’s not the case with e-learning. The courses can be deployed quickly, and the complete framework is scalable. Which means the cost of training becomes almost static irrespective of the increase in number of learners. So the cost per trainee reduces as the number of trainees increase. Economies of scale.
It is imperative that there are some domains that essentially need a supervised learning and more appropriately a classroom. However, there is a significant amount of content which when deployed as e-learning will provide more efficient outcome.