European e-learning market update from ELIG

The Learning Industry in Europe – A summary for 2011


The ELIG Marketplace working group has produced this summary as a snapshot of the Learning Industry in Europe in 2011. Its purpose is to provide an industry structure, segmentation and analysis that helps industry members build more effective strategies.

Ideally it will also help create a common language that supports consistent industry analysis, in what has been a fragmented and unstructured early industry sector, and support planning for what is nonetheless a dynamic and evolving industry.

The scope of the European Learning Industry considered is the full value chain of organisations and bodies, public and private sectors, who through services, products and solutions support knowledge and learning advancement for learners of all ages in every act of learning.

The document has five sections:

1 Executive Summary

2 Overview of the Learning Industry’s structure, scale and position in a global context,

3 High level view of the working practices and activities of the Industry sufficient to illustrate how the Industry operates in 2011 within Europe,

4 Summary of what is currently driving the European Learning Market, its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and

5 Commentary on the possible future for the European Learning Industry, where current trends could take it and the hurdles and issues it must face to be sustainable and to thrive.

Executive Summary

At the very end of the millennium and the early years of the twenty-first century we experienced a minor eLearning gold-rush with developments and shake-downs that bore all the characteristics of an early forming industry sector. Many early paradigms of large scale distance learning and wide-spread instruction via computer screens have, with the exception of certain niche and specialized sectors, proven disappointing.

Meanwhile much more intelligent and nuanced approaches to learning with technology have emerged. The strong role of technology as the key tool for the knowledge worker and as a key tool for learning process management, together with effective and authentic assessment management has emerged.

Additionally a large open content, solution and service industry has emerged to be a powerful segment of this industry and an important piece of the competitive environment to be considered in all industry strategies. The social networking phenomenon has also burst forward with many people always on and active in networks day and night. This phenomenon is producing many more new great opportunities and false hopes for businesses to navigate.

A complex interplay between a country’s economic structure, government polices and funding, language and skillbase and a ‘pull’ from key industries together can create the right environment for pan-European learning market uplift. Europe and the wider Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA) is a unique region of the world with the world’s most diverse range of language and cultures creating an outstanding opportunity and strength for eLearning, knowledge and community solutions providers. The right strategies, policies, courage and risk-taking from industry leaders and political leaders in the region can create a vibrant industry sector.