I attended an ELIG (European learning industry group), a long established organisation now newly re-invigorated, you can read more about the event itself on Piers Lea’s Blog, which I have no need to duplicate.

The event was sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and Intel, both of whom (for different reasons see e-learning and learning technologies as hugely important).

Intel obviously see the next generation of devices emerging for learning as likely to incorporate their processors, and have always viewed e-learning as a huge market opportunity.

Enterprise Ireland has likewise maintained a high level of support on a national and international scale for e-learning and learning technologies on behalf of Irish companies, and obviously sees e-learning as a crucial sector to the Irish economy especially given the number of US high tech companies domiciled in Ireland.

In 2012 Enterprise Ireland has created the Centre for learning Innovation:

“According to Gearóid Mooney, Director of ICT Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland, today’s announcement is a significant step for the SMEs and multinational companies in Ireland’s learning technology sector. “The establishment of the Centre for Learning Innovation in Ireland enables Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland to focus on the opportunities for Irish companies in the global eLearning sector which is estimated will be worth €107 billion by 20151”.”

What is perhaps even more impressive is the integration of effort Enterprise Ireland has achieved across industry and higher education:

“Chairman of the Centre for Learning Innovation, Jonny Parkes said “through this centre, Irish eLearning companies are collaborating with research teams in Irish Higher Education Institutes to produce ‘next practice’ learning technologies. Our initial aim is to deliver competitive advantage for the companies involved at this stage: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Intel, MindLeaders, Interactive Services, Enovation Solutions, Cisco, Intuition Publishing, WBT Systems and PulseLearning. A key goal for the next phase of development for the Centre will be to bring in more partner companies both from Ireland and from the multinational community that is based here. In particular, we are looking to bring in companies from the other digital media sectors that overlap with our work including social, mobile and gaming technologies”.

The UK government desperately needs to consider a UK wide strategy linking large  companies, the education sector and the considerable number of innovative e-learning companies the UK has in a similar manner to the Centre for Learning Innovation.

Indeed the UK e-learning market is without doubt the largest and most evolved in the EU, and with government support the UK has a real opportunity to grow both in Europe and in the emerging economies, where Learning Lights research indicates that demand for e-learning is accelerating rapidly.