Sunday, September 09, 2012

Masie on E-Learning Market Changes

I spent part of this weekend listening to a recent podcast on market trends by Elliott Masie outlining the results of his recent research interviews with senior learning leaders. I have a lot of time for Elliott and was keen to see how his findings vary from my own recent research interviews with 25 learning leaders.

Overall he reported that training budgets are shrinking and companies are looking to do more with less. This has led to a number of trends such as:
  • companies sticking to their current LMS and seeking to enhance it, rather than switching to a new LMS
  • marked increase in the use of webinars
  • increase in the use of elearning modules within the blend
  • increase in the use of short pieces of content, specifically video

Targeted learning

Masie noted an increase in targeted of learning, which can be to achieve a specific competency or learning on demand. He believes business lines are more more actively involved in learning which helps achieve this focus. The need to target learning may also result from lower budgets.

Despite this targeting of learning, Masie found examples where up to 20-25% of learning online was learner driven rather than prescribed.

Video in learning

Masie argues we are seeing a radical increase in the use of video. In his research over 70% of organisations have added short videos to their learning solutions. However, LMS platforms are not ready to handle lots of multiple video clips, which can reviewed, edited, cleared and tracked. He saw this as an opportunity for vendors.

Mobile and multi-device learning

Masie says there is great excitement about innovation and the potential for mobile learning but concern about the hype. Whilst the interest in mobile is high "there is a very low level of mobile learning specific applications".

A key task in his view is to ensure solutions are device neutral and able to work on multiple platforms.

In Masie's view he is not seeing any evidence that people want to take elearning traditionally undertaken on a computer on a phone. But there is a lot of interest in performance support being delivered on phones.

He sees the ebook as a different and future format for elearning, as it can deliver content with mediation, with assessment, with collaborative elements, that is searchable and ready at moments of need.

In Masie's view the future is not about mobile learning but about a new learning mix including multiple devices, short videos, webinars and social learning. He is widening the definition of social learning to include collaborative learning, for example Sharepoint used for collaboration.

Open learning 

In Masie's view as the learner becomes more of a driver we may see a greater use of open content. He thinks companies may decide to focus their budgets on context, remediation and experience and less on content development.

Dropping the 'e'

Elliott is seeing a shift in terminology and specifically a marked decrease in use of the 'e' in elearning. He has seen a 20% reduction in title of job descriptions that include the term elearning. The reason he believes is that elearning is too narrow a term, as it now covers a wide range of technology.

This is something that also came up in my research interviews, with people increasingly adopting terms such as Learning Technology to cover a wider range of interventions or just learning.