Saturday, June 14, 2014

Internet Trends Report 2014 - Online Learning Inflection Point?

At the end of May 2014, Mary Meeker published her latest highly influential Internet Trends report. What struck me most this year was the focus on education and her view that we may be at an inflection point. For many years a number of us have been excited by the potential for online learning, this enthusiasm is now becoming mainstream.


Meeker argues that:

Education is important
8 out of 10 Americans say education is extremely or very important to them.

Education is expensive
Particularly in the US where education debt is greater than all credit card debit put together.

The Internet is Changing Education
Education access is widening through internet distribution allowing mass participation
Creation and distribution costs are falling
Online Learning Offers Personalisation
Education is a global thing with participation increasing everywhere

Meeker argues these trends are moving education to an inflection point where we will see a significant shift towards online learning.

The Inflection in Corporate Learning

I have personally witnessed a shift in attitudes towards online learning and elearning in corporates in recent years.

Only a few years ago that it was enlightened training managers pushing organizations to adopt online learning. Now I would argue those same managers are struggling to keep up with the demand for elearning.

Employees both old and young expect (and demand) anytime, anywhere access to learning. In their personal life they expect to search for almost anything on the internet using their phones, tablets and laptops. They expect to learn just in time whether it is watching a video on how to reset their boiler or how to improve their tennis serve. They are also permanently connected and are able to ask for advice or coaching from friends or colleagues; or to ask a question in a LinkedIn forum.

I believe the inflection in corporate learning is already with us and strongly linked to the consumerisation of IT. I have documented many of these trends in the 2013 Learning Insights report,  the slideshare below provides a short overview.

We are now undertaking research interviews for our 2014 research, if you manage learning in a corporate and would like to participate please contact me.