Big Bucks To Be Made In eLearning Industry In 2015 - Are You Industry Ready?

Big Bucks To Be Made In eLearning Industry In 2015 - Are You Industry Ready?
Summary: Wish to make a tremendous impact on the eLearning industry? All you need to do is follow in the footsteps of a few who have already created history.

Are You eLearning Industry Ready? 

While traditional methods of education and training have not gone away, online learning, or eLearning as it’s otherwise called is booming. Analysts at the Global Industry levels project this segment will touch a whopping $107 billion by the end of 2015. Information dissemination and training through the web, right from the corporation to public schools, are becoming popular and are seen as viable options for learning. Online training services such as Pluralsight which provides training for technology professionals has reached the distinction of closing a $135 million in Series B funding. Do you wish to ride the wave and make a profit out of a billion dollar industry? What is the history behind this industry and what’s in it for you? What can history show you and how have companies benefited, from seeing the industry’s boom early? Here we look into these aspects to help you understand this industry better.

What Is Possible And What Are The Challenges So Far 

There came companies like Vector Learning and Pluralsight which have been in the business of providing content for eLearning for mandatory skills such as software training and compliance, computer programming, etc. These are relatively easy to do, but for areas which have a greater and more urgent need, such as non-mandatory training, more so in areas like sales, leadership, soft skills, etc.; content creation is a great challenge.

A Little History To Aid You Along The Way 

The term “eLearning” was coined way back in 1998, and until such time corporate training online was an under-performing industry which was a bad product not wanted by anyone. This one sector was screaming for attention and looking for people to come along and make changes. The industry was looking for someone to get people to sit in front of the computer or a mobile device long enough to learn something useful. How did this situation arise?  

Let’s go back a few more years… 

eLearning was white hot in the late 1990s, and in 1999 several investors poured in $800 million into a segment that was threatening to make live training obsolete. Cisco’s John Chambers predicted that “eLearning was the next killer app” which according to him would make email sound like an error!

But this really did not happen! By 2004 investment had gone down to near zero. While companies had invested in access to corporate eLearning libraries, there were very few people watching these or learning from them. Many with access to the eLearning platform never logged in! A few watched one or more programs and quickly gave up.

Something was horribly wrong with what eLearning content developers were doing.

One reason could be: The mixture of LCD screen, mouse and keyboard placed people in a state of extreme distraction. Getting people to sit in chairs and read a book has been easy for writers, but with online training or non-urgent training, keeping these learners focused for more than 10 minutes was next to impossible. Linear, logical, and complete content, which read like a book, worked with people because human minds were conditioned to accepting information in that manner.

If You Wish To Take Advantage Of The eLearning Boom, What You Need To Know Is… 

Two decades after the advent of the digital age the rules for eLearning and content creation for the same had been turned upside down. This saw the era when the computer had become capable of conveying the written word in ways that competed with books. As more and more learners started depending and relying on the knowledge gleaned online, they also started craving this information that came in the form of “short, overlapping, and disjointed bursts”. With this attention spans of all these people shrank. When Instructional Designers started creating content for eLearners they created content with minds fixed on the book era. “Linear, logical, and complete” were the watchwords for online content creators, but this is not what people with a mouse in their hands wanted. When Instructional Designers started creating 90-minute eLearning modules this was difficult to watch for digital natives, Gen-Xers and Boomers whose brains were in rewired condition.

Let’s Look At What A Few Industry Leaders Did At This Time, a consumer company with content library, had been limited to software training until 2008. A new growth-oriented CEO Eric Robinson decided to transform the modest into a global eLearning company. 2012 saw the emergence of this dream with Lynda expanding its content library into new areas especially business skills. With continued expansion into general business content, Lynda soon had over 1200 courses including 500 on management, interpersonal communication, and leadership.

This led to becoming a company that shook up the eLearning content market. invested $103 million in 2013 showing that its rise was real and in 2015 it received another $ 186 million into the company. Later LinkedIn paid $1.5 billion and bought over Lynda.

Lynda’s business model and growth were carefully studied and the lessons learnt from Lynda can come in useful here. The message for eLearning insiders is clear – If you wish to make the big bucks in this industry you need to remember these points:

  • They used business courses that were long, but these courses had been broken up into five to ten minute shots.
  • The learning should be smart and not micro learning, ensuring it fits the short attention span of learners today.
  • Lynda’s content producers are aware that they are creating video which operates under a different set of rules than traditional learning platforms. They are also fully aware that the well-developed content will anyway useless if we are not able to get people to watch the modules.
  • Also, they ensured they found good Subject Matter Experts who could speak comfortably in front of a camera and not look wooden.
  • Quality of content matters. You cannot use second rated content in this industry for long.
  • If you are able to grab the learner’s attention and hold on they’ll probably be able to give in to the bait for a second!