Traditional e-learning has seen better times. The advent of more novel products, the drop in demand from mature markets and the speed at which developed countries are changing have caused demand for traditional online courses to plummet. According to a recent study by Ambient Insight, the worldwide five-year compound annual growth rate for self-paced e-learning is negative at -6.4%. Although worldwide revenues reached 46.6 billion dollars in 2016, the figure is expected to drop to 33.4 billion by 2021.
1 – Poor quality content
While numerous factors have contributed to the e-learning crisis, one of the most important is the quality of the courses. When e-learning first emerged, it provided a solution to many of the problems of traditional training (high costs, physical limitations, travel, etc.). However, over time, many of these courses have become obsolete or been unable to keep up with the pace of technological change and the new demands of employees and students. As a result, most e-learning content simply bores students and fails to engage them. In the workplace, this is one of the reasons why up to 87% of workers are not motivated at work or committed to their company (according to the latest figures by Gallup).
2 – Replacement of products
Another reason behind the decline of e-learning has to do with the life cycle of the products. Many of these were launched at the start of the 21st century and have been used for years. However, universities, schools and companies are now scrambling to replace them with new products and formats. Many online courses are in extra time.
3 – Developing countries: straight to the smartphone
Rapid economic and social change in developing countries has also taken its toll on e-learning. In many of these countries (especially Asia), consumers have simply leapfrogged computers and online training and gone straight to mobile apps and the ubiquitous smartphone, skipping the technology in between. A good example of this is China, the world’s second largest economy and a key market for training, where educational apps and services for mobile phones account for 70% of revenues.
4 – New competitors
E-learning also has to compete with new formats and content. Virtual reality, mobile learning and game-based learning are filling the void left by traditional online courses and gaining market share. Social and technological changes and, in particular, the new generations (with the millennials at the forefront) are demanding more interactive and engaging training formats and better quality. And everything seems to suggest that traditional e-learning cannot fulfill this mission.