Kirsty Chadwick

Kirsty Chadwick

E-learning has been around since the 1960s and is said to have started at the University of Illinois, where students would access course resources while listening to recorded lectures.

It wasn’t always as informative and helpful as it is today – it has evolved from its inception as a fairly boring system of presenting information, into a vibrant and accessible tool.

Today, e-learning modules are carefully planned so that the most effective method of presenting the material can be used. It is designed to be simple and easy to understand, while also engaging and specifically structured to suit the target audience. Since 2000, the global e-learning market has grown by 900%, and recent studies have projected that by 2019, 50% of all classes taught, will be delivered online.

As computers become increasingly essential as educational tools, particularly within the corporate sector, technologies continue to develop and become more portable and cost-effective – mobile learning is a perfect example of this.
According to Ambient Insight, a US-based international research company, Africa has become the most dynamic e-learning market in the world, with a 38,6% growth rate of cloud-based e-learning products.

The mobile learning market is expected to reach $9,1-billion by 2015 and based on current figures, if the use of smartphones in Africa follows the same path as feature-phones have, then they should hold 40% of the African mobile market by 2018.

Aside from the astounding growth-rate, e-learning is also eco-friendly. Recent studies conducted by Britain’s Open University found that e-learning consumes 90% less energy than traditional courses. The amount of CO2 emissions per student is also reduced by up to 85%.

“It’s no accident that e-learning is a $56.2 billion business globally, and is expected to double in size before 2015,” says e-learning expert, Kirsty Chadwick, founder and chair of the e-learning design and development company, The Training Room Online.

“E-learning solutions are highly customisable and the technology that supports and creates it is developing at lightning speed – there’s almost no limit to its scope and possibility,” continues Chadwick.

In recent years, gamification has taken the world by storm and, according to the analyst company, Gartner, more than 50% of businesses that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes by 2015. More than 70% of the world’s largest companies are expected to have at least one gamified app by the end of 2014.

According to Chadwick, e-learning doesn’t rely only on the latest gadgets in order to be effective, but rather, it relies on using the technology that’s readily available to make learning faster, more engaging and friendlier on the budget.

E-learning has the incredible ability to reach almost anyone, anywhere and it enables people in remote locations to access world-class training that has traditionally only been available to students living close to universities and employees living close to corporate offices.

E-learning is currently the most effective tool we have at our disposal, provided that its approach and implementation are carefully considered. With the rapid rate at which technology is advancing, 2014 could hold even more for e-learning than anticipated.

This article was first published on it-online.co.za