The Growth of Global E-learning

Based on statistics compiled by London-based IBIS Capital, market acceptance of e-learning has resulted in increasing use for

both large and small companies, not only in the United States, but globally. Companies are now increasing their use of e-learning regardless of size, but 41.7% of global Fortune 500 companies used technology during formal learning hours last year.

The U.S. and Europe account for more than 70% of the global e-learning industry. The Asian e-learning market is expected to reach $11.5 billion by 2016.

U.S. Learning

U.S. organizations made double-digit cuts in L&D budgets in 2008 and 2009 and are now in recovery. More than $156 billion was spent on employee learning last year, a 9.5% increase. In 2011, 77% of corporations were using e-learning. The corporate e-learning market is expected to double over the next three years.

In 2010, U.S. firms with fewer than 500 employees spent an average $1,605 per employee on training; companies with 500 to 9,999 employees spent $1,102, and firms with more than 10,000 employees spent $825 per employee.

Global Learning

Corporate training is a $200 billion industry, of which $26 million is represented by e-learning. In Europe, 51% of companies delivered one training session via e-learning to more than 50% of their employees.

Corporations in Spain and the U.K. lead the way with 56% and 53% of learners, respectively, using e-learning.

Part of the reason for global growth of e-learning is because of the increasing reach of wireless connectivity. For example, South Korea, which has one of the highest-rated education systems, aims to have wireless networks in all schools by 2015, when all curriculum materials will be available in digital form. Other countries (most notably the U.S.) are keen to follow suit.

The implication is that skill sets and standards will become more universal. Employers will be able to access a far greater range of human resources with ubiquitous qualifications.

Mobile Learning

The market for mobile education products in 2011 was $3.4 billion, and it grew to $4.4 billion in 2012. By 2020, the global market is projected to be $37.8 billion. Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in North America was 31%, but due to the saturation in North America, that only ranks it fourth in the world. Other fast-growing regions for mobile education are emerging Asia-Pacific nations (54%), Latin America (54%) and the Middle East and Africa (50%).

Smartphone shipments show a consistent 32% growth from 2010 to what is projected for 2015, and the number of smartphones per person is growing. Smartphone penetration rates highest with 18- to 34-year-olds.


One of the fastest-growing segments of e-learning is serious gaming and gamification which is forecast to grow from $2.0 billion in 2012 to $7.4 billion in 2015. Games and simulation-based tools are expected to grow at a 37% CAGR until 2020.


In 2012, the global LMS market was valued at an astonishing $1.9 trillion. The global LMS market is expected to grow at a 12.0% CAGR in 2013. LMS providers have seen increases in the number of customers with 1,000 employees and fewer (from 28 percent in 2009 to 34 percent in 2012), but a decrease in the number of customers with 10,000 or more employees (from 29 percent in 2009 to 24 percent in 2012). A European survey indicates that 75% of companies currently use e-learning to deliver training on core professional skills, health, safety and compliance.

The top five LMS vendors boast an “audience” of 132 million users.

The next generation of LMSs are focusing on:

>> how to manage learning over extended periods (work and academic);

>> creating adaptive learning models; and

>> creating record stores of individuals learning experiences from multiple sources.

Drivers of Growth

Technology is ever more present across job specifications, which in turn creates the need for e-learning. The number of jobs requiring technology skills is 50%; in the next decade that number increases to 77%. Percentage of jobs requiring a college degree is currently 80%. Ninety percent of the U.S.’s fastest growing jobs require some indication of mastery of critical knowledge, skills and abilities in technology, and fully 65% of today’s grade-schoolers in the U.S. will end up at jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. E-learning will continue to expand as the next generation skills up for technology jobs.

—Source: A copy of the report can be requested by sending an email to

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