Elearning Market Update – April 2013

As we look forward to attending the UK HRD conference on 24/25 April 2013 we reflect on what the event tells us about the learning and development market.

The HRD event claims to be the event for learning and development professionals, and it is one of the largest events with many thousands of learning and development professionals attending. It is an interesting event in that it embraces all forms of learning from classroom and instructor led development to learning technologies.

Key areas of focus

An analysis of the seminars and sessions suggests that the conference organisers believe that there is interest in a number of key areas such as:

  • Leadership
  • Coaching
  • Talent management
  • Learning technology

These streams appear to confirm the areas of concern for many learning and development professionals, though arguably these haven’t changed significantly from previous years. However, when you look within these streams there are some new themes emerging for example:

  • Transformation of learning – We are particularly looking forward to a session from Jerry Arnott of Civil Service Learning on their transformation project
  • Resilience – This is emerging as an issue and a required competency for managers in these fast moving days and demanding times. It is interesting to see companies such as Tesco introduce this into their core competencies and there is a session on developing resilient and agile managers. We’ve also contributed to this, with our analysis of the 10 trends that L&D managers need to pay attention to in 2013. We’re presenting it, along with M&S and other panellists, on Thursday at the show – details here
  • Learning technology – The profile of learning technology within the L&D landscape has risen this year too, with a specific ‘Technology for Learning Arena’ in the Exhibitor area. Looks like it’ll have some interesting sessions (including ours)


When attending these events it is always interesting to look at the exhibitors, as assuming companies spend their marketing budgets wisely, it provides some indication of the services they believe attendees are interested in.

This year there around 100 exhibitors that range from more traditional training companies through to e-learning companies. The big e-learning players are present such as Saba and Skillsoft, and also a number of the e-learning services companies such as ourselves at Kineo, and our friends at Upside Learning and Sponge. There are also some of the more innovative companies attending including mobile content providers Skillpill.

The absence of companies may also tell us a lot about the market. Given the HRD show is the largest learning and development show, with many thousands of learning managers attending, you would expect all those companies interested in blended solutions to be attending. Interestingly the overwhelming majority of the companies that attended the UK Learning Technologies conference and exhibition back in January are not attending HRD. It would seem these companies are targeting the learning technology area rather than learning managers with wider responsibilities. Thus it is potentially a sign that the blended learning market is still to mature.

At City & Guilds and Kineo, we are very keen to share our complete learning and development solutions that include a full range of services from e-learning to qualifications. Find out more about our attendance here and come see us at the show on Stand 283.

By Steve Rayson
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