E-Learning Market Update (May 2010)

This month we were at the ASTD show in Chicago taking the temperature of the e-learning market. The good news is that we are seeing a lot of buzz and excitment about the potential for e-learning.

The show seemed much busier than the last show in Washington last year and the Kineo stand was a lot busier, which may have been due in large part to Cammy’s blog posts on our attendance at ASTD. Overall the market appears in good health with growing demand for e-learning and a lot of interest in new LMS options and rapid e-learning.

There appears to be no end to the number of companies launching learning management systems or new authoring tools. As rapidly as the market consolidates with mergers there are enterprising new companies developing new solutions.

When you are at ASTD you realise the bewildering array of options available to those responsible for e-learning. We hope at Kineo that we can assist by providing independent reviews of authoring tools and new developments on our website. There was a lot of interest as always at the stands of Articulate where the team gave regular seminars on how to use their Articulate tool and also at the Adobe stand where people could get a taste of the new Adobe Captivate 5 tool which has some cool new features. Have a look to see what you can do with the new version. If you look under “What You Can Do” you can see a series of examples which we built for the Adobe team. Given that 25% of companies, according to a recent Forrester survey, are using rapid e-learning tools rather than outsourcing custom content development and that this is the fastest sector of the market we can expect to see significant interest in tools continuing. Allen Interactions also gave a further taster of their new Zebra tool and we are keen to be able to test drive this tool in the coming months.

The LMS market is interesting. A number of the larger vendors were not present at ASTD, maybe a reflection of their focus on the talent and performance management areas but players such as Learn.com were present and busy. From our perspective there was a lot of interest in our open source LMS solutions such as Moodle with many people keen to learn more, not least following our work with retail giant Tesco in the UK.

Karl Kapp and Ron Burns some up the buzz and excitement around the conference.

You can also hear what Cammy thought in her latest blog entry here.

In contrast to the excitement in the US I saw various sets of company results in the UK which made me start to think that maybe the US market is expanding faster and recovering from the recession much quicker. Intellego in the UK announced they were entering into a voluntary creditors’ arrangement. The creditors’ voluntary arrangement is generally used by those who have an insolvent business which can’t pay its debts as and when they fall due, but which, if given some breathing space, would be able to make regular monthly payments into a fund which could be distributed to creditors annually.

Intellego announced they have debts of £1m and are effectively offering creditors 40p in the pound. So whilst the CVA is potentially good for Intellego it is not a great reflection on the UK e-learning market. In our experience the UK custom e-learning market also continues to grow and it may be that the custom e-learning growth is going to companies such as ourselves, Saffron, Brightwave, Sponge and Line, who all appear to be doing well. There will be a degree of nervousness about the government expenditure cuts which have been announced to deal with a deficit of over £160bn. Our view is that in the short term we will see a number of projects stopped and few new projects but in the longer term the search for more efficient and cost-effective learning approaches can only be good news for e-learning.