Ambient Insight Research Says North American E-Learning Market to Reach $27.2B by 2016

The majority of the global revenues for self-paced e-learning products are concentrated in North America. In 2011, North America accounted for 61.7 percent of the total worldwide self-paced e-learning market. The revenues for self-paced e-learning in North America reached $21.9 billion in 2011. North America will be the top buying region throughout the forecast period and revenues will reach $27.2 billion by 2016.

Ambient research finds that North America is the most mature market in the world, with a modest growth rate of 4.4 percent. While the growth rate may seem low compared to the other regions in the world, the revenues are very high. Additionally, growth rates vary depending on the buying segment. For example, the growth rates in the Canadian and U.S. healthcare segments are 16.8 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, multiples well above the aggregate growth rate in the region.

According to the report, the growth rate for cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms in North America is 9 percent more than twice the aggregate growth rate across all products and the highest growth rate of all products. There is a surge in demand for cloud-based authoring tools and platforms and it is likely that Ambient Insight will have to revise forecasts upward in subsequent forecasts.

In addition, the vast majority of self-paced e-learning revenues in North America are concentrated in the United States. Although there are some similarities, there are major differences in buying behavior between the U.S. and Canada. Research indicates that suppliers cannot use U.S. buying-behavior patterns as a baseline for doing business in Canada. They are two distinct markets and data resulting from conflating the two are not actionable for suppliers. For example, the explosive growth of home schools, virtual schools, and cyber charter schools in the United States is found nowhere else in the world, even in the developed economies.

Finally, the five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of fulltime online student enrollments is a breathtaking 59.9 percent in the United States. If the current growth patterns hold, there will be over 4.7 million fulltime online students in the U.S. by 2016. It is highly unlikely that this pattern will be replicated anywhere else on the planet.

New Grant Helps PAR Framework Bring Big Data to Online Learning

Partners from 16 U.S. higher education institutions will come together to share practices, intervention strategies and anonymized records from more than 1 million students to look for patterns that predict success.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) announced last month that WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, has been awarded a $2,557,920 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to validate and extend their ground-breaking work exploring effective uses of “big data” predictive analytics.

The Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework is a collaborative multi-institutional data-mining project, managed by WCET and supported by sixteen WCET member institutions. PAR utilizes big data exploratory techniques to look for patterns that identify causes of student loss and momentum in online learning.

In this project, public, proprietary, and private two-year and four-year institutions are voluntarily pooling their anonymized student and course level data into an institutionally de-identified database that will be used to create models predicting student success and momentum while in pursuit of a higher education credential. Basically, the PAR Framework helps predict risks to student retention and progress toward degree completion, and allows institutions to remove obstacles to student success and demonstrably improve rates of student retention.

The goal of the newly funded research is to validate and extend the PAR Framework data model, data definitions, and research and analysis protocols developed by PAR Framework partners during the successful PAR Framework proof of concept demonstration in early 2012. These implementation efforts will offer institutions easy to understand resources, including reports, dashboards, and decision-support tools, to anticipate threats to student achievement, and remove barriers to student success before they become problems.

According to  Beth Davis, PAR Framework Project Director: “Each of the institutions participating in PAR has volunteered to contribute institutional information and processes to improve our collective understanding of student success. Their willingness to actively contribute to this community of inquiry focused on online learning excellence is inspiring.”

The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) is a cooperative, membership-driven, non-profit provider of solutions and services that accelerate the adoption of effective practices and policies, advancing excellence in technology-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education. More information about WCET’s institutional membership resources, services and common interest groups can be found on WCET’s website,

iPad Use Becoming Pervasive, Says New Brainshark Survey

A new survey of some 1,300 iPad users In August, online and mobile presentation company, Brainshark, Inc., surveyed some 1,300 iPad owners to find out just how valuable and pervasive it has become in users’ personal and professional lives. Results show that iPad users would find accidentally destroying their iPad more painful than:

  • getting in a minor car accident – 40 percent 
  • having a root canal – 1 in 3 (32 percent) 
  • breaking their nose – 16 percent 
  • getting fired from their job – 10 percent

Introduced to the market just two-and-a-half years ago, the iPad has already amassed tens of millions of users, including more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500, and legions of ardent fans. Brainshark's survey, shows just how quickly and deeply entrenched the device has become in its users' personal and professional lives – able to elicit enthusiastic and intense reactions, and certainly here to stay. For example, 92 percent of iPad owners say the device currently supplements their laptop, but more than half (51 percent) think it will be their primary computing device within the next two years.

In addition to accomplishing users' computing needs, the iPad is – more and more – being viewed as a replacement device. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of iPad owners say the device has replaced books for them; others cite how it has replaced their TV (31 percent), camera (31 percent), video camera (24 percent), GPS (32 percent) and MP3 player (51 percent).

Not just a consumer device, the iPad has established a strong presence in the enterprise. When using their device for business, owners say they check work emails (82 percent), do Web research (72 percent), use business apps (46 percent), and view or deliver presentations (74 percent). These users say the iPad has been a boon for work, making them:

  • more productive – 64 percent
  • more successful at their jobs – 1 in 3 (32 percent) 
  • able to close a deal – 1 in 5 (21 percent) 
  • able to impress clients – 30 percent 
  • more connected while traveling – 79 percent.

Data shows that trainers are also increasing levels of iPad use. Of the 1,320 surveyed iPad-owner trainers, 90 percent use it when traveling for business. Nearly two-thirds (67 percent) use their iPads to conduct web research To send (80 percent) and read (92 percent) emails, and more than half (51 percent) use their iPad to view presentations.

Multiple Acquisitions Hit the Market

John Wiley & Sons is buying online education provider for $220 million to diversify its offerings and speed up its digital learning strategy. Privately held LLC is based in Chicago and had $54 million in revenue for fiscal 2012. The company works with colleges and universities to develop and support online degree and certificate programs. Its more than 300 employees will join John Wiley & Sons Inc. after the deal is complete. John Wiley & Sons, based in Hoboken, N.J., said Tuesday that the buyout is expected to close by the end of the month.

A parent company of Skillsoft Limited, SSI Investments II Limited, a parent company of Skillsoft, has reached agreement to acquire ThirdForce Group, a provider of cloud based learning solutions for customers worldwide. The acquisition will add to Skillsoft's existing offerings in learning content, and supports the company's overall strategy to continually increase the quality and flexibility of the learning solutions it makes available to its corporate, government, education, and small-to-medium size business customers. Also, the addition of MindLeaders' capabilities will strengthen Skillsoft's ability to expand its compliance-related business in the United States and United Kingdom.

Global performance improvement solutions provider GP Strategies Corporation completed its acquisition of operating assets of Rovsing Dynamics, a provider of vibration condition monitoring hardware and software. The Rovsing Dynamics technologies enable owners and operators of rotating machinery to manage equipment downtime by providing early detection of developing faults. The acquisition also includes Rovsing Dynamics' contract backlog and personnel. GP also completed its previously announced acquisition of BlessingWhite, a provider of leadership development and employee engagement solutions that translate business strategies into results for its customers by developing more effective leaders and more engaged workforces.

Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY), a premier global provider of talent management solutions, today announced that it has acquired Boston-based Global Novations, LLC, a widely respected, global provider of diversity, inclusion and leadership development solutions. Global Novations has more than 30 years of experience and has served clients in more than 40 countries, including more than half of the Fortune 100 organizations. The acquisition increases the scale of Korn/Ferry's Leadership and Talent Consulting business and extends the firm's capabilities within the fast-growing market for diversity and inclusion-focused talent management solutions.

Hybrid Meetings Deliver Results, Study Shows

More than 90 percent of meeting professionals exceed their goals through hybrid meetings — meetings that have both face-to-face and virtual components — according to new research released yesterday by video management and webcasting firm Sonic Foundry in partnership with the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation.

Based on a survey of 1,800 meeting professionals, event delegates, technology vendors and consultants, MPI's and Sonic Foundry's research found that:

  • 93 percent of planners say they meet or exceed their objectives when organizing a hybrid event
  • 70 percent of respondents say hybrid meetings will be an important part of meetings in the future
  • 50 percent of respondents say they record their conference content for on-demand access by those unable to attend in person.

"This research clearly supports what we have known but lacked scientific data to support," said MPI COO and interim CEO Cindy D'Aoust. "By strategically using hybrid technology, the planner can expand the reach of their event, which increases the ability to drive business results — a far more valuable asset than merely controlling costs."

MPI's and Sonic Foundry's full research report provides a comprehensive look at the way hybrid events are currently carried out and how they are perceived within the meetings industry. For more information, visit