New Report Analyzes E-Learning Markets in Europe and China

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The UK online learning technologies market, which is currently worth more than £560m a year is still the largest single online learning technologies market in Europe, according to Learning Light’s latest report, “A Review of the E-learning Market in Europe and Beyond, 2013/14,” which analyzes the size and state of the online learning technologies markets in 20 European countries, as well as China.

The research concludes, however, that the United Kingdom is unlikely to hang on to its Number 1 position in the wake of strong market growth by France, whose online learning technologies market has been growing at about twice the rate of the UK over the last four years or so.  At the other end of the scale, some European countries, notably Greece and Ireland, have seen their online learning technologies markets shrink in real terms between 2009/10 and 2012/13. Meanwhile, Slovakia and Italy have experienced the largest percentage increases in their national markets over that period.

Learning Light conducts research and market analysis relating to the e-learning and corporate online learning markets for clients, including organizations seeking investment or specific advice about this market, investors and potential investors, universities and other educational bodies, as well as national and international bodies like government departments. It has fed this data into its forecasting model, which makes use of statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) software. This report updates similar market analyses published by Learning Light in 2007 and 2010—although the 2013/14 report is the first one to study the Chinese market.

Learning Light director, David Patterson, commented: “This industry report provides a thorough assessment of the European corporate e-learning sector, identifying and analyzing the key issues and trends that affect the corporate online learning industry. And. thanks to our previous industry reports, there are now comparable figures for this sector from 2007 and 2010 to go with the current figures from 2013. “


Indeed, while Learning Light is able to use a well evolved forecasting model to value the UK and European markets based on building a model of each countries overall training markets and applying a series of estimations of the propensities to train using e-learning per industry sector and underpinning the valuation by using data from OJEU as to e-learning procurements by national governments, this mode of analysis was not possible for the Chinese market. Instead Learning Light used a range of secondary information sources and publications as well as a series of interviews with organizations in the market to build a picture of the Chinese market which, while quite detailed is still evolving.

Based on the analysis, Learning Light concludes that it would be a mistake for organizations to consider China as an emerging market. For example, China has developed its own e-learning standards CELTS. And at present trajectories, there will be 20 million online learners enrolled in universities by 2020—universities now offer enterprise training, vocational training and lifelong training on line. This interesting “work ready – work progression” market segment is growing at 30 annually.

Other trends uncovered by Learning Light note China’s shared similarities to western markets, including the plethora of learning platforms. “The growing use of e-learning in China is being fed both by an increasing demand for knowledge management within companies and by the increased popularity of rapid authoring tools,” says Patterson. “These tools are enabling companies to not only gather and then harness internal—previously siloed—knowledge and skills, but also to then develop their own content based on these skills and knowledge.”

Learning Light also notes that much of this growth may be fueled by the fact that in China, state-owned enterprises are obligated by law to spend 2.5 percent of their employees’ salary bill on training.

To learn more, A Review of the E-learning Market in Europe and beyond, 2013/14 is available for £1,200 at

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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