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August 24, 2021

How Covid-19 helped unearth an e-learning goldmine

By GlobalData Thematic Research

A direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a resurgence in corporate e-learning as companies replace their face-to-face training with remote options.

E-learning is the process of delivering instructional materials through an online medium, where learners have access to the content anytime, anywhere, through any device. It is a key part of the overall edtech market, which GlobalData estimates will be worth $539bn by 2030.

Edtech – the use of technology to improve the education process – is what makes e-learning possible. Its range broadly encompasses hardware, software (delivered as apps), and online learning environments such as massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Corporate e-learning is fast becoming a goldmine. In July 2021, software as a service (SaaS) platform Articulate, which helps create training courses for employees, raised $1.5bn in a Series A funding round. The company is now valued at around $3.8bn.

Its ability to raise so much funding demonstrates how important the e-learning market has become. Articulate claims to serve 106,000 companies, including Fortune 100 companies such as Oracle, Morgan Stanley, and Visa. Its core apps include authoring training courses, which companies can export to the web or host on their own learning management system (LMS).

The cybersecurity awareness driver

The need for e-learning has increased as companies implement cyber awareness training to educate staff on evolving cyber threats.

With staff slowly returning to corporate offices but still wanting to spend some days working from home, remote working remains a cybersecurity risk. The FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report revealed that the number of cybercrime complaints reached a record 791,790 in 2020, with email the dominant point of attack.

E-learning in the oil and gas sector

It isn’t just about cybersecurity. Businesses in multiple sectors around the world are accessing e-learning services.

When the pandemic hit the Middle East in early 2020, companies throughout the region had to rethink their corporate learning activities, with traditional in-class training put on hold.

The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) was one organization that, at the time, was trying to get to grips with the impact on its business of digital transformation. In early 2020, technical and professional ladder (TPL) specialist Sunaitan Al-Mutairi instituted an e-learning application for KOC’s support services engineers as an alternative to in-class training put on hold because of the pandemic.

The company transformed its training offerings by developing digital platforms to replace more traditional but less engaging training methods such as reading manuals and attending classrooms.

KOC’s new approach meant key oil industry modules such as project management, design, construction, project control, and health and safety became easier to absorb through self-paced learning, which encouraged knowledge transfer among the oil company’s employees. Adopting e-learning also reduced training overheads, including the cost of hiring classroom instructors.

The challenge for e-learning

In an increasingly digital world, adopting e-learning and ensuring that mechanisms and platforms for knowledge transfer are in place and up-to-date can be a challenge for companies.

E-learning modules can be uninspiring to use and, as employees return to offices, the remote-working catalyst sparking e-learning activity will begin to fade. Future e-learning growth will therefore succeed or fail based on whether the content created inspires, engages, and, most of all, teaches.