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Elearning Industry Growth: A Look at Where Online Learning is Headed

Keaton Robbins | April 3, 2019

elearning industry growth

Elearning, part of the education industry, is a sector that is experiencing rapid growth. Set to become a $200B industry by 2024, we can expect new and innovative elearning platforms and courses to break into the industry, offering learners ways to learn that have never existed before.

To understand how you, as a content creator or producer of educational materials can get onboard this lucrative industry and provide engaging content to your learners, you will first need to understand the different segments of the elearning industry as well as the trends for the industry.

In this article

  1. Elearning Industry Boom & Breakdown
  2. 3 Benefits of Online Learning
  3. Different Segments of the Elearning Industry
  4. Application
  5. Technology
  6. Trends in the Elearning Industry – A Look Toward the Future
  7. Gamification
  8. Bots and AI
  9. Virtual Classrooms
  10. Learner-First Approach
  11. Elearning Industry Final Thoughts

Setting your sights on the future of the elearning industry is one way to make sure you aren’t left behind when the growth takes off.

Justin Gaudet from CanScribe, provided three basic rules to follow if you are considering getting into the elearning space:

  1. Ask Why: If you are simply creating elearning content in order to bring recognition or money to your brand or company, you should take a deeper look at what you are doing and the reasoning behind it. The best elearning content has to have an end goal of helping learners to be successful.
  2. Ask What: What is it you want to teach? Identifying your overarching ‘lesson,’ and then figuring out the best way to teach it to others, is a key component in creating elearning content.
  3. Conduct Research: Ensuring that you have a thorough understanding of what you are creating is key to achieving the end goal of the content.

Elearning Industry Boom & Breakdown

To understand where the future of the elearning industry is headed, it is important to first understand what is driving the growth of this industry and what the different segments of the elearning industry are. A recent survey conducted by Mindflash indicates that the highest demand for new online courses were seen in fully online institutions. Nearly 73% of respondents were interested in higher education with 80% or more of the courses being offered online.

In today’s society, learners want to learn differently. While traditional learning will always have its place in society, many professionals are seeing the benefits to online learning too. Depending on their needs, some of the factors that drive people to elearning can be broken down as such.

3 Benefits of Online Learning

Learners are all different. They need to be able to learn at their own pace. This includes picking up where they left off in between their full time jobs, or taking care of their families.

Some learners want to learn in a cost efficient way – whether that’s through free online courses or affordable pricing, elearning is a way to make learning accessible by all.

Maybe your learner wants to attend your university or college for example, but doesn’t have the resources to live closer to the campus. Providing elearning content allows learners from all over the world to engage with your content and continue their learning growth.

Online learning enables learners to check off the three boxes mentioned above. Online learning provides greater access to a greater range of learners from all across the world. It’s no wonder the elearning industry is experiencing such a boom.

Different Segments of the Elearning Industry

Getting onboard the elearning industry train involves some work. You need to figure out which segment of the market you are going after. The elearning market can be broken down into two different streams, each with its own set of unique features.


The application is how the elearning content will be used. Is your content going to provide learning courses for small and medium business? Larger enterprises? Or for educational institutions?

The applications can further be broken down by the people who will be engaging in learning as such:

  • K-12 Students
  • College Students
  • Job Seekers
  • Working Professionals (Reskilling and Online Certifications)


There are different methods by which you can deliver your elearning content to your learners. Here are just of few of the delivery methods of your digital learning content:

  • Online
  • Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Mobile elearning
  • Rapid elearning
  • Virtual Classrooms

The rapid growth in technology means there is room to carve out your own unique space in the elearning industry. In fact, there are many emerging trends that you can leverage to set your elearning platform apart with engaging and interactive content.

Here are some trends that you can look forward to in the future of elearning:


Gamification has crept into the elearning industry over the past several years and it’s one of the easiest ways to create engagement and interaction with your learners. As Justin from CanScribe says, gamification is a quick, yet effective way to provide interactive content.

The key, as Justin says, is to not take gamification too far. He asks the question, “At what point are you just playing a game and not learning?” The biggest aspect of gamification to think about is to ensure that you are actually helping learners learn.

Bots and AI

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will become more common in the elearning space for predicting trends by utilizing data on a learner’s past activities. Bots and AI will become important to support employees with repetitive tasks and free up time for employees to work on larger projects. Again, this technology is not the most cost effective, but one day these technologies may be more widespread.

Justin however, thinks that personalization is best for learning and so some human element is critical in elearning courses. Finding that balance between human interaction and technology is still a key component in the success of elearning courses.

Virtual Classrooms

We can look forward to more virtual classrooms as employers look to reduce the time employees spend outside of the office attending various training or compliance courses and ultimately foster lifelong education among the workforce. The virtual classroom will allow learners to learn right inside the office, with all of the support and guidance that they would get in a traditional classroom setting.

Learner-First Approach

This involves moving away from a one-size fits all type of learning structure and making elearning courses more personalized to each individual for tools they need to succeed. This could involve including more chatbots within the interfaces to enable interaction between peers. Students from different backgrounds can share their views and perspectives on a subject matter while a chatbot can still adapt to each one of them individually. Chatbots can also improve engagement interactions among students with the rest of the class by assigning group work and projects – similarly to what teachers usually do in regular classes.

It also allows for a more personalized learning experience in which the focus is more on the learner and less on the teacher. As Toby Harris, Vice Chair of the eLearning Network told Elucidat, “The majority [of learners] will now want to see chat-based interfaces and meaningful personalization in all learning content.”

Elearning Industry Final Thoughts

The elearning industry is a rapidly growing industry, and is still a relatively new industry that is constantly being explored and changing. Where do you think the elearning industry is headed?

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