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Q: Size of E-Learning industry ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Size of E-Learning industry
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: alexincalifornia-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 23 Sep 2005 15:33 PDT
Expires: 23 Oct 2005 15:33 PDT
Question ID: 571812
I am interested to know how big is the overall training industry and
how big is the e-learning portion of that industry.

Ideally, I'd love to see some real and project growth curves for each.
 For instance, one might guess that e-learning is still a relatively
small portion of the overall training industry (in dollar terms), but
that it is growing much more quickly.  I'd like to know whether that's
true, and to have specific numbers.

Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 24 Sep 2005 21:58 PDT
Hi Alex:

I certainly know what e-learning is and have found some data on that,
but could you please clarify what you mean by "training industry"?
That seems to be a very broad term and I'm coming up with a variety of
possible meanings.

Thank you.

Google Answers Researcher

Clarification of Question by alexincalifornia-ga on 25 Sep 2005 03:49 PDT

I do mean the broad industry; the basic point is to compare the
e-learning component of the training industry to the broader industry
to see how large a portion of the overall industry E-learning
consists, and whether it is a growing proportion.  The organization
ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) is generally
considered the professional organization for that industry - I guess I
mean the entire industry that they represent?  I realize that the
boundaries could be fuzzy.

Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 25 Sep 2005 09:22 PDT
Thanks for clarifying.

I do have some numbers for e-learning, and I'll see if I can find some
for the broader industry.

Subject: Re: Size of E-Learning industry
Answered By: nancylynn-ga on 25 Sep 2005 16:16 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello again Alex:

As you likely know, market research reports tend to be very expensive.
There?s only a limited amount of information that can be accessed at
no charge.

Here is what I was able to find from free resources:


Here?s a good, broad overview piece: ?The economy of e-learning,? by
Stephen Downes, from Stephen's Web, July 10, 2005:
"Economic opportunities will exist, not in the production of new goods
that will not be purchased, but rather in the support and servicing of
increasingly self-managed educational activity.?

From the March 2005 issue of  FAD (Food and Drink magazine) see this
article, ?VIRTUAL LEARNING: E-learning ? or computer-based training ?
has proven to be very effective in fast-paced organizations that need
to share knowledge quickly and efficiently,? written by Lee Biars:
?According to the International Data Corp., U.S. companies spent $14.5
billion training employees on the Web and through CBT in 2004. This is
an increase of more than 400 percent from the $350 million spent in
1998. This growth is projected to continue in the next five years as
more and more companies see the clear and inherent benefits of using
technology-based training.

?Training Magazine reported 50 to 60 percent improved consistency
using some form of e-learning. The scalability of e-learning allows
one course to train thousands of students, as opposed to the ratios of
1 to 20 in the more traditional classroom setting. . . .?

From RocSearch:
?Market Report: E-learning: The Future.? (Report is undated, but
appears to be quite current):
?The global education and training market is a $2 trillion industry,
*out of which the U.S.A has a share of $740 billion.* Approximately
10% of this is "for-profit" business. The growth rate for the
different education and training market segments is projected at

This study from 2002 LTInewsline, November 14, 2002: ?Corporate
Training and e-Learning Markets Decline,? provides an interesting
contrast to the previously cited source:
[An] ?October 22, 2002-A study by Outsell, a research and advisory
firm focusing on the information content industry, shows that the 499
companies identified in the corporate training and e-learning
industries are experiencing a wide range of growth, decline, and
collapse. The 2001 market was measured at $6.3 billion [notice the
contrast between this 2002 figure and the $740 billion given in the
more current report], down 9.8 percent from 2000. The volatility can
be blamed on recent economic pressures as well as changes to
technology and its use.?

So, it appears that after hitting some road bumps in the early ?00s,
the industry is experiencing impressive growth.


It is indeed a little ?fuzzy? to divine just how large a percentage
e-learning occupies within the training industry.

?E-learning: is it really the best thing since sliced bread?,? by
Marcus Pailing, editor of
Knowledge = Power, London, published July 2002:'size%20of%20elearning%20market%20within%20the%20training%20industry'
?There are very few pieces of research that even guess the size of the
e-learning market
(in financial terms) in the UK, as opposed to the USA or worldwide. A
survey carried out
by Training Magazine, during the summer of 2001, indicated that nearly
50 per cent of the organisations surveyed expect to be delivering
learning via the Internet within the next three years.?

From Goldman Sachs? July 25, 2000 report: ?Internet: e-Learning:
United States? re-posted at Internet Time'size%20of%20elearning%20market%20within%20the%20training%20industry'

Scroll to page 4: ?How big is e-Learning? A broad measure of
e-Learning?s potential is total US spending on education. In addition,
we have built industry models to size e-Learning?s share of this large
pie (see Exhibit 1).? You?ll see a chart there.

Pages 30 ? 31:

?Sizing the e-Learning market?:
 ?The size and evolution of the corporate e-Learning market is unclear due to the
following: The rate of substitution from traditional corporate
training to e-Learning is
unknown. While we expect this rate to be high, its variability, added to the
uncertain size of the corporate training market, thwarts efforts to
accurately size the
e-Learning market.?

From the December 2003 issue of the? Bersin & Associates What Works TM Newsletter?:

Scroll down to the header ?E-Learning Overview: A Healthy, Mainstream Market?:

?Although most training budgets were down, the percentage of training
programs delivered through e-learning grew from 14% to 16%. (Training
Magazine, Fall 2003).?

From Journal, May 03, 2001: 
?According to Morgan Keegan & Co., organizations' expenditures on all
forms of education now exceed $750 billion in the United States and
have reached $2 trillion worldwide. Revenue growth for e-learning is
expected to outstrip revenue growth in all sectors of the education
industry as e-learning companies are capturing an increasing share of
the total education industry.?

From Training Dimensions:
?The online training market is expected to nearly double in size every
year through 2003, reaching approximately $11.5 billion by that time.
Source: WR Hambrecht + Co., 3/2001

? . . .The U.S. corporate market for e-learning will exceed $7 billion
by 2002, representing a CAGR of 98% from 1997 to 2002. Source:
International Data Corporation, 3/2001.?

From a chapter index to the April 4, 2005 report ?Corporate Training
Market 2005: Forecast & Analysis,? prepared by Simba Information:

?Live E-Learning To Drive Market Growth 8% In 2005 . . . Training
Outsourcing Remains On The Rise, Forecast To Grow 20% . . . Market For
Training Seminars Grew 15% In '04 After Two Flat Years.?

See more on this report at Tekrati: ?E-Learning and Outsourcing Will
Drive Corporate Training and Development Market, Says Simba?:
?Simba's latest strategic market report, ?Corporate Training Market
2005: Forecast & Analysis?, projects global corporate training sales
of U.S. based firms will grow 8% to $10.72 billion in 2005. Fueling
that growth is e-learning, including virtual classrooms, Web meetings
and conferences, which is forecast to grow by 30%.?

The above is the most current data, and e-learning does appear to be
the key growth driver for the training industry.

?LC [Learning Circuits] Annual E-Learning Trends 2004?:

This report is chockfull of graphs and tables, detailing trends.

 ?At first glance, it seems as though the level of involvement in
e-learning decreased from 2003 to 2004. According to 122 respondents
of ?Learning Circuits Annual Trends Survey,? the number of companies
that have been using e-learning for quite some time fell from 41.7
percent in 2003 to 35.3 percent in 2004. Meanwhile, there was an
increase in the number of companies still exploring options or in the
planning stages.?

? . . . This data seems to contradict information from other industry
surveys and analyst reports that say e-learning initiatives are
gaining momentum. To garner insight, Learning Circuits reviewed and
compared verbatim answers with those from previous surveys. The
result: Workplace learning professionals seem to be more clearly
defining e-learning in relation to an actual learning experience.
They?re using such terms as Web conferencing, virtual classrooms,
simulations, m-learning, and so on--rather than infrastructure and
authoring systems, such as LMSs and LMCSs, which were mentioned in
previous years.?

American Society for Training & Development (ASTD):

Keep checking their homepage. If you scroll down that page you?ll see: E-Learning: 

?Annual E-Learning Trends Survey
In October 2001, Learning Circuits published its first ever e-learning
survey. This year we?re asking readers some of the same questions to
gage the impact that technology developments have had on e-learning
efforts. In addition, we?re adding questions to get a clearer picture
of how e-learning is evolving. ?

So just keep checking back because the new survey will be published
here as soon as it?s been completed.

Search Strings:
size of e-learning industry + US
projected growth for training industry +e-learning +2005
ASTD projected growth for training industry +e-learning +2005
ASTD AND projected growth AND e-learning AND 2005
ASTD AND e-learning OR training AND 2004 OR 2005
e-learning growth within training industry
e-learning percentage of training market
size of e-learning market within the training industry

I hope my research is of help to you. If you need help navigating any
of the above links, please post a ?Request For Clarification? and I
will assist you.

Best Regards,
Google Answers Researcher
alexincalifornia-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Very nicely researched, with responses from a lot of different
directions.  I was hoping for a little bit more about the broader
training industry (outside of e-learning) but that may have been my
fault in that I titled the question as I did.  Thanks, great job!

Subject: Re: Size of E-Learning industry
From: nancylynn-ga on 25 Sep 2005 21:27 PDT
Thank you for the nice rating and tip, Alex!

I was a bit frustrated, too, to be honest that I couldn't find all the
information you -- and I wanted -- but a lot of key data is only
available in market research reports, which are often priced at $600
-- $2,000. (Yikes.)

Further complicating matters, e-learning appears to be displacing the
term "training industry"; or perhaps the terms are morphing.

You might want to try running some of my search terms again -- maybe
tweak them a bit -- and see if you can find more results.

Again, it was a pleasure to assist you and thank you!

Google Answers Researcher

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