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OUTSOURCING

The global e-learning market is in good shape

The global e-learning market will be valued at US$255 billion in 2017, representing an annual growth rate of 23%. The favorable climate in the sector offers an excellent opportunity for SME services providers.

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Published by ConnectAmericas

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Companies or organizations that outsource reduce their production costs and increase efficiency
  • It allows them to focus on their core activities and maintain a smaller staff
  • Unemployed individuals seek training to re-enter the labor market 

E-learning refers to education and training through the Internet, in other words, distance learning. Online learning enables user interaction with the professor or teaching material through different IT tools. As a revolutionary training technique made possible by information technologies such as Internet, it stands today as the prevailing training method of the future.

A market study conducted by IBIS Capital reports that the global e-learning market is projected to grow 23%, and will reach 255 billion dollars in 2017. The primary and secondary education sector will account for 33%, followed by the higher education or University sector with 25%, while the business sector will represent 8%.

Why Outsourcing?

For a long time now, economists have given more importance and value to human capital as opposed to physical capital. With the barrage of information technologies, this discipline has become one of the major priorities in management agendas of companies, organizations and governments.

Companies or organizations that outsource reduce their production costs and improve efficiency. Likewise, they obtain higher quality products since they have access to the experience of outside providers that engage in developing these products.  Furthermore, it enables them to fully focus on their core activities and maintain a smaller and more controllable staff.

Another reason why typically many companies decide to outsource is when faced with large projects exceeding available production capacity, resulting in overflow work.  In this case, companies use outsourcing as a “lifeline” to tackle problems relating to project planning failures by the subcontractor.

Despite the fact that the global economy continues its battle against uncertainty, the e-learning market has shown exceptional resilience. According to a publication from World Wide Learn, this is mostly due to the feeble economic conditions prompting job seekers to opt for training courses to improve their prospects of re-entering the labor market.    

Furthermore, due to the global economic downturn, many companies have had to reduce staff and maintain smaller structures for better control of their operating costs. As a result, outsourcing has gained particular importance in recent years and is becoming a very profitable sector for provider companies.  

Main services  

According to a publication by World Wide Learn, a growing trend to outsource technological development related services is apparent, such as multimedia course production and design, content creation, installation, customization and maintenance of Learning Management Systems (LMS). These activities require advanced knowledge in design, usability and web programming and technologies, which means exporting high added value products.  

The publication also reveals that the last year has witnessed an increase in demand for SCORM standardization-related activities, course content adaptation and standardized programming interfaces. SCORM is the reference standard in the e-learning industry, compelling the creator to meet a variety of specifications in order to obtain this designation. The importance of complying with standards is due to the level of maturity that end users have reached regarding the requirements needed for their learning environments.

Market trends in Latin America and the Caribbean

According to Learning Review, the original trend to outsource distance learning processes in Latin America focused on basic outsourcing: provider companies served as short-term project managers, mostly in connection with specific content design and training development.

Once the industry acquired a certain level of maturity, tactical outsourcing settled in, where the provider’s role grew in certain areas, such as infrastructure, hosting and content management applications, called Learning Management System (LMS).

Today we are witnessing the advent of strategic e-learning outsourcing, a new trend with a much broader scope. The provider needs to understand with greater stringency the objectives, corporate culture and structure, among other features, to develop successful integral solutions for the client. This level of maturity and complexity positions e-learning outsourcing within the KPO or knowledge outsourcing sector.

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