The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the e-learning market in Europe for 2016-2020. The report also lists content, software and services, and faculty support as the three major product segments.
Technavio education analysts highlight the following four factors that are contributing to the growth of the e-learning market in Europe:
- Availability of basic digital infrastructure
- Rising integration of MOOCs in curriculum
- Government initiatives
- Stronger focus on blended learning
Availability of basic digital infrastructure
According to Jhansi Mary, a lead analyst at Technavio for education technology research, “The availability of basic infrastructure and technical support to staff and students is critical to the successful implementation of online learning and teaching in institutions. The majority of institutes in Europe use online repositories, digital courseware, learning management tools to develop content, manage course material, and upload them on the student portals. Provision and usage of email accounts, Wi-Fi access, availability of computer labs and online libraries is very common.”
The academic institutes in the region are providing campus licenses for software, repositories for course and study materials, and online course catalogues. This has led to wider acceptance of digital modes of learning. Currently, more than half of the institutes in the region have introduced online examinations. This is expected to reach close to 70% during the forecast period. The majority of institutions adopting digital tools also provide specific student support for e-learning.
Rising integration of MOOCs in curriculum
The majority of institutions in Western Europe offer online courses that are made available to all, free of charge. Spain, in particular, has the highest number of education institutions providing massive open online content (MOOCs) courses. The reputation of MOOCs vendors in the region depends on the number of enrolled learners, including international and domestic learners. Various education institutes also collaborate with these MOOCs vendors to provide blended learning options.
In terms of the language of the offered course, French and Spanish have an international target audience. However, most institutions try to extend their global reach through MOOCs in English. Some institutions offer MOOCs in different languages, strategically customized to cater to demand from around the world. In a nutshell, linguistic diversity is one of the interesting highlights of European MOOCs. “While European platforms organized around nationality, language, and funding are promising, institutions across Europe depend to a great extent on the US platforms for broadcasting due to their international visibility,” says Jhansi.
Governments across countries in Europe are undertaking initiatives to support and increase the adoption of e-learning in schools and colleges. For instance, to develop open and online education, the government in Slovenia introduced the Opening Up Slovenia initiative in 2013. It encompasses a range of research activities that will build on the existing good practice in Open Educational Resources (OER) and online learning.
Similarly, in Ireland, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning has developed a blueprint for building digital capacity in higher education. The initiative is aimed at addressing strategy development, pedagogical requirements, and other technological supports to implement e-learning.
The German forum for higher education in the digital age was introduced and funded by the German federal ministry in 2014. It aims to promote digital learning and teaching in German universities. It aims to increase the visibility of digital teaching and learning, handle issues related to governance and policies, develop benchmarks and recommend a course of action.
Stronger focus on blended learning
Blended learning is considered as a model that is compatible with classroom lecture sessions. There are many apprehensions existing among educational institutes in the region about completely shifting to online education. Blended learning offers a versatile medium to adopt innovative methods of knowledge delivery within the framework of traditional teaching methods.
Due to their flexibility, many educational institutions are offering blended learning models. With the increasing popularity of these courses, many institutions are also planning to collaborate to offer joint online learning courses. Presently, in many of these institutions, faculties and teachers are exploring the value of online degree programs. Collaborating with other institutions to provide online courses is considered an essential strategy in achieving better utilization of resources and course materials. It also enables exchange of good practices in teaching, use of technology, and developing internationalization.
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