What Italian eLearning Specialists want: are you ready to give it them?
What are the needs of Italian eLearning Specialists? How can we do to satisfy them?
A change in the Italian eLearning market is possible, but we must understand what professionals want and how to give it them.
What are the real needs of operators in the e-learning field?
What are the difficulties, the most critical areas that meet today who those work in eLearning, in the Italian market?
To respond well to this question I will resort to the results of a questionnaire which was attended by many colleagues whom I thank for their availability. I have gathered many details, because the aim was to focus on the major needs and concerns felt by colleagues.
It’s obvious that a thorough investigation would require more complex tools and a reference sample much more full-bodied .
It is therefore a random sampling, albeit qualified by the belonging of the individual to the e-learning field. I believe, however, that the survey results are very interesting. Let’s see some.
To various stakeholders, who have spontaneously decided to respond to the questionnaire, I asked “What is the problem or difficulty that more meetings in the e-learning?”. Being open-ended responses, for convenience, I categorized the outcome in some topic that emerged from the analysis of results. The categorized answers are in the following Table 1.
The collected data show that the main problem that emerges in the industry is ignorance and lack of expertise of clients (or the clients who entrust the production orders) about the e-learning technology (almost a third of the sample). Besides the perception that the users of e-learning are not interested in online courses (15%). Scarcity of budget and / or times for the production e-learning is in third place (13%), chased, so to speak, by the low value of the e-learning productions (11%).
I would like to propose at this point a data restructuring, which aims to simplify the problem of widespread incompetence relating to the characteristics of the product e-learning, irrespective of the fact that it can be attributed to customers for motive related to technology or lack of knowledge of the complexity of the work of ‘ e-learning specialist: in fact, the absence of a concrete vision of e-learning, both as a product and as a process, constitutes an almost homogeneous barrier, which prevents the industry to grow faster.
If we unify the first two items of the questionnaire results we obtain a 36%, regarding the incompetence that the market shows that you have towards elearning.
Besides, if we unify the above entries to the issues related to the timing and budget, and if we consider such practices as correlated to poor knowledge of the needs of the industry and its inherent specificity (because time and budget are assigned by the same principals subjects who should know well the sector), we go up to 49%.
Probably it is a stretch, but with all its limitations, it can be an interesting simplification for interesting reflections
We can say then, subject to the necessary precautions related to a perhaps excessive use of simplification (but here we have no pretensions of science), that almost half of the industry’s reasons related to the difficulties of the Italian e-learning market is directly or indirectly attributable to the buyers with scarce knowledge of technology and the inherent characteristics of e-learning sector.
We can proceed with a further simplification regarding three categories of answers: the low value of production, the lack of interest of online students and the difficulties relating to the assessment of effectiveness of the training course on-line, which could be traced back under the common label of the “problems related to effective learning online”, which thus represents as problematic, alone, as much as 32%, over a third of the sample.
The situation then changes as in Table 2:
What emerges is that just over 80% ( or 49% + 32% = 81%) of the problems encountered by the e-learning sector it is represented by a short-circuit between client companies, who do not know the characteristics and the potential of educational technology on one side (49%) and the direct consequences of such circumstances which induces on the basis of same principals to invest and badly in e-learning, generating content of low value, low efficiency, leading users themselves to devalue the elearning given the poor quality of the materials (32%).
The two “main causes” located here are in fact cause and effect each other in a vicious circle: ignorance determines scarce budget, laughable investments that lead to poor quality products, which in turn generate in people the idea that e-learning will serve to little. All this helps to reinforce the idea that e-learning is something of little value and that does not require some kind of investment. And the mechanism starts again.
Disclaimer. The survey has collected fifty-five answers: it follows that I can only consider it a mere exploratory activity, in order to understand a phenomenon whose profound characteristics must be thoroughly investigated with more suitable instruments and with the involvement of a much higher number of subjects . I have no pretense of scientificity, but only the desire to put a point of view, an analysis, however partial and limited, of the phenomenon, a platform on which to discuss with the colleagues the actual characteristics of the market, aware of being able to be denied at any time and happy to be able to accept further and more defined points of view, of which I have no availability today.