Opportunities and issues in the Italian eLearning market
What are the current needs of the e-learning market in Italy? Let’s see on what basis we can make some reflections.
What are the current needs of the e-learning market in Italy?
It’s hard to give an answer if you want to use data from official sources, ie from public sources, by organizations who study the industry and can produce a periodic report. Back in 2006, the Italian Observatory for e-Learning (the ANEE – Assinform) published an interesting report, to which indeed was followed by other reports on the same subject, appointed by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of that time.
If we look on the web, we find a myriad of private sources, and therefore partial and whose reliability is validated, beyond any marketing purposes, which focus on a vision, however circumscribed the phenomenon.
How is possible to obtain at least a more objective idea of the market’s needs? Those who are already working in this field for several years has acquired a know-how through which they can filter these needs, can guess, thanks to continuous contact with customers and observing how change requests.
But in my opinion, a simple personal perception of the marketing cannot be enogh. So, I have done something more.
Not being able to certainly have the means an exhaustive list, nor the possibility of extending a market research so widespread on all reality-Italian learning, I searched through a simple questionnaire to intercept the needs of companies and professionals, combining these data on my personal experience in the field. So, as it is risky to rely on third party sources not objective, just as I state that my analysis is affected by a certain bias, but it is the only opportunity that I could build that could be more objective (albeit limited) on the reality that we live.
Before discussing the details of my little investigation. I express my personal view, which will be detailed in the following articles here in my blog: my viewpoint about this topics is obviously the result of exchanges of views and impressions with business managers and colleagues across Italy.
The Italian market of e-learning currently suffers from some limitations related to the use of this technology for the most part of the so-called “compulsory education” namely the training that is provided and governed by law (as in the case of safety, privacy, HACCP, the continuing medical education). In this context we can also ascribe the continuous trainin
g for the various professions listed to register who are required to achieve a certain mount of periodic credits related to training, to continue to practice. At the beyond the mandatory training, the so-called training “Voluntary” ie based on a specific request by the customer, with regard to actually qualify the staff with clear expectations in terms of ROI. It is really a minority.
In addition, the two types of training involve completely different scenarios: in the case of compulsory education in fact, the entire training course to be accredited by MP (which can be a bilateral body, a ministry etc …) must meet specific durability requirements, content, usability.
It follows that the quality level of the production of e-learning of this type is very low, because who invests in this case is interested in obtaining the mere accreditation, at the lowest cost possible, since the law does not confer special merit to those who develop a better quality product, but gives credit to the compliance with the minimum required standards.
In addition, poor culture of learning in Italy, which is seen the most of the time as an unnecessary cost, to be compressed as much as possible: it follows that the mandatory course is carried out with the intent to comply with a legal requirement, in order to avoid penalties, without actually see the content quality and investigate the real impact of the training course has had on staff. A substantially concentrated demand on the formal aspects of online education determines supply is necessarily weak, poor and flattened on the minimum required by law. We can not do all the same brush: except for those companies that intend to actually invest in quality in e-learning, we can say that a good slice of the market is represented by the classic disinterested entrepreneur, who may not have even skills the field of online education and choose to pay for the required courses that are based on the lowest cost, given the estimates at its disposal. This type of scenario is objectively depressing, because not even promotes evolution of e-learning products, so-called “low-end” or lowbudget, for two reasons:
- innovate as part of compulsory education is an investment, and then prices rise. The higher price would not be acceptable by market demand, which would not understand the escalation of prices in the face of higher quality, which does not respond to the real needs of employers. Or rather, he does not answer, because the quality is not perceived as necessary for the business;
- innovation for better quality, and thus a higher yield in terms of learning and therefore the impact on the business reality, is a significant factor for the average business owner, which only perceives the need to adapt to the rules.
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.