Region/Countries: Europe, United Kingdom Industry: Aviation / Aerospace, Other Date: October 2020

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Education at all levels, including adult learners, has gone online with the pandemic.

As companies in all industries place a greater focus on collaboration between remote teams, functional skill enhancement, cross-domain knowledge sharing, and training for entry-level employees and newcomers, this presents an opportunity for Wisconsin training companies, especially those offering training in industry-related topics, leadership and management development, health and safety, compliance, diversity and inclusion, soft skills, and information technology management courses.

Education is the second-largest public service spending category in the UK after health, amounting to £91 billion in 2018-19, which equates to 4.2% of national income. There are more than 10 million pupils in primary and secondary schools in the UK, and 2.4 million students in higher education institutions—colleges, universities and vocational schools.

Outside of formal education, an estimated £44 billion is spent on adult training, traditionally comprising classroom-based or blended courses. The UK was an early adopter of distance learning, predominantly implemented in the workplace, and this market segment has grown at a slow and steady pace. Leading the European e-learning market with a market share of around 28%, the UK is expected to continue to contribute the highest growth in the 2020-23 period.

When the pandemic shut down schools and universities in March, online learning was propelled into the default learning platform, and it is suggested that the traditional classroom will be permanently altered post-pandemic, with e-learning continuing to play an important role even as schools reopen.

At primary and secondary levels, subject matter is set by the national government. With lockdown, most schools turned to resources from the BBC and the Oak National Academy, an online classroom made by teachers for teachers offering nearly 10,000 lessons plus supporting materials. UK universities responded by streaming classes online, using tools such as Panopto and Minerva to upload courses. Despite reopening, schools are required to provide online lessons for students unable to attend due to illness or self-isolation. At the graduate level, several universities have announced that all courses during the 2020-21 education year will be delivered online, which will require digital courses, content, educational materials and paid subscriptions for global e-learning platforms.

The corporate/enterprise sector is showing the most growth and diversity. The virtual classroom e-learning market is expected to grow at a compound annualized growth rate of 11% over the next six years.  British companies are increasingly choosing microlearning, which delivers short bursts of information focusing on a single subject or task, over traditional training formats. Driven by the need for ongoing professional development, staff upskilling, onboarding and retention, online learning is perceived to be a cost-effective means of providing a host of benefits, including convenience and flexibility to suit all learning needs; use of remote coaching; better knowledge retention; information that is easy to understand, remember, and access when required; a wider range of subjects; a reduction in the need for infrastructure and travel; and a means of maintaining competitiveness. Companies are embracing technological innovation to replace face-to-face training, including augmented/virtual reality, mobile platforms, gamification, 3D environments, social learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence.