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Technology has found a place in the classroom, as an eMarketer report reveals the global education and training market to be worth roughly $2 trillion. The data, generated by Think Equity Partners and Eduventures, found that the United States already accounts for 37.5 percent of this market, or roughly $750 billion.

Brandon-Hall estimates the e-learning sector will grow from $10.3 billion in 2002 to $83.1 billion in 2006, and eventually swelling to over $212 billion by 2011. The trend is evidenced by an 80 percent growth increase from The University of Phoenix Online – whose virtual campuses boasted 72,230 students as of May 2003.

E-learning students are typically career-oriented professionals, as indicated by enrollment data from the University of Phoenix Online. The average age of the e-learning institution’s students is 38 and nearly two-thirds have families.

E-Learning Students by Profession
Executives or business owners 20%
Middle managers 30%
Technical or licensed professionals 44%
Source: University of Phoenix Online

A late 2002 study from Market Data Retrieval revealed that one-third of K-12 schools are already offering some distance learning programs for their students. High schools, in particular, have been attracted to the virtual classroom environment, with 53 percent offering such programs to students in rural states where students do not have access to specialized teachers.

Furthermore, 36 percent of schools reported having distance learning programs for their teachers, allowing them to access professional development programs, which is similar to the applications corporations are finding for e-learning.

The eMarketer report cites research from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) supporting the corporate e-learning trend. ASTD finds that e-learning will comprise 25 percent of training time by 2004 – more than doubling from 10.5 percent in 2001 – and IDC predicts that corporations will be spending some $33.6 billion annually with employee training vendors, and a growing portion of that will be on Internet-based e-learning.

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