Ambient Insight: valuable data for decision-making


I found the Ambient Insight executive summary titled The US market for self-paced eLearning products and services: 2010-2015 forecast and analysis helpful because it defines its scope, reports data according to narrow segments to highlight opportunities, and provides valuable data for tactical and strategic decision-making.

The report defines its scope

The summary defines its scope so readers can decide whether it is relevant to them, and can see how data relate to specific segments rather than a vague overall “e-learning industry.” The report focuses on self-paced e-learning (using formal instructional design and systematic development to meet performance goals) and includes off-the-shelf training software, authoring systems, learning management systems (LMS), and services to develop or host content. The report excludes social, mobile, simulation, and collaboration products, and management systems that don’t focus on learning content.

The report describes data according to narrow segments

The report describes growth rates for self-paced e-learning and forecasts spending according to defined segments. While the overall $18.2 billion market is growing by 5.9% per year, growth in individual segments such as pre-kindergarten and healthcare exceeds 16% due to school budget cuts, a move to online education, and the strength of the healthcare industry. The report describes competing technologies that are stealing market share such as mobile and social learning, and lecture capture systems. The report also highlights growing niche applications of self-paced e-learning such as industry-specific learning portals, and describes differences in geography such as the growing demand for self-paced English language e-learning in Asia.

The report provides options and leverage to educators

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an educator as “one skilled in teaching” as well as “an administrator.”(1) Teachers could use this report to identify growth segments where they could offer their services in content development and subject-matter expertise. Both teachers and administrators could identify popular uses of self-paced e-learning and its alternatives, find solutions to learning needs and budget cuts, and seek out benchmarking opportunities with experienced and enthusiastic users in the market.

Administrators could use the data to assist in negotiations with technology suppliers. Administrators will understand their alternatives to self-paced e-learning and their negotiating leverage in markets which may be facing commoditization, plateauing sales, negative growth, and competition from alternative technologies. In well-developed markets, administrators can seek out existing content, knowing that expensive custom development is likely unnecessary.

The report provides options and leverage to learning technology specialists

A job description on indicates that learning technology specialists administer learning technologies and design courseware.(2) Similar to teachers and administrators, specialists could identify technology growth areas where they should develop their professional skills, and niche industry growth areas where they could pursue careers. Similar to administrators, specialists could use the data to identify options to fulfill learning technology demands and to address budget cuts. If specialists do purchasing, they could use the data to improve negotiating leverage and take advantage of commodity pricing and substitute products.

The report assists venturers with deciding where to concentrate their efforts

The prof defines venture as a “new initiative… conceived for the purpose of generating [previously non-existing economic or social] value in the world.”(3) Venturers can use the data to avoid creating products and services that already exist, that have been commoditized, or that are being displaced in the market. Instead, venturers can identify opportunities to leverage and adapt proven self-paced e-learning products and services for growing niche segments such as healthcare, English language learning, or industry-specific learning portals, or growing geographic markets such as Asia. Alternatively, venturers can pursue development of the technologies that are identified as displacing self-paced e-learning while targeting growing markets in niche industries and geographies.

I would seek out future reports to help my career and share with others

I have experience in teaching, administration and business and my future may include any of those roles. I would use future versions of this report to help me identify ways of leveraging emerging technologies and growing markets to provide the funding and work opportunities I need to achieve my career goals and research interests. I could also use the data to improve my strategic decision-making about future technologies by reasoning analogically about how they may evolve in similar ways to self-paced e-learning.

I would recommend the report to teachers, administrators, learning professionals and venturers for the benefits I’ve described in this analysis.





Posted in: Week 02: The Edtech Marketplace