Major Growth Spurt Predicted For E-Learning

Compiled By Tim Stevens The number of colleges and universities offering e-learning will more than double, from 1,500 in 1999 to at least 3,300 in 2004, according to a study by International Data Corp., a market research firm specializing in information technology, based in Framingham, Mass. Student enrollment in these courses will increase 33% annually during this time. "Technology advances and the changing needs and interests of students and universities have changed e-learning from a simple correspondence course with a study guide to a model that includes the myriad high-tech, synchronous, and asynchronous solutions we're seeing today," says Stephen Webber, analyst for IDC's education markets research program. According to the study, four-year schools will continue to spend more than twice that of two-year schools on e-learning; however, spending by two-year schools will grow more rapidly through 2004. Over the next four years, the e-learning market will develop into a three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar opportunity for vendors. "Spending on e-learning technology is just one part of the financial commitment that schools are making," says Webber. "Related investments in products and services that support e-learning, such as staffing, hardware, and communications services, will push total spending toward the $3 billion plateau."

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