War and PESTilence

Adriann Haney | 09/02/2009

With the economic outlook appearing so grim, it is an opportune time to re-appraise the wider macro-economic environment within which eLearning must be evaluated as a candidate for investment by companies and public-sector organisations.

The most popular technique for evaluating an industry is PEST, which invites one to look at the main environmental factors and their likely effect on the industry or company in question.

When applied to eLearning (see below), the results are stark. eLearning should not only survive the coming years but thrive, directly addressing as it does so many of the concerns facing European and American organizations.

P. Political and Legal: More regulation – especially of financial institutions; hence, increased requirement for certifiable training

E. Economic: Need to reduce training costs; tips the balance further in favour of eLearning v class-room


S. Social: Demographics (e.g. generation X, generation Y) drive increased acceptance, even demand for, on-demand learning as provided by eLearning (and other forms of online knowledge sharing). The coming retirement of the Baby Boomer generation increases the urgency for their knowledge to be captured and transferred.

T. Technological: Increased bandwidth, near ubiquity of enhanced multimedia capabilities in PC (e.g. Flash installed on 98% of PCs) mean eLearning can become more engaging. Increased availability of software packages that allow these rich courses to be developed easily  – i.e. Rapid authoring tools.