Educator Musing: Commercial Markets Determining The Future Of Schooling

“Capitalism is the worst economic system in the world – except for everything else we’ve tried.”

 Pat Dorsey –


Ambient Insight, founded in 2004, is an international market research firm that uses predictive analytics to identify revenue opportunities for global eLearning and Mobile Learning suppliers.  They released a new report predicting that the worldwide market for Self-paced eLearning products and services will grow from $32 billion to $49.9 billion by 2015.


The Worldwide Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 20... report identifies a consistently growing pattern of demand for Self-paced eLearning in government agencies.  Countries with centralized educational systems, such as, China, are outspending corporate buyers for these products and services.  Even so, according to Chief Research Officer, Sam S. Adkins, North America is predicted to be the top buying region throughout the forecast period.


The global market is changing. Corporations are no longer the top buyers of Self-paced eLearning products. The demand is stronger now for academic products for government agencies.


According to Tyson Greer, CEO and Chief Content Officer (CCO) for Ambient Insight, “The global market is transitioning from a corporate story to an academic narrative.”


The growths of markets represent demands for products and services.  Here is another trend to consider that may explain the change in the global market for eLearning products.   For each new generation, more Americans are using the Internet.  This is backed up with a 2009 survey conducted by the PEW Internet and American Life Project stating that 95% of all teenagers ages 14 – 17 use the Internet.  According to a 2010 survey conducted by the same group, 90% of all young adults ages 18 - 29 use the Internet. 


In a news release by a private provider of technology products and services, CDW, the second annual 21st Century Classroom Report states that only 39% percent of students say their high schools are meeting their technology expectations.  Perhaps now is the time to consider that the Digital Divide now is more about meeting the expectation of today’s students than it is about making technology available.


The current formal school system is no longer working to the best benefit of our students and society.  This is being manifested in changing global markets and student perceptions of school. 


A congressional Act can abolish the U.S. Department of Education. Then they can establish and fund a private not-for-profit corporation to facilitate the development of public education. This would be  similar to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Such a move can place in motion the means to shape the growing market for eLearning to serve our students.  The current attempt to centralize public education through No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race To The Top (RTTT) is not working.  The unintended consequence of direct federal government involvement in education is causing a collapse of the system.


A radical change in education from direct government control to government funded not-for-profit corporations is an idea worth pursuing.  Finding the right mixture of instruction, management, and structure for sustainable funding and accreditation will be a challenge, but our kids are worth it.


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