E-Learning: A worldwide perspective

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A few days ago, I mentioned in my Linkedin group that I was reading the Himalayan Times which had an article about digital technologies and e-learning with education in Nepal.

Think about that for a moment, Nepal.  Would you have ever guessed that e-learning would be in Nepal? I sure wouldn’t have, especially a year ago, let alone two years ago.

But there it is for all to see.

So what other countries/continents/regions are embracing e-learning?  Well, here is just a sample:

  • All countries in Western Europe
  • Italy, Greece, Turkey
  • Russia
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary – where I have seen reports that it made its debut in 2005, oh and solid in the corporate space
  • Ukraine – debut: 2001
  • Latvia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia
  • Macedonia
  • Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Most of Africa – with Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa the leaders
  • China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Mongolia, Kazakhstan
  • Middle East including Palestine Territory
  • Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand
  • Canada, United States, Mexico
  • Most of the Caribbean with Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas as the leaders
  • Latin America – Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica leaders
  • South America – Brazil, Chile, Paraguay (strong)  and I would argue Colombia – which has seen 165% increase in the past three years (AEFOL)
  • And yes plenty of other countries throughout the world

Did any of the countries/continents/regions surprise you? I surmise more than a few did.

What sectors are the dominating?

Education especially higher education, with K-12 right behind it and then the government.  Corporate is in the mix, but by far it is education. Oh and those MOOCs are very strong in certain regions of the world, but not across the board. The same with Moodle – I’ll explain why in a second.

LMSs who are doing well in the global landscape

Well, I have seen a lot with Blackboard, especially in Western Europe – partially because the two other big players Desire2Learn and Instructure, are not marketing themselves in Western Europe and definitely not the rest of the world.

The argument being they do not have sales offices there – my take – who really cares. 

If you offer a SaaS platform, with the exceptions of a few countries with limited connections and thus need a client side server, the key would be to have either a reseller/partner in those countries or have folks at your locations who speak the respective languages and can sell from your base. 

The other big player across the board for the various countries, is Moodle. My personal vibe is that when you have very limited options – because the vast majority of education focused vendors (not based in those countries). 

Granted, Moodle is strong in the U.S. especially in Education (which is the initial reason it was created), but commercial vendors are making in-roads.

The same could exist from a global perspective, if and excuse me for this – vendors (again not based in those countries) who argue that because they do not have a sales office there, cannot succeed. 

Here is why that rationale which many vendors tend to use or act:

  • SaaS – if your system is in the cloud or you offer it in the cloud – and you have a web site – anyone from anywhere in the world can/most likely does visit your web site (depending on those they are interested in).

Thus, if they are visiting your web site and interested in your system, then the whole “I am not marketing there” or “that is not in our strategy”, should be removed from anyone’s mouth at your company.

 I’ve had clients located in Europe who bought systems based in the U.S. – who did not have a sales office there nor marketing nor part of their strategy – and yet, they had no issue selling it to folks outside of the states. Equally, I have had people in the U.S. buy systems in Australia – again with same – no sales office, etc. angle.  

  • Provincial – There still is this brick and mortar mentality that exists in the e-learning space – and when you think about it, – isn’t that an oxymoron? E-learning (online), your system is SaaS (in the cloud, accessible anywhere), you have a web site (hello, online!) – but you focus only on your little area of the world.  Just like brick and mortar.
  • No sales office, not focusing on the country, not marketing – How about no excuses?

I guess you are generating so much money and so many clients, that going into certain countries is not needed. When you get to 1B in sales, then you have a right to ignore (and unsure, why you would). Until then, your excuses are worth their weight in invisible ink. Zero.

BTW, it is not just education focused systems that use the lines above, but also corporate geared systems – which use it frequently.

Your Country is like my Country, so I will enter it with same strategy

For those who do make a jump into other regions of the world, you cannot use the same strategy as per say, another region. You will find yourself having some challenges and in some cases, failing miserably. 

Case in point, vendors who are not based in the U.S. and decide to enter the U.S. must change their strategy considerably, but many fail to do so.  Then they struggle and blame it on too many competitors. No kidding.

The U.S. is highly competitive, but as they say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere (yes, I know it is the pitch for NYC, but I am using it here, so deal with it) .

Now there are plenty of vendors who will never enter the U.S. and can do quite well and have done well in other regions of the world, to the point that they have no interest in the U.S.

One trend that I have seen with quite a few U.S. vendors who go into Europe is that they charge a different price for the LMS, including setup fees than they do in the United States.

Oh did I mention that the pricing is substantially higher? It is absolutely shocking and if people only knew what was going on – I’m sure they would be stunned – btw – now you know. : )

Even if the customer says “forget that” and contacts the main office in the U.S., they are out of luck, because the vendors who pull this have sales offices in the Europe. 

Many of these vendors have their main HQ in London, and then their other sales offices in various countries, with the most popular being Germany.

 Bottom Line

I’m not going to break into the famous amusement park’s ride that mentions world (no desire to be sued by famous amusement park’s company), nor am I going to start singing, “We are the World”.  Feel free to do that on your own, I promise not to tell.

Rather, I am going to say that e-learning is no longer tied to one area of the world, continents or regions.  The days of lacking “infrastructure” which was often cited as why the African continent, some South American countries and a few other countries and regions could not have, let alone succeed with e-learning.

The world and e-learning have something very much in common.

They are constantly evolving.

E-Learning 24/7


  1. Thanks for this, Craig. By any chance do you have a colored map showing all the countries that do have elearning? I think this would be a powerful impression.

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