The e-learning market, which includes everything from specialized skill training to guitar tutorials, will reach a staggering global value of $325 billion by 2025. To put that into perspective, the e-learning market will be worth over 4x the $70.6 billion higher education market - leaving traditional educators and institutions with no choice but to adapt.
The arrival of smart devices is an obvious reason for this growth, however, the emerging force set to dominate the future of e-learning is Generation Z; smart, practical, and savvy consumers of online content roughly between the ages of 14-25.
Representing 2.5 billion people by 2020, Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers, as they will learn, purchase, and interact almost exclusively online. In order to better understand the complex makeup of the e-learning market, let’s look at a few of the characteristics that define its biggest demographic.
By 2020, Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers...
What sets Generation Z apart?
1. They have short, but sharp attention spans
The average Gen-Z has an attention span of roughly 8 seconds. Despite this seemingly alarming figure, their exposure to an overabundance of media since childhood has actually generated highly skilled means of verifying information, as they focus on the relevant, while filtering out the garbage. 31% of Gen-Z have installed an ad-blocking software, which points to their ability to actively seek out means to block unwanted media out of their lives. However, in terms of advertisement retention, they are more inclined than previous generations to absorb informative and relevant messaging.
2. They are adept researchers
Not only are Gen-Z extremely skilled at online shopping, with the vast majority of their purchases coming directly from their devices, but they’re also excellent online learners. Standardized test prep, website coding, learning a language - all of these formerly high-skill and expensive services, are, thanks to Generation Z, subject to a newly competitive market, as they asses opportunity cost associated with various forms of online learning, and make the best decision for their own preferences.
3. They are better multi-taskers
Gen-Z spends time with multiple screens a day, and have become proficient at doing various activities at once. Taking an online course on the bus to work, or watching a TV show while responding to email, split up every couple of minutes by texting or checking Instagram, is both normal and expected. Although this constant immersion may seem hectic and slightly harmful, it displays the efficiency and pragmatism that characterize this fascinating new generation.
Referral is the most effective way to target Gen-Z. A credible endorsement from a friend bypasses their fine tuned online filters. With continued e-learning adoption, companies need to focus on both understanding and connecting with Gen-Z. Although the industry has succeeded in the past by casting the widest net possible, targeted and personal referrals from friends will be one of the only ways to effectively reach this essential and exciting group.