Dubai's e-learning market worth US$24 million by 2008

According to Madar Research Group, Dubai's e-learning market, currently estimated at US$6 million in 2003, is set to grow to US$24 million by the end of 2008, boosted by government-led education initiatives and a knowledge-conducive environment.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  December 28, 2003

According to Madar Research Group, Dubai's e-learning market, which is currently estimated at US$6 million in 2003, is set to grow to US$ 24 million by the end of 2008, boosted by government-led education initiatives and a knowledge-conducive environment.

The research group's 'Dubai Knowledge Economy 2003-2008' reports that, while Dubai is at the forefront of e-learning, it spends a larger percentage on delivery solutions, compared to the global trend where the market has shifted the focus to content. However, several new developments are set to change the situation and Dubai is on course to join the rest of the world in delivering world-class e-learning programmes.

To capture this nascent market, e-learning providers like Element K, recently launched the first bilingual (Arabic and English) e-learning community Learnonline.ae, in partnership with Etisalat's Emirates Internet and Multimedia (EIM) to offer online courses in business and IT.

The Madar study says that the potential for growth in both the academic and corporate e-learning market in Dubai is high, but it needs to be enhanced with wider use of broadband internet, which facilitates video streaming applications.

"Many other countries in the region are following the trend and recognising the new demand for e-learning. Dubai's pioneering projects, including Dubai Internet City, and more recently Knowledge Village, have given Dubai a competitive edge, and provided an impetus for other states in the region to follow suit," says Jamil Ezzo, general manager, Element K Middle East.

The company has recently tied up with the Dubai e-Government to introduce the e-employee training program for all government employees to increase their computer competence. For the public, Element K has started e-Citizen which focuses on enhancing the computer and internet skills of the public, so they can use the 600 e-Government services, and take advantage of other electronic services like e-banking and e-shopping.

"The widespread use of e-learning among the corporate sector is commendable. The next big challenge is to involve the community in e-learning on a large scale. Globally, e-learning has gained a great momentum both at community and corporate levels, because it allows people to learn when they want, removes geographical barriers and helps people to improve themselves," adds Ezzo.

Lack of Arabic e-learning content, with low PC and internet penetration and low awareness levels are currently hampering the growth of e-learning in the region. With government led initiatives like the IT Education Project, e-Citizen and e-Employee certification, e4all, Knowledge Village and companies like Emirates Airlines, Mashreq Bank and Emirates Bank which have started company-wide online training in IT and business to its staff, Madar Research believes e-learning is now gaining critical mass.

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