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Learner Characteristics and eLearning Adoption

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Learner Characteristics and eLearning Adoption

Typically, every product goes through a Product Life Cycle or PLC consisting of 4 phases (Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline). eLearning, as with other products, will follow the path of the product life cycle. By viewing eLearning against the PLC framework, we can decide on what marketing strategies are appropriate at which stage of its PLC.

Let us look at the characteristics of eLearning adoption and learner characteristics and plot these against the 4 stages of the eLearning PLC. The table below shows you how different kinds of learners take up eLearning at different points of its Product Life Cycle.

Introduction Growth Maturity Decline
eLearning Adoption Low adoption Rapidly rising adoption Peak adoption Declining adoption
Learner Characteristics Innovators Early adopters Middle majority Laggards

As you can see, in the introduction stage, eLearning adoption will be low. In the Growth stage, adoption rises rapidly. In the maturity stage, adoption peaks and in the decline stage, there is a gradual decline in the adoption of eLearning. This could be for two reasons: there are better products (maybe kindle or mobile learning) that address the same need or maybe the decline is because of the changing taste of consumers.

However, in the eLearning context, learning is not likely to decline. In fact if you look at the PLC of typical ILTs, in many organizations, they are in the decline stage, while eLearning has a long PLC ahead of it.

Here in a nutshell, are the marketing principles for each stage of the eLearning PLC. Based on the marketing objectives at each stage, we can select specific marketing strategies.

The table below sums up marketing principles for each stage of the PLC.

Introduction Growth Maturity Decline
Create eLearning awareness and trials Maximize learner adoption Maximize eLearning coverage while adding new features to the eLearning solution Reduce expenditure on promotional/or revive the eLearning solution with advanced features or by using better technology to deliver the solution (maybe even move to mobile learning or any such alternative)

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