Distance Learning is the way to train employees

Distance learning is no longer the wave of the future. The growth of enrollment in online courses continues to outpace that of higher education overall.  It is the current standard in many cases for agency training of federal employees. More than 4.6 million students took at least one online course during the fall 2008 term, a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year, according to “Learning on Demand, Online Education in the United States, 2009,” a survey published by the Sloan Consortium. The consortium’s members are dedicated to improving the quality of online education. The 17 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.

via Federal Times http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20100308/BENEFITS07/3080306/

2009 Corporate Learning Factbook Reveals 11% Decline in Corporate Training Spending

Trend Data Shows More Focus on Compliance, Job-Specific, and Industry-Specific Training; Coaching and Informal Learning; and Increase in Outsourcing

Economic constraints have taken a toll on corporate training budgets. Bersin & Associates’ just-published 2009 Corporate Learning Factbook shows that over the last year, companies have cut training spending and staffing; changed training program priorities; moved to coaching, informal learning, collaborative activities, and other less costly training methods; and increased reliance on outsourcing.

The U.S. corporate training market shrunk from $58.5 billion in 2007 to $56.2 billion in 2008, the greatest decline in more than 10 years Average training expenditures per employee (which include training budgets and payroll) fell 11 percent over the past year – from $1,202 per learner in 2007 to $1,075 per learner in 2008. Staff resources also took a hit. In 2008, large companies employed 3.4 training staffers per 1,000 learners, down from 5.1 per 1,000 in 2007; mid-sized companies employed 4.9 staffers per 1,000 learners in 2008, compared to 7.0 staffers per 1,000 in 2007.

According to President Josh Bersin, the numbers tell a story bigger than these and other numbers might indicate. “As the saying goes, only when the tide goes out can you see who’s swimming naked. In good years, training organizations continued to funnel dollars and staff into traditional and often non-strategic training programs. When budgets became tight, organizations with a traditional training focus suffered most.”

“Today’s business world demands a combination of formal and informal learning with an emphasis on collaboration, knowledge sharing, social networking, coaching, and mentoring. While formal, instructor-led training is not going away, it is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of training budgets. Business, HR, and learning leaders must think differently about corporate training and focus on those informal and collaborative strategies that will save money and increase the breadth of organizational learning.”The study is based on data collected through an August 2008 survey conducted in partnership with Training Magazine.

The Factbook offers corporate training executives baseline metrics which can be used to assess the efficiencies, spending, and practices of their own corporate training initiatives. Findings are broken down by company size and industry sector, so executives can compare their own metrics with those from comparable organizations.

The average number of formal training hours dropped from 25 hours per learner in 2007 to 17.2 hours in 2008. Training consumption dropped most substantially among small and midsize businesses, with learners taking 33 percent fewer training hours, on average, than in 2007

Although instructor-led classroom training remained steady (at 67 percent of all training hours), the proportion of e-learning decreased for the first time ever in 2008. Companies also reduced their use of virtual classroom training, so that (combined with self-study e-learning) the total amount of online training dropped from 30 percent of training hours in 2007 to 24 percent in 2008. This shift illustrates the industry’s steady move toward informal learning and social networking.

As companies downsized their training staffs, many turned to external providers to fill the resource gaps. Large businesses, in particular, outsourced more functions to third-party providers in 2008, as their staffing numbers were hardest hit.

via PR News Wire

Workforce Demographics drive workforce training

Changing workforce demographics will drive the workforce training function over the next ten years. As noted by the Popuplation Reference Bureau, “The U.S. is getting bigger, older and more diverse.” Major demographic trends that are affecting the workforce are:
  • Increasing number of employees is retiring. Losing critical institutional knowledge can place the organization at risk. Transferring knowledge between generations is a critical capability in today’s organizations.
  • The labor force is growing more slowly. In 2010-2015 the rate of labor growth will slow to 1.0%. Between 2015-2025 it will slow to 0.2%. By 2012, there will be a 6 million person gap between supply and demand of knowledge workers in the U.S.
  • The labor force is growing older. The median age of the labor force in 2008 is 40.7—the oldest ever. The historical US workforce benchmark for 55 and older was 15%. The current US workforce benchmark is 18%. Baby Boomers will leave the workplace without an equal number of qualified workers to replace them. Every day, 7,918 people turn 60 years old. Workers age 25 to 34 shrank by almost 9% in the 10 years ending in 2006.
  • In the U.S. colleges graduated only 198,000 students to replace 2,000,000 baby boomers that retired between 1998 and 2008.
  • As an example, according to the National Association of State CIO’s an average of 27% of state IT employees will become eligible for retirement in the next fiver years.
  • The American workforce will be more diverse. Nearly one-half of all new U.S. workers during the past decade are foreign born.
  • Three of five economic sectors are exposed to above average levels of age and retirement risks. These sectors are responsible for raw materials, intellectual activities and analytics and decision making.
  • More women are working today than in the past. 61.9% of women are participating in the labor force in 2008. Nearly 60% of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the U.S. are awarded to women.
  • The temporary help industry has grown rapidly accounting for 2.60% of the labor force in 2000.
  • The most common alternative employment arrangement is independent contractor—6.4% of workers are independent contractors. By 2015 it is estimated that 40 million workers will work from home at least one day a week a growth from 24 million.
  • Today 85% of jobs require education beyond high school, compared to 61% in 1991. In 2012, 14 million jobs will go to degree holders.
  • 60% of future jobs will require training that only 20% of the current workforce possesses.
How are these changing demographics going to affect your workforce and your training programs?