Training, Teaching, and Learning 2012: State of the Industry Reports


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This "State of the Industry" report for the ASTD Sacramento Chapter features a brief summary of AST's recently released 2011 Staet of the Industry report and includes references to other workplace learning and performance (staff training) updates. Presentation delivered January 23, 2012 in Rancho Cordova, California.

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  • Here we are, in January 2012, and we’re about to take a look at the recently-released ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) State of the Industry Report 2011—along with a few other resources to help us understand where we are as 2012 moves full steam ahead. Things to note before we dive in:   The survey was conducted in 2010, so we’re looking at data that is already a year old.   The survey was written and released near the end of 2011, so there was a considerable period of analysis and writing that led to the final format of the report.   The survey provides figures that consolidate results from the 412 companies that responded to the survey, and also provides break-out figures for companies that won the ASTD BEST award that year—less than one-tenth of the entire consolidated group. (More about BEST in a minute.) It also reports separate results for Fortune Global 500 participants in the survey—an even smaller group than the BEST Award winners.   What this means is that we have a few different snapshots of our industry in this comprehensive report.
  • ASTD annually honors companies as learning champions through the BEST Awards. They are BEST at: B uilding talent E nterprise-wide S upported by each organization’s leaders Fostering a T horough learning culture—think communities of learning here   They consistently spend more on learning on a per-employee basis, have more learning hours used per employee, spend more than others do on learning as a percentage of payroll, and have higher percentages of expenditure for tuition reimbursements than others do.   You can read more about the most recent BEST-award winners in T&D at
  • “ ASTD estimates that U.S. organizations spent about $171.5 billion on employee learning and development in 2010.” (p. 7)
  • That’s up considerably from the previous ASTD State of the Industry’s estimate of $128.88 billion, in 2009.
  • “ As the economy continues to challenge all industries, there is no more important time than now to examine how organizations respond by building the skills of their workforce.” (p. 10)
  • “ Instructor-led classroom delivery continues to be the most widely used delivery method”—about 70 percent for all respondents to the State of the Industry survey. (p.9) But let’s not be baited, by that image in the lower right-hand corner, to think that e-learning isn’t important or that it’s impersonal.
  • “ In 2010, technology-based delivery declined overall”—“from 36.3 percent in 2009 to 29.1 percent” (p. 9)   “ Ultimately, in the coming years we expect to see a more balanced distribution between instructor-led technology-based delivery methods, and a broader adoption of mobile and social learning technologies.” (p. 9)
  • “… this figure depicts the portion of learning needs that are not being met or developed internally [by those responding to the survey]…The percentage of expenditure for tuition reimbursement accounted for 12.9 percent of the learning expenditure distribution in 2010, compared with 10.7 percent in 2009, indicating that organizations overall are investing more of their learning budget on outside academic development for employees.” (p. 19)
  • Workplace learning and performance programs continue to open their doors to outside trainers and consultants. “ Historical ASTD data indicate that most organizations spend in the range of 22 to 29 percent of their training budgets on external services”—consulting services, content development and licensing, and workshops and training programs delivered by external providers. (p. 20)   “ The average direct expenditure distribution for external services is 26.6 percent, on par with 2009’s 26.9 percent.” (p. 20)
  • “ The average cost per learning hour used…increased…from $63 in 2009 to $72 [in 2010].” (p. 27)   “ Cost per learning hour used can indicate whether current levels of efficiency can be maintained or perhaps increased by marginal increases in the number of learners served by learning programs.” (p. 27)   It’s worth noting that BEST Award winners manage to spend less per hour than the larger group does, and the Fortune Global 500 participants are the lowest of all in the per-hour expenditures.
  • “ The average direct expenditure on learning as a percentage of profit dropped sharply from 10.9 in 2009 to 5.3 in 2010…because of variations in the ranges of both the total learning direct expenditure and profits for the organizations that provided data for this metric.” (p. 18)
  • “ The consolidated average number of employees per learning department staff member…dropped for the second consecutive year to 227:1…” (p. 22)   Facing shrinking workforces, those involved in designing and delivering learning are serving a smaller number of learners within their organizations. My own feeling is that this might be good news for the learners, since it implies a slightly greater amount of individual attention, but might also be a warning sign that those of us involved in workplace learning and performance need to be sure that we’re documenting the positive effects of what we’re doing so that those setting company-wide budgets don’t think they need to reduce the number of providing learning opportunities to these smaller groups of learners.
  • There’s far more in the report than we’re covering in this brief synopsis. An entire section of the report talks about what sort of content is being delivered (managerial and supervisory, profession- or industry-specific, and much more), comparisons of the number of formal learning hours delivered face-to-face as opposed to those delivered through online technology, and the introduction of mobile learning in 2010. There is also a section on research topics and trends, and we’re going to use that as a springboard to see what other state of the industry reports, articles, and blog postings suggest to us at this point. To order the entire report, please visit the ASTD site at
  • Spending for training services remains conservative: “ estimates the global market for training services to grow to $292 billion in 2012, of which U.S., companies will represent an estimated $132 billion.” (p. 2) Note the difference between Training Industry’s estimate of $132 billion for 2012 compared with ASTD’s estimate (from 2010 data) of $171 billion.   The market for workplace learning and performance professionals remains static: “We estimate that jobs for training professionals to increase by 1% in 2012. The bulk of that modest recovery will continue to be experienced by training suppliers as companies continue to defray many of their variable costs by contracting certain training services such as content development, back office administration and instruction.” (p. 3)   We’ll continue seeing the evolution of learning portals, additional impacts of social learning including more attention paid to informal learning and how many followers we have through our Twitter and other accounts, and even more attention on knowledge retention as we continue moving toward the need to document positive results produced by our efforts and expenditures. And, as we see from the first paragraph of the article, we’ll continue seeing learners take control of their own learning experiences:
  • The January 2012 issue of Chief Learning Officer has a spectacular update that Bruce Winner from the ASTD Sacramento Chapter brought to my attention.   Key points 1: Like the ASTD report, Chief Learning Officer’s article suggests that classroom delivery is still a key element of our efforts and that online learning is important, too: “ While classroom-based, instructor-led training (ILT) remains the leading method of learning delivery, emergent technologies—such as self-paced e-learning and informal learning through social media, blogs, wikis and discussion groups—offer cost savings But these methods often lack the personal, human element many companies value.” (p. 18). That sentence alone could provide us enough room to fill a daylong workshop on classroom learning, online learning, and what goes into producing effective learning opportunities! Coaching/mentoring is on the rise; that’s no surprise to any of us looking around and seeing how many ASTD chapters feature formal mentoring programs for their members.
  • It’s as if we have a new mantra in workplace learning and performance—one close to my own heart, mind you. I’m seeing people like Clark Quinn, in his report on mobile learning, call M-Learning an enhancement, not a replacement for what we are currently doing (or thinking of doing). Same from ASTD in its report on M-Learning last year. And how the same thing from this Chief Learning Officer article: “Instead of replacing the classroom, technology is most often used to enhance the benefits found in a live learning environment.” (. 18). (I have a summary of Clark’s eLearning Guild report on my own blog at
  • “ Despite the increasing use of virtual and social network-based learning methods, companies are making large-scale investments in their physical corporate university spaces.” (p. 20) And it’s not just about large corporate spaces: One very large client I worked with last year had a state of the art learning space that included the obligatory onsite tables, chairs, and tech tools, but also, through the use of a first-rate speaker and project system, allowed offsite learners to participate in sessions taking place in the site where I was working. We could hear other learners’ questions through the speaker system in the room where we were sitting, and they could hear our presenters through their own distance-learning spaces. This seems to parallel the idea of “smart classrooms,” as described on the Horizon Report 2011 wiki at
  • “ Despite the increasing use of virtual and social network-based learning methods, companies are making large-scale investments in their physical corporate university spaces.” (p. 20) Gaming as a learning tool is huge, and it isn’t going to disappear even though there have been major missteps like the rise and fall of Second Life.   “ Games are immersive, engaging, provide instantaneous feedback on learner actions and encourage repetitive practice of techniques.” (p. 21) The 2011 Horizon Report provides one of the most concise summaries of the role of gaming in learning that I’ve seen to date:
  • The 2012 report—the tenth in this annual series of reports on which technologies are maturing within academic and other creative settings—will be available, free of charge, online in mid-February. Visit the Horizon Report website at for past reports and updates.   Drawing from what I’ve seen from the Horizon Reports and everything else I’ve been reading over the past few years, I’m going cite a few trends I believe are worth watching.
  • The sort of smart classrooms I mentioned a moment ago, along with the idea of collaborative learning environments (, personal learning environments (, and telepresence (, all hint at greater things to come—without losing any of the human touch that makes learning effective. These topics are being discussed at the Horizon Report Advisory Board level with a great deal of consistency; the technology to support these spaces is growing by leaps and bounds; and it’s another step up from the “Blend Me” session that we did here at an ASTD Sacramento Chapter meeting in May 2011. You can view all the online discussions around all the topics at
  • The unbelievably rapid growth in the use of tablets gives us another tool for mobile learning; watch for tablets to become an increasingly valuable resource for workplace learning and performance.
  • Having had the great luck to be on the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report Advisory boards for the past two years, I’ve learned a lot through participating in the boards’ wikis, where we explore themes and move toward voting on what we believe the key tech trends are in learning within academic and other creative settings. Use of those well-facilitated wikis has taught me a lot about collaborative learning, and I still think I have a long way to go in exploring all the possibilities available to us:
  • Augmented reality—including overlays of text onto real settings for instructional purposes—is far more than fantasy, as we see in this article about how it is used to help mechanics fix vehicles: There are plenty of articles online showing how augmented reality is working its way into teaching-training-learning, and this clearly is another tool we will be exploring if we haven’t already begun doing so.
  • Let’s not forget our most overlooked learning tool: the brain. Few of us take the time to explore the physiology of learning; here are a few resources to help us move beyond that oversight.
  • If we want to be great facilitators of learning, we need to be constantly involved in learning. Attend workshops. Participate in webinars and other online exchanges. Serve on boards within learning organizations—including the boards of our own ASTD chapters.
  • Return regularly to formal learning environments, such as ASTD’s annual International Conference & Exposition, or immerse ourselves in a master’s program or some other extended learning opportunity.
  • Then apply what we have learned so we, too, are first-rate trainer-teacher-learners who serve as examples of all that ASTD means in its extended community.
  • Training, Teaching, and Learning 2012: State of the Industry Reports

    1. 1. Presented by Paul Signorelli ASTD National Advisors for Chapters for the ASTD Sacramento Chapter 23 January 2012
    2. 2. Consistent Messages 1: BEST Companies Put More Into Learning
    3. 3. Consistent Messages 2: Workplace Learning & Performance Is Huge
    4. 4. Consistent Messages 2: Workplace Learning & Performance Is Huge
    5. 5. Consistent Messages 2: Workplace Learning & Performance Is Huge
    6. 6. Consistent Messages 3: Face-to-Face Still Outweighs Online Learning
    7. 7. Consistent Messages 4: Online Learning Declined, But Still Is Strong
    8. 8. Consistent Messages 5: Tuition Reimbursement Still Part of the Mix
    9. 9. Consistent Messages 6: It’s Not All In-House
    10. 10. Consistent Messages 7: Spending More on Learning Hours Used
    11. 11. Changes 1: Expenditures as Percentage of Profit Down
    12. 12. Changes 2: Ratio of Learning Staff to Learners Down
    13. 13. Summary
    14. 14. Training Industry, Inc: Key Trends for 2012
    15. 15. Special Report: Learning Delivery
    16. 16. Special Report (Cont.): Enhancement, Not Replacement
    17. 17. Special Report (Cont.): Bricks and Mortar
    18. 18. Special Report (Cont.): Fun and Gaming
    19. 19. Looking Beyond Our Usual Resources: The Horizon Report
    20. 20. Where We Might Be Going 1: Connected Learning Spaces
    21. 21. Where We Might Be Going 2: Mobile Learning—Tablets & Other Tools
    22. 22. Where We Might Be Going 3: Learning by Creating & Collaborating
    23. 23. Where We Might Be Going 4: Augmented Reality
    24. 24. Key Suggestion 1: Don’t Ignore the Brain
    25. 25. Key Suggestion 2: Serve as Teacher-Trainer-Learners
    26. 26. Key Suggestion 2: Serve as Teacher-Trainer-Learners
    27. 27. Key Suggestion 2: Serve as Teacher-Trainer-Learners
    28. 28. Questions & Comments
    29. 29. For More Information Paul Signorelli & Associates 1032 Irving St., #514 San Francisco, CA 94122 415.681.5224 [email_address] @paulsignorelli http://
    30. 30. Credits & Acknowledgments (Images not taken from ASTD websites are from unless otherwise noted): Dollars: From DonkeyHotey’s photostream at Classroom: From Walthampubliclibrary’s photostream at Computer Terminals: From Shareskie’s photostream at Sydney Institute Elearning Journey: From SRidgway’s photostream at Vouchers: From DanieVDM’s photostream at Open Door: From Temporalata’s photostream at Classroom: From AAUP’s photostream at Arrow: From Christinplymouth’s photostream at Instructor and Learners: From NWABRt’s photostream at Smart Classroom: From Macaddict89’s photostream at Cisco Telepresence: From Tom Raftery’s photostream at ipad and Samsung Tablet: From Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla’s photostream at Question Marks: From Valerie Everett’s photostream at