Report: ASTD Comments On the State of the Industry

Published by Gina Wentling | Topics: Associations, Blended Learning, Online Publishing, Print, Training

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ASTD Report - SmallerRecently, the ASTD (the American Society for Training & Development) published its 2013 State of the Industry report, which analyzed professional training and development program information from 2012. As associations think about the training opportunities they offer their members, they would do well to check in with ASTD’s findings and reflect on its impact on associations’ role in providing education to members.

The report, sponsored by Skillsoft and the CARA Group, Inc., is based on survey results from 475 organizations. In 2012, organizations spent $164.2 billion on employee training. Of that total, 61% was spent internally, 28% went toward external services, and 11% was used as tuition reimbursement. In 2012, $1,195 was spent on training and development per employee, which is $13 more than the same figure measured in 2011.

The number of training hours that employees use is also fairly stable, with 30.5 hours in 2012 and 30.3 in 2011. Spending per employee is not consistent across all organizations, though; the size of the organization is a major factor. There is an inverse relationship at play here—the larger the organization, the less is spent per employee.

For organizations with over 10,000 employees, $700 was spent for training and development for each individual. For mid-sized companies (500-9,999), the figure increased to $964. For small organizations (500 or fewer employees), a significant jump was seen, to $1,800.

ASTD found that a shift toward eLearning is apparent, as budgets are squeezed to train more employees for the same amount—or less—than they have in the past. Some of these methods, including informal and mobile learning, are harder to measure, in terms of learning hours, than more traditional classroom courses.

What can associations and other organizations take away from ASTD’s findings?

  • Despite a flailing (though recovering) economy, training and development is taking place, in person and online. In fact, organizations consider this important enough to maintain funding at or slightly above previous levels.
  • The challenge facing training and development professionals is a common one: doing more with less. It takes creativity and flexibility to train more employees with the same resources you’ve used in the past to train fewer.
  • Meeting this challenge is a key objective for any organization that values personal and professional growth and wishes to compete in the marketplace. Whether you offer instruction through instructor-led training, online, or both, learners are looking to your organization for new, compelling material to help them further their careers.

What does your training program look like? Are you offering largely in-person classes or adding more online coursework? Have your offerings changed because of economic factors or changes in technology? We’d love to hear from you, and help you deliver materials to your learners, as printed coursebooks, online resources, or both, as part of a blended learning approach.


About Gina Wentling

During her time as Marketing Communications Coordinator (2013-16), Gina wrote hundreds of blog posts for Omnipress. Her work has also been published in association publications. Read More.

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