Every day, we hear more and more about people anticipating the move from in-person, instructor-led training to more of an on-demand, digital approach. As we were looking forward to how the continuing education field would evolve in 2016, we realized something. This is something that the industry has been anticipating for years and years now, but we’ve seen very little abandonment of instructor-led training overall. We came to a conclusion based on what we’re hearing. Instead of a complete migration from instructor-led to digital, it’s been more of a blend between the two. Trainers and educators are now offering more options to allow learners to consume their education how, when and where they please.
Instead of just making a conclusion, we wanted to go back and use some real data to support our notion based on things we heard throughout the industry. What better place to go for this information than ATD’s State of the Industry report, as well as our very own 2016 State of the Industry Report. Dan Loomis, our Print & Fulfillment Product Director, did the research and was surprised by what he found.
Instructor-Led Training Still Leads the Way
Although there is a slight decline in instructor-led training (ILT), the percentage of training that is delivered via instructor-led training isn’t declining nearly as fast as many had anticipated with the emergence of digital offerings. From 2012 to 2015, the percentage only declined 7%. That’s a 1.75% decline on average each year. At this rate, ILT will still remain the most popular way for organizations to offer training for approximately another decade (2026).
Loomis said, “With the popularity of digital and mobile formats emerging in the continuing education industry, I was surprised to see that instructor-led training isn’t declining as fast as most believed it would. It’s pretty clear that ILT is an essential part of the learning process still, and will be for years.”
Why We Believe This is Happening
There is still a large portion of the workforce who were brought up learning in-person and by printed materials, and we’re not just talking about Boomers and Gen Xers. Even Millennials did a majority of their learning in the classroom reading from printed materials. Yes, they grew up with digital materials and the internet at their ready, but when it came to actual education consumption and application, they were taught in classrooms by a teacher with materials in-hand.
As one Millennial told us during our Millennials & Print study:
“I think that, when it comes to educational materials, I will always favor print over digital. While we (Millennials) are the first generation to ‘grow up’ with technology, the technology we grew up with is completely different than it is today and it was used in completely different ways. I had access to a computer both at home and school, but in elementary school it was used to learn to type. In middle school it was used to learn Word and Excel. In high school, it was used for research and writing papers. I wasn’t reading text books online, I wasn’t taking class notes on a laptop. The first iPad was introduced in my sophomore year of college and I didn’t purchase one until I graduated. While it is possible to highlight and markup materials digitally on an iPad, it was never part of my educational life—I didn’t learn to learn on one.” (Emily Wiseman; Director of Administration at Association Management Partners & Executive Directors, Inc.)
To meet the needs of all your members during this shift in the digital age, try to incorporate blended learning into your continuing education programs. Your new and old members will thank you.
Want to learn more about blended learning? Read our blog post about why it’s important!