Also see 2013 Trends Report
In January of this year, our Annual Trends report outlined a new age emerging for the training industry: The Era for Personal Learning, a time where learners are taking control of their own learning experience. Many believe this new era is more about the growth in social learning styles. What we have found is the shifts are not as much about how learners gain knowledge from others in social environments, but more about how they personalize their learning experience by getting relevant information when, how and where they want it.
It is obviously much different from the traditional training model, where the instructional designer and trainer determined what was best for the learner, and managed all aspects of the training experience. All training had to be packaged and bundled into a course, and delivered when the instructor was available.
Learning is now a completely different experience, thanks to search engines and Internet portals. Students search for information about a topic, choose how they want to learn about that topic, when they want to learn about it, on what device they want to use, and even who they want to learn from. The learner-controlled environment means that making learning relevant today is much different than it used to be.
In this new environment, the leaders of training organizations and training suppliers have to change how they do things also. That’s at the heart of the 2012 trends: How the leaders of training organizations and the suppliers of learning services are flexing their creative muscles and coming up with new ways to adapt to the changing environment.
It’s the era of Personal Learning. It’s a learner’s world now, no longer a teacher’s world – and I believe that’s a great thing. So with this shift in the industry, how are the trends we discussed in the beginning of the year looking now, in the second half of 2012?
Here are a few thoughts:
- We originally estimated the market would grow by a modest 2% for 2012. The great news is that the industry is doing very well, with corporate spending for training increasing at a much more aggressive level. If the second half of the year continues at the pace of the first half, we now estimate the annual growth rate for corporate spend for training to be up as much as 6 to 7%.
- The job market for training professionals has been better than originally expected, and it looks like we could expect jobs to increase by as much as 2%. That’s double our original projection. But there is still conservative thought here, because buy-side companies are doing less of the hiring. Most of the jobs being created are with training suppliers, which means there is a lot more variable, contract-based work than full-time employment.
- Several of the trends we listed at the beginning of the year are long-term shifts, but steady in their growth. Examples of these are the creation of Personal Learning Environments, formalization of informal learning, growth in gamification techniques and an increase focus on knowledge retention. We see these as ongoing but no significant change in where we saw them a few months ago.
- One trend that continues and which has had interesting impact on the industry is the element of consolidation. Consolidation occurs on two fronts, first within the enterprise. Organizations over the past few years have put emphasis on consolidating around the technologies they use to design, deliver and manage learning programs. IT departments continue to put pressure on training organizations to minimize the number of instances of LMS’s and delivery platforms. The other part of consolidation is with training suppliers. There have been a number of significant acquisitions that are changing the landscape of training services. One was SAP’s acquisition of Success Factors, another was CGI’s announcement to acquire Logica. Other notable deals were Cornerstone OnDemand’s announcement to buy Sonar Limited, Saba’s acquisition of Human Concepts and Wiley’s deal with Inscape. Each appears to broaden organizational capabilities into markets such as talent management and collaboration and social platforms.
- Another key trend is the growth of outsourcing services. We expect the use of external suppliers to continue to grow, especially for the use of custom content development services. This market is up by more than 10% from last year, and we expect it to continue to grow for quite some time. Two areas of outsourcing that are not doing so well are offshoring and comprehensive BPO. The use of offshore suppliers for the purpose of accessing low cost labor is down significantly from previous years. The primary uses of offshore resources are with training suppliers for the purpose of minimizing cost for price competitiveness. Training BPO engagements continue to be less sophisticated and smaller in scope, meaning that comprehensive deals are now virtually non-existent. Selective BPO deals are still strong, especially for custom content and delivery services. The biggest change in this market continues to be that the scope and size of the deals continue to get smaller.
The bottom line is we are in a bullish growth market for training services. Corporate spend for training is up, access to knowledge-based content is higher than ever, many new companies continue to enter the market and innovation in learning technologies is strong.
See 2012 Trends Report: New Era of Personal Learning is Transforming the Training Industry
Written for TrainingIndustry.com