Surge Continues in Learning and Development Spending
- Mature companies spend 34 percent more. In 2012, US companies spent an average of $706 per learner. However, organizations with mature, effective L&D functions (high-impact learning organizations) spent $867 per learner – 34 percent more than spending by companies at the lowest maturity level. High-impact learning organizations focus on improving performance through training and other talent initiatives. These L&D functions help to build the required human capabilities within their organizations to meet business goals and respond to change.
- Large businesses triple their spending on social learning. Social learning is one catalyst for the transformation in L&D. In 2012, large US companies spent just over $46,000 on average in 2012, nearly triple the spending of just two years ago. Social learning can be extremely effective when incorporated into a more structured program, such as combining a formal course with a learner discussion forum. In addition, high-impact organizations are becoming effective at creating employee networks, connecting novices to experts through expertise directories, and sharing knowledge through communities of practice. In this way, social learning, combined with formal programs, experiential learning, and ongoing support and reinforcement, is facilitating a shift from blended training programs to continuous learning environments.
- The L&D footprint continues to shrink. Although many training teams added staff during the year, these additions were outpaced by faster growth in learning populations. As a result, the overall "footprint," or ratio of training staff relative to the learner population, continued to decline in many companies. This trend is one sign of the changing role of the L&D function, which no longer is "the place" for learning. Instead, the role of the L&D team is to facilitate and enable learning. L&D teams should build skills in performance consulting, gain expertise in new technologies including social and mobile, and work to cultivate strong learning cultures within their organizations.
- More spending on products and services. US companies spent on average 16 percent of their training budgets on external learning services, up from 12 percent in 2009. The types of services purchased have changed, with more money going to off-the-shelf content and less to custom instructor-led training, as many companies turn to less costly and more time-efficient learning solutions. The research shows a different trend, however, among high-impact L&D organizations, which spend less on off-the-shelf content and more on instructor-led content development and delivery services. They also invest more in assessment services, which help them to develop skills where needed. Many training organizations start with standardized content and then recognize the need for a more customized learning approach as they mature.
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