When the Game’s Up

Last month I was asked to give my thoughts on the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) 2009 Annual Learning & Development Survey.

One thing became clear when I examined the CIPD data. It was that many L&D professionals (in the UK at least) seem to lack the innovation necessary to push the profession forward to become a leader rather than a follower.

Of course there are exceptions but based on the data in the 2009 Survey L&D is simply not doing enough.

The survey results suggests that the majority of time is still spent in designing and delivering instructor-led courses and curricula.

This should be a real worry to everyone involved in the profession because that game’s well-and-truly up, and has been for some time.

Training/L&D is a big business. In 2007 organisations in the US spent $134.39 billion (that’s right BILLION) on employee learning and development (reported in the 2008 ASTD ‘State of the Industry’ publication). Yet studies have shown that only a small % of this spend actually results in improved performance in the workplace – the Baldwin, Ford & Weissbein studies estimate that not more than 10% of spend transfers to the job.

Yet if the CIPD data is to be believed, over the past 2 years (when the budget pressure has really been on) only 39% of UK organisations have introduced or extended the use of eLearning – for which I think we can read ‘technology-supported learning’ as a whole.

And conversely, the time L&D staff spend ‘delivering courses/time in a training facility’ is still a staggering 46% – down just 3% from the previous year. An additional 46% of time is spent in the overall management/planning of L&D activities.

This means that many Training/L&D staff only plan, develop and deliver ILT training and have no time to do anything else.

What’s happening here?

Well, for a start, only 7% of the L&D Survey respondents thought that eLearning was one of the most effective practices, and only 27% viewed on-the-job training as the most effective L&D practice.

So even L&D professionals haven’t done their research and reading. They are not champions of ‘new world’ approaches.

There’s enough evidence now to show that Instructor-Led Training is not effective as an approach for the majority of employee development. ILT may be helpful for some change management and big-picture ‘concept’ development, but it is demonstrably the least effective and certainly the least efficient approach for most learning that’s required.

The millions of $ / £ / € / ¥ spent on ILT for systems and process training, for instance, are 100% waste of time and money. This training is invariably content-heavy and people can’t retain what they’ve been taught for more than a few hours unless they have the chance to put it into practice in the workplace(which they invariably can’t as the training is carried out pre-rollout/pre-upgrade).

We’d be better off giving our employees the money we spend for training them in classrooms on CRM and ERM systems and letting them go to the pub to spend it themselves – we’d all get better value through a more engaged and less stressed workforce.
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If you would like to read a report of my presentation that appeared in PEOPLE MANAGEMENT you’ll find it HERE

The CIPD’s summary of the 2009 Survey can be found HERE.

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