Time for a Change!
After spending years of leading training and e-learning development teams, I've decided to slightly alter both my business and my career direction. Going forward, I’m just not going to pursue as many e-learning or training and development opportunities.
Its not that I've lost interest in creating engaging technical training and e-learning, it is just that I feel that the whole instruction model is undergoing a change. When I started my career instructor-led training was the norm and e-learning was considered “cutting edge.” So, of course, that was where I wanted to be.
Throughout the 90’s and the first part of this century, the demand for e-learning continued to grow steadily and my career with it. By 2007 e-learning comprised 30% of all training hours taken in the US.
But due to a host of issues, some economic, some technological and some cultural, the growth in the e-learning industry slowed in 2008 and began to shrink in 2009. According the “2009 Corporate Learning Factbook” by Bersin & Associates, the U.S. corporate training market shrunk from $58.5 billion in 2007 to $56.2 billion in 2008. This represented the greatest decline in training investment in more than 10 years. And the training delivery model that suffered the most was self-paced e-learning (WBT); while the percentage of traditional instructor-led training remained relatively constant at 67 percent, the proportion of e-learning decreased for the first time ever, falling to 24 percent. Filling the gap was an increase in informal learning and social networking models.
True, 2009 wasn’t the best economic year (duh!), but I believe the decrease of WBT as a percentage of total training hours is driven primarily by other factors. These include:
- Corporations who are so focused on the program’s cost that other measures of effectiveness are infrequently applied (or even defined).
- The cost of development is considered high, so in the absence of a commitment to other unit of effectiveness, cheaply developed programs drive out the good ones.
- Both globalization and the speed of innovation are increasing, demanding faster solutions that scale for geographically distributed audiences.
At the end of last year Bersin released the updated 2010 Factbook and in it they predict a sea-change coming, as corporations transition from e-learning to “we-learning.” Cute term, yes, but for me it accurately captures the new model of “social learning,” “informal learning,” and “collaborative learning.”
That’s the cutting edge, and that’s where I want to be. I’m so excited!
For more detail on this study please see http://joshbersin.com/2009/09/25/from-e-learning-to-we-learning/ .