We’ve recently been through another New Year celebration, and once again I’ve noticed the deceptively obvious: Unless there’s a major snowstorm overnight on Jan. 1, one year looks pretty much like the next.
Think about it: The view from your window doesn’t change dramatically, your kids probably still watch too much television, that hot project you didn’t finish by Dec. 31 is still glowing on Jan. 2. All in all, the year passes with nothing to show for the changes except discarded party favors.
Unless you’re a CLO, that is. Learning and development is essentially about going below the surface and attacking problems at the root level with the most elementary of weapons—knowledge. So just as you might break lesson plans into manageable learning objects, you have to look deeper to find how time marches on and what changes a new year ushers in.
Fortunately, we have a tool for tracking the subtle changes in the corporate education industry. We’ve released our annual Business Intelligence Industry Report, and the 2006 research highlights trends and changes large and small from the 2005 study. What a difference a day makes after all.
In 2005, we released a report that summarized the learning and development industry’s main issues and concerns, tools and technologies, projects and plans. The report was optimistic as learning executives were anticipating spending increases to upgrade their technologies and invest in their own departments’ capabilities.
Nearly 1,600 learning executives shared data with us for this year’s study. We’ve freshened up the research in certain topic areas, such as the use of e-learning and other delivery methods, and we’ve added research on talent management, succession planning, leadership development and predictions for the year.
There’s an Executive Summary of the 2006 CLO Business Intelligence Industry Report available at www.clomedia.com/bizintel, and I urge you to visit the site and read the top-line results for yourself. But while you’re waiting for your browser to warm up, let me share some of the top trends our study yielded:
- Learning budgets are projected to increase between 10 percent and 20 percent in 2006. That lines up with the 2005 projections, though some of the spending areas will be different—look for an even greater emphasis on leadership development this year.
- As in both 2004 and 2005, respondent companies plan to spend about 2 percent of revenue on learning and development. But despite that average remaining flat, there’s movement at both ends of the spectrum: 31 percent will spend 1 percent of revenue or less, down from 34 percent previously, and 14 percent will spend 4.5 percent of revenue or more, up from 10 percent.
- Speaking of spending, expect a continued shift away from the classroom, which is still the home for 51 percent of workforce education. For the 2006 report, 53 percent of respondents plan to decrease classroom training, largely in favor of asynchronous e-learning, which currently accounts for 21 percent of learning delivery.
- Performance management’s link to learning is expected to strengthen in 2006, even though only 19 percent of the 2006 report’s respondents said the two arms of improved productivity are fully linked in their organizations. Look for that number to grow: 60 percent of respondents are planning to correlate employee performance with learning delivery.
No matter how you slice the data, whether your interest is in outsourcing or IT, learning metrics or learning management systems, 2006 looks like a year of growth and changes for corporate educators. I hope you find the 2006 CLO Business Intelligence Report a valuable tool for benchmarking these changes and charting your successes. That’ll give us all something to reflect on in 2007.
Editor in Chief