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Why Training Spending Levels Don't Matter Anymore
Training expenditure is a metric still used by many human resources and training professionals, as well as some market evaluators, to measure the value that enterprises place on education and training. However, it is known that training expenditure per person is not an indicator of:
- Access to training for employees.
- The quality of the training.
- The effectiveness of knowledge transfer and skill building.
- The volume of training available.
- Efficiency and effectiveness of training.
- Training's support of specific business goals.
- The return on investment and the impact on the business.
Therefore, I argue that training expenditure should no longer be used for providing a value comparison without looking at other effectiveness metrics. Between 1999 and 2002, organizations that adopted e-learning and moved toward a more just-in-time learning environment significantly enhanced their learning capabilities. In addition, they achieved savings that translate into similar or less spending per employee while providing their workforce with more training to support business goals.
I have distinguished four different "adoption stages" of e-learning: clappers, experimenters, developers and leaders. The transition from one stage to another is not necessarily a given, and some organizations might stay in one stage for a long time, depending on how strategic learning is in their organization and on the competitive pressures in their industry.
Companies in the clappers stage have accepted e-learning as part of the new learning reality and have launched a couple of e-learning programs. However, the learning strategy is still focused on classroom training delivery, and there is not necessarily enthusiasm to change this. Some organizations might decide to become more aggressive in e-learning over time and move to the "experimenters" stage.
Companies that have made e-learning part of their overall learning strategy and have explored the best applications of e-learning within their organization are in the experimenters stage. In this stage, e-learning is often blended with classroom training. The main goal is to provide additional skill-development opportunities in specific learning categories.
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