These days there are tremendous pressures to reduce costs. Training budgets are one of the first to get slashed. After all, the training is very expensive. Often times the cost of trainers are just the tip of the iceberg compared with the travel costs and productivity lost due to time off from work to attend training sessions.
In addition to the cost issue, there is concern about the quality of corporate learning. Accenture, one of the world’s largest and most respected consulting firms, has been researching the characteristics and business practices that contribute to and detract from high performance. Accenture’s research indicates most senior executives now view people and workforce-related issues as a critical competitive differentiator in defining high-performance companies. Unfortunately, Accenture’s 2006 survey found “…a very small percentage of executives, including those leading the HR and learning functions, said they were very satisfied with the support those functions provided to not only the organization at large but to what executives described as their company’s most critical workforces.” Accenture recommends corporate HR and learning functions enable and facilitate people’s development as well as understand where the learning gaps and shortfalls really are.
Based on my experience and a review of the most current research, I believe many HR organizations are failing to adequately define the workforce competencies required to successfully implement their companies’ strategic plan, assess existing workforce competencies, then documenting and analyzing workforce competency gaps. Without accurate, comprehensive, and timely analysis of there competency gaps, how can learning needs be prioritized? Without this prioritization of learning needs, how can the most critically needed learning programs be developed and implemented on a timely basis? We know how rapidly our business environments are changing, thus demanding new or significant adjustments to corporate strategies. How can learning professionals keep up with the changing learning needs resulting from these changes in strategic management within their organizations?
Re-Focusing Corporate Training
In my view many, if not most companies, need to refocus their learning functions on strategically identifying and prioritizing learning needs. Not only is this critically important, it is not a set of activities and responsibilities that can or should be outsourced or assigned to outside consultants.
Once the learning needs are accurately prioritized, then learning functions should seek ways to reduce the cost of developing and implementing learning programs. I believe one of the best ways to achieve these cost reductions is through the online delivery of these learning programs.
There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of online learning. The cost advantages relate importantly to reducing travel expenses and significantly diminishing learners’ time away from important job responsibilities.
I predict we will witness a greater partnership between corporate and external learning organizations like online universities and small firms that specialize in online learning for corporate clients. I hope we can have active discussions about this topic on our blog.
Developing Online Training Courses
Online courses for universities and online training programs can have a great deal in common. To learn more about the template approach to online course development we recommend, please review our website section called Developing eCourses by following the link below.