Learning Re-Imagined

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ASTD 2011 State of the Industry Report Finds Continued Investment in Employee Learning and…

Despite the global economic instability, organizations dramatically increased spending on learning and development in 2010, according to the ASTD 2011 State of the Industry Report. The report, sponsored by SkillSoft, confirms that organizations continue to be committed to the delivery of knowledge and the development of employees at every level.

In the report, the American Society of Training & Development (ASTD), the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals, revealed that in 2010 employers spent more on employees’ development than ever before. Businesses in the United States spent $171.5 billion on employee learning in 2010, up from $125.8 billion in 2009.


Economic pressures, increased regulatory requirements and the need for more productivity have elevated employee training and development to a strategic level bringing its importance to the forefront. Senior executives have realized that in order to compete on a global scale they need to invest in employee development. The data in the report, from more than 400 organizations across all major industries, demonstrates that learning and development is critical to drive growth and sustain a competitive advantage.

ASTD is offering a webinar to review the report findings on Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. ET. Mike Green, manager of ASTD Research and the report’s author, will detail the workplace learning and development trends discussed in the report. For more information, please visit http://www.astd.org/membership/ProfDevWebcast.htm

The report also found a 13.5 percent increase in the amount organizations spent per employee on learning and development. While the expenditure per employee increased, learning hours per employee remained the same. This reveals that organizations paid more for each hour of learning content used, confirming that despite economic challenges organizations understand that a highly skilled workforce is a strategic differentiator and they are willing to invest in the development of their employees. Some other key findings include:

  • Use of technology to deliver training, especially mobile learning, continues to grow – Fortune Global 500 companies set a new high of 40.1 percent of formal learning hours used being delivered via technology-based methods.
  • Managerial and supervisory training was the most offered content (12.8 percent) followed by profession- or industry-specific content (11.3 percent), and mandatory and compliance content (10 percent).

The ASTD 2011 State of the Industry Report is free to ASTD members. It is available on the ASTD Store.

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