Corporate trainers are finding themselves under increasing pressure to minimise the time employees spend undergoing training "off the job", resulting in a decline in formal classroom training and a greater emphasis on e-learning.
That's according to of a survey of 2,000 HR and training executives by Boston-based consulting firm Novations Group, which also reveals a growing demand for the benefits of training to be quantifiable.
"Corporate training always evolves and adapts, and right now the challenge is to justify what we do in terms of quantifiable outcomes and contribution to the bottom line," said Novations Senior Vice President Rebecca Hefter.
"Nevertheless, this isn't a matter of senior management not valuing leadership or employee development. In fact, our study suggests the investment in training continues to rise. But the trend is away from the classroom…and a greater effort to tie learning to day-to-day challenges in the workplace."
Almost six out of 10 (57 per cent) of the HR and training executives surveyed said that they were making greater use of e-learning, with four out of 10 utilising more on-the-job training and a third more personal coaching.
All this is at the expense of traditional classroom-based learning, with three out of 10 saying that they were reducing classroom hours.
At the same time, four out of 10 (43 per cent) said that they were under greater pressure to quantify the results of training.
In order to limit employee time-off-the-job trainers are integrating classroom learning with follow up methods such as conference calls and net meetings, explained Hefter.
"We want to extend the learning experience beyond the classroom, so we're using learning logs, job aids, action plans and even printed reminders."
As the survey also highlights, while instructor-led training is still the most preferred method, others seem to be gaining ground.
Almost nine out of 10 of those surveyed said that they would be using instructor-led classroom training in the year ahead while eight out of 10 will be laying on instructor-led on-the-job training.
However eight out of 10 will also be offering seminars or webinars and two-thirds are adopting e-learning or self-paced study. Meanwhile, Rebecca Hefter added that trainers are seeking to bring the workplace into the classroom.
"Companies want training that's relevant and with exercises that closely simulate the way work is conducted on the job. Case studies where teams solve real work problems are very popular."