August 26 2009 - A new report from the American Society for Training &
Development (ASTD) shows continued commitment to learning in the current tough
economy with learning budgets holding up well compared to previous recessions.
The ASTD/i4cp report, Learning in Tough Economic Times:
How Corporate Learning is Meeting the
Challenges also shows that substantial reduction in learning resources correlates
with lower market performance and decreased learning effectiveness.
Four in ten respondents reported that the state of the economy had forced their organizations to reduce
learning resources to a high or very high degree. However, the report indicates that extensive cuts to
learning programs or content are the
exception not the rule. More than two-thirds (67.2%) of those surveyed said they were looking for
ways to be more efficient and effective with tighteed budgets. 37.9% said their organizations
were emphasizing learning to a greater extent during the recession.
According to the report, only a few more than a quarter of survey
respondents considered that their learning function's ability to meet organizational learning needs
had suffered to a high or very high degree in the current recession.
Other major findings included:
- 52.8% had restricted travel to a high or very high degree
- 52.3% had cut expenditure on conferences, seminars, and workshops to a high or very high
- Newer and cheaper methods of delivering learning, including e-learning and other online options,
were gaining popularity
The report also comments on best learning practices being used in the downturn and points to
three emerging themes:
- involving subject matter experts in the learning process
- leveraging technology better
- raising awareness of cost issues
Specifically, the report identifies the trend towards crafting learning around smaller
blocks of content by honing their focus and presentation times, and the realization that learning ultimately
reaps rewards from improved employee engagement, retention, and overall organizational strength.