Looking Back at the Year in e-Learning, and Other Web Links

Forget the calendars and Christmas sale TV ads. To my mind, winter only starts when everyone I see on the train in the morning is wearing a scarf. And this week, everyone was. So it must be official – winter’s here, and 2011 is almost over.

In that spirit, here are a few links to interesting e-learning and training tid-bits from around the Web, with a heavy focus on year-end reviews of the field.

Training Magazine’s Year in Review report shows that U.S. business’ training expenditures rose yet again, despite the stagnant economy, slow recovery, and mostly flat employment figures.

“The economic roller coaster ride continues, but training appears to be on an upswing: Total 2011 U.S. training expenditures—including payroll and spending on external products and services—jumped 13 percent to $59.7 billion, according to Training magazine’s 2011 Training Industry Report. Some 32 percent of respondents reported that their training budget increased—up from 24 percent last year. Likewise, training payroll increased substantially, from $25.7 billion to $31.3 billion, and spending on outside products and services jumped more than $2 billion to $9.1 billion.”

• In his e-learning year-in-review blog post, Tony Bates looks back at some of the new companies and services entering the field, and gives a little forecast of what he expects to see, particularly at higher-learning institutions, happen in 2012.

“However, not only is there more competition, but views are changing about the desired features of an LMS. In particular, there are increasing efforts by the LMS organizations to incorporate social media, to enable mobile access, and to enable institutions to make their content ‘open’ from within an LMS. Some institutions are getting sick of continuous and costly upgrades and migration, and are taking care to ensure that any content created is easily exportable so that the institution does not become platform dependent.”

• Allison Rosset, writing on the Human Capital Exchange’s blog poses some important questions for managers preparing to roll out a new online training course. Do your employees understand why the new information is important? Are they interested? Do they have access to the right technology?

“What are you going to do about your NO answers? If you ignore them, you could deliver e-learning, blended learning, podcasts, e-coaching, scenarios, gamification, performance support, and social networks and discover that they are sometimes groovy and always risky . . . Without analysis, technology will not make a dent in the problem or advance the opportunity. People will blame the technology, but you will know better, much better.”

• Business coach Jonathan Farrington has a pretty funny blog post featuring tips for running better, more efficient, and more interesting sales meetings. His advice relates pretty directly to a lot of e-learning and training strategies.

“Explain the objectives and always ‘sell’ the objectives by providing the team with good reasons why each item has been placed on the agenda. It is likely that you will want to discuss performance(s) since the last meeting and it is essential that you highlight success. Whatever you do never, ever, hand out criticism en bloc because that is the most morale sapping thing you can ever do. Rather deal with sub-standard performance one to one. However, do feel free to deliver collective praise in copious amounts whenever appropriate.”

• The Boston Globe reported earlier this week the recipients of over $11 million in state grants to businesses to help pay for employee training programs. Lots of states and counties and cities offer similar training grants, so it’s worth looking into if your company is looking for ways to pay for new training initiatives.

“Nearly 140 Massachusetts companies have been awarded $11.4 million in grants from the state’s Workforce Training Fund this year, the Patrick administration announced yesterday. Employers estimate that the grants will create 1,700 new jobs and train 13,000 workers in areas ranging from robotics to customer service to injection molding.”

Image used under Creative Commons by Flickr user LaMenta3.