As a part of my research, I wanted to take a broad look at how companies in the U.S. are spending their training budgets. I came across the work of Bernsin & Associates who publishes a yearly report “The Corporate Learning Factbook 2011: Benchmarks, Trends and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market.” This document has a lot of good data on the trends in corporate training. The study found that the technology sector led the rebound in investment in corporate training spending in 2010, increasing spending on learning and development an average 16 percent more than in the prior year. Increases in spending were also made by healthcare, retail and manufacturing firms while, not surprisingly, banking and government were among the sectors continuing to scale back their programs (average cuts of four to six percent).
I found the following very interesting: Thirty percent of U.S. companies spent money in 2010 on informal learning tools or services, with large companies making some of the biggest investments. In closing I'll highlight this quote from the report that will help guide the next stages of my research: "Companies generally recognize that most learning is informal and learner-initiated. As a result, many forward-thinking L&D [learning and development] organizations are shifting their focus away from company-driven, formal learning programs to support the natural flow of learning across the organization through social and informal learning environments." For more information about the report, a link to the executive summary can be found by clicking here.