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Dave Evans


Managing Director

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Survey Results: Key trends in the training industry


As a training software supplier, it is critical to continuously find out more about how training companies undertake their key business processes and the influence of automation within the training industry. We conducted a recent survey to gauge the current trends in the industry today.

The survey was carried out with a selection of training companies across different markets including finance, IT, management and health and safety. The size varied from those offering under 2,500 courses per year to those running upwards of 10,000 which included eLearning, classroom courses and blended learning. Key offerings were short courses, managed service, apprenticeships and distance learning.

Areas explored in the survey include:

  • Key challenges
  • Marketing courses
  • Administration methods

The results highlighted current key challenges and predictions for the year ahead as well as the methods training companies use to manage and administer courses. There were some interesting findings although it wasn’t surprising to notice that many training organisations overlook the power of digital tools. This post explores the findings from the survey and outlines some of the common practices and challenges within the training industry.

5 key findings from the survey:

  1. One in three training companies identified increasing costs as one of their key challenges for running a successful training business in 2015

When asked to identify the key challenges their business faced in 2015 and those that they think will continue into 2016, one in three training companies stated that they are worried about increasing costs. Despite this over 77% of respondents expect turnover to be greater in 2016 than it was in 2015. Other causes for concern included increasing competition, lack of business visibility and lack of employee resources.

  1. 70% of training companies stated that their main focus in 2015 was face to face training

Many companies expressed their focus on face to face training with in-house training and open courses remaining extremely popular. We asked if they planned to change their approach in 2016 and approximately 70% of companies said their focus on in-house training will remain the same. Additionally, approximately 50% of training companies stated they had no focus on eLearning or even blended learning in 2015 however the results highlighted that focus on eLearning is likely to increase in 2016. 

  1. Most training companies depend on on referrals or their reputation as a marketing tool to promote their courses

It is true that naturally occurring word-of-mouth can be extremely effective in promoting your business. However, it is equally important not to overlook the adapting world of marketing which is surrounded by social media and e-campaigns. Less than 10% of training companies use online tools such as social media, SEO or e-campaigns. With over a third of respondents expecting increasing competition to be a key challenge in 2016 relying on referrals is not enough.

  1. The training industry still relies on manual administration processes, paper feedback forms and standalone spreadsheets

It is clear that manual administration processes dominate the delivery of training as almost 70% of training companies distribute paper feedback forms at the end of the course (this infographic looks at the the key differences between paper based and automated evaluation). It was also found that almost half of the training companies surveyed, use spreadsheets to manage their training courses. Additionally, around 60% stated that they do not offer online booking systems.

  1. A third of training companies are not confident in their business intelligence

One in three companies admitted that the system they are currently does not provide them with enough business intelligence to make informed decisions. Additionally, approximately 36% of training companies stated that they are considering an automated system for the future and 30% indicating that they already use an automated system.

How do you measure up?

Having worked within the training arena for over 15 years it was extremely interesting to see the current issues faced by many companies within the industry. It was even more interesting to note that pain points have not shifted much from back then with time heavy training administration and gaining business intelligence being recognised as the biggest resource drain.  

I am always interested to find out more about business processes and insights into the administration methods used to delivery training experiences and the direction that the industry is headed. These results give a good indication of the current situation throughout the industry and some of the key trends for 2016 and I will be interested to find out how these trends unfold over the next year.

If any readers are interested in these results or can relate to these findings, I would love to hear from you.

Additionally, if you are currently experiencing any of the pains and challenges mentioned above and are looking for a way to streamline your administration processes download free 10 ways to automate your training business whitepaper. 

Author Profile Picture
Dave Evans

Managing Director

Read more from Dave Evans

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