Continuing Ed Trends

TD Industry Report Insights

continuing education

The Association for Talent Development (TD) recently released their State of the Industry report tracking trends across the training industry. While this research is presented from a corporate training point of view, it’s important for associations to understand where their programs and services fit within this snapshot of the continuing education of workforces.

Let’s take a look at four factors that impact associations.

The Money

Corporate expenditures on learning increased for the fourth consecutive year. How does that break down?

  • 61.65% Internal Training: This portion of the budget is dedicated to the staff, facilities, technologies, and training development costs delivered in-house.
  • 27.57% Outsourced Training: This refers to money spent hiring consultants, licensing content, hiring external organizations to develop content, workshops and training programs by outside providers. Often delivered in-house.
  • 10.78% Tuition Reimbursement: These budget dollars cover university programs, community college and local continuing education programs, certification and continuing professional education offered by associations as well as CE companies.

Insight: Association continuing education represents a fraction of the smallest pie slice in corporate training budgets.

Discuss with your team:

  • How can we position our program offerings to win a greater share?
  • How can we partner with academic institutions?
  • How can we re-frame our content delivery or content licensing to get our programs inside corporate walls?

The Content

The top five content priorities on average for corporations developing their workforces are: management/supervisory training, compliance, internal business practices, industry specific training, and new-hire onboarding. A majority of the remaining priorities are company specific, although executive development and interpersonal skills do round out the list.

Insight: Association continuing education typically operates outside of what employers desire for developing their employees.

Discuss with your team:

  • How could our leadership development and industry specific training complement what corporations are offering to attract their investment?
  • How could we better align our programs with business goals to attract their investment?
  • How can we feature what we are offering in the gaps that can address deeper needs within these content priorities that organizations may not have budget to invest in (so invest in us!)?
  • How can we better position our appeal to individual professionals knowing what corporations are offering/not offering for their career development?

The Formats

Technology-based learning continues to rise, now exceeding instructor-lead training (ILT). Because of the investment required, large organizations do lead the way incorporating learning technologies with tech industry companies leading that segment by a substantial margin. Training Magazine‘s industry report notices this same shift. Where are we seeing the greatest increases?

  • Online courses – both live and self-paced asynchronous learning
  • Virtual learning – live remote networked classrooms
  • Mobile learning – designed for and delivered on devices

Insight: Digital learning is outpacing face-to-face learning across workforces.

Discuss with your team:

  • How must we prepare to meet the digital learning demand to remain a content authority within the industry we represent?
  • How could we embrace virtual learning as an opportunity to increase the reach and impact of our programming?
  • How could we leverage online learning in partnership with industry?

The L&D Team

Not only are corporate training budgets growing, but their payroll budget for qualified learning and development staff has grown to approximately $37 billion in the US. Organizations are spending the money required to recruit and retain instructional designers, learning architects, developers, and learning leaders to ensure the efficacy of their programs.

Insight: There are professionals specifically trained to design learning and corporations are investing in that talent to ensure learning happens.

Discuss with your team:

  • If we do not have at least one instructional designer on our staff (FTE or consultant), what are we going to do about that?
  • How can we ensure programs developed by members meet instructional design best practices?
  • What steps can we take to upskill our team to coach faculty delivering our programs?

The TD State of the Industry report offers several key insights for associations seeking to remain competitive in the continuing education market. As the needs of workforces shift, associations have an opportunity to anticipate ways to grow their influence — and impact.

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