What Kind of Training Does the Average Training Team Produce?

“Still in focus and adding group specific program such as leadership for women. Interpersonal skills such as emotional intelligence are gaining importance.”

Training Content

The most common training topics provided are role-specific skills, products and service knowledge, train-the-trainer, and leadership development.

  • Role-Specific Skills 70%
  • Products and Service Knowledge 59%
  • Train-the-Trainer 55%
  • Leadership Development 54%
What kind of training do you provide?

This was consistent with the training topics most covered by the top four industries represented by our respondents. Manufacturing, Educational & Training Services, Consulting & Professional Services, and Financial Services all reported those topics in their top four skills.

However, compliance training was in the top tier of topics for Associations, Construction, and Medical Devices & Pharmaceuticals. This reflects the role that industry regulations play in dictating training programs.

For many trainers, compliance training is a necessary priority because of their heavily-regulated industries

We further broke down our findings to see if remote learners affected the type of training produced. Whether a learning population is 100% remote or not remote at all, the most common trainings provided were role-specific skills, product knowledge, and train-the-trainer.

Trainers who didn’t have any remote learners, however, were more likely to provide compliance training than those who do.

Among our respondents, the vast majority of internal trainers provide leadership development or compliance training.

We also looked at how team size affects the type of training delivered. Smaller training teams are much more likely to provide leadership development and role-specific skills training. Larger training teams, however, are much more likely to provide customer training and product knowledge.

What kind of training does your team provide?

Blended Content

Every year, we ask respondents about how they deliver their training materials. As opposed to blended learning - which refers to delivering training in-person and virtually - we refer to a mix of print and digital delivery as blended content.

Currently, a little over one-third of companies make 100% of their training materials available as blended content. Another 60% offer some combination of their materials available. The number of trainers who don’t have any materials in blended format has gone down by half from last year, to 5%.

Compared to 2018, it is clear that more and more trainers are moving to a blended content format. 41% of trainers in 2018 hoped to provide between 25 and 75% of their content both print and digitally; in 2019, 60% have already accomplished this goal.

56% of trainers want to make all of their content available in both print and digital in the future.

How much of your training content do you provide in both print and digital format?

How much of your training content do you provide in both print and digital format (%)?

How much of your training content do you provide in both print and digital format (%)?

Training Methods

“It is evolving rapidly to keep up with added workflows. More avenues are needed to reach different based learners.”

The three stooges of face-to-face, self-paced virtual training, and instructor-led virtual training remain the most commonly-used methods by trainers. Last year’s surprise winner, coaching/mentoring, slid back into the top 5, though the majority of teams report it as a part of their delivery methods.

Despite many trainers sticking to their roots, almost all more informal methods received a 5-10 point bump compared to last year’s results.

What training methods does your department use?

There are a few factors that dictate delivery methods:

Typically, larger companies use face-to-face and e-learning training. This may reflect the reality of e-learning, which is expensive and time-intensive to make. Larger companies often have bigger budgets and more instructional design resources.

When comparing internal and external teams, internal trainers are more likely to utilize on-the-job training. This is most likely due to the nature of internal training, which lasts throughout the lifecycle of an employee, compared to external trainers who are typically providing limited-engagement training.

Conversely, external teams almost exclusively use instructor-led face-to-face training.

When looking at the percentage of remote workers and the type of training given, we found that there wasn’t any significant difference. For our respondents, at least, whether the team is in an office or scattered around the globe makes little difference.

Future Training Methods

“The ability for personalization of learning for employees is changing the way companies develop, organize and deploy their learning content.”

Each year, we ask participants what training methods they plan on implementing in the next two years (given that implementation cycles can take longer than a year). Here are the top 3 methods being implemented in 2020 and 2021:

Which of these methods are you planning on implementing for the first time in the next 2 years?

Custom Learning Paths

In past reports, the highest ranked training method to be implemented was microlearning. However, 2019 is the year of custom learning paths.

For reference, a custom learning path (also known as a personalized learning path) is a training plan that allows a learner to choose which training resources to use and when.

Perhaps reflecting the need for more focused, objective-driven training, custom learning paths were by far the most chosen to be implemented for the first time within the next two years. Of our respondents, 34% chose this.

Many teams have already implemented them, with 21% of trainers reporting that they use custom learning paths. Smaller teams are more likely to leverage this, along with virtual training.

Virtual/Augmented Reality Simulation Experiences

Last year, about 10% of our respondents expected to implement virtual or augmented reality (VR and AR). This has now more than doubled to 24%.

Still, VR and AR remain elusive to all but the largest and most forward-thinking teams. About 7% of our respondents currently leverage either virtual or augmented reality.

Left: Do you currently use VR/AR? Right: Do you plan to implement VR/AR?

Larger teams continue to spearhead the race towards virtual/augmented reality. About one-third of teams larger than 10 are looking into virtual reality as a way to train. Of these teams, internal trainers are more likely to try to implement it. About 26% of internal trainers are interested in using virtual/augmented reality in the future, compared to 18% of external trainers.

Self-Paced Virtual Training

Of all the training methods currently used, this is the second most commonly leveraged. About 63% of trainers currently use self-paced virtual training.

This is also the third highest training method that trainers would like to implement in the next two years (21%). Smaller companies are most likely to be setting their sights on self-paced virtual training, with 34% planning on implementing it for the first time in the next two years. (Additionally, 37% of small companies plan to implement instructor-led virtual training in the next two years.) This indicates that the virtual training, which can be resource-exhaustive in its demands for instructional design and technical infrastructure, is becoming more accessible to companies with fewer resources.

While internal teams are turning towards virtual/augmented reality for their training, external teams are experimenting with virtual training and reinforcement exercises.