6 minute read

The Disconnect That’s Tanking Enterprise L&D ROI

Caleb Shull

Former Copywriter

There’s a fundamental disconnect within most enterprise L&D budgets that’s seriously limiting the success of many teams. It’s probably one of the single biggest potential efficiency gains that most teams could achieve, if it can be identified and corrected. Put simply: the modalities that teams are investing their software budgets into are not the areas where most teams get the most value out of training operations.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what that disconnect is, why it arose, and what kind of changes teams can make in order to make the most of their limited resources for enterprise L&D software.

The Split: Classroom Training vs. Self-Paced Learning

Don’t get us wrong. Self-paced learning is an incredibly important modality. Companies around the world can use this highly-flexible modality to deliver large amounts of training to large amounts of learners without the hassle of creating and executing on classroom events. That’s probably why such a vast ecosystem of software geared towards self-paced learning exists on the market – there are thousands of options available for an organization’s LMS, LXP, content management systems, etc.

But here’s the truth. In Administrate’s experience, about 80% of all training is not self-paced. Classroom learning, whether in a real classroom or a virtual one, still accounts for the vast majority of the value that training teams generate, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

In plenty of fields, hands-on learning with an instructor present isn’t just a luxury, it’s absolutely essential. Whether it’s training nurses in how to operate delicate and highly specialized medical equipment, or providing safety instruction to machinists on how to manage potentially dangerous tools, sometimes there’s just no substitute for live access to an instructor.

And yet, despite the enduring need for high-value classroom training, Administrate sees just the opposite split in terms of where companies are investing their software budgets. The overwhelming majority of software budgets in enterprise L&D go towards tools that primarily facilitate self-paced learning, i.e. by focusing on content delivery and user management.

Simply put, the conventional market wisdom that has lead CLOs to invest heavily in online training is disconnected from the reality that in-person classroom learning is and will be a critical part of most business’s L&D operations for a long time. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just an overall failure of the market to anticipate how training teams’ needs would actually develop.

Let’s dig a little deeper and assess why these skewed priorities developed.

Where The Disconnect Arises

Fundamentally, it’s just easier to address problems that arise in the world of self-paced learning. That’s not to say that problems related to content delivery don’t have complex and often interlocking challenges, but, for the most part, the industry developed good strategies for addressing those challenges years ago. The barrier to entry to develop and market a tool like an LMS is fairly low, and therefore the market is heavily saturated with tools that deliver content to learners.

A much higher barrier to entry exists for tools that assist with the back-end management of training operations – and this is why there are relatively few tools available in the enterprise L&D space that provide this kind of service. At the end of the day, organizations invest in what they know about – and the market is so dominated by tools aimed at self-paced learning that managerial tools fall by the wayside.

For example – consider the problem of scheduling. Classroom training involves enormous logistical hurdles simply because physical resources have to line up in the same place at the same time in order for the training event to work. Calendars for instructors, learners, equipment, and locations are obvious starters, but the situation gets even more complicated than that.

How do you work in the schedule for a third-party catering company providing services to a multi-day event? How do you accommodate something like a representative from an outside vendor there to supervise training on their company’s equipment? How do you prevent double-booking of something like an expensive simulator, and by the same token, how do you maximize the uptime of that simulator to achieve the best value-for-money on its investment?

Questions related to scheduling are what computer science calls optimization problems – how do we take various constraints and find not just a working solution, but the best possible solution?. These problems are very difficult to solve efficiently, even for computers, which makes the barrier for entry to create a scheduling software much higher than for something like an LMS – which means options are limited and investment is curtailed.

The Importance Of Investing In Classroom Training

Investments in self-paced learning are far from useless. They’ve produced enormous returns for companies over the past several years, and have enabled innovative new approaches to learner engagement. But with the market as saturated as it is, and the pace of innovation in the LMS space slowing down, organizations would be wise to redirect their investments into optimizing classroom training.

Scheduling and resource management are the largest areas with potential for efficiency gains that are specific to classroom learning, but there are many areas where more efficient management of training could pay dividends. Reducing the manual work involved in booking courses and learner registrations, for example, is another. Simplifying and streamlining the management of training data could also lead to optimizations in high-value classroom training settings. Something as simple as having the data to correlate instructors with the courses that they have the most success in teaching can go a long way towards improving the learner experience.

The takeaway is simple: if classroom training is here to stay, and it most certainly is in many critical industries, then it’s time to make serious investments in improving the logistical and managerial obstacles that are impeding its efficiency. Enterprise L&D cannot afford to continue misaligning its software investments with the reality of where it’s generating value.

At Administrate, we’re passionate about investing in the backend infrastructure to manage and streamline classroom learning at the enterprise L&D level. To learn more, visit our Enterprise Leaders page to get a glimpse into what training professionals can do using the Administrate platform.

Caleb Shull was a Former Copywriter at Administrate.


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