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Monday, September 08, 2008

Training Method Trends

Steve Wexler who runs eLearningGuild research has been producing some really interesting information recently. All of the data comes from surveys to the eLearningGuild membership (which is more than 30,000) and typically they have 2,000 - 3,000 respondents on surveys which is large enough to get pretty good indications.

He recently provided me some information about what learning delivery methods were being used and particularly if they were trending up or down. The way he did it was by assigning scores to responses that were - Often, Sometimes, Rarely, Never. So, if you see a 4.5 that means that people were between often and sometimes. A 2 is between Rarely and Sometimes. It's a bit complicated, but it effectively judges the trend - not necessarily the amount.

So here's the graph showing all of the trending information ...

Training Method Changes

Increase Decrease Training Methods

Some things that jump out at me:
Prediction #8 => Serious Games - Seriously Sorry, Not for You

They will continue to get talked about A LOT. And people will continue to be interested and excited. Likely YOU will get to attend a session on them. But YOU won't get to build one, or buy one, or participate in one.
  • While I'm claiming victory on my predictions, might as well point out that mobile learning also showed a big drop which lines up with another prediction from the beginning of the year (Prediction #5 => Mobile Learning - Continued Scattered Examples and Disappointment). I actually believe that mobile delivery will become more important over the next few years, but the form of it will be web access, not specialized mobile learning applications. That likely will make the numbers around a term like mobile learning a bit problematic. If someone can get to your online reference (stored on a wiki) through their smart phone's browser, is that mobile learning?
  • Big winners: Communities of Practice, Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts. Warning that on Blogs and Podcasts, the numbers are so low that any adoption looks bigger than it really is. However, that's still impressive. And I would expect that Wikis will continue to grow - actually my guess is that this is the fastest growing item over the next couple of years.
  • What was my biggest surprise - online mentoring / tutoring shows a drop. What? How can that be. There is so much more of these kinds of systems being created. There is so much more informal learning through these techniques. I'm glad I didn't predict those trends at the beginning of the year. I would have been wrong.
Corporate Training Methods

But what about in corporate training? What are the trends for methods in corporate learning? How do they possibly differ from overall trends shown above? Here's the graphs for corporate (non-Government, non-Education) training methods:

Surprisingly little difference between Corporate and Overall in terms of the training method trends. A few notes:
  • Virtual Labs - which certainly are used a lot in distance IT training, show no drop off here as compared to a 4.8% drop overall.
  • EPSS shows a small increase as compared to a drop overall.
Training Methods in Corporations 500+

Often the size of the corporation makes a differences, so what about when we only look at corporations above 500 employees?

Again, this is pretty close to overall, but a few differences:
  • Blogs, Podcasts, Communities of Practice, and Wikis have jumped even more in larger corporations than in smaller corporations.
Training Methods in Education

How does this compare to Education?

Again pretty close. Some differences:
  • Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) show greater increase in education - good luck with that. I wonder what could be behind undertaking things that have been so problematic in the past and seem to have lost out to emergent knowledge capture solutions.
  • In-person tutoring/mentoring shows a drop in education while it shows an increase in overall and corporate. This is a surprise to me. I don't even have a guess why you would see a drop in education both for in-person and online tutoring and mentoring. That seems like a really bad trend.
  • Look at mobile learning in education. 23.5% drop!
  • Games, EPSS, Simuations also dropping fast in education.
I also noticed that education is showing more dropping and corporations are showing more increasing. Not sure what to make of that?

Training Methods in Government

How about with Government?

Some notes on Government training method trends:
  • Online mentoring in Government shows a big increase. This is what I expected overall. I don't get this.
  • Classroom instruction is trending up even faster in Government.
  • Simulations are trending up in Government.
  • Wikis are almost flat - weird - especially given some of the well known government case studies around use of Wikis.
  • Synchronous eLearning is trending down? What?

Questions I have:
  • Why is online tutoring / mentoring showing a drop overall? And why are both online and in-person tutoring / mentoring dropping in Education? And why is Government trending up in both and especially in online?
  • Why is education showing more stuff trending down than corporate?
  • Why aren't Wikis showing a bigger jump in Government?
  • And what's the deal with synchronous eLearning dropping in Government?

Keywords: Conference Calls, In-person mentoring/tutoring, Online References, Online Assessments and Testing, KMS, Learning Content Management (LCMS), Knowledge Management, Portals, Print-based materials, Video Broadcasts, EPSS, e-mail, Chat rooms, Instant Messaging.


Anonymous said...

Interesting statistics as I consider starting more e-development with Moodle. Thanks for the great post!

V Yonkers said...

I have two questions/insights into the education. First, who answered theses questions, the institutional representative or members of e-learning guild? If they were members of the guild, I am surprised although it could be that they are getting less support from the institution so they are dropping some of the technologies. If it is from the institutions, many colleges are cutting back on their support for new technologies so individual professors/instructors are using "free" technologies.

Tony Karrer said...

Answers come from Guild members.

Anonymous said...

An interesting collection of statistics. While I understand that these are trends and well indicated as such, there are some statistics in here that may be misleading without knowing the actual volumes/numbers. By way of example, a shift of 50% in something that was only 1% to start with may only show piloting and playing rather than real shifts. That's an extreme case but there may be instances where it is relevant.

Regarding some of the downward shifts - I think there are some significant resource constraints at play in some sectors.

Many of the anomalies (downward mobile in education - who mainly used it for administrative purposes if you don't count podcasts) are, I believe, attributable to dysfunctional content models. If you have to author multiple times to reuse content (ie LMS delivered content then mobile delivered content) then it won't work. Many different instances and constraints in that space alone. There are some interesting discussions in LETSI right now that are relevant to some of the statistics.

Don't want to make too big a response so will leave it there, but there are some very interesting discussions that could be had around these stats.

Great post. Thanks

Cua hang banh ngot ABC said...

Tks so much. Interesting and clear statistics.

Steve Wexler said...

Tony and Allyn,

I'm happy to supply the volume for each industry (Tony, I'll send a chart if you want).

Regarding confusing government trends, of the 2,997 members that have updated their modality profiles in the past 365 days...

99 are in federal government
62 are in state government
32 are in local government

Member in State government -- and *especially* in Local government -- drag the numbers down quite a bit. For example, Wiki usage in local government is 0.56 vs 1.16 in Federal government.

BTW, the Guild offers a live version this stuff that you can manipulate yourself. We've not published the trend data in live format because it's really, really slow. But the "what are members using now" works nicely.


Steve Wexler said...


I'm very gratified by the post and *really* appreciate the analysis, but I'm not sure you can claim victory on the serious games prediction just yet. Please see

Steve Wexler
Director of Research and Emerging Technologies
The eLearning Guild

V Yonkers said...

Is it possible that educational institutions are moving to hybrid (blended) learning models which would make online tutoring redundant? I am not surprised that local governments are preparing their workers less than federal. Many of the costs associated with the economic down turns are coming at the local level. I think this is an indication of companies and local officials dealing with the economic downturn by not using technology they may regard as "risky" investments.

Richard Koffler said...

Good short-term prediction on serious games. By and large, today they are solutions looking for the right problems. The current cost to develop an efficacious serious game is very high. Serious games by companies like Alelo are doing well because they are getting serious funding by the USDOD to perfect the science, engineering and instructional design needed to solve very specific problems (in Alelo's case, teach warfighters how to communicate in foreign languages and cultures). We're a short number of years away, however, from seeing authoring tools for economically developing efficacious serious 3-D games.

D Starr said...

Is the education industry for the staff with in the organization or for the students?

Tony Karrer said...

When it says Education - that means that it's an eLearningGuild member who identifies that they work in that industry. Thus, it would be both for staff and for students. I realize that likely distorts since creating for staff probably acts much more like Corporate Learning and for students quite different.

Anonymous said...

Very good information, especially the government trends. I noticed the averages are differnet - how were these determined?

Tony Karrer said...

Average is the average across the data points for all of the people matching that selection criteria. So, gov vs. corp will have different averages.

Kris said...

I saw that you offerred to provide a chart showing the volumes for each government industry to Tony. Would it be possible to send the same information to me? Thank you.