Training providers go through huge change. The reasons are clear. Long term trends such as digital transformation and remote working have been accelerated by Covid-19.
This article was published in March 2021. The world has evolved since, so I updated it to reflect the current situation.
Impact of trends on training businesses
Digital transformation impacts all organisations including the field of learning. Whether it is the way we learn or the reporting of its impact.
Globalisation lowers the threshold to enter new geographical markets. This is both a threat and an opportunity. You can expand your training delivery to other geographical markets and new competitors will also come onto your market.
Remote working trends are enabled using (video) meeting technologies. They take away the need for travel and gathering people into one physical location for work and training. Clearly Covid-19 has increased the acceptance and use of this.
The impact on training companies is obvious; if you want to grow your training business, you need to embrace all options for training delivery including Classroom, Virtual-Instructor Led Training (V-ILT), Blended and Online.
All four training delivery strategies have a place in your product portfolio and with the above-mentioned trends gaining momentum, blended and online learning will take a bigger share. We already see big improvements in quality of e-learning and blended learning. More training providers are experimenting with blended training and increasing their profitability.
Three things will happen in the next three years:
- The competitive landscape in the UK is changing. Foreign companies who provide their training in English are reaching customers in the UK. Domestic companies who have created online and blended training now deliver UK wide and abroad.
Mergers & acquisitions have already made an impact. Many smaller businesses have become part of bigger entities with more resources to create blended and online training.
There is a lesson for smaller training companies. Create online content and get a delivery platform to build value in your business and improve your retirement plan.
- Training companies will provide all modes of delivery. Classroom, V-ILT, Blended and Online. Cater for all your possible customers in the way they want to learn. Adapt delivery to your customers’ needs. Include mobile and productise your course creation. Make re-usable content that can be customised and re-branded.
- The thresholds to developing these blended and online training experiences will lower significantly. Currently, online design skills and resource to create the learning journeys are the biggest obstacles. However, both these challenges will be overcome with the use of AI enabled technologies and because these skills will become more widely available. Outsourcing content creation also has become more affordable.
What is the impact on your training business?
To deliver blended and online learning you will need an authoring tool and a delivery platform. The learning platform market is very crowded and that makes it difficult to find your exact fit. You should make the effort though. As well as the right platform making your life a lot easier, the wrong platform can cost you a lot of time, money and frustration. Make sure your chosen technologies can integrate to create a seamless experience for the customer.
The skills you need to invest in are about blended and online course design and creation. Aside from course designers, authors, administrators and your trainers, make sure to involve your marketing and sales team.
It can cost 10 times the amount creating an online course than a classroom course. Adopting new technology, creating online and blended courses involves a higher upfront cost. The good news is that blended and online are cheaper to deliver and are variable costs instead of fixed. Think not only about licensing investments but also the time it takes to create the content and learning journeys. Training costs or outsourcing the work.
It is clear that if you want your training business to survive, you have to be willing to adapt to the new digitalisation of training. The thing about change however, is that it represents great opportunity. For those, willing and able to adapt, the future is bright.
To help you start your journey towards blended learning, we recommend the ‘Blended Learning Cookbook’. This e-book gives you a step-by-step guide to help you set up your own blended training. To find out more and download you free copy click the button below!
Jan Jilis van Delsen
CEO of Inmisceo Ltd