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Monday, July 19, 2010

Nascent thought about roles in learning

I went to my daughter's sports day last week - a classic of the reception class "involved-not-competitive and yet just a little competitive anyway" model. I was interested by the differing attitudes of the parents from the uber-coaching (some of whom had been out on the common with stop watches the previous evening I am told) to the completely laid back.

The following day I met with Teodora's reception class teacher, who is an absolute delight, for the end of year parents' evening chat. I was immediately taken back to something that she said to me earlier in the year... When I talked about how defensive my daughter can occasionally get when I correct her reading or writing or even gently model the correct form without even correcting, her teacher just laughed and said, "What on earth are you doing trying to teach your own child? I gave up on that long ago!"

I have recently been reading Martyn Sloman's ebook soon to be published at the Training Journal website and in amongst his nine principles, number three is "disregard anything that was written in the last century". Now he is being deliberately provocative and I am sure he is not getting rid of the whole "standing on the shoulders of giants" theme. But he does have a pop at the structured approach to learning. His suggestions for replacements are dependent on the context.

Which brings me to my thought. Is the future of learner creation - since that is what I think we should be about - dependent on surrounding learners with people or networks which perform a set of appropriate roles? I don't know what these roles will be but they might include (trust, productive communication, challenge and question, etc etc) In the same way that a child builds their own model of the world from the relationships of their family and immediate environment (father, mother, lover, friend) and the healthier the role models and the environment the healthier the eventual adult.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Size of UK market for employer L&D

I have been asked a lot recently by a number of clients for benchmarking data on the trends in learning and development. And I have to say the one trend that shows no sign of abating is the exponential growth of assertions unsupported by data...

So I thought I would share some thoughts, where possible supported by data. If anyone has better sources I'd love to hear about them.

Size of the UK market for employer L&D
There is a range of valuations here from IFLL's 2009 figure £2.95bn (which I think is a bit silly) through the CIPD's figure of £6.3bn, UKCES at £19bn to the CBI at £39bn.

Now some of the above are hard costs (cash) and some include soft costs (time off work) but non of them are particularly clear or consistent.

According to the ONS the UK's working population is currently just shy of 29 million. If you take a reasonable average spend per employee of £250 per annum you get £7.25bn.

What percentage of employer spend on L&D is outsourced or insourced? Well it's difficult to get any figures here for the UK but in the USA there are two sources: Bersin's Corporate Learning Factbook and the ASTD's Annual Industry Report. Interesting the the former thinks there is a trend towards insourcing where the latter thinks the opposite.

In the UK one figure I am fairly comfortable (as it comes from NIACE via HMRC) with is that the number of UK companies registered for VAT that describe themselves as training providers has doubled since 2000 to almost 13,000 . This does not necessarily mean that people have left employer L&D departments to set up on their own but it would correlate.

I think that this one is actually a revolving door as L&D departments grow and then are cut back when they get too big and flabby or the economic cycle turns against them.

One source that crops up constantly is the Keynote Industry Report which I gather was set up by some former Reed employees but I happen to find the Merlin Scott report more useful in that it casts its net a bit wider and has better financial analysis. That said you can find most of the information for free if you are prepared to look and it only costs £1 to download accounts from companies house.

That'll do for today. On another day we'll look at KPIs for training delivery.