What Kept Training Managers Awake in 2012?

So what kept training managers awake during 2012? What challenges they have been facing? During last year I was fortunate enough to be in touch with training managers of various companies in India. While not statistically conclusive, here are some general trends I noticed from my various conversations.
  • Cost: Almost all training managers are pressurized to show some cost savings. Mostly this is resulting in passing on pressure to reduce costs on their training vendors. Cost seems to be their single biggest challenge these days.
  • Uncertain Business Environment: There’s a constant challenge in planning the training for the year. The business environment has a great deal of uncertainty. The hiring is unpredictable making it harder to plan even the induction batches. There pressure of get trained resources on projects, putting pressure on training managers to schedule training with practically no notice.
  • Training Effectiveness: Many training managers spoke about showing training effectiveness. This seems to be the biggest “ask” from training partners. How can they show effectiveness of training to their senior management?

What I didn’t find in my conversations with them:
  • Elearning, Blended Learning: Perhaps I was talking to “Training Managers”, perhaps most companies I spoke with were large and already have elearning libraries, I am not sure why but I didn’t find elearning as a strategic initiative while speaking with training managers. Most want it, or have it, but it was not clear to me how it was being used as a key initiative to drive down costs in the overall learning strategy. In most cases there was no linkage between elearning available and the training plans and goals in the company, or how to blend it with classroom training.
  • Social Learning: Still too early for this. It didn’t get a mention even as a buzz word in our conversations. I am fortunate to be working on a project for a government department involving social learning where we are experimenting with using Facebook for social learning. Unfortunately this is not something I found being used in corporate customers, inspite of the LMSs and Corporate Virtual Universities.
  • Mobile Learning: It’s still at the stage of “management fad”. Most training managers don’t really care about this much, though still want to see some “proof of concept”. My guess is “mobile learning” and “social learning” are likely to take off together whenever they do.