(From Human Resource Executive Online) -- According to the 2010 State of the Industry Report just released by the Alexandria, Va.-based American Society for Training and Development, 37 percent of training hours involved electronic technology in 2009; 28 percent of training was done online, up from 23 percent in 2008.
By comparison, in 2002, only 15 percent of the 304 companies surveyed used electronic technology to deliver formal training.
Meanwhile, live, face-to-face interaction is down to 59 percent, says Pat Galagan, ASTD executive editor. "There is a lot of blended electronic and classroom. It's a general trend."
Despite a total drop in training expenditures, the ASTD says it is encouraged by the continuing high level of investment in job training by U.S. companies, despite the recession.
Companies surveyed invested $126 billion in job training in 2009. While that is a decrease of 6 percent from 2008, the average cost-per-employee remained stable -- increasing very slightly, by 1 percent -- because there was a smaller work force.
In addition, learning expenditures accounted for a slightly larger percentage of corporate revenue and profit.
"The findings ... clearly demonstrate that executives and business leaders know their investments in employee learning and development are keys to survival, recovery and future growth," says ASTD president and CEO Tony Bingham.
Galagan says it's not unusual for training expenditures to "remain stable despite the recession". When the workforce is cut, the employees that remain are doing more and often have to be trained in new areas.
In addition, in bad times, companies often opt to make a "rapid change in direction" or business model, which "requires a change in skills for everybody," she says.
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