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Learning Executives’ Confidence Stabilizes in 4th Quarter of 2009

January 26, 2010 11:01 by Kristen Fyfe
Learning executives continue to be optimistic about the outlook and expectations for the learning function according to the latest measurement by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). The Learning Executive Confidence Index (LXCI) for the fourth quarter of 2009 remained stable after significant growth across the second and third quarters. The current LXCI surveyed 271 learning executives about their expectations in four areas: impact on corporate performance; ability to meet learning needs; status as a key strategic component; and availability of resources. It is modeled on the CEO Confidence Indices reported by Chief Executive Magazine and The Conference Board.

Learning executives (LXs) revealed plateauing scores in key indices in the fourth quarter, suggesting a continued sense of optimism in most key areas. The overall LXCI decreased only 0.5 points in the fourth quarter, from 60.7 to 60.2. The LXCI is measured on a 100-point scale. Outsourcing is anticipated to increase, with 25.1 percent of LXs reporting that their utilization of external providers would increase, compared to 24.2 percent in the third quarter of 2009 and 17 percent in the second quarter. The effects of the economy continue to be evident among LXs, as a significant majority indicates the current economic conditions will impact the learning function. Conversely, only a small proportion (9.9 percent) of LXs indicates it will have no impact on the learning function in the next six months.

Other highlights of the LXCI for fourth quarter 2009 include:

• Two of the four major indices (impact on corporate performance and status as a key strategic component) decreased slightly in Q4, while the other two (ability to meet learning needs and availability of resources) registered only minor increases. This pattern highlights that expectations are stabilizing after reaching their highest on record in the third quarter.

• Nearly three-quarters of LXs anticipated funding for workplace learning to increase or remain the same in the next six months, an increase from the third quarter.

• A majority of LXs who anticipated a decrease in their learning expenditures over the next six months predicted an improvement in their organization’s learning and development expenditure from the third quarter of 2011 onwards.

ASTD’s Learning Executive Confidence Index was launched in August 2008 and is designed to assess the outlooks and expectations of learning executives for the next six months.

To find out more about the LXCI, go to http://www.astd.org/content/research/LXCI.htm.

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