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15 - ASTD Survey Highlights Training Patterns By Sector

1. We rarely endorse a piece of software. But, I found one that has changed my approach to writing, design and planning. MindMan is an inexpensive (under $100) application that embodies the "mind-mapping" approach to laying out information. You can use it to take notes in a non-linear fashion, to build a course outline in a non-sequential order and to look at the whole picture of a concept or project.

The best example that I can give is our actual use of this software. Take a look at our TechLearn '98 Planning Guide in this format: This version lives on our intranet and has internal drill down for text and links. This grid has allowed the key planners to build our curriculum in a non-linear, deeply visual fashion. I am also using it for course planning and meeting note taking. The software can be downloaded from the developers and tested. Their site is

2. ASTD Survey Highlights Training Patterns By Sector: In The 1998 ASTD State of the Industry Report, ASTD reports what recent research reveals about companies' investment in workplace learning and the effect that has on performance. The data are from ASTD's Human Performance Practices Survey, conducted recently in partnership with the Times Mirror Training Group, Development Dimensions International, the Forum Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Data was collected from 540 randomly selected firms with 50 or more employees. Industry-by-industry highlights from the survey include:

Extraction and construction -- These are the mining, oil exploration and extraction companies; refineries; chemical plants; construction companies; contractors; and stone producers. These companies have few internal trainers and use a lot of apprenticeships and union-delivered training. They experienced notably improved performance in 1995 and 1996.

High technology -- These are pharmaceuticals; computer and communications manufacturers; biological and physical researchers; and software designers. These companies represent the leading edge in training, compensation, and quality practices. They have large internal training staffs and spend the most money per employee of any industry group. They also use learning technologies to deliver training more than other companies in other industry groups.

Finance, insurance and real estate -- These include banks and other credit institutions; insurance companies; securities brokers; and real estate companies. They spend a lot of money on training and have a lot of in-house trainers. They do a lot of computer, sales and product training and are heavy users of computer based training. Business services -- This is a diverse industry group made up of business- to-business and professional service companies. Possibly due to their diversity, they don't have consistent or exceptional practices, except for a larger-than-average use of computer based training and computer training.

Heavy manufacturing -- This industry group is comprised of metal fabricators; mills; foundries; and manufacturers of machines, including turbines, industrial equipment, motor vehicles and aircraft. They are complex workplaces with heavy use of high performance work practices, quality initiatives, and apprenticeships. A large portion of total training expenditure goes to external providers, including educational institutions. Heavy users of computer based training, these companies predict the largest increase in total and outside training expenditures.

Light manufacturing -- These are manufacturers of food and beverages; textiles; furniture; fabricated wood; plastics and medical instruments; and paper and pulp mills. These companies are most dependent on outsourcing, with the largest percentage of total training expenditure going outside and the second largest percentage of outside dollars per employee. Their use of delivery technologies isn't heavy, though they predict more use of computer based training and intranets in the future.

Transportation, communications and public utilities -- These are the power, water and gas utilities; trucking and warehousing companies; and telephone companies. With a lot of safety, technical, and customer service training, these companies have higher-than-average expenditures. They're characterized by leading-edge training practices and a high use of computer based training and other technologies.

Health care -- This industry is made up of hospitals; clinics; doctors' offices; and home care companies. They train a large number of employees in advanced work practices and safety and quality training. However, expenditures for training, and outside training in particular, are low. They seldom use delivery technologies for training, using instead non-training employees and product suppliers. As a whole, they have experienced performance problems and a recent decline in training expenditures.

Customer service -- These are the retail stores; restaurants; hotels; and other nonprofessional consumer services. These companies have a large percentage of part-time employees and low average salaries. They teach primarily customer service and orientation training. They have the lowest training expenditures of any group and are light consumers of outside
training services and training technologies.

SOURCE American Society for Training and Development

3. Registrations are now open for the 1998 On-Line Learning Conference, focused on the Business of On-Line Learning. If you are a developer or vendor of on-line learning training and learning materials this is an executive, interactive briefing and industry gathering. To be held in Seattle, Washington on March 30 and 31. Details are now on-line at

4. Correction: The correct URL for CBT Systems is

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