Sunday, April 1

April Big Question - ILT and Off-the-Shelf Vendors – What Should They Do?

Like many industries today, there are significant changes going on for Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Off-the-Shelf Content Vendors today. In recent conversations with different vendors, they cited a variety of pressures that are making their situations increasingly difficult:

On Demand: Customers want to have both up-front training and on-demand materials. However, on-demand materials are perceived to be similar in form to what’s freely available through search.

Smaller Increments: Customers want to purchase training in smaller increments to minimize time away for learning. This causes several problems for ILT and Content Vendors. Scheduling courses in smaller sessions distributed over days or weeks often interferes with a vendors' ability to delivery ILT on-site because the trainer is booked for consecutive days in class. It’s also not clear what pricing models work for these kinds of approaches.

Rates: Rates for people continue to go up, while price points do not. Vendor prices are not likely to increase as additional training options continue to increase ways in which people can learn.

Courseware Quality: Higher quality courseware (simulations, interactive, referenceable, etc.) is more expensive to produce and it is hard to get that expense back from customers unless there’s significant volume. Further, it is often more out of sync with customer demand because of time-to-market issues. This environment makes it easier to justify PowerPoint plus audio type courseware, but customers are never satisfied with the quality.

New Competitors
: If you're in IT - Microsoft and other vendors like to give away training, or bundle it with their software sales. If you are in productivity training, there are excellent resources available for free online around systems like “Getting Things Done” (GTD).

The bottom line is that many vendors are struggling to determine their direction moving forward. And likely, this is not that far away from some of the same struggles faced by services groups inside organizations.

So, this month, The Big Question is...

ILT and Off-the-Shelf Vendors – What Should They Do?

Please answer this question by posting to your own blog or commenting on this post.
(For further help in how to participate via blog posts, see the side bar.)

Points to Consider:
  • What do you believe will be blends that will be succsseful both for learners and from a business model standpoint? In other words, what’s the mix of offerings that can command a high enough price and produced at a cost where the vendor can be profitable?

  • How can ILT providers integrate alternative delivery methods for live training when their trainer resources are often on the road or "in-class" during business hours?

  • Are there other business opportunities to leverage the core competencies and assets of these providers?

  • In today’s world when many referenceable resources are available online to the learner, what is the right model?

  • Is this all hopeless in a Do-It-Yourself world? Should they all get out of the business now?

Participating Blogs:

The Big Question for April has been closed. If you'd still like to submit your post to the April Big Question, please contact the Blogmeister by using the Dear Blogmeister form found at the link at the top of the sidebar or by clicking here.

Jacob McNulty


The Future of Vendors - New Strategies Needed

Dave Lee


Buggy Whip Makers

Adele Lim

learning & development

Apr Big Q: ILT & Off-the-shelf vendors - What should they do?

Ray Sims

Sims Learning Connections

ILT and Off-the-Shelf Vendors – What To Do?

Frank Girolami

The FPG Notepad

April's Big Question

Claudia Escribano


Thinking about BIG Questions

Guy W Wallace

The Pursuing Performance Blog

The Big Question - ILT and Off-the-Shelf Vendors – What Should They Do?

Karl Kapp

Kapp Notes

Learning Circuits April Big Question: Are We There Yet

Tom Crawford


Learning Circuits Big Question April 2007

Valerie Bock

Collaborative Learning

Formal Content: It's not dead yet!

Clive Shepherd

Clive on Learning

April's big question - backed up at the crossroads

Wendy Wickham

In the Middle of the Curve

What I Need NOW

Tom Haskins

growing changing learning creating

Preparing for changing opportunities

Quintus Joubert

eLearning Blog

PowerPoint vs. interactive learning

Harold Jarche

Harold Jarche

LCB Big Question for April

Tom Haskins

growing changing learning creating

LCB April Question - Leave a clean corpse

Tony Karrer

eLearning Technology

April Big Question - Content Vendor Value

Clark Quinn


Partner & customize


Anonymous said...

In present times, ILT has a number of disadvantages if compared with e-learning --- however the advantages of the classroom as a learning environment far outweighs its disadvantages - Please refer my blog entry of Tuesday, March 27, 2007 ( The demand for good ILTs will always exceed its supply – blending technology in an ILT as a pure teaching aid would help reduce the load on the good trainers & increase business turnover!

Off-the-shelf e-learning products will always be popular in regions with connectivity issues. As a new business model, these vendors must manipulate their material & make it usable in ILT & online-learning. Most off-the-shelf e-learning products are on CDs which is too much material which users do not need – the material must be chunked into logical, holistic sections & made compatible for access on other mobile-devices.

Anonymous said...

I think the really BIG question is how the paid e-learning services are going to compete with the current trends of e-learning: free video for everyone...
(take SuTree for example - you can find virtually every video lesson there for free)

Tony Karrer said...

I just saw the post by Tom Haskins where he says - "Now that I have pictured ILT and Off-the-Shelf Vendors as obsolete, the question remains how long their customers will pretend the world has not already changed this dramatically."

Yikes - but doesn't that apply to 90% of the people in corporate training? And maybe a higher percentage in education?

Is this whole industry really obsolete? Is there some other kind of business that someone who is a SME and used to doing courses and courseware can get into?

Should we stop offering ID degrees?

Karl Kapp - where are you?

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