Rethinking Corporate Training: Navigating the Maze of Large Libraries vs. Focused Expertise

In the realm of corporate training, organizations face a pivotal choice between industry giants like SkillSoft and LinkedIn Learning, known for their vast and comprehensive training libraries, and smaller training vendors that focus intensely on specific areas of expertise. While large training libraries seem like a one-stop shop for skill development, there are significant drawbacks to consider. This article delves into the pitfalls of expansive training repositories and explores the potential benefits of a new paradigm—smaller training vendors collaborating through a common player to deliver focused, customized content.

The Pitfalls of Large Training Libraries:

1. Mismatched Content:

   – Large libraries often contain a myriad of courses, but not all align with the specific training needs of an organization. This results in employees spending time on irrelevant material, leading to a lack of engagement and suboptimal skill development. Said another way, the employee is literally being paid for non-productive work. 

2. Standardization Dilution:

   – The need for standardization across diverse courses can dilute the depth of instruction. It often results in a fast-food, mass-produced feel, where the uniqueness and depth of each subject are compromised for the sake of uniformity. 

3. Skills Misalignment:

   – Libraries that develop skills not aligned with the workforce’s needs can contribute to increased turnover and inefficiencies. In essence, the training is developing skills for them to go work elsewhere. Employees may feel disengaged when their training doesn’t directly contribute to their job responsibilities.

4. Paying for Unused Training:

   – Having thousands of courses in a library means organizations are paying for training they might not use. This inefficiency leads to wasted resources and budget allocation for content that does not contribute to skill development.

The Benefits of Small Training Providers:

1. Focused Expertise:

   – Smaller training vendors often bring niche expertise, tailoring content to specific industry needs. This ensures that every course is relevant and directly contributes to the skill set required within the organization.

2. Customization:

   – With a smaller vendor, there’s greater potential for customization. Organizations can collaborate with these providers to create content that aligns precisely with their unique training requirements.

3. Cost Efficiency:

   – Smaller vendors can offer cost-effective solutions as they don’t carry the overhead of maintaining extensive libraries. Organizations pay for targeted, high-quality content rather than a vast repository.

4. Engagement and Retention:

   – Focused training creates a more engaging learning experience. Employees are more likely to stay motivated when the content directly relates to their roles, reducing turnover and increasing overall efficiency.

A New Paradigm: Collaborative Training Libraries:

Imagine a scenario where smaller training vendors join forces to create a comprehensive training library. This collaboration utilizes a common player, a unified platform that seamlessly integrates courses from different providers. The benefits of this approach are transformative:

1. Customization and Depth:

   – Organizations can select courses from a variety of vendors, ensuring a depth of instruction without sacrificing customization.

2. Cost-Effective Variety:

   – The common player model allows for a diverse range of courses without the need for a vast in-house library. This results in cost savings and more targeted training through subscribing to only the courses you need. 

3. Branded Internal Development:

   – The common player can be branded to look as if it was developed internally. This not only bolsters the reputation of the training department but also provides a seamless user experience, making employees feel more connected to the organization.

4. Efficient Skill Development:

   – Employees receive training that is directly aligned with their job responsibilities, leading to more efficient skill development and increased job satisfaction.

In conclusion, while large training libraries have their merits, the drawbacks are substantial. The future of corporate training may lie in collaborative efforts among smaller vendors using a common player. This model allows organizations to harness the expertise of niche providers, offering tailored content that meets their specific needs. As we move towards a more dynamic and personalized approach to learning and development, the common player emerges as a game-changer, providing the best of both worlds: a comprehensive library with a focused, customized touch.

About The Author

Phil Baruch is a 25-year veteran of the training business and a Senior Partner at MaxIT Corporation. He has developed LMS and Training Management Systems for a wide range of current and past clients including UCLA, ITW, E*Trade, Lifelock, and many other large and emerging businesses of all sizes with a focus on leveraging technology to build better relationships in the workplace. 

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