Shocking outcomes from ATD research on Instructional design


The ATD published a report on Instructional design: “Instructional design now: a new age of learning and beyond”. They did a survey among 1120 learning professionals. I find outcomes of this report shocking. For 92% the most popular tool is traditional classroom training, and only 38% believes that they meet their learners needs. Here is their info-graphic.

Instructional_Design-Infographic
Info-graphic by ATD on report: instructional design now

Some more detail from the report:

Top 10 approaches in Learning:

  1. 92% – Traditional classroom instruction
  2. 77% – Assessments
  3. 70% – LMS
  4. 70% – Blended learning
  5. 69% – In person coaching
  6. 66% – Structured on the job training
  7. 65% – Courseware authoring tools
  8. 65% – Synchronous learning systems
  9. 63% – In-person mentoring
  10. 61% – Asynchronous learning systems

All this is really old school stuff. No social learning, no informal learning, nothing about connecting learning to the business. 35% does not even use an authoring tool at all. Are the still using pen and paper? I knew that the Instructional Design community is not the most innovative community, but I was unpleasantly surprised with these outcomes.

Challenges
Another interesting list is the challenges instructional designers face.
At number 1: 41% of the respondents indicates that the lack of leader support is their main challenge. Another clear sign that learning is still not integrated at all in the business side.
Number 2 is lack of skills and competencies (40%), a shocking 40% believes that the are not able to do their job in a proper way! There probably is a relation with the fact that 38% doesn’t have any qualification in eLearning or instructional design at all.
Funding, measuring of effectiveness, technologies and keeping up with developments are among the other top 10 challenges. But number 10 is really interesting again: 16% of the respondents indicates they are challenged by the loss of control due to the success of informal learning. This indicates to me that informal learning is happening despite the L&D department and that they see it as a threat, instead of an opportunity they should embrace.

But the most shocking figure for me was that 38% of respondents believes that they meet their users needs. This means that 62% believes that they are not doing a good job. Meeting the learners needs is a basic requirement. Improving their skills and behavior so that can contribute more to the business goals is the real goal. It does say in the report that almost half of the respondents do believe that they have a positive impact on business goals. But that still means that almost 70 of the respondents believe that what they do is of no importance to their organization! And more than 50% believes that what they does not have any impact on their organizations goals.

I gave my summary post after the last DevLearn conference in Las Vegas the title ‘The gap is widening, we are in a crisis‘. The reason for that was that I noticed an increasing distance between the speakers at the conference and the audience. I did have some doubts about that title. I thought that maybe I was exaggerating it a bit. But after this report I would say:

The canyon is widening: We are in a crisis!

You can download the white paper or book at the ATD (The white paper is free for members, $ 19.99 for non members)

11 comments

  1. […] "The ATD published a report on Instructional design: “Instructional design now: a new age of learning and beyond”. They did a survey among 1120 learning professionals. I find outcomes of this report shocking. For 92% the most popular tool is traditional classroom training, and only 38% believes that they meet their learners needs."  […]

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  2. Like you, I’m dismayed at the disjointed and incomplete picture of instructional design that emerges from this ATD-sponsored study. Unfortunately, the gap between our better practices and what most practitioners actually do on the job is long-lived and pernicious. Helping practitioners make the leap from being order takers for well-intentioned but ill-informed requests for training to becoming valued strategic partners in delivering workplace learning and performance remains exceedingly difficult. Sadly, ATD itself gives the appearance of colluding in this sorry state of affairs by distributing a report that failed to tie disparate factoids into a cogent description of current state of the field. Thank you for linking them for us!

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  3. Remember that the 1120 respondents to ATD’s questionnaire are those who 1) happened to see the survey invitation and 2) had the time and inclination to fill it out. The results are only representative of what that particular group had to say. Generalizing to the whole field from these data points is not useful, despite the lovely graphic.

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  4. Evidence this survey response is severely skewed/biased in terms of respondents is the fact that nearly half have a degree in instructional design. The vast majority of people involved in the training development process do not have an ID degree as people generally are promoted/reassigned to training roles from other jobs and other educational backgrounds.

    Further, most institutions only offer ID degrees as advanced degrees and many people (not all) who enroll in these degree programs do so because they want a job in this field and may not be recognized by their current employer as eligible for such a position. I’d like to see the results of a survey that includes a better representative sample including a more accurate percentage of people performing instructional design functions who do not possess formal education in this area. My guess is the self-educated instructional designers would respond very differently.

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  5. I think one of the most significant changes that we will see in our profession is not even mentioned on this survey: How do we incorporate what we are learning about the brain into our work? We’ve already seen some tried and true “facts” about learning that have been blown away by experimental evidence. What will the next decade bring us? Whether we are developing training for classroom, virtual, elearning, social or some as-yet undefined buzzword, we will all have to come to grips with the reality of how the brain actually learns and modify our approach to meet it.

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  6. […] “All this is really old school stuff. No social learning, no informal learning, nothing about connecting learning to the business. 35% does not even use an authoring tool at all. Are they still using pen and paper? I knew that the Instructional Design community is not the most innovative community, but I was unpleasantly surprised with these outcomes.” – Kasper Spiro in his post here. […]

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  7. […] “All this is really old school stuff. No social learning, no informal learning, nothing about connecting learning to the business. 35% does not even use an authoring tool at all. Are they still using pen and paper? I knew that the Instructional Design community is not the most innovative community, but I was unpleasantly surprised with these outcomes.” – Kasper Spiro in his post here. […]

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