New DCL and DITA Strategies Survey Finds Increased Demand for Training Content--and Increased Challenges

Feb 01, 2018

A survey created by DCL and DITA Strategies polled training and learning professionals and the results show that while the demand for training content is rising, the pace of updating the format for that content in order to best drive business is lagging behind.

DCL is a smart content services provider and DITA Strategies is an information architecture development company; together they are uniquely qualified to not only field a survey of this kind, but to also offer solutions to the challenges highlighted in it. The 20-question survey revealed business-driving insights across a wide swath of topics, including the pain points of creating training content, the delivery methods and formats of the training, and much more.

Notably, training and learning materials are still being created and delivered in traditional, unstructured formats like PDF, PowerPoint and Word. For instance, 66.14% said they create their training materials in MS PowerPoint, with 50.39% using PDF, and 48.82% using MS Word. The top delivery methods indicated are: Slide Presentations (68.50%), Printed Materials (63.78%), Online Courses (62.99%), and PDF (53.54%). Even further, when asked, "On what devices is your training delivered?" – 92.13% said Desktop.

This continued use of formats with low discoverability and limited platforms paint a picture of an industry struggling when it comes to the format and delivery of their content. The impact: training professionals are not prepared to take advantage of the technologies that serve today's expanding needs. Print-based or unstructured content in, say, MS Word or PowerPoint does not easily transfer in this age of mobile and emerging delivery methods.

Other responses show a cognitive disconnect within the industry, most notably in a recognition of higher demand paired with a lack of the updates needed to best meet that demand. For instance, the question "How would you rate the demand for training content in your organization in the past year?" showed that almost half (49.61%) of respondents said demand has gone up. Meeting that demand is challenging, as seen in the responses to, "What are your greatest challenges in developing and delivering training content today?" Some top challenges cited were "out of date information" (51.01%), "maintenance" (49.66%), "reduced budgets" (41.61%), and "lack of analytics for measuring the effectiveness of training" (41.61%).