Along with compiling baseline data, we also gathered information from outside the company. We read trade journals, white papers, and research reports about recent trends in the training industry to support our theories and strategic goals. We looked at training-industry stats from the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), including the average percentage of salaries spent on employee education, average total dollars spent per employee on training, and trends in alternative learning, e-learning, and the classroom.
We learned that in 1998 training costs were expected to increase 2 to 4 percent per year ”which led us to factor a 3 percent annual increase into our annual projected baseline budget. We also found that 94 percent of more than 3,200 companies surveyed by ASTD had set a goal of becoming learning organizations.
At the time, e-learning was just becoming a popular choice among companies of all sizes and industries, and the cost benefits were being touted as the new miracle solution for training woes. The Government Alliance for Training and Education estimated a savings range from 30 to 70 percent using computer-based learning instead of the classroom, and The Multimedia Monitor suggested that retention rates for e-learners increased 25 to 50 percent over those who were trained in the classroom. While we knew e-learning alone couldn't change Rockwell Collins, the data was making it clear that it would play a role in transforming the company into a learning organization.