How Does the Covid-19 Pandemic Affect the Training Market?

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Training

There is no doubt that the covid-19 pandemic has effected the training market worldwide. If you work in a business offering training and courses, you know that your market is no exception.

While some notice an increasing demand of the type of training they are offering (lucky you!), many training providers are experiencing challenges related to declining demand and to the fact that they now have to move their training offer online.

As a large number of our customers are having these exact challenges, we decided to take a closer look at how the Corona crisis affect the training market. Both in the short and long term.

To begin our research, we reached out to Espen Andersen, an Associate Professor with the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Norwegian Business School. The discussions we had with him was so interesting and valuable that it resulted in a vodcast series with the three following topics:

  • How does the covid-19 pandemic affect the training market in the short and long term? From infection control measures to digital transformation and disruption.
  • Benefits of online training from the perspective of the training providers and the delegates.
  • How to adapt to the new normal: Practical steps on how to convert classroom-based training to the online format.

Watch the first video in the top of this blog post. And: Do not miss out on the next two videos about the benefits of online training and how to convert classroom-based training to the online format. Sign up for our newsletter here, and we promise to let you know when the next two videos are up.

Summary of how Covid-19 pandemic affect the training market

The vodcast above is a discussion between Dag Lyster, the CEO of the Training Managmeent System FrontCore, and Espen Andersen, an Associate Professor with the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Norwegian Business School. Espen leads the Digitalization Research Center at BI, and is an authority on online teaching himself through his work.

In the video above, Dag and Espen are discussing a number of questions connected to how the covid-19 pandemic affect the training market in the short and long term. Here is a summary of their questions and answers.

How will the pandemic affect the training market specifically and the economy in general?

  • Training suppliers that wasn’t online before will have to go online now
  • Many training businesses will suffer, especially those who offer training that isn’t possible or optimal to do online, both because they are struggling with going online and with recruitment of online participants.
  • Many will see a decreasing demand of their training type, but some will experience a lot more. It all depends on the type of training.
  • The industry will see many changes and the competition will increase. When you are offering training online, you are no longer only competing with the training business in the same town, but with training business all over the world.

How are the training industry adapting to the new, short-term situation?

  • What we are seeing so far, is that everything that involves physical meeting is canceled. Some training is being moved online, some is reduced, and some is canceled.
  • Many are also seeing new opportunities in new markets because distance is no longer a problem with online training.
  • Many businesses are struggling with the economic and with converting the training to an online format.

How will the pandemic change the training market?

  • The market will shrink. Training is a discretionary expense, at least in the short run. People will try to save money on training.
  • There will be pockets with growth: Many people will loose their jobs, which will cause an increase in the demand for some types of training. Maybe we will see a shift from job related training to bachelor and master degrees.

Will this (That fact that both the demand and the supply side are collapsing) lead to training and education not being countercyclical anymore?

  • If you think knowledge is expensive, try stupidity. People will need education. You just have to take the steps online to a much larger extend than before.

Is there opportunities out there right now for companies who are adaptive and innovative?

  • Training providers who are already online are now able to shift their attention over to their online training offer. They already have some competence on this and that is a big advantage in this situation.

Will this virus affect our inclination to choose classroom training in the long term?

  • Probably not. As with a lot of technology, we tend to think that it will replace everything. However, it often turns out that it does not. We will see a lot of online training right now and there will be a permanent uptick in that, but we will go back to having physical training after this. This is because there are many things that are better done in person, such as group discussions and practical teaching and learning.

Is the digital shift we are now seeing actually just a long-awaited change that would eventually would have taken place anyway?

  • It certainly accelerate the development.
  • Remote training used to be an alternative for students who could not afford the full time experience or were in locations where they could not get access or could not travel. It was “the cousin” of the real thing, and it was way cheaper and not always optimal. However, because of the current development, a lot of online training will now become an equal powerful way of training delivery as classroom training.

A lot of the online training that we are seeing right now is so called «Emergency remote teaching» that does not really take advantage of the online formats. Do you think the training suppliers will go back to the old format when all of this is over?

  • It depends on how long it takes before we are back to normal. We see that it is already affecting recruitment of students in higher education.
  • Maybe, when people now are seeing the benefits of the online format, they will both choose and deliver more online training in the future.

What are the key success factors of taking full advantage of the online training format?

  • You need to be on message, focused on what you deliver and have clear learning goals for your participants and students.
  • Find a way to make the participants feel like a part of a group and get the discussions going.
  • Get interactions between you and the students and between students as well.

We will discuss this topic further in our third vodcast. Sign up for our newsletter here to be sure not to miss it.

How do you think, both short and long term, using the online to format will affect the competitive climate in the training industry?

  • You now have to differentiate yourself by different means. You can no longer use the geographical argument. People can now choose course and training providers all over the world. Local language can still be a competitive advantage in the global marked, but remember that people are getting better and better in English.

To sum up: What are the threats and opportunities in this situation?

  • There will be an online shift, and some of it will be permanent. That means new competition and a need for a new business model for a lot of businesses.
  • There will be a reduction in the overall market, and some businesses are not differentiated enough and too slow to go online. Many will therefore go out of business.

How should training providers adapt to this reality, and how quickly do they need to move?

  • They need to get online as soon as possible. Just take what you have and move it online, and show that you care about your students. And remember that this is just short term. You have to think different when doing this long term. Then you will need a whole new business model.

You should never waste a good crisis. What can we learn from this?

  • Think about it how much time you are spending on you decisions, both now and in the future. Do you really need a year to find the right tools? When in a crisis, the decision model is different. Try something, figure things out, and go along with it. Your customers are willing to accept your experiments in situations like this. Have the right attitude; get on top of the crisis. Treat it as an opportunity. We need to adapt and be inventive.

Don’t miss out!

Want to learn about the benefits of online training and how to convert classroom-based training to the online format? Sign up for our newsletter, and we promise to let you know when the next two videos are up. Sign up here.

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About FrontCore

Over 3700 training providers use solutions from FrontCore – and that’s not without reason. FrontCore is one of Norway’s leading competence environments within cloud based systems for Training Management, Learning Management and Webmarketing. With over 23 years of experience from the training industry and our finger on the market pulse continuously, we help course and training providers achieve more efficiency and higher revenue.


Author: Eline Hagene

Author: Eline Hagene

Marketing Manager

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