The Cegos Asia Pacific Survey on “Major Learning Trends across the Region”


More employees receive training across APAC than Europe. 

APAC Learners cite “developing new skills for business” as primary motivator for training

APAC leading the way in mobile learning 

Disconnect between APAC Learning Professionals and the Learner community itself, especially Gen Y (Millenials)

Cegos Asia Pacific, part of the Cegos Group, a worldwide leader in training and development, and STADA (Singapore Training and Development Association) polled 2,639 employees (Learners) including 439 Human Resources /Training / Learning professionals in 9 Asia Pacific countries – including Singapore, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia – about their professional training and development practices, wants and needs.

A Strong Commitment to Training in Asia Pacific

  • Asian training is in a healthy place with 87% of learners having received training over the past 12 months. This is substantially higher than comparable European figures from both 2010 and 2011 where, according to Cegos, 25% and 21% of employees respectively had not received any form of training.
  • Acquisition of new skills is the key motivation among learners towards learning today
  • The uptake and use of new mobile technologies & tools to enable learning and development is led by Asia Pacific, being well ahead of Europe within our survey comparisons

Challenging Key Messages to Certain Economies and Some Learning Professionals

  • Asia Pacific powerhouses such as Hong Kong & Singapore appeared to be losing ground and leadership in terms of learning and development initiatives, provision and – in the case of Singapore – the approach of adoption and integration of new learning technologies and tools.
  • For both Singapore and Hong Kong, when compared to India, Indonesia, China and Malaysia, there is a need for new initiative in terms of learning and development provision to maintain competitiveness in what is a highly-transient Talent community.
  • Talent shift will be an increasing trend across Asia Pacific hubs and economies, with the best Talent being rewarded through development and growth by investing in them.
  • This is a clear expectation in a Learner community broadly willing to pay for development itself, to grow new skills sets as its primary motivator, leveraging technology and different training tools to enable this learning, however, there is a risk that such learning if not co-ordinated may result in lack of alignment to organisation’s objectives.
  • A call to action for some HR / L&D professionals to be onboard with news tools, techniques and technologies, developing their own understanding of how to use and execute these internally, leading their integration, and re-establishing the leadership of learning and development within their organisations. In short, engaging the Learner community in a way they have not been in the recent past.
  • The risk is a further collapse of the relationship between the Learning Professionals and the employees. This group needs to align themselves through the learning process to go together.

A Vocal Learner Population Ready to Speak Out, and Whose Needs Are Not Always Being Met

  • Half of learning is initiated by the employer. That is 50% of APAC employees are driving their own development – an indication of learners not getting what they need or want.
    • On this point, by far the most vocal participants in our survey were the Millenials. We uncovered an increased expectation of their employers for appropriate development, personal growth and 'life-long learning' – Some of these learners are even prepared to pay for some of the training and development themselves, especially in India.
    • In addition, barely 1 in 10 Asian Pacific employees (average) go to their HR and L&D departments for information on training preferring to go their Line Manager as the number one source of training information. A worrying trend, deflecting Managers from their core role, and a further call to action for HR / L&D to take back control and involve Learners in the future of training and development within  their organisations.
    • Overall, there is a lack of dialogue in some organisations between professionals and the learning community itself and also that some training provided may be considered irrelevant, out-of-date, or simply not required. This is particularly true in our survey of participants from India and, surprisingly, Singapore.

Technology-Led Learning is More Widespread, but Traditional Methods Lead the Way

  • Technology-led learning in APAC is “leap-frogging” more traditional distance learning methods, and is enabled by a strong engagement in social media and one of the highest usages of mobile Smartphones, Tablets and Mini-Tablets in the world. E.g. Almost 25% of the Indian learning population surveyed use these technologies to learn - The highest uptake in APAC.
  • The modes of learning leading the way include e-learning, mobile learning, dedicated education sites, the growth of ‘open source’ learning provision and informal through social media for example.
  • Greater accessibility to a hungry Learner population is good news, but a risk when it is uncoordinated, externalized and not measurable.
  • Countries like Australia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and India are all embracing e-learning and mobile learning, but surprisingly, Singapore and China, represent limited implementation of elearning and mobile learning.
  • An increasingly social, mobile and development-hungry new generation is leveraging technology in a way previous generations did not. A shift from exclusively social usage to business applications and learning is evidenced in this survey.
  • The iGeneration (GenZ) is in the workplace in less than 8 years! They are being weaned and educated in a totally different way, through the leverage of technology, new tools and wider collaboration. They will expect, rightly, their employers to provide such an environment.

A Broad Range of Skills Areas, With More Focus Than Europe On Building Business Skills and Management Know-How

  • Employees in Asia are training across a broad range of disciplines. Technical skills are the most trained area (15% of learners). China is the most focused on the development of business skills (18%) and management skills (17%) when compared to any other country across Asia Pacific, and indeed Europe.
  • It is this shift toward professional skills, as more and more Chinese companies compete internationally, that indicates a potential ‘sea-change’ in training provision in China.

Face-to-Face Learning Still Important As Part of the Training Mix – Online & Blended Learning Continues to Increase in Popularity

  • Classroom / Face-to-Face Learning will still be the most popular delivery method. 8 out of 10 Asia Pacific Learners benefit from it. This focus on face-to-face learning is also reflected in the growth in coaching/one-to-one mentoring. A strong parallel with the focus on personal relationships & social connections is at the very core of many Asia Pacific societies.
  • It is, therefore, interesting that online learning is the second most popular learning tool used by 58% of learners in Asia – a number that is significantly higher than in Europe and indicates the new generation of Learners in Asia Pacific have radically differing ways.
  • Again, surprising data from core nations - Individual learners in Singapore and China have less variety in the training methods used with only 17% of learners in Singapore and 7% in China receiving blended learning. Face-to-face is the predominant form of learning.
  • In the case of Singapore, there is immense interest and seeming commitment towards blended and eLearning, but this is not necessarily match in execution – not on account of the learners but largely due to the Learning Professionals community.
 Read conclusions on The Cegos Asia Pacific Survey on “Major Learning Trends across the Region”