With Learning and Development budgets falling all the time due to the difficult financial outlook, many businesses are looking more and more to squeeze every penny out of their remaining training budget. In addition to this, L&D headcount is also diminishing resulting in a substantial increase in workload for the average L&D professional. These two factors, combined with the challenge to ensure best quality training solutions has led to a rise in the popularity of Managed Learning Services.

A Managed Learning Service (or Managed Training Service) is when an outside specialist buys and administers training on behalf of a client organisation. So a company will outsource part of, or their entire training department to a specialist provider. There are several different functions that a Managed Learning Service provider can offer, these include:

Training Sourcing

This is the most basic level of service to be offered as part of a Managed Learning Service provider. You tell the Managed Learning Service provider exactly what the learning requirement is,  what solution you want and the provider will use their experience and buying power to source the solution that is the best value for money for you.  A good Managed Learning Service provider will provide several options and you can choose the one that is right for your company. A great Managed Learning Service Provider will be more proactive and undertake a quick learning needs analysis to get to the heart of the issue.

External Training Administration

This is the biggest reason most companies will look to a Managed Learning Service provider. By outsourcing all of the time consuming administrative duties such as booking forms, supplier contact, entering into databases and organising dates an L&D team will be able to spend a lot more time concentrating on more value adding tasks such as strategy, engaging with the senior management and working with employees.

Supplier Management

Often the most daunting aspect of sourcing training is choosing and maintaining the best suppliers for the job. There are over 12,000 training providers in the UK market today therefore the thought of finding the one perfect for you without any prior experience is a scary thought. The Managed Learning Service provider will have extensive experience with the top trainers and the providers in the market.  They will know those who provide the best quality, with the best satisfaction and pass rates. Clients can work with their Managed Learning Service provider to reduce the time spent on managing relationships as well as undertake a supplier review if necessary.     

Price Negotiation

Put simply, the Managed Learning Service provider will be able to negotiate discounts from providers as a result of bulk buying power and should pass savings on to their clients. Training providers tend to have reseller agreements (normally equivalent to internal sales commission) that allow for large discounts to be given to Managed Learning Services companies.  These savings are unique and hard to obtain as an independent company unless you have significant budgets yourself.  

Training Needs Analysis

This is a more advanced service offering and not offered by all Managed Learning Service providers. This is where the Managed Learning Service integrates to a higher level with your company by carrying out an in-depth analysis of the client’s company and operations and determines what training solutions are needed to improve business performance the most.  Individual needs are can be reviewed to ensure that they are related to company objectives.  This process is crucial to formulating a Learning Strategy.

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