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What are training professionals actually doing with their time?

training wastes of time

Several weeks ago I introduced our presentation design tool — Soapbox — and asked for volunteers willing to test it and provide feedback in our Beta phase. This week we’ll begin Beta testing on this tool intended to save people time in the design of their training programs.

As our Beta testers have waited to get their hands on Soapbox, we’ve asked them to participate in several short surveys about how they’re currently spending their time. Following are some insights from their responses. 

Presentations per Month

The first thing we were curious about was how many presentations per month are people putting together for their organizations or their clients.


Our sample size was limited and we recognize that this isn’t scientific, but based upon the responses we received from a portion of our Beta test pool, 86% of these training professionals are putting together two or more presentations per month.

Duration of Presentations

With many training professionals putting together two or more presentations per month, we were curious how long these presentations typically last.


Here we found a split between relatively short presentations (two hours or less) and longer presentations (some lasting multiple days).

Prep Time

Finally, we were curious about how long it took for people to put together each hour of training – from initial learning objectives to an outline to specific talking points, activity instructions, slides and handouts.


Almost 70% of our respondents reported that it took more than a day (a quarter of respondents said it took more than two days). It clearly takes time to put together quality, impactful, engaging learning experiences.

What’s all that time worth?

According to, the average base salary for a corporate trainer is $58,632 per year (which comes out to about $28/hour).

If it takes about 10 hours (which is a conservative figure according to our survey) to put together one hour of training, and the average training program is about 2 hours in length (again, a conservative figure according to our survey), then it will take 20 hours of work at a rate of $28/hour for a total of $560 of labor costs per training program.

According to our survey data, 86% of our beta testers are putting together two or more sessions per month. Let’s say an average month means three programs need to be designed. That brings the labor cost of training design to around $1,680 per month from a financial perspective, and about 60 hours per month from a time-spent perspective.


What would you do with all that time?

While the numbers aren’t perfect, we have all seen this and know how how much time is spent developing great presentations. And, you and I both know that instructional design is only a fraction of the work for which training professionals are responsible. What could you do if you had an extra 40 or 50 hours of work time each month?

That’s our vision for Soapbox – to dramatically reduce the amount of time and energy spent developing engaging training programs so that training professionals can spend more time on things such as: identifying skill gaps and learning needs, thinking through change management strategies, developing ways to measure the effectiveness of learning programs, promoting just-in-time learning and developing on-demand resources and getting buy-in from decision makers.

Here’s a question for you: if you had an extra 40-50 work hours each month, how would you spend it?

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