Live Training Lives On, Says Survey Training remains big business in these millennial times - and live and in person still beats online. According to Training magazine's (www.trainingmag.com) Industry Report 2000, released in October, U.S. companies with 100 or more employees will have spent a whopping $54 billion on training in the year 2000, and 99 percent of them have some type of live classroom training programs.

Even technology training relies predominantly on live instruction: 72 percent of all computer skills are taught live, by trainers in a classroom. Other instructional methods and media include CD-ROM (78 percent), the Internet (48 percent), role plays (41 percent), group videoconferencing (21 percent), and outdoor experiential programs (12 percent).

After tech training, which was done in 99 percent of the companies, the most popular types of training were management skills/development (96 percent), supervisory skills (96 percent), technical skills/knowledge (94 percent), and communication skills (94 percent). Companies are also offering personal growth training: 84 percent now provide this. Sales training trailed all others, but manufacturing companies were significantly ahead of the curve, with 84 percent offering some type of sales training.

Specific training topics included leadership (offered by 81 percent of respondents), teambuilding (77 percent), managing change (64 percent), strategic planning (61 percent) and creativity (52 percent).

"A lot of our training is in computer skills and technical areas such as new equipment, but we also provide training in such areas as management skills and sales," says Dana Fuller, national training and events coordinator for Portland, Ore. - based Johnstone Supply Inc. (www.johnstonesupply.com), a wholesale distributor of heating and air-conditioning equipment with 250 stores nationwide and 1999 sales of half a billion dollars. The company offers a three-day off-site training program several times each spring and fall. "Individuals come to university to refresh their skills and learn about new products," Fuller says, but it's also great for new hires because it's so intensive - they learn much more quickly than they would on the job."

Conducted online for the first time, the Training study surveyed 1,347 companies across several business sectors.