Quality in Focus: Time Spent Developing Procurement Training

Training and talent management are vital for procurement offices and have consistently been among NASPO’s top 10 priorities for years. According to NASPO’s 2022 State Practices Survey, 43 states provide procurement training internally and to other state agencies. This education is essential to ensuring staff can effectively perform the critical roles they provide to their states.

The main challenge is that training is often needed immediately and is expected to be done on tight deadlines. However, industry research regularly indicates that creating impactful training programs that enhance workforce skills is a complex and time-consuming process.[1]

In 2023, NASPO staff, under the guidance of NASPO’s Professional Development Committee, conducted a national survey to try and research this very question: “How long does it take to create quality procurement training?” Turns out, this is a surprisingly tricky question to answer.

The survey targeted lead trainers across all states and US territories, with varying roles and structures in each, and received responses from 27 out of a possible 54, representing 50% of the targeted demographic. It’s important to note that not every respondent answered every question, and training methods differ between states.

Key Findings

Training Departments

34% of responding states have a training department consisting of only one person (or less) whose sole responsibilities revolve around developing, designing, and implementing training. Five states even reported having NO staff at all dedicated solely to training. Only three states reported having more than four staff dedicated to procurement training within their office. On average, training staff across all responding states make up only 6% of the procurement office’s workforce.

Most respondents (52%) reported developing 1-3 trainings (of all delivery types) at a time. Again, only three states reported the ability to work on five or more trainings at any one time. This information is significant, especially considering so many offices have tiny training teams, thereby limiting the number of trainings they can work on at one time.

eLearning Development Times

Most responding states develop self-paced eLearning, and the following information was gathered from those offices that do. There is broad access available to an eLearning authoring/design tool, and most reported having staff who are well-versed in the tool.  The average length of eLearning courses being delivered to learners is 190 minutes (or just over 3 hours). Thirty-five percent of respondents take up to 3 months to develop that 3-hour training and 30% take 4-6 months. Taken together, the majority (65%) take between 3 – 6 months to develop one 3-hour eLearning course.

The average amount of staff hours spent to develop those 3 hours of eLearning is 294 staff hours, which translates to approximately seven weeks of full-time (40-hour) work weeks (assuming no other tasks). The engagement (or interactivity) level of the average eLearning course being developed is majority described as “light engagement”, which is one step above a “passive” or “page-turner” style of eLearning course (simple animations, some interactive clickable elements, etc).

Instructor-Led Development Times

The majority of respondents indicated they also develop instructor-led trainings, with 53% reporting they develop one instructor-led training at a time. This isn’t surprising, given the complexity of working with instructors, SMEs, and audience schedules. The average length of typical instructor-led trainings being developed is 130 minutes (or just over 2 hours).  The average amount of staff hours spent developing and designing these 2-hour trainings was 128.5 hours. This translates to just over three weeks of full-time (40-hour) work weeks, again assuming no other job tasks. Only two states indicated they are able to work on five or more instructor-led offerings at one time. Lastly, 43% of these instructor-led trainings are described as light engagement (polls, audience chat/questions, etc).


Top Barriers to Faster Production

When asked to select their top barriers to creating learning engagements faster, state trainers ranked the following as their top three barriers (with #1 being the most significant overall barrier):

  1. Limited resources (budget, personnel, workload, etc.)
  2. Lack of availability/accountability of SMEs or stakeholders
  3. Constantly changing/expanding project deliverables

“Lack of skills on the training team” ranked as the lowest barrier.

The good news is that 90% of respondents reported they have reasonable access to SMEs, which means the content is available.  But, without larger training teams to support its development into a course, it can’t move past the “institutional knowledge” stage.  It is logical to see the top barrier as limited resources when we can reflect that over 1/3 of offices have a single person (or less) dedicated to training.


As procurement offices continue to face high turnover rates, the ability to upskill and train staff has never been more critical. However, state procurement offices can only dedicate an average of 6% of their workforce to the critical function of training, and a third of responding states have one person or less dedicated to training procurement professionals across the state.

If you distill these findings into what it means for the average state trainer, “one person” is left to design and deliver multiple courses simultaneously across multiple delivery mediums (eLearning vs. instructor-led), each requiring different skills and competencies to do well. They are (on average) spending 3-6 months developing a single eLearning course and at least three weeks or more developing an instructor-led course, or approximately 6-7 months total, to develop 320 minutes of training. This is a substantial amount of time spent developing just over 5 hours of training. And if they have other job tasks, as everyone certainly does, you start to get a picture of just how time-intensive and complex it can be.

So, “How long does it take to create quality procurement training?” Though certainly not perfect or representative of every state, these survey findings seem to support what many procurement trainers already know: quality training takes time, and compounding challenges like limited personnel or resources don’t make things go any faster.


[1] Robyn A. Defelice, “How Long Does It Take to Develop Training? New Question, New Answers,” Association for Talent Development, last updated January 12, 2021, https://www.td.org/insights/how-long-does-it-take-to-develop-training-new-question-new-answers.


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