Tech-enabled learning increases productivity by 14%, according to Towards Maturity research

Technology-enabled learning is having a big impact on organisations. It increases productivity by 14%, the ability to roll out new processes and products quickly by 24% and reduces staff turnover by 9%. So says the Towards Maturity benchmark study of over 500 organisations.

The annual study also found that technology-enabled learning has a significant effect on training efficiencies, with a 22% reduction in learning delivery time, a 17% reduction in training costs and a 20% increase in reach and volume reported. “Over the last 10 years the study has clearly shown that learning innovation, done well, delivers bottom line business results,” says Laura Overton, MD at Towards Maturity.

The biggest change has been the increase in mobile learning – 71% of participants are actively considering how to use mobile devices to support learning in 2013 compared to 45% in 2012. E-learning content remains the most commonly used tool to support online learning (used by 90% of participants in 2013) followed by learning management systems (88%) and virtual meeting tools (78%).

As the breadth of technology increases, so do the learning possibilities. As a result, L&D professionals are using 57% more technologies to support learning than they were in 2008. For example, in 2013 over 50% of those polled said they use enterprise wide systems such as Sharepoint, mobile learning and rapid development tools to supplement their core offering. Overton says this shift is critical. “What has really excited me this year is the enthusiasm within L&D leaders for technology to deliver real bottom line results that go beyond measuring completion rates or training hours. What is also important is that learners are keen to see the benefits of technology in learning with 88% of learners in our study saying that they want to be able to learn at their own pace. By using learning technology appropriately, L&D leaders have a real opportunity to help improve staff engagement and ultimately customer satisfaction and to help their organisations respond faster to economic change”.

As well as gathering information from L&D leaders across 44 countries, the study looks at the views and experiences of 2000 learners across a range of job roles. It found that 86% of learners find out what they need to learn to do their job by working in collaboration with others, 70% through Google or other search engines, 70% via a supportive manager, 64% via classroom courses and 55% via job aids and checklists. Of those polled, 88% said that they preferred to learn at their own pace and 50% report uninspiring content as the top barrier to their engagement with online learning.

Technology is helping L&D deliver value and efficiency

  • 14% improvement in organisational productivity
  • 24% improvement in speed of new product and process roll-out
  • 9% reduction in staff turnover
  • 22% reduction in learning delivery time
  • 17% reduction in training cost
  • 20% increase in reach and volume

Four key Learning and development trends were identified

1. L&D expectations of what technology-enabled learning can deliver have increased:

  • 93% want to respond faster to changing business conditions compared to 47% in 2008
  • 94% are looking to improve staff satisfaction and motivation through technology enabled learning compared with 55% in 2008
  • 89% want technology enabled learning to support the roll out of new products and processes compared with 40% in 2008

2. Reported barriers to adoption overall have decreased in the last 12 months:

  • 34% reported resistance by classroom training staff to adopt new technology in 2013 as a barrier, dropping from 47% in 2012
  • 53% report a lack of skills amongst staff to manage their own learning as a barrier and this has dropped from 63% in 2012.
  • However, concerns about the cost of set up and maintenance has increased to 72% in 2013

3. More learning is being created in house but more work needs to be done on the internal skills of the L&D team to deliver :

  • 69% of organisations are developing learning content in house but only 38% agree that they have the skills to do this.
  • 46% of organisations are delivering learning via virtual classrooms but only 29% agree that they have the skills

4. Many organisations are still failing to achieve the benefits that they seek but

Top Learning Companies (as defined by the Towards Maturity Index™) continue to report significantly better results than average. They are:

  • Twice as likely to agree that staff put what they learn into practice
  • Twice as likely to agree that they have noticed positive changes in behaviour

Expectations of L&D leaders show that learning technologies have moved firmly into mainstream learning with traditional and future facing companies:

  • 20% of L&D budget is currently spent on technology
  • 26% of formal learning is e-enabled
  • 57% of companies use technology to support compliance training

Moving forward:

  • 82% expect to increase their use of blended learning in the future
  • 75% expect to increase their use of purely online learning in the next 2 years

Organisations use 57% more learning technologies than five years ago. Top technologies include:

  • 90% deploy e-learning content
  • 88% have a Learning Management System
  • 78% use virtual meetings
  • 71% use mobile

 

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