Towards Maturity publishes its ‘New Learning Agenda’

Research and benchmarking organisation Towards Maturity has published a nine-point learning agenda based on its annual benchmark of data of how organisations use technology to enable learning.

Here is the the New Learning Agenda:

1. Align learning to business and business to learning

Only 36% of organisations are working with business leaders to identify the business metrics that need to be improved through learning, with less than half of those businesses going back to review progress against the agreed metrics. Two-way alignment has to improve to realise expected benefits. Learning has to be more proactive in delivering business benefits but business leaders also need to support learning in the process.

2. Respond faster, deliver more

More than nine out of ten organisations are looking to respond faster to changing business conditions, but only 50% say their learning initiatives are being delivered in time to meet the needs of the business. It is time to speed up and scale up in order to increase the impact of learning programmes.

3. Transform traditional training

Formal learning is not dead! Three out of five learners still report that the course is one of the most effective opportunities for learning what they need for the job, yet 88% of learners want to be able to learn at their own pace. This means thinking differently about how formal learning is designed.

4. Support a culture of learning within the workflow

Learning does not just take place in formal interventions – it is a continuum. Across the board, employers are looking to provide content to employees at the point of need with 86% looking to technology to push updated information to their staff. However, only 26% are achieving this. 94% of organisations want to speed up the application of learning back in the workplace but only 19% are achieving this. With only 14% using defined performance support practices to support learning transfer after formal training, it is time to recognise the importance of supporting staff in the heart of the workflow.

5. Integrate learning with talent

Despite the fact that 91% of organisations are looking to technology to deliver improvements in talent and performance, only 19% of respondents say that learning technologies reinforce the way they recruit, on-board and develop their people. Only 26% integrate succession planning into the way they develop their people. When recognition of online achievement is important to two out of three learners, integrating talent and performance with the wider talent management strategy provides a big opportunity to connect and engage with staff.

6. Embrace new ways of learning to support new ways of working

More flexible working patterns have been made possible by cloud and mobile technologies, but organisational learning has yet to follow suit. Fewer than 20% of organisations that have introduced mobile learning are seeing the benefit, despite 71% of organisations now using mobile technology. Only 30% of L&D offer learning through the cloud. Moving forward, organisations have to tailor learning to modern-day work practices and that means supporting learning anytime and anywhere.

7. Simplify the learning experience

The range of technologies in use by the majority of organisations has increased by 57% in the last 5 years. No wonder cost of development and set up is now the Number One barrier to change for L&D (reported by 71%), and 35% of learners are struggling to find what they need.  Navigating the choices and making sensible decisions on what to use is becoming even more complex for the L&D professional and individual alike. It is time to simplify the options available.

8. Develop L&D professionals as change agents

Only 29% of organisations agree their L&D teams have the right skills to design solutions that exploit learning technologies to business advantage, and just 45% are investing in continuing professional development for their L&D staff despite this rapidly changing and exciting field. Today’s L&D professionals need the skills to be able to design for performance engage stakeholders and manage change whilst delivering the right mix of technology and content. Let’s equip them to do it.

9. Treat learners as customers

Today’s employees are willing to learn differently. 77% of learners saying they want to engage with online learning, four out of five are willing to share what they know with others online and seven out of ten are motivated by using tools that will help them network and learn from others. Yet 53% of L&D staff believes that their employees lack skills to manage their own learning. This is no time to base decisions on assumptions: today’s learners are more aware of their requirements and also expect more choice. L&D needs to understand the behaviour of today’s learner better, in order to design interventions that truly engage and support their need.

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