L&D fails to get to grips with learning technologies, according to 2014 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study


Despite the fact orgnaisations  are using more technology than ever before to help them deliver learning only 30%  are achieving their business objectives compared with 50% five years ago, according to the 2014 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study.

Published today, the report includes data provided by 600 L&D professionals in 45 countries and more than 5,000 learners.

The research provides a stark message for businesses in that they need to truly understand how to design and deploy engaging digital learning experiences that both business leaders and learners actually want and need, if they are to capitalise on their investment in learning technology.

Despite the fact that organisations are achieving less, they continue to use technology more.  Half the participants are using more than 16 different technologies to support learning which is up from 10 in 2011.

The top technologies and tools used in learning and development are:

  •     e-learning courses – 93%
  •     Live online learning such as virtual classrooms – 86%
  •     Learning Management Systems – 80%
  •     Mobile devices – 74%

Whilst only 15% measure success against key performance indicators, the report, now in it’s 11th year, has been tracking the bottom line impact using data from those who do.

It is clear that learning innovation, done well, continues to deliver results. Over the last 3 years it has helped to deliver a 14% improvement in productivity; 9% reduction in attrition rates; a 17% improvement in staff engagement whilst reducing costs by 17%.

One clear call to action within the report surrounds the skills of the L&D department. It is clear that L&D professionals are failing to develop the skills they need to deliver what businesses need.  Surprisingly, just half of organisations (49%) report that they have the skills they need in instructional design. Only 31% have the skills in-house for digital content development and 28% say L&D staff are confident in incorporating the use of new media into learning design.

Towards Maturity Managing Director, Laura Overton said, ”Throughout our research we have tracked top learning companies to identify what they do that brings success. This year we wanted to look at the best of the best to see if there are common approaches to learning that all organisations can learn from. The good news is that there are. There are ongoing challenges for many L&D teams but we hope they will benefit from understanding how the best companies are modernising their learning strategy to deliver results.”

To uncover the lessons learned from the top performing organisations, the report looks at the top 10% of performers – those in the top 10% of the Towards Maturity Index – to identify what makes them successful.

Called the “Top Deck”, these organisations are all aligning learning to business; providing their learners with an active voice; supporting learning beyond the course and are proactive in connecting with staff.  As a result they are twice as likely to report that they are achieving the benefits they seek and three times as likely to report positive changes in staff behaviour (compared to the average).

Laura Overton said that organisations must align their learning strategies with business strategies in order for individuals and organisations to fulfill their potential.

“Despite the hunger to do things differently, fewer are achieving their objectives than ever before. Many are investing in technology but not achieving the results they want.  This is because they are not taking action in the areas that matter. For example only one in five of L&D leaders blend their use of different technologies in learning design, a figure that has stayed the same for 5 years. Yet 85% of top deck organisations are active in this area. However, the evidence is clear, learning innovation, done well, continues to deliver business impact but we have to take action in order to get the foundations right.

The full findings of the Towards Maturity Benchmark study can be downloaded here.



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