In recent weeks, two of the biggest professional bodies for learning and development (L&D) specialists have released their annual surveys into how the profession is developing. Surveys have also been released showing some of the bigger L&D challenges facing organisations. Here is a summary of what has been published.
Last week, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) released its Spring 2012 Employee Outlook. Personnel Today covered the report's major findings, which were that managers in many organisations lack effective leadership skills, and the large difference in opinion between managers and their teams regarding managers' abilities and effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) has published its Learning Survey 2012. The survey is free for members and provides a useful look at how L&D teams are delivering learning within organisations.
There is still a big focus on, and preference for, face-to-face interventions, despite their being a considerable body of research that shows online delivery to be more effective than classroom-based delivery.
The report also highlights the differences in spending between public- and private-sector organisations. Non-LPI members can download an executive summary for free, which includes many of the headline statistics from the research.
CIPD HRD conference
The CIPD recently launched two reports to mark its annual HRD conference.
The CIPD/Cornerstone OnDemand Learning and Talent Development Survey 2012 (free registration required), like the LPI survey, paints a picture of how L&D is delivering learning.
And, like the LPI survey, it finds that L&D is sticking to "outdated methods" of training. The report also looks at emerging techniques to evaluate learning effectiveness. Adoption of these techniques is low but, by highlighting them, the report's authors are introducing some of the new thinking that is emerging around training evaluation.
A third report from the CIPD - From e-learning to "gameful" employment (free registration required), takes a deeper look at the technologies that L&D professionals are using, as outlined in last year's Focus on e-learning report (free registration required).
The report highlights the emergence of "adjacent" technologies - those that that have emerged at different points and that work alongside existing technologies to help the evolution of L&D.
How people learn
Following on from research reflecting the activities and trends for L&D teams is a smaller survey from Jane Hart at the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies on how people learn.
The survey is anonymous and relatively small (around 130 respondents) but, as Hart says, "the biggest take-away from my survey is that we can no longer assume we know how people like to learn in the workplace nor how we think people should learn".
Hart looks in detail at how learning happens, and concludes that learners are "largely social, autonomous workers" and that "their involvement in social and collaborative activities, as well as organising their own learning initiatives, are the main ways they learn". This presents a whole new set of challenges for those L&D teams that use the classroom as their primary method of delivery.
Online versus face to face
Coming back to LPI's research showing that L&D still believes classroom delivery to be the most effective form of learning, this round-up concludes with a considerable piece of research carried out by the US Department of Education entitled Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning - A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies.
The report is a meta-analysis of more than 1,000 empirical studies of online learning, and finds online to be more effective than face-to-face learning. As well as providing detailed comparisons of the contrasting methods, the report focuses on what makes online learning particularly effective. It is a crucial resource should you be arguing for the introduction of online learning initiatives.
My thanks to Nick Shackleton-Jones at BP for highlighting this report.