Corporate learning and development programmes are “wildly out of sync” with how employees learn, according to a new study by benchmarking specialists Towards Maturity.
Its report – The Consumer Learner at Work – found that most L&D initiatives were not providing what motivated, consumer-focused learners wanted in order to support career progress.
This was evidenced in that most of the respondents who paid for their own professional development were keen to progress their career. By contrast, respondents felt that just over one-fifth (21%) of organisations supported employees’ personal career aspirations.
The survey also revealed that 80% of employees investing their own time and resources in L&D felt that online learning could help progress their career. Seventy percent thought online learning could have a positive impact on job performance.
One of the drivers for this self-motivated learning, according to Towards Maturity, is being able to access learning where and when they need it.
Social media and social learning are key: 70% of respondents were motivated by technologies that allowed them to connect with others. Nine out of 10 download apps to support their learning – around half education-based, and 49% productivity tools.
However, only 11% of the organisations involved in the research encourage staff to solve problems “socially”, and only 12% used curation tools.
Laura Overton, founder and CEO of Towards Maturity, said the findings were a “wake-up call” for L&D professionals. “This research is with individuals who are investing in their own development – any one of them could be in your extended workforce,” she commented.
“When learners say they are keen, curious and want to easily access relevant content, then organisations must listen. Clearly, corporate L&D is not providing what motivated learners want. Think about the impact this will be having on those who are less motivated,” she added.
Employees want relevant content, when they need it, that’s easy to find, according to Towards Maturity. Eighty percent use Google when they need to look for resources, 70% used their own smartphone, and 52% their own tablet for learning purposes.
At the same time, 77% said they found working in collaboration with others “essential” or “very useful”. Two-thirds rated self-paced online learning as useful.
Paolo Lenotti, head of marketing at personalised learning company Filtered, which partnered with Towards Maturity to produce the research, said: “While we are all busy talking about 70:20:10, online versus face-to-face, social learning or gamification, how often do we ask ourselves why learners learn in the first place? How do they do it? And are their learning behaviours recognised in the workplace or not?”