There is a huge gulf between what learning professionals want to achieve and how successful they are in doing so, according to Towards Maturity’s latest benchmarking report.
Research by the learning technology consultancy found that 96% of learning and development professionals want to speed up the application of formal learning at work through technology, but only 17% are achieving their goals.
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Formal, face-to-face learning opportunities are considered “essential or very useful” by 55% of employees, yet at the same time nine-in-ten want to be able to learn at their own pace, it found.
Ninety per cent of organisations in the top quartile of the Towards Maturity Index, which benchmarks learning performance across different employers, are integrating technology with a view to improving the classroom experience, but only one-third of them report that this has been the case.
Where organisations have managed to see improvements in the learning process, they use a range of approaches, according to Towards Maturity.
These organisations are also four times more likely to blend technology into their learning solutions, and use a range of approaches such as video, audio or animation in their online content (80%), or including subject matter experts in the design of blended solutions (73%).
Towards Maturity founder and CEO Laura Overton, said: “Learners are demanding more from formal learning interventions.
“Learning technologies can offer new ways to increase the effectiveness of face-to-face learning, blend and personalise programmes to meet individual need and speed up the application of learning into the workplace, leading to faster competence.
“Face-to-face programmes might not be going anywhere fast, but how they are designed as a part of an overall learning experience is now a key issue that L&D teams need to tackle.”
The report offers some pieces of advice as to how L&D can improve the formal learning experience:
- set clear outcomes, establish clear personal benefits, define clear pathways and provide support, ensuring that learners are connected with each other;
- provide support systems for staff so they can access learning opportunities and colleagues easily, and are given the time to learn;
- set out the personal benefits, so employees understand how learning programmes can have an impact on their career progression;
- provide clear learning pathways, so employees can find their own way through programmes;
- help employees connect by creating a collaborative learning environment; and
- realise that new staff learn best from their managers and co-workers – learning technologies can help facilitate this connection.
Paul Drew, managing director at DPG, which sponsored the research, said: “Despite shouts that formal learning only amounts for 10% of what we learn, formal learning is not dead.
“It is still critical to creating a sense of engagement and interactivity, but now we use different technologies and approaches. In fact, it’s very much alive and this report will outline all the reasons why.”