The 3 Needs of Corporate Learning, Part 2: Learner Needs

by | Oct 12, 2015 | Articles

In the lead up to the launch of the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Report on 5th November, we’ll be exploring three areas of need for corporate learning that have emerged from the data we’ve analysed this year. They are the needs of the business, its learners and its L&D leaders.

This week, we take a look at what learners need from the learning and development function in 2015 and beyond.

Changing Learner Needs

A good way to find out how your colleagues learn is to ask them. And that is exactly what should be at the heart of any learning strategy, Robert Todd, former head of learning technologies at LinkedIn, told delegates at the recent World of Learning conference, held in Birmingham.  Understand how colleagues want to learn and what motivates them to do a good job and support that, he said.

Our research into learner preferences, The Learner Voice: Part 2, lifts the lid on how people learn for work. Overwhemingly, learners want to collaborate with peers with 91% of the whole sample of workplace learners saying that team collaboration is either essential or very useful for learning what they need for their job (rising to 96% for those who have been in the company for less than 6 months and dropping to 84% of those in sales roles).

Moreover, more than 4 in 5 staff are willing to share what they know with their peers. This rises to 96% for those new in role and this drops slightly for the over 50’s to 70%.

Add that to the fact that most employees (88%) like to learn at their own pace and in their own way – Google and the web is an essential or very useful tool for 70% – and a picture emerges: learners like to be in control of their learning and learn from others.

What Learners are Doing Differently

Our research provides L&D teams with many insights into how learners are learning. As a part of our Learner Voice research we ask learners how they like to learn. Here are the top 10 findings:

  • Google and the web is an essential or very useful tool for 70%
  • The classroom is not dead – 64% still find them very useful
  • 26% of staff use their own phone to access resources to help them learn but 33% don’t want to use their own device, preferring to keep work and personal lives separate
  • 51% access learning and support resources from their mobile device ‘at the point when they need them the most’ with 44% accessing in the evening and weekends)
  • 65% agree that they are motivated by using technologies that allow them to network and learn with others
  • Staff are 4x more likely to go to You-tube for learning than their in house social network
  • You Tube, LinkedIn and Google+ are more popular for learning than twitter and facebook
  • 64% would recommend online learning as a result of their own experience
  • Line managers are the most influential in determining online learning behaviours
  • Only 26% agree that their managers discuss learning objectives with them before they start any  formal learning

 

As you can see from these ten factors, learners like to use their own tools to learn, they like to share information with peers, they want to be supported and guided by their managers and they still find classroom training useful.

The big shift for L&D teams is that learners are more in control of their own learning than ever before. This swings the spotlight back on the L&D function. If learners are in control of their learning, how does the L&D team add value?

L&D Reality Check

The worrying reality is that early findings in our research this year shows just 30% of L&D professionals are proactive in in understanding how staff learn and understand what they need to do their job. This is slightly down from last year and highlights that 7 out of 10 L&D leaders have no idea how their learners learn, despite the fact we know they are taking control of their own learning.

In a data driven consumer led society, the L&D teams seem to be struggling to catch up with the people that they are supporting. We have to start doing things differently!

What is clear is that this year’s Benchmark shows that Top Deck organisations continue to put learners and their experience as consumers of learning at the heart of their learning strategy. But they are in the minority – most organisations have yet to understand how their learners learn. Without this understanding L&D teams will find it hard to design and deliver effective learning strategies. They will become increasingly out of touch with the people they support.

The good news, is that the Top Deck organisations are achieving the engagement and business impact that many of us aspire to and therein lies the opportunity – to distill what is working for them and use that as a blueprint to find new ways of connecting with our learners. As Nigel Paine comments in his book The Learning Challenge, ‘where these CLO’s step today, the vast majority of learning leaders will step tomorrow’.

Join us for the launch of the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Report and find out how to step into the future!

Towards Maturity will be launching the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Report on 5th November, during a free webinar in conjunction with the Learning & Skills Group. If you are responsible for driving L&D or business performance, register for the free event here.

 

* I begrudgingly use the  word ‘learner’ in this article to represent the full range of individuals involved in workplace learning that are touched by corporate L&D  – it seemed shorter than the full list: Director, Line manager, nurse, engineer, doctor, consultant, volunteer, designer, project manager, developer…….

 

Previously in this series:

We’d love to know your thoughts – join the discussion on LinkedIn

 

Compare your L&D strategy with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check

Compare your L&D strategy

Review your L&D strategy to discover your strengths and opportunities for improvement with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check.

Featured content

Challenging Perceptions

Challenging Perceptions

The corporate learning market is rapidly evolving to meet the ever-changing demands of work and worker. The C-suite and L&D leaders can no longer ignore that over 90 percent of organizations do not realize the full value of their investments.

All you need is Evidence

All you need is Evidence

Every year over $400billion is spent on corporate learning globally, yet only 15% is proven to stick. Investments in learning are continuing to grow year on year but performance impact is not changing. The industry is still struggling to provide real proof of impact, in fact, for the first time the Towards Maturity Index is tracking a significant decline. This is causing leaders to have low confidence levels in L&D.

The Towards Maturity Journey: FirstPort

The Towards Maturity Journey: FirstPort

Having clear evidence is a vital starting point in identifying where improvement is needed and backing up your business case for change. We spoke with Emma Smith, Head of Talent at FirstPort Limited, a residential property management company. She had used the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check in a previous role and has now brought this tool to her new organisation in order to help transform their workplace learning culture.

The Towards Maturity Journey: Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

The Towards Maturity Journey: Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

Towards Maturity Learning Health Check provides an ideal starting point for organisations wanting to improve their development, by giving clear evidence and comparisons with high-performing learning cultures. To get a real idea of how the Health Check has a proven business impact, we spoke with Robin Lilly, Capabilities and Leadership Development Director of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, to hear his experiences.

Featured

Challenging Perceptions

Challenging Perceptions

The corporate learning market is rapidly evolving to meet the ever-changing demands of work and worker. The C-suite and L&D leaders can no longer ignore that over 90 percent of organizations do not realize the full value of their investments.

All you need is Evidence

All you need is Evidence

Every year over $400billion is spent on corporate learning globally, yet only 15% is proven to stick. Investments in learning are continuing to grow year on year but performance impact is not changing. The industry is still struggling to provide real proof of impact, in fact, for the first time the Towards Maturity Index is tracking a significant decline. This is causing leaders to have low confidence levels in L&D.

The Towards Maturity Journey: FirstPort

The Towards Maturity Journey: FirstPort

Having clear evidence is a vital starting point in identifying where improvement is needed and backing up your business case for change. We spoke with Emma Smith, Head of Talent at FirstPort Limited, a residential property management company. She had used the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check in a previous role and has now brought this tool to her new organisation in order to help transform their workplace learning culture.

Our Ambassadors

Our Supporters also influence Towards Maturity's Health Check and research, providing insights on future trends and practices that should be investigated.

Pin It on Pinterest