In-Focus: Transforming Formal Learning

by | Sep 13, 2016 | In-Focus Reports

Successful organisations are engaging in new approaches to learning and performance, but formal learning opportunities need to change.

This report, sponsored by DPG plc, considers how L&D leaders can transform formal learning in their organisation. Looking at the learner journey, the role of technology and the role of the classroom trainer, this report aims to build confidence in innovation by learning from the most successful organisations.

What you’ll learn in this report

We explore how you can successfully transform formal learning to support the learner journey:

  • Through formal learning
  • Using technology to improve the effectiveness of face-to-face training
  • Designing formal learning to speed up learning application in the workplace

Through exploring examples from some of the most successful learning organisations, the report will describe a clear way forward for those L&D leaders keen to modernise their formal learning.

How to start right:

  • Only 55% of L&D leaders agree that their people understand how their work is linked to the organisation’s performance
  • 33% still report that a lack of IT skills hold their staff back.

The report will explore how to kick start formal learning programmes more effectively to increase buy in and tailor to need.

How to integrate methods and media:

  • 1 in 3 are active in bringing their face-to-face and technology enabled learning opportunities together:
  • 33% say that they are integrating technology to improve the classroom experience
  • 31% agree that face-to-face training actively builds on knowledge gained through e-learning courses

The report explores the extent to which media such as video, communities, games and simulations are being actively included within the blend and the role of classroom trainers amidst the technology.

How to increase learning transfer:

Only 17% are actively achieving their goal of speeding up the application of formal learning into the workplace.
We explore how they are doing this and uncover effective practices that extend formal learning beyond the course.

Fast Facts from this report

Formal learning is not dead, but it needs to change

  • 55% of staff find classroom courses or face-to-face learning essential or very useful
  • 76% of learners are motivated to learn because they want to do their job better or faster, rising to 84% of those new to their role
  • 88% of staff want to be able to learn at their own pace

L&D professionals have high expectations of technology. 9 in 10 want to:

  • Improve the effectiveness of their face-to-face programmes
  • Speed up the application of learning in the workplace
  • Reduce time to competence

Despite these drivers, things need to change:

  • Only one-third of L&D teams are currently achieving the goals they seek
  • Only 26% of formal learning is presently e-enabled
  • 47% report a reluctance amongst employees to learn with new technology
  • 33% report that a lack of IT skills is holding learners back
  • 3 in 10 report that classroom trainers are reluctant to adopt new technologies
  • 15% claim their L&D staff won’t facilitate social learning

People have strong views about their formal learning experiences

  • 45% report their managers discuss learning objectives before they start any formal learning and 59% agree that their company clearly communicates the learning opportunities available to them
  • 88% find it helpful that the media for online programmes are drawn from actual situations, for example, using relevant photos, videos or case studies rather than contrived examples using graphics or actors (stock imagery)
  • 92% want relevant and challenging opportunities to interact with online materials

What we can learn from top performing L&D teams

90% of top performing teams say that they are integrating technology to improve the classroom experience (on average, only 33% say they are doing this).

They focus on the learner journey – compared to the average, top performers are:

  • Almost twice as likely to agree that staff understand how their work is linked to the organisation’s performance
  • Three times more likely to support individual career aspirations
  • Four times as likely to use diagnostic tools to tailor learning to individual need

They are also four times more likely to blend technology into their learning solutions. Those that are blending experiences (compared to those that do not) are:

  • Three times as likely to use video, micro-content, games and storytelling techniques
  • Four times more likely to involve classroom trainers in engaging learners with tech

96% of L&D leaders want to speed up the application of formal learning in the workplace via technology-enabled learning, but only 17% achieve their goals. This figure rises to 55% in top performing learning organisations.

Those that are speeding up the application of formal learning at work are:

  • Twice as likely to use learning technologies to simulate the work environment for assessment
  • Five times more likely to agree that managers actively provide support in the application of learning
  • Twice as likely to provide time for reflection
  • Twice as likely to reward achievements

View the launch webinar slides.


Data for this report is primarily drawn from the Towards Maturity 2015 Benchmark™ research with over 600 L&D leaders, reported in Embracing Change. Study methodology and participant demographics can be found in Appendix B on page 79 of that report.

Specific impact data is drawn from a wider sample of 1,800 L&D leaders who have taken part in the Benchmark from 2013 – 2015. Reference is also made to data from the Towards Maturity Learning Landscape™ research, gathered online during 2015 with over 1,600 workers.


This report is free to download, thanks to the support of our Ambassador, DPG plc

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This report is sponsored by DPG plc. By downloading this report, you confirm that you’re happy for your details to be passed to the report sponsor, for the purposes of receiving information on relevant products and services. If you do not wish for your details to be passed on, simply contact us for a copy of the PDF.

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Download this report

Create an account or sign in to download this report and get instant access to:

  • L&D Benchmark Reports
  • In-Focus Reports
  • Sector Reports
  • Case Studies
  • Free Resources


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