Four ways you can increase learning efficiency today

by | Jun 1, 2017 | Articles, Featured

One thing has remained the same since we started providing benchmarks for learning teams in 2003 – the disparity between the goals of the L&D team and the impact learning is having on the organisation.

In some areas that gap is closing and in others, it stays stubbornly wide. So how can learning leaders start to close that aspiration gap?

This year’s Learning Benchmark Report, Unlocking Potential, was designed to help by presenting the research around five key outcomes that both learning leaders and business leaders are looking to deliver: improving efficiency, fine-tuning processes, boosting performance, cultivating agility and influencing culture.

By drawing on research from over 600 learning leaders and over 5,500 learners, we are identifying the steps organisations are taking to deliver on key outcomes. We also uncover the tactics being used by top performing organisations – those in the top 10% of the Towards Maturity Benchmark (we call these organisations the Top Deck). Wherever you are on your learning journey, the report has been designed to help you take the next steps.

In this article, I delve into the the first of our five business critical outcomes: improving efficiency.

Why efficiency is a key outcome for L&D

One business outcome that should be an immediate priority is improving efficiency. Learning technologies are cheaper, more accessible, quickly deployed and easy to scale (or should be) compared with the more traditional approach of face-to-face learning.

As technology has matured, so have the outcomes sought by learning leaders:

  • Increase learning access and flexibility (99%)
  • Improve the quality of learning delivered (98%)
  • Improve the onboarding/induction process (96%)
  • Reduce training costs (87%)
  • Comply with new regulations (86%)

Sadly, the gap between aspirations and achievement of these goals is a big feature when it comes to improving efficiency. Compliance training is the most successful, with 62% achieving their goals, but there is still some way to go for many.

The number one priority for efficiency gains must be increasing learning access and flexibility – only 43% of learning leaders are succeeding at this. Only 39% are reducing training costs and 38% are increasing the volume of learning and reaching more people.

4 tips for improving efficiency

Below, we share four areas where learning leaders can start to have the impact they desire. For each area, we provide one simple tip to get you started.

1: Provide appropriate and timely content

It sounds obvious, but when was the last time you checked the relevance of your learning resources to business needs? Are you wasting resources by focusing on initiatives that aren’t proven as valueable or timely for the business?

82% of Top Deck organisations agree that they support the skills the business needs through their learning initiatives (vs 57% of those who are not achieving this outcome).

2: Integrate technology into learning design

Those successful at improving efficiency are working with technology to improve the learner experience and are leveraging the learning opportunities across their whole IT infrastructure.

For 73% of the Top Deck, that means using video, audio, images and animation appropriately, as well as text in their e-learning content (vs 40% non-achievers).

3: De-clutter your content

When it comes to your content, two things will turn off your learners. Firstly, difficult to navigate content and secondly putting all your content in front of them when it isn’t relevant to them. You need to be able to help learners get to what they need as quickly and easily as possible and  make sure that the content matches their expectations.

This is why 66% of the efficiency achievers regularly review programmes and check that they support and enhance organisational goals (vs. 35% non-achievers).

4: Support face-to-face training with online learning

Technology can really enhance the face to face learning experience but for many organisations this is an area that remains untouched by technology. Now is the time to figure out how to add value to face to face experiences using technology and to explore what tools and techniques trainers can use to bring technology into the classroom.

Those achieving this efficiency (45%) agree that their face-to-face training actively integrates technologies within the programme (vs. 21% non-achievers).

These tactics can really make a difference as we see that on average 42% of learning leaders are achieving their efficiency goals compared with 77% in the Top Deck.

The Top Deck show us how we can close the aspiration gap. They are using technology to improve the quality, accessibility and responsiveness of their learning design. Their approach mirrors what learners say matters for great online learning:

  • Quality learning design (79%)
  • Resources that are easy to use and navigate (78%)
  • Resources that are relevant and timely for my work situation (77%)

The evidence is there and those organisations that are making efficiency gains have shown us the way. Surely now is the time to start closing that aspiration gap?

Increase efficiency faster by benchmarking

If you want to see how your strategy compares and find out what actions you should be prioritising at the moment, benchmarking is a great place to start – it can help L&D teams see where efficiency decisions can be made and create a sense of prioritisation, based on what top performing L&D teams are doing.

The Towards Maturity Benchmark reveals where you can make quick wins and gives you the data you need to make a solid business case for the future, with personalised feedback and scores on 19 areas of effective practice. If you would like to identify the tactics that will deliver greater impact for your organisation, get started here.

Follow the latest news on Twitter at #TMBenchmark

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.

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