What has Qantas learnt from the Learning Landscape Audit?

by | Nov 13, 2017 | Articles, Featured, General

Michelle Ockers, an L&D Transformation Subject Matter Expert, has been helping Qantas Airways, the flag carrier airline of Australia, to see how they could improve business performance, and create a modern and engaging learning experience.  Michelle shares their experience…

Why we used the Learning Landscape Audit

At Qantas, our priority is to train and develop our people so they are job ready, compliant and safe in their roles.  We wanted to explore if we could better leverage learning to improve business performance and create a more modern and engaging learning experience.

Our vision of a strong learning culture is that we understand what motivates our people to learn and the barriers to learning that need to be addressed.  We wanted to use more technology to deliver learning, but were unsure whether our people were interested and confident in its use for learning.  In short, we needed a better understanding of our learners to inform our overall strategy and tactics for specific learning solutions.

How we conducted the Learning Landscape Audit (LLA)

Qantas is a complex organisation with a diverse range of work contexts and roles.  We wanted to include most of the Qantas Group airlines in the LLA and to look at what was similar and different between roles across the Group.  We identified the business units and roles we wanted to examine, in addition to standard LLA data cuts such as education, age, tenure and time in role.  Demographic questions and the language used in the LLA survey were customised to meet Qantas’ needs. The survey was completed via email for those based within the office. For some roles that aren’t office-based, we went to their workplace with an iPad and asked employees to complete the survey on the spot.  We gathered almost 1,400 responses.

How we communicated the LLA output

Learning & Development (L&D) and Human Resources (HR) practitioners across the Group  took part in a webinar that summarised the overall pattern and variations based on aspects such as job role or tenure in terms of:

  • How staff learn
  • What technologies they are using
  • What they are learning
  • Motivations and barriers

In addition to the standard LLA, Qantas were part of a Towards Maturity beta study looking at how individuals, managers and organisational context influence learning culture.  The webinar included feedback on these factors.

All L&D and HR teams have access to the detailed data spreadsheets provided by Towards Maturity.  The data set is very rich, and can be used for a range of purposes including:

  • Building learner personas to use when designing learning solutions,
  • Increasing engagement with learning solutions,
  • Identifying factors that influence how staff learn, and
  • Supporting self-direct learning.

An infographic was used to communicate key themes to all employees.

What we learnt


Our people are motivated to learn:

Outside of work 68 per cent are motivated to learn for personal development – they simply like to learn.  We found that our people are confident learners, well organised and tech-savvy which will encourage us to use a wider range of learning approaches in the future.

Managers have an important influence on learning:

As expected, managers have a high influence on learning.  30 per cent identified their line manager as the person who will most likely encourage them to learn, which highlighted the importance of engaging managers in learning solutions for their team members.  Interestingly, for most roles managers perceive they are a lot more proactive in supporting their team to learn, than what their team members reported.  The exception to this is in our Contact Centres where team members report that their managers are very proactive.  This data is opening a conversation about what we can learn from the way the L&D team in Contact Centres have engaged their managers in learning.

Willingness to share knowledge:

19 per cent of our people are already using technology to share what they know with others, while a further 62 per cent are open to doing this with some help.  For many, the support they need is in recognising the opportunity to share, which shows there is more for L&D to do in terms of enabling knowledge-sharing.

Use of Technology to Learn:

65 per cent of people are using their own devices to access resources and information to do their job.  Combining this data with the value that our people find in on-the-job training suggests that we should investigate the use of technology to support on-the-job training and assessment.

Barriers to Learning:

Most of the barriers identified to online learning were things that we as an organisation can do something about. For example, we can:

  • Make learning content more inspiring (41%)
  • Tailor courses or use adaptive learning approaches to make them more relevant (30%)
  • Provide better spaces in the workplace for people to study (29%)
  • Partner with IT to address infrastructure and equipment issues (37% / 35%)
  • Make it easier for people to find what they need (23%)

Variation between job roles:

We need to consider variations in demographics and workforce segments when designing learning solutions to better meet the needs and motivations of specific groups.  Understanding what drives these differences will provide insight into what works in engaging our people and identify effective approaches to adapt and leverage more widely.


Next Steps

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the LLA data.  We’ll continue using it to inform our strategy, help us have better conversations with leaders, engage our managers and other stakeholders, and shape our learning solutions.  This means consciously using the data and helping our L&D team members to effectively interpret and apply it. We will be using this data for some time to come, and are looking forward to seeing how it shifts over time as we continue our work to transform learning.

About Michelle Ockers

Michelle helps leaders to build a high impact Learning and Development function. A constant thread in her work is moving L&D from ticking off compliance requirements and pushing out courses to being a performance partner that adds strategic business value.

About Qantas:

Founded in the Queensland outback in 1920, Qantas has grown to be Australia’s largest domestic and international airline. Registered originally as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS), Qantas is widely regarded as the world’s leading long distance airline and one of the strongest brands in Australia.

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