The state of Learning & Development

Posted on: July 08, 2015

Categories: analysis and design, five minute briefing

During a recent consultancy project, we needed to dig into a number of recent industry reports, looking at the current state of technology within Learning & Development.

One of the key ones was the excellent Deloitte Human Capital Trends report (2015) report. This is a mine of useful insights.

We’ve categorised some of their main learning technology findings under the headings: People, Processes and Technology. We find that this way of organising thinking fits how many people think, and so is a useful way to communicate ideas.

People

The Deloitte team highlighted the need for systemic change within the learning & training industry to respond to societal expectations:

HR organizations face a massive digital transformation in the learning and training industry, plus new expectations by employees for on demand learning opportunities.

Companies need to redefine learning as an agile and routine experience. This often requires the assignment of a development team to build a new “learning architecture” as well as assigning people to be “product managers,” not just instructional designers.

Elevate the job of chief learning officer: In times like these the CLO plays a critical role. Elevate this position to attract experienced learning, technology, and HR leaders. The CLO must create a vision for the future, put in place a business and operating plan that scales, centralize strategy and architecture, and engage top leadership in building a learning culture.

Implementing new tools without redesigning processes and retraining HR does not solve talent problems. The lesson is not to stop spending on technology, but to make sure complementary investments are made in programs that redesign processes, develop new learning content and programs, and train both leaders and the HR team.

Process

If we keep our focus on measuring attendees or SCORM completions we will not be able to respond effectively:

Reimagine measurement: The old measurement models no longer provide enough information. Look at measuring all types of activity, and capture data about learning like you do from outside customers. Monitor metrics such as activity and usage, feedback, and net promoter scores, as well as satisfaction and instructor ratings.

The heavy increased spending on technology has not been accompanied by similar investments in process and people.

Technology

The current corporate learning technology offering does not yet meet the expectations of how people learn outside of work:

The last three years have witnessed an explosion of new learning offerings, including MOOCs (more than 400 universities now offer free or low-cost courses), digital learning tools, video offerings, and new cloud-based training systems. These new learning platforms are easy to use, provide access to internal and external content, and use analytics to recommend content in a manner similar to Netflix and Amazon.

Innovative and engaging learning solutions today are on-demand, fast to absorb, and available on mobile devices. Yet, while employees now demand a personalized, digital learning experience that feels like YouTube, many companies are stuck with decades-old learning management systems that amount to little more than a registration system or course catalog. Research shows that less than 25 percent of companies feel comfortable with today’s digital learning environment.