Our learner survey results: Discover what your people need

Are you worried that you're not delivering the right kind of learning for your employees?

Written by Oliver Craddock
Published 20 February 2019
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Our learner survey results: Discover what your people need

In October 2018, we surveyed career starters, team members, new and experienced managers, senior professionals, and coaches to identify their learning development needs, and to help L&D practitioners to position training more effectively.

Read on for a summary of the learner survey results, or download our free infographic, here.

Before you decide the type of training to provide, you'll likely think about the kind of access you want your learners to have. But what do they want? We asked when they make time for personal development, and 74 percent of learners replied "during work" and "during my personal time."

This means that you'll need to provide access to on-demand learning, in and outside of work. L&D managers also need to consider their employees motivation for learning.

The survey revealed that the top three motivations for professional development are:

  1. To allow continuous development (41%)
  2. To become more effective at work (18%)
  3. To further my career/progress to the "next level" (12%)

As the top motivation for learning is continuous development, organizations should look for training and learning tools that their people can access and use at their own pace.

Even when someone is properly motivated to learn, it can be hard to get started, or to dedicate the right amount of time during busier working periods. So what can organizations do to kick-start their employees' personal development journey?

According to our learner survey, incentives such as awards or treats for engaging in learning are the most likely to encourage learners to spend more time on workplace learning skills.

When it comes to soft skills, there are many areas that learners want to develop:

  • Leadership Skills (59%)
  • Strategy Skills (47%)
  • Communication Skills (40%)
  • Problem-Solving Skills (37%)
  • Project Management Skills (35%)
  • Time Management (30%)
  • Decision-Making Skills (30%)
  • Team Management Skills (30%).

Leadership was by far the skill that learners most wanted to develop. This shows that your people are likely ambitious and keen to advance their careers by becoming managers or leaders. It's therefore important for organizations to consider what job crafting or promotion opportunities, and the type of supporting resources, they have available to their learners to build and demonstrate these skills.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of learners picked skills that would help them to innovate, such as curiosity and critical thinking. Is there room for taking the initiative and creativity in your organization?

If you can identify how important particular skills are to your learners, you can more easily justify investment in these areas.

The range of learning formats for organizations to choose from keeps growing, too. In the past few years, L&D practitioners have noticed a shift from traditional classroom-based learning to just-in-time online learning resources. And learners are happy with this shift.

According to our survey, the most popular learning formats are as follows:

  1. Online resources/libraries (26%)
  2. Online courses (23%)
  3. External instructor-led classes (18%)
  4. In-house instructor-led classes (13%)
  5. Peer-to-peer coaching (11%)
  6. Conferences (5%)
  7. Other (4%)

What do these learner survey results mean to you and your organization's learning culture? 

Feel free to share this blog post, or download our engaging infographic for free, here, to gain support for effective learning programs that your learners will appreciate and benefit from.

About the author

Oliver Craddock

Oliver Craddock

Former MindTools.com CEO
Oliver is an passionate leader focused on growth through people. His experience includes scaling B2B and B2C SaaS revenue, creating high-performing teams in mission-driven organizations, integrated sales and marketing, transformation, global expansion and shareholder exit through sale process. Oliver joined MindTools.com in 2015, progressing to CEO in 2018, and left Emerald Works to pursue new opportunities in January 2020.

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