All you need is evidence

Every year over $400 billion is spent on corporate learning globally, yet only 15% is proven to stick. Investments in learning are continuing to grow year on year but performance impact is not changing. The industry is still struggling to provide real proof of impact, in fact, for the first time the our Index is tracking a significant decline. This is causing leaders to have low confidence levels in L&D.

Published 23 June 2019
All you need is evidence

We support our clients to make more informed investments in learning by using an evidence-led approach to uncover patterns, trends and blind spots. Evidence-led Investment explorations help organisations optimise existing investments or support to investigate the viability and business readiness of new opportunities.

As leaders in evidence-based L&D we know how critical it is to provide real proof of impact and how rewarding it is for leaders, consumer-learners and L&D when a culture of learning really starts. However, concerningly, less than 1 in 5 organisations are able to report sustainable successes today.

As strategists and analysts, we always start with the problem, not the data. As friction hunters we seek the root cause of the challenge not the surface signs, so any transformational benefits are sustained not just realised for a short period. It is clear from our insights that the lack of evidence used by learning professionals is at the root of the majority of the industry’s problems.

We’ve been looking at why L&D are lagging behind other industries when it comes to using evidence. Understandably, because evidence often highlights things people do not want to see and it is not something familiar to L&D, there is a fear of data and a lack of confidence when it comes to analysing the problem and using the right data to lead a successful solution that impacts performance. Alarmingly, less than 50% of learning professionals today analyse the problem before recommending a solution. This is fundamental, and is resulting in a lack of leadership influence, with 59% saying leaders have traditional expectations of L&D that are difficult to challenge and 24% seeing this as an extreme barrier.

L&D’s lack of ability with analytics and creating value is slowing the transformation that L&D, leaders and consumer-learners want and need. With the majority of L&D practitioners (96%) identifying data analytics as a development priority but just 24% saying they have these skills today, it’s no wonder 60% are also saying there is a lack of buy-in and investment to future-proof their L&D approach.

Keeping up with relevant consumer-learner evidence is also a challenge for L&D. Less than half of learning professionals integrate relevant learning concepts, for example neuroscience, reflection, spaced, immersive and stretch application. Those that did were twice as likely to leverage networks and collaboration to drive transformation and four times more likely to improve leadership capabilities. Consumer-learners are significantly changing corporate learning with individuals engaging with professional self-development without prompting increasing from 16% in 2017 to 21% in 2018 but L&D are struggling to keep up with these demands.

There is an art to exploring what is possible and how ready your organisation is to create a learning culture. Leading transformative L&D is complex and challenging but organisations that optimise the right evidence see significant and sustainable results of at least 9 times more impact in growth, transformation, productivity and profitability so the change is worth it.

Evidence holds the key to a different conversation that educates and influences L&D, leaders and consumer-learners. Only 25% of L&D leaders report that all stakeholders share their vision for learning and it’s this lack of alignment that is holding them back. Without leading with the right evidence, L&D just receive more and more opinions but not the investment, support and partnerships they need.

Our most successful clients start with the problem and utilise external and internal evidence. 97% of our Learning Health Check respondents say that just by completing the Health Check review they have gained new insights on how to get fit for the future. Our clients say our Learning Health Check is like therapy, all you need is to set aside 40 minutes to reflect and explore how you can create more value through benchmarking your evidence and impact with organisations that have achieved high performing learning cultures.

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