Amid economic headwinds and geopolitical uncertainty, there’s one corporate imperative we can count on this year: the need to prioritize organizational learning and development.
Since 2015, the skill sets that jobs require have changed by 25%, and LinkedIn research predicts this figure will double by 2027. As the knowledge and abilities employees need to do their jobs continuously shift, growing skills gaps make it difficult for corporations to keep up with evolving industry and customer expectations. At the same time, opportunities to grow and learn new skills have become a key driver of employee engagement.
Across industries, organizational leaders are responding to these trends by investing in learning and development to upskill and reskill employees. However, many companies have struggled to find effective and engaging L&D solutions.
The Latest Learning and Development Trends
In response to this challenge, global investment firm Prosus recently conducted a survey of L&D decision-makers from a wide array of industries and regions. The results offer clarity into emerging learning and development trends and priorities—and five valuable takeaways that can help guide leaders as they develop and refine their organizations’ L&D approaches.
1. Learning and development budgets are increasing in 2023.
Even as many corporations face budget cuts and layoffs, the majority of L&D buyers (63%) expect their budgets to increase in 2023, continuing the prior year’s trend of increasing investment. Only a small minority of companies (15%) will see cuts to their L&D budgets.
Survey respondents reported several reasons for budget growth, including the following:
- As employee bases shift due to factors like expansion into new markets or increased hiring of junior employees, companies need to rebalance their skills portfolios.
- New technology is driving demand for employees skilled in areas like artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics.
- Companies need technical experts who can help them maintain compliance with changing regulatory requirements.
- The “Great Resignation” has showcased employee demand for opportunities to learn and grow within their organizations.
- Increased cultural awareness has made upskilling in diversity, equity, and inclusion issues a corporate imperative.
2. Three-quarters of L&D spending goes to online learning.
Many organizations have employees distributed around the globe, often working in hybrid or remote settings. So the classroom-style corporate education of the past is no longer always a viable option.
This points to another key learning and development trend: 75% of L&D spending is directed toward online learning, with hybrid online/offline learning experiences making up half of that spend. Online learning programs allow employees from different functions, sites, and even countries to learn together and build collaborative relationships. Increasingly sophisticated learning management solutions and platforms offer today’s online learners unprecedented opportunities to learn from experts and interact with one another, no matter where in the world they are based.
3. However, L&D leaders are largely unsatisfied with e-Learning options.
Today, spending on e-Learning solutions is growing faster than overall L&D budgets. However, only 15% of L&D buyers are fully satisfied with their e-Learning solutions, and small companies are especially likely to express dissatisfaction, Prosus found.
Companies use a number of different indicators to evaluate the success of their investments in e-Learning. The most important include employee satisfaction (often measured using Net Promoter Scores), employee performance before and after participating in a training program, and course completion rates. Some organizations also assess whether and how access to e-Learning programs impacts employee engagement, turnover, and promotion rates. Emeritus Enterprise offers tailored metrics to track progress toward companies’ unique goals.
4. Course completion rates are critical in assessing L&D options.
Upskilling programs will only move the needle for corporations if employees actually complete them. So it’s no surprise that two-thirds of L&D buyers consider course completion rates a critical factor when choosing between e-Learning providers.
To complete e-Learning programs, learners need relevant and engaging material, a usable interface, and sufficient support. Many e-Learning solutions are broad in scope and entirely self-paced, providing little engagement or accountability—some of the reasons that massive open online courses (MOOCs) have consistently low completion rates.
When learners are offered the chance to learn alongside peers and interact with experts while completing the majority of the course on their own schedule, however, completion rates soar. Emeritus, which uses a cohort-based learning model that combines engagement with flexibility, has an average course completion rate of 90%. Since Emeritus Enterprise tailors courses to align with specific company needs, learners can focus on the content that’s most relevant to their roles and organizations.
5. Content priorities are broadly similar across organizations.
While companies may have unique upskilling needs based on their industry or products and services, the survey found that certain content priorities were common across many organizations.
The top content areas that L&D buyers reported focusing on were:
- Soft skills (such as communication)
- Technology skills (such as specific programming languages)
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Digital transformation
- Data analytics
While many organizations have identified areas such as these as priorities for skills development, a large proportion are not yet offering online learning opportunities to their employees. Emeritus offers online courses in these areas and many others.
Finding the Right Corporate Training Solution
As the Prosus survey clearly demonstrates, L&D is a priority across industries. But most organizations have not yet found the right combination of learning pathways and solutions to meet their upskilling goals. In particular, many L&D buyers remain unsatisfied with e-Learning solutions.
As companies shift further resources into online learning, L&D leaders should follow their peers and look for solutions with a track record of success that includes high completion rates and learner satisfaction. In addition, buyers must assess the quality of programming to ensure courses align with priority content areas.
Is your company seeking an e-Learning solution provider that offers customizable learning pathways and a track record of success across all types of organizations? Emeritus partners with leading global universities to deliver online employee training programs designed to maximize engagement.