Learning in the Workplace 2013 survey results.

The Learning in the Workplace Survey  has now been taken by over 600 people, and although it is still open if you want to cast your vote, I am going to release some interim findings here today as the pattern of results has been pretty stable for some time now.

The survey asked respondents to rate  the importance (value/usefulness) of 10 different ways of learning for themselves. The red figures are where the most responses have been received. 

Not important Quite important Very important Essential VIP + Essential
Company training/e-learning 25%  42% 20% 13% 33%
Self-directed study of external courses  14% 33% 35% 18% 53%
Internal company documents  13% 44% 29% 14% 43%
Internal job aids  20%  37% 26% 17% 43%
Collaborative working within your team  3%  12% 30%  55% 85%
General conversations and meetings with people  2%  19%  40% 39% 79%
Personal & professional networks and communities 3%  22% 35% 40% 75%
External blog and news feeds  8%  22%  40% 30% 70%
Content curated from external sources  9% 29% 39% 23% 62%
Web search for resources (eg Google) 2% 17% 32%  49%  81%

In the last column, I’ve aggregated the Very Important and Essential scores and  highlighted in blue the top 5 rated ways of learning in the workplace. This shows …

  1. that company training/e-learning is the lowest rated way to learn at work , and
  2. that workers find other (self-organised and self-managed) ways of learning at work far more valuable – with team collaboration being the highest rated.

Who has responded to this survey?

  • Country: 46 countries (incl USA (28%), Australia (12%), Canada (8%), UK (22%), New Zealand and other  countries in Europe, South America and Asia)
  • Industry: 42% edu-related; 58% non-edu related (incl 12% technology, 9% Government, 9% financial services, 4% healthcare)
  • Organisation size: 61% from orgs with more than 250 people, evenly split between other org sizes
  • Function: 45% HR/L&D, 65% from all other functions (incl 12% IT, 4% Sales & Marketing)
  • Job type: Non-managerial/other: 53%, line managers: 9%; middle: 20%, senior 18%
  • Age: <30 : 6%, 31-40 : 28%,  41-50 36%, 51-60 : 24%; 60+ : 7%
  • Sex: Male: 42%; Female : 58%

The general pattern of results holds good for most industries, job functions, job roles and age group. Note, for instance that

  • 68% of those working in HR/L&D also consider training/e-learning to be of little or no value for them in the workplace.

However, a preliminary analysis of the results has uncovered some other interesting aspects of how people like to learn at work, which I will reveal in a full report on the data later.

Nevertheless as a whole, these survey results are yet another piece of evidence that show how workers are continuing to organise and manage their own learning in many different ways –  and in doing so are bypassing the L&D Department. What’s more a comparison with the 2012 Learning in the Workplace survey results shows that this is a continuing trend.

Want to find out more? If so, you might be interested in my upcoming book, The Workplace Learning Revolution, which will provide more evidence how learning is changing in the workplace, and some guidance on how to support these new ways of learning at work.

UPDATE: Two follow up posts

  1. 5 characteristics of how Knowledge Workers like to learn at work
  2. Supporting continuous learning and performance improvement – a vital new area of work

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