“Is L&D out of touch with reality?”

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 18.18.17This was a question that I had from a group of people in a recent workshop I ran on Moving Beyond E-Learning.

In the workshop I showed the results of my Learning in the Workplace survey which asked how individuals preferred to learn in the workplace, and which has now been taken by over 2,000 worldwide. You can view all the results by clicking the image on the right.

But the most significant statistic I shared was that of the 10 different ways listed, company training/e-learning was rated the least valuable, with only 38% of respondents considering it to be an “essential” or “very important” way to learn in the workplace. And of that 38% …

  • 50% came from education or education-related organisations (e.g. e-learning vendors etc)
  • 30% worked in HR/L&D
  • whilst only 20% were working in other roles/professions in the organisation

This led to further questions from the group like:

Do L&D focus on creating courses/training/e-learning because they themselves prefer the traditional schooling approach and assume that others do too?

Is this due to the fact that many in L&D have yet to experience new ways of learning, and therefore don’t understand the value others find in them?

Does L&D believe its primary role is to control or manage training in an organisation – rather than enable and support learning as it happens in the workflow?

Is this situation exacerbated by learning technology vendors who perpetuate the old ways of doing things?

All very interesting questions!  My personal view is that all of these things are contributing to the situation.   

But I also pointed out that there are now workplace learning professionals around the world who are thinking very differently about the role L&D should play in their organisations, and how they can support their people in more relevant ways. So the more significant question is perhaps, what will it take for other L&D departments to do so too?  And maybe the reason is that that most just don’t know HOW to do things differently.

So, if you are looking for some help and guidance for moving beyond e-learning, come and join the next public session of my online workshop running  2 March – 3 April 2014


  1. Jane, I was at your Minneapolis presentation when you presented this graphic. I find it interesting how quickly eLearning has faded in importance, yet recent numbers still suggest it is growing by about 5 – 7% per year. One of the challenges I see is quite simple. The human species for the most part are linear thinkers, yet non-linear learners. This creates numerous challenges for program developers who are trained and expected to think in a linear manner – yes, 1 + 2 = 3. While this is correct, its not how people learn.

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