New learning landscape & new approaches
Whilst 97% of 2023 respondents state that Covid-19 is no longer a top challenge, the pandemic has created a new organisational paradigm that learning must find a way to deliver within.
Firstly, 8 in 10 of those surveyed are working in hybrid structures. This rises to 92% using remote or hybrid for 1000-5000 person businesses. Whilst this figure is similar to 2022 and is clearly a response to pandemic necessity, long-term hybrid work, coupled with budgetary worries, is forcing practitioners to reassess what their biggest challenges are. As such, respondents told us that top of mind is having to ensure that learning delivery doesn’t add to fatigue and is engaging, delivers the soft skills and leadership capabilities needed for business success, and is measurably aiding the talent and business strategy.
With a seven per cent year-on-year increase in the use of curated resources, as well as an almost double-digit increase in the use of facilitated learning, many practitioners are clearly working with expert partners to overcome these engagement issues. Indeed, as overcoming the challenges that hybrid working poses are a top concern for respondents, many are still experimenting with the right blend of cost-effective digital learning approaches to circumvent these and stay within budget.
"Lack of budget has been the main challenge for L&D."
That’s also because learning budgets are now a massive concern. 70% of respondents say they’re a top challenge. Indeed, buffeted by economic uncertainty 78% of respondents said they aren’t sure or won’t get a boost in cash this year — which is similar to 2021 when 79% of pandemic-impacted departments said they wouldn’t get budgetary increases — a nine per cent jump compared to 2022.
Working structures and budgetary concerns present a dual channel challenge but with the digital learning delivery — popular methods included blended learning, free online resources, online content libraries, learning hubs and portals — the cumulative most popular approach, it’s clear that respondents are building on 2022 technology reviews, something over half of 1000-5000 person businesses were doing last
year, to curate the right mix of solutions to deliver collaborative, personalised, in-the-flow learning. However, another big challenge will be balancing this with connection-building, coaching-centric, creativity-encouraging co-located learning. There is an obvious appetite for this: in-person learning saw the biggest year-on-year increase with 86% of 1000-5000 person firms now using it again. However, this partial return to in-person learning is matched by a desire for it to be innovative. Long gone is any desire for boring PowerPoint readthroughs, respondents told us they want to understand how to deliver the best of hybrid and blended learning, creating brilliant in-person experiences that learners wanted to attend, that was interactive and matched learners’ need for development.