The way in which we learn at work is evolving, and there’s a growing shift towards creating a hands-on learning culture, with internal knowledge-sharing initiatives such as job shadowing and social learning becoming increasingly commonplace, according to a new survey of L&D professionals by the CIPD. To maximise the value of L&D to staff and the wider business, the CIPD’s latest L&D report highlights that practitioners need to be versatile, facilitating knowledge development regardless of context and method, and with an aim of supporting long-term, sustainable business growth.
The 17th annual Learning & Development Survey from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, found that coaching by line managers or peers was the method of learning most likely to grow in use in organisations over the next two years, according to almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents. Over half (53%) of respondents expected to see the use of in-house development programmes increase, and on-the-job training (48%) and internal knowledge sharing events (46%) are also expected to become more prevalent.
The findings imply a growing focus on organisational efforts to foster a learning culture within the workplace. This is supported by the fact that many organisations are increasingly using technology to support learning and development. After coaching by line mangers or peers, e-learning courses were the second most favoured learning technique, with 59% of L&D professionals expecting to use these more over the next two years. A third of organisations (36%) expect their use of virtual classrooms and webinars to increase and a quarter (25%) think that their use of mobile device-based learning will also increase.
Ruth Stuart, Research Adviser for L&D at the CIPD, commented: “Learning and development is continually affected by external factors and the wider organisation, particularly as systems become smarter, new tools and techniques constantly come to the fore and resources ebb and flow. L&D teams face a stimulating and challenging future in meeting organisational and learner requirements in fast-paced and busy environments.
“This year’s L&D Survey shows companies becoming much more hands-on in the development of their staff and it’s up to L&D professionals to facilitate different ways of sharing knowledge throughout the organisation in order to achieve long-term sustainable change. Collaboration and versatility are key to this – L&D teams need to keep an eye on the future, and understand the evolving landscape whilst continuing to build the professional competencies needed today to drive and sustain organisational success.”
While the survey shows that L&D professionals expect to draw on a full range of resources over the next two years, it also highlights that many organisations expect to reduce their use of some of the more traditional forms of learning. Almost a third of organisations expect a decline in their use of external development events such as instructor-led training delivered off the job (30% of respondents) and external conferences, workshops and events (25%) over the next two years. However, this is not necessarily the case for smaller organisations. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are not only more likely to use external development events than internal ones, they’re also more likely to report an increase in use of these over the next two years.
Ruth continues: “These figures show us that one size definitely doesn’t fit all, and it depends entirely on the needs of individual organisations, their workforce profile and their resources as to which L&D initiatives work best. However, regardless of size, sector, access to resources or growth prospects, organisations need to make sure their investments in L&D are the right ones and that activity is directed towards improving organisational performance.
“It’s therefore crucial that L&D professionals understand how different learning initiatives connect to people’s everyday roles and measure the impact of any L&D initiative. New generations in the workforce will expect different things from L&D and their careers, so constant evaluation is key. In practice, a blend of methods and a range of delivery channels is important, to really maximise the impact of L&D on the workforce and the business as a whole.”
Full press release on www.cipd.co.uk