Towards Maturity: Highlights from the 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report

by Anna Helene Skau

Last month Towards Maturity launched the 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report “Unlocking Potential: Releasing the potential of the business and its people through learning”. We had the privilege of attending the launch event and thought we would share our take-aways.   

The Towards Maturity Benchmark study is an internationally recognized longitudinal study on the effective implementation of learning innovation based on the input of 5,000+ participants and 25,000 learners gathered since 2003. Dossier Solutions is very proud to be a an official Ambassador for the organisation The progression of this study gives a unique opportunity in benchmarking L&D trends and initiatives across years, as well as between various organizations. The research has led to specific and effective guidelines as to how an organization can increase their effectiveness, appropriateness and relevance of their L&D initiatives and outcomes.

The report supports the notion that one of the most important aspects of L&D today, is moving away from the mindset that learning is all about the course – formalized learning – and instead focus on developing a culture that supports the establishment of a continuous learning mindset.

The new learning organization

Peter Senge was one of the pioneers that focused on “the learning organization”, the topic of his well-renowned book “The 5th discipline” (1990). His idea that the learning organization consists of a group of people working together collectively to enhance their capacities to create results they really care about , ought to be the foundation of any L&D initiative within an organization.


Source: Towards Maturity, 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report “Unlocking Potential: Releasing the potential of the business and its people through learning”

Towards Maturity introducing Senge's Learning Organisatin as a conceptual framework in the context of L&D function maturity is an interesting event in itself as it can be read as an acknowledgement that almost 15 years of accumulated data supports his general approach. 

Learning as a continuous process
The answer is that learning needs to be a continuous process that develops over time, well-aligned with business goals and strategy. The time where one could train employees once, and retain them for life is long gone. Personal development is one of the main drivers of motivation, and employees are often looking to improve their skill-set and personal capability. If they are not given adequate opportunities to develop these within an organization, the most ambitious (high-performing) employees will surely leave. But one of the most challenging aspects within the L&D field is ensuring that the training initiatives that are established give a return on the investment.

Luckily, there are certain strategies one can implement to ensure that training is relevant and effective. First, recognizing that formalized training should only make up a minor part of the total learning-strategy is an important first step. Research shows time and time again that training and the point of work is a far more effective type of training than class-room/e-learning, as the training is relevant, and supports hands-on practice as a critical element of training. Blended learning, according to the 70-20-10 model, provides a guideline to how training resources and funds ought to be spent.

However, in a world where the pressure is on to provide more for less, utilizing technology and e-learning offers a solution for some.

Invest in technology

The 2016 benchmark shows that on average, technology accounts for 18% of the training budget, while Top Deck companies (high performers) allocate about 28% of the budget to learning technologies. 

Several of the participants in the benchmark also stated that they predict learning technologies will change in the direction of becoming “more engaging, more social, more gamified, more realistic and more relevant”.

When done right, there is no doubt that training-initiatives can reduce risks and have a profound impact on business.

Highlights from the data

The Towards Maturity report presents some rather astounding facts when it comes to the potential gains and rewards an organization can achieve if working diligently and correctly with L&D initiatives.

These are some hard facts that caught our attention:

  • 72% of CEOs believe the next three years will be more critical for their industry than the last 50 years
  • 93% want to integrate learning and work (up from 80% in 2015)
  • 78% of CEOs are concerned about overregulation
  • 80% of businesses cite digital transformation as a priority. Only 35% have a ‘clearly defined’ strategy to achieve this
  • 72% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills
  • 64% are now using open education resources (such as YouTube videos and TED talks), rather than developing their own in-house
  • MOOCs are currently in use by 32% of organisations
  • 58% of participants cite that line managers are reluctant to encourage new ways of learning and yet they are critical to a transformed formal learning process
  • 80% of achievers agree that if something is important to the business, learning interventions will be resourced and managed correctly (vs 56% non-achievers)

As you ca see,  the Towards Maturity report is a great compilation of massive data when it comes to L&D. Dossier urges all companies that are serious about competence & capability development to really go in-depth as to what these figures really mean, and what one can do to become a “top deck” company. We would of course love to help you on your journey!

Download your free copy of the report here.

Happy reading, and good luck!