How Employees Learn

5 Interesting Discoveries From Our ELM 2017 L&D Industry Report

It’s the start of a new year, and with that comes new strategies, technologies, and a new resolve to improve L&D initiatives across the board. But we’re not the only ones making resolutions for an effective 2017: We reached out to 85 L&D pros across a number of different industries to see what their focus for 2017 would be and the results surprised us. Check out some of the most interesting findings and see if they align with your organization’s L&D goals.

You can download the full industry report here

1. Employee Engagement is the Top Challenge

The top challenge facing L&D pros? It’s not old content or small budgets, but the learners themselves. More than 22 percent of respondents acknowledged employee engagement as their first L&D woe, followed by measuring ROI (19.7 percent), and tight budgets (18.3 percent). It makes sense since a lack of employee engagement can cause a ripple effect throughout all training factors–including ROI and budget.

2. Blended is King

We have a lot of different delivery methods at our disposal, but with all things considered, the most popular method for 2017 will be blended learning, with 83.3 percent of companies using several different training systems for the most impact. Blended learning utilizes the best of both worlds by using the clarity of instructor-led training teamed with digital methods. Instructor-led training still remains popular, with 73.6 percent of surveyed organizations relying on their SME’s and trainers, with digital and online courses accounting for another 62.5 percent of organizations’ strategies.

3. Autonomy Rules

As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: With blended learning still claiming the top spot for delivery methods, we weren’t surprised when 79.2 percent of organizations said they planned on continuing the strategy in 2017. But we were more interested to see that self-paced learning received a surge of interest, with 75 percent of surveyed pros naming a more autonomous approach as one of their top strategies for the year. Microlearning was another key strategy, coming in third with 58.3 percent of companies incorporating bite-sized learning into their training plans.

4. A Hard Look at Soft Skills

When asked which topics and skills would be the core focus of 2017, most companies named leadership as their first priority: 65.3 percent, in fact. But some of the other skills companies were looking to bolster surprised us. Forty-eight percent said they’d be looking to improve critical thinking and problem solving, while an enlightened 37.5 percent were looking for better soft skills (think communication and interpersonal relationships). With sales and tech often seen as more tangible skills, we’re excited to see a renewed interest in the abilities that make a huge impact on positive company culture.

5. Big Changes Ahead

Some strategies are working just fine; others need some work. We asked respondents what changes were ahead for their organizations in 2017. The biggest piece of improvement? Incorporating new learning strategies, with 37.5 percent of organizations admitting their training needed a facelift. Others were hoping for a transition to digital learning (25 percent), with 22.2 percent adopting new technology for the coming year.

We can’t help but be excited for where the world of L&D and training is headed in 2017. The best pros (including the ones we surveyed) know that learners are becoming choosier and more discerning with their time and how they train. While some of the findings of our survey were surprising and interesting, above all, they were inspiring.

If you have questions about our survey, you can contact our marketing team here: