Where Companies Go Wrong with Learning and Development (2023)


Not only is the majority of training in today’s companies ineffective, but the purpose, timing, and content of training is flawed. Want to see eyes glaze over quicker than you can finish this sentence?Mandate that busy employees attend a training session on “business writing skills”, or “conflict resolution”, or some other such course with little alignment to their needs. Like lean manufacturing and the lean startup before it, lean learning supports the adaptability that gives organizations a competitive advantage in today’s market. It’s about learning the core of what you need to learn, applying it to real-world situations immediately, receiving immediate feedback and refining your understanding, and then repeating the cycle. In order to begin practicing lean learning, organizations need to move from measuring credits earned to measuring business outcomes created.Lean learning ensures that employees not only learn the right thing, at the right time, and for the right reasons, but also that they retain what they learn.

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(Video) Where Companies Go Wrong with Learning & Development ? (Alasan Perusahaan salah menjalankan L&D)

Organizations spent $359 billion globally on training in 2016, but was it worth it?

Not when you consider the following:

  • 75% of 1,500 managers surveyed from across 50 organizations were dissatisfied with their company’s Learning & Development (L&D) function;
  • 70% of employees report that they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to do their jobs;
  • Only 12% of employees apply new skills learned in L&D programs to their jobs; and
  • Only 25% of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey believe that training measurably improved performance.

Not only is the majority of training in today’s companies ineffective, but the purpose, timing, and content of training is flawed.

Learning for the Wrong Reasons

Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, and author of The Case Against Education, says in his book that education often isn’t so much about learning useful job skills, but about people showing off, or “signaling.”

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Today’s employees often signal through continuous professional education (CPE) credits so that they can make a case for a promotion. L&D staff also signal their worth by meeting flawed KPIs, such as the total CPE credits employees earn, rather than focusing on the business impact created.The former is easier to measure, but flawed incentives beget flawed outcomes, such as the following:

We’re learning at the wrong time. People learn best when they have to learn.Applying what’s learned to real-world situations strengthens one’s focus and determination to learn. And while psychologist Edwin Locke showed the impact of short feedback loops back in 1968 with his theory of motivation, it’s still not widely practiced when it comes to corporate training. Today’s employees often learn uniform topics, on L&D’s schedule, and at a time when it bears little immediate relevance to their role — and their learning suffers as a result.

We’re learning the wrong things. Want to see eyes glaze over quicker than you can finish this sentence?Mandate that busy employees attend a training session on “business writing skills”, or “conflict resolution”, or some other such course with little alignment to their needs.

We quickly forget what we’ve learned. Like first year college students who forget 60% of what they learn in high school, studying merely to get the CPE credit suggests that employees, too, will quickly forget what they learn.German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered experimental studies of memory in the late 19th Century, culminating with his discovery of “The Forgetting Curve.”He found that if new information isn’t applied, we’ll forget about 75% of it after just six days.

Where Companies Go Wrong with Learning and Development (1)

Use It or Lose It
We can blame biology — and our innate, evolutionary desire for survival — for the fact that humans quickly forget what we learn. As Matthieu Boisgontier, of the University of British Columbia’s brain behavior lab put it, “Conserving energy has been essential for humans’ survival, as it allowed us to be more efficient in searching for food and shelter, competing for sexual partners, and avoiding predators.” As a result, our brains quickly forget what we don’t use. Incorporating new learning into your work is one way to retain knowledge. Another is spaced repetition. Originally proposed by psychologist Cecil Alec Mace in 1932, it refers to spreading learning out over time (material should be reviewed in gradually increasing intervals of roughly one day, two days, four days, eight days, and so on). This approach takes advantage of the psychological spacing effect,which demonstrates a strong link between the periodic exposure to information and retention. Studies show that by using spaced repetition, we can remember about 80% of what we learn after 60 days — a significant improvement.

Sadly, most L&D programs overlook these biological realities and invest billions of dollars into what amounts to transfers of quickly forgotten information.

(Video) TEDxEvanston - Jane Dowd - Corporate Learning: Companies Investing In Their Future

What needs to change

Today’s fast-moving business landscape calls for organizations and their people to adapt to changing circumstances rapidly, and to always be learning.As Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly puts it, “Get good at beginner mode, asking dumb questions, making stupid mistakes, and teaching others what you learn.”

Lean learning, which pays homage to Toyota’s lean manufacturing system, stresses using effort only when it’s needed, improving outcomes, and cutting waste; it’s short, affordable, and provides employees and organizations with an immediate capability update.

Lean learning is about:

  1. Learning the core of what you need to learn
  2. Applying it to real-world situations immediately
  3. Receiving immediate feedback and refining your understanding
  4. Repeating the cycle

Like lean manufacturing and the lean startup before it, lean learning supports the adaptability that gives organizations a competitive advantage in today’s market.

How to Apply Lean Learning

Think 80/20. Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of The Four Hour book series, is an advocate of a lean learning method he calls DiSSSCaFE. He suggests identifying the minimum learnable unit (MLU), and applying the Pareto Principle. If you want to learn Japanese, focus on the 20% of words and phrases that show up 80% of the time.Then apply what you learn in actual conversations with Japanese speakers as frequently as needed.

Apply learning to real-world situations. At Collective Campus, we don’t just teach executives a specific innovation methodology. We first ensure that they can actually apply the methodology internally, and we request that they bring real-world projects to workshops so that we can apply what’s learned in real-time, shorten the feedback loop, deliver business outcomes, and encourage “aha” moments.

(Video) Career Advice for Learning and Development Professionals

Leverage guided learning. Rather than provide training at specific intervals, guided learning embeds continuous learning into a live application. Think screen pop-ups as-you-go that support rapid, context-sensitive, and personalized learning. This is especially applicable for functional leads, employee on-boarding, cross functional teams, IT, and end-user training.

Personalize content. Using today’s technologies, you can personalize training so that it adapts lessons based on employee performance, tailoring content to every single employee’s needs, learning style, and delivery method.

Provide ongoing support. Providing employees with further support after a learning session via a combination of instant messaging, voice messaging, and chatbots ensures that they can apply learning to specific challenges.

Activate peer learning. When your employees want to learn a new skill, they typically don’t Google it or refer to your learning management system (LMS) first; 55% of them ask a colleague. When you account for the fact that humans tend to learn as they teach, peer learning offers a way to support rapid, just-in-time learning, while strengthening the existing understanding your employees have about concepts. It could be as simple as establishing an online marketplace, or periodic peer learning workshops, to connect employees who are willing to teach specific skills with colleagues who want to acquire such skills. Incentivizing peer learning by incorporating it into performance reviews can ensure that employees continue to invest time into the program.

Offer micro courses. Give employees short, bite-sized learning opportunities, which can take the form of digestible, hour-long courses on topics of relevance to an employee’s immediate challenges or opportunities.

Moving From Credits to Outcomes

In order to begin practicing lean learning, organizations need to move from measuring CPEs earned to measuring business outcomes created.Lean learning ensures that employees not only learn the right thing, at the right time, and for the right reasons, but also that they retain what they learn.

And as Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, says, “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” This has never been truer than it is today.

(Video) Learning and Development: How to build data-driven learning journeys


What are the challenges of learning and development? ›

Learning & Development Challenges
  • Adapting to a New L&D Reality. ...
  • Training Employees in a Hybrid Workplace. ...
  • Upskilling/Reskilling. ...
  • Keeping Learners Engaged. ...
  • Consistency of Training. ...
  • Development of Soft Skills. ...
  • More Flexible Learning.

Why do organizations fail to learn? ›

These include fear of failure, insufficient reflection, believing that we need to conform, and inadequate frontline involvement in addressing problems.

What do you think companies can do to improve their training? ›

Below are five steps to improve training and development in the workplace.
  • Learn more about your employees by communicating with them.
  • Use on-the-job training to help your employees develop the skills they're interested in.
  • Match learning experiences to your employees' needs.
  • Provide regular and constructive feedback.
29 Nov 2021

What challenges face organizations which necessitates training & Development? ›

What are the biggest employee training challenges organizations face?
  • Reskilling & upskilling for a digital workplace.
  • Complex enterprise software.
  • Adapting to remote learning.
  • Ineffective and outdated training methods.
  • Lack of employee feedback on training.
  • Measuring ROI of training programs.
24 May 2022

Why do training and development interventions fail? ›

Some of the reasons are: They are not actively involved in the effort or don't understand it. They are afraid a key talent is taken away from core activities during learning sessions. They can even feel threatened by the improving capabilities of their subordinates.

What are the disadvantages of learning organization? ›

Cons of organizational learning

When using organization learning systems, it's important to spread effective information. By spreading less effective knowledge, such as a senior staffer sharing how they prefer to work when those methods have become outdated, it can lead to others using less effective approaches.

What are some examples of failure? ›

Remember: The best examples of failures allow you to tell a compelling story because you learned something and grew from the failure.
  • Not meeting others' expectations.
  • Missing a deadline.
  • Taking on too much/over-promising.
  • Failing an assignment.
  • Not getting a job.
  • Not getting into a club or making a team.
24 Jul 2020

How can you improve an organization? ›

10 Tips to Improve Your Company's Organizational Culture
  1. Create and communicate meaningful values. ...
  2. Conduct proper selection. ...
  3. Improve orientation and onboarding. ...
  4. Enable and empower employees. ...
  5. Engage employees all year round. ...
  6. Coach employees. ...
  7. Communicate effectively with employees.
24 Sept 2019

How can companies improve the skills of their employees in a targeted way? ›

Regularly offer feedback. Every employee can benefit from knowing if they're performing well in their role. Regular, constructive feedback can help ensure that your team feels valued for their work. It can also give them the opportunity to focus on their weaknesses so that they know which skills to focus on improving.

How can training help companies deal with the forces affecting the workplace and learning? ›

Training can help companies deal with these forces by simply making the big picture clear to the employees by showing them the way they can help the company accomplish its goals. Moreover, training makes the employees achieve better communication, talents, creativity and build confidence.

How do you deal with lack of training at work? ›

If you are wondering how to deal with lack of training at work, it is time for a haul.
· Microlearning
  1. Make videos of short durations.
  2. Share them through messaging apps.
  3. Help your employees learn incrementally.
22 Jul 2021

How can one overcome the challenges related to learning in an organization? ›

How to overcome non-learning culture as a barrier to Organizational learning? Identify the pain points of your employees and address them as early as possible. Provide value and opportunities for learning in the workplace. Showcase the benefits of learning and you can recognize the fast learners to motivate others.

What types of problems can training best solve? ›

Traditional training models can solve one basic problem: lack of knowledge or skills. A performance issue resulting from a lack of knowledge or skills is easy to fix: Provide effective training and an ongoing learning and support system, and the problem is solved.

How can training help companies deal with those competitive challenges? ›

To keep your business successful, your competitive advantage needs to be sustainable.
An ongoing employee training program helps you in the long-term by:
  • Giving employees the skills they need to move up in the company.
  • Cross-training employees to fill staffing gaps.
  • Improving morale to decrease staff turnover.

Why employers fail to train and develop their human resources? ›

Lack of Interest

Many employee training programs struggle with a lack of interest from workers who fail to see the value or benefits of training courses to their personal success. Other employees may leave sessions early or simply skip classes outright if they perceive it to be boring or low-value.

Why some companies did not provide training for their employees? ›

Training Is Expensive

Whether the company hires a trainer or enrols its employees in different training programs, it's going to cost money. Spending this Money that can preferably be spent on various marketing campaigns, is a risk. Companies would rather deal with skill gaps than invaluable and unresourceful spendings.

Why are some training programs ineffective? ›

While training initiatives are typically made with good intentions, they can prove ineffective due to hurried planning, poor timing, and a lack of follow up.

What are the three barriers to learning? ›

Reasons for their emergence may vary, but barriers to learning fall into three basic categories: emotional, motivational, and personal.

What prevents people from learning? ›

A lack of motivation can be caused by stress, depression, low self-esteem or minimal interest according to this article . When we cannot see the long term benefit of learning we become disengaged and unmotivated to complete our studies.

How can we overcome these barriers? ›

Ways to Overcome Barriers
  1. Get Feedback. To communicate more effectively and overcome objections, start by collecting information about the problem at hand. ...
  2. Commit to Change. ...
  3. Make Decisions. ...
  4. Increase Your Productivity.

What are the examples of learning disability? ›

  • Dyslexia. Dyslexia, sometimes called reading disorder, is the most common learning disability; of all students with specific learning disabilities, 70%–80% have deficits in reading. ...
  • Dyscalculia. ...
  • Dysgraphia. ...
  • Tips for Teachers.

What are the challenges of online training? ›

  • Staying Motivated. Given that students may not be attending class at a set time on a physical campus, finding the motivation to get started on coursework can be difficult. ...
  • Technical Issues. ...
  • Some Students Being Left Behind. ...
  • Diminished Social Aspects.
2 Mar 2022

What is the importance of training and development? ›

Training and development helps companies gain and retain top talent, increase job satisfaction and morale, improve productivity and earn more profit. Additionally, businesses that have actively interested and dedicated employees see 41 percent lower absenteeism rates, and 17 percent higher productivity.

What do you mean by training and development? ›

Training and development initiatives are educational activities within an organization that are designed to improve the job performance of an individual or group. These programs typically involve advancing a worker's knowledge and skill sets and instilling greater motivation to enhance job performance.

What is the biggest problem for most students with learning disabilities? ›

1. Students with learning and attention issues often experience feelings of failure, lack of acceptance among their peers and high levels of bullying, which can increase the risk of misbehavior and absenteeism. Negative emotions can exacerbate academic struggles, and school climate can also be a significant factor.

What are the top 3 learning disabilities? ›

Jessica Myszak, PhD, child psychologist and director of The Help and Healing Center, explains there are three learning disorders that are commonly diagnosed:
  • Dyslexia. Symptoms include difficulty in accurately reading words.
  • Dysgraphia. Children have significant difficulty expressing themselves in writing. ...
  • Dyscalculia.
6 Feb 2020

What skills do you need to work with special needs? ›

Let's take a look at some of the most valuable soft job skills for adults with disabilities that employers are looking for.
  • Attention to Detail. ...
  • Communication Skills. ...
  • Conflict Management Skills. ...
  • Problem Solving Skills. ...
  • Professionalism. ...
  • Teamwork Skills. ...
  • Time Management Skills. ...
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder.
29 Oct 2020

What are 10 learning challenges? ›

Top 10 Challenges Faced by Learning and Development Professionals
  • Organizational Change.
  • Technological Change.
  • Learner Engagement.
  • Meeting Needs of a Multigenerational Workforce.
  • Measuring Effectiveness.
  • The Forgetting Curve.
  • Showing ROI on Learning and Development.
  • Budget Cuts.

What are the key challenges faced that prevents e learning success? ›

Lack of learner engagement and motivation

They may be distracted, busy, or simply unmotivated. We live in an age where attention is at a premium and learners have access to more information than they can consume. All of these hurdles prevent them from actively engaging with online learning programs.

How do you overcome learning challenges? ›

Overcoming Challenges
  1. Manage your time. Invest in a daily planner and keep one calendar for assignments, exams and family events. ...
  2. Learn study skills. Ask questions and participate in class discussions. ...
  3. Seek academic advising. ...
  4. Manage your finances.

Why is learning and development important for employees? ›

Training and development programs provide a host of benefits. They enhance employee performance, boost employee productivity, reduce employee turnover, and improve company culture. Explore the importance of training and development programs for employees and employers by pursuing a career in human resources.

What is the impact of training and development on employee performance? ›

For the organization, training and development leads to improve profitability while cultivating more positive attitudes toward profit orientation. For the individuals, training and development improve job knowledge while also helping in identifying with the goals of the organization.

What are the examples of training and development? ›

What do we mean by training and development?
  • Formal training sessions (individual or corporate)
  • Employee Coaching and Mentoring.
  • Participating in conferences.
  • On-the-job training.
  • Job shadowing.
  • Job rotation.

How do you identify training and development needs? ›

Several basic Needs Assessment techniques include:
  1. direct observation.
  2. questionnaires.
  3. consultation with persons in key positions, and/or with specific knowledge.
  4. review of relevant literature.
  5. interviews.
  6. focus groups.
  7. assessments/surveys.
  8. records & report studies.


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