The Big Disconnect: Staff Training and L&D on the Same Wavelength

The Big Disconnect: Staff Training and L&D on the Same Wavelength

In the effort to deliver the best elearning to learners, it helps when there is congruency between those who provide training and those who take it. Without congruency, any online training delivered could be what feels good rather that what is good to ensure performance gains.

Where does this communication breakdown occur between staff and L&D and what can be done in order to get a better handle on what employees really want? Most importantly, will what they want for training actually translate into performance gains?

Wants And Needs

Towards Maturity recently released the results of a survey called The Learner Voice. In this survey, 2000 learners from a range of companies in the private sector gave preference to learning styles and technology. Results were then broken down by job role and time the employee spent in that role.

This survey highlights some critical disconnects when it comes to learning. For instance:

  • While 88% of staff surveyed agree that they like to learn at their own pace, only 23% of L&D surveyed agree that learners have the confidence to manage their own development.

  • While 43% of staff surveyed agree that learning from their mobile device is essential or very userful, only 15% of L&D agree that they encourage individuals to use their own mobile devices to access learning.

  • While 84% of staff are willing to use technology to share knowledge to help others learn, only 18% of L&D agree that staff know how to productively connect and share knowledge.

  • While 40% of staff are influenced by their line manager to engage with online learning, only 16% of L&D agree that managers make time for staff to study on the job

  • While 45% of staff say that uninspiring content is the top barrier to engaging with online learning, 69% of L&D are developing online learning in house but only 38% believe they have the skills to do it.

What these facts highlight is the lack of communication through the learning process. While learners feel that technology assists in learning performance, L&D aren’t as convinced that the latest and greatest technology will result in marked improvement.

Interestingly, both the L&D and staff respondents to this survey are well aware that uninspiring content does tie into lackluster results. However, L&D aren’t confident of their ability to produce the type of learning content that will get better results from learners as it’s largely produced in-house.

Getting To The Bottom Of Things

To determine where your organization should take its training program, an incremental approach should be taken. This approach will help you sift through the large amount of learning wants from staff and determine if the training program actually needs it.

A pilot project, in which a single a small number of courses are developed to fit the training wants of the learner, can be offered to employees to gauge their reaction. While the response may be enthusiastic, only by examining the data gathered by the learning management system (LMS) can it be used to see the elearning course’s performance versus a similar one in a different format. Using this data can help create elearning that aligns with results rather than wants.

Furthermore, no one wins if the elearning course doesn’t work. In order to address the challenge of producing inspiring content that staff are engaged with, the expertise from a custom elearning developer is needed. Despite that L&D are aware of this need, uninspiring presentation-style training is routinely produced in-house.

It’s no fault of L&D. They create staff training content the way that they have always consumed it — in presentation form. However, sound instructional design does go a long way to creating elearning content that gets results. That type of talent is not often found internally.


In order to create the best content that serves the needs of employees, you first have to determine what it is they actually need and make your training strategy align with it. By listening and following the clues laid out, only then will you see training success.

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