If you’ve spent enough time working in L&D, you’ll know the frustration of encountering roadblocks that get in the way of your goals.
Whether it’s sceptical executives, budgetary constraints, technological challenges, or just a lack of time, L&D roadblocks are something that we could all do without. Just imagine what you could achieve with the right resources and nothing halting your progress!
So, to help address these issues, we’ve decided to answer two vital questions: what are the most common L&D roadblocks, and how can we overcome them?
What are the most common L&D roadblocks? If you ask anyone who works in the industry this question, they could probably rattle off a list a mile long.
For starters, Udemy’s 2021 Workplace Learning Trends Report identifies the four most common obstacles to L&D success. 61% of respondents said ‘lack of time’ was their biggest obstacle, making this the most common response. Next was ‘budget constraints’, with 42% of respondents citing this as an obstacle, followed by ‘proving ROI’ (38%) and ‘choosing the right L&D program’ (31%).
Similarly, LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report uncovered the ten most common challenges that L&D teams face. 49% of respondents said ‘getting managers to make learning a priority for their teams’ is their biggest challenge, followed by 42% who said ‘creating a culture of learning’ is their biggest challenge, and 36% who said ‘increasing employee engagement in learning’ is their biggest challenge. Other notable responses include ‘making sure learners know where to find learning resources’ (22%) and ‘demonstrating the value of learning’ (21%).
Finally, the CIPD’s 2021 Learning and Skills at Work survey found that 81% of teams experience barriers to learning. According to their findings, the most common roadblocks are the pressure of other business priorities (39%), lack of learner or management time (38%), funding (25%), the quality of L&D data collected (20%), and the quality of learning systems (19%).
Among these findings, many common themes emerge. For starters, not having enough time to learn is a feeling that many of us can relate to. This should come as no surprise, as employees only spend 24 minutes — or 1% of their time — learning in a typical week, while 49% say they don’t have time to learn at work at all, according to LinkedIn.
There are many ways L&D teams can overcome this roadblock. Firstly, it can be as simple as prioritising time for learning. When teams actively invest in their learners, the improvements can be dramatic. According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.
During their annual ‘Learning Challenge Week’, LinkedIn put this theory to the test and doubled their employees’ daily learning goal from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. This increase led to 44% more engaged learners and 50% more course views. As such, dedicating an extra 15 minutes per day to learning had a massive impact.
Another way to overcome this roadblock is by streamlining your learning content. From a learner’s perspective, streamlining learning content into one central platform can have many benefits, making it easier to find relevant content quickly and efficiently. By doing so, you can also address the challenge of making sure learners know where to find learning resources, which 22% of teams said was a concern. For further insights on this, be sure to read our recent article on how having multiple learning platforms impacts the learning experience.
Another common L&D roadblock is budgetary constraints. This is a challenge that most of us are all too familiar with, as 42% of L&D teams cite “lack of budget” as their biggest roadblock. However, as we discussed in a recent article, now is the perfect time to flip this question on its head and ask ‘what is the cost of not investing in digital learning?’
Next time you’re faced with a budgetary cutback, remind your teammates that 42% of companies experience an increase in profits after investing in eLearning, while companies that invest in L&D have a 24% higher profit margin than those that spend less on training, and every dollar invested in online training results in $30 worth of productivity. Numbers like that are hard to ignore, making it costly to not invest in L&D.
Finally, proving ROI and demonstrating the value of learning are common trends. While you probably have a strong sense of the value your team creates, expressing this value to decision-makers and business leaders in measurable, meaningful ways is an ongoing struggle for L&D teams. Emerald Works’ 2020 Back to the Future Report found that while 98% of L&D teams think ‘program evaluation’ is a priority, only 38% currently have this capability, down from 45% the year before.
To overcome this roadblock, the CIPD offers several recommendations, explaining, “a key shift is embracing the fact that learning impact measurement can’t just be a post-intervention activity. Effective learning requires evidence-gathering and needs definition to underpin decisions in design and delivery. Impactful learning journeys are underpinned by evidence from start to finish.” For a more comprehensive analysis, be sure to read our article on improving ROI metrics to showcase L&D’s value.