Workplace learning statistics you should know

John Sherman

The world of workplace learning has undergone some dramatic changes in recent years and with improving technologies and shifts in the way we understand learning, the statistics are showing a very different playing field than what was seen just 10 years ago.

Traditional corporate training in the past consisted of a mandatory day spent with your coworkers as you were taught by an expert in a classroom setting. You typically weren’t going to be engaged in the process enough to apply the knowledge to your daily work. As we are now seeing the long-term results of these failed attempts at training, we’re also seeing a hugely positive response to the online learning and interactive technologies that are replacing them.


If you’re considering online learning for your employees or you’re a staff member who wants to prove just how effective these new methods are for your workplace, there are some interesting statistics out there to help bring your point home. 

High-performing companies spend more on training

Trends indicate that when a company is performing better, they tend to spend more on training. When they’re struggling financially this is usually one of the first areas to receive cuts, often to the detriment of employees and the organization overall. Research published by Forbes shows that companies in their “high-impact” category spend more per person on L&D than lesser performing companies, indicating the effectiveness of this spending on their results.

Technology is revolutionizing the market

Recent research into L&D initiatives in the workplace has shown a huge trend towards using technology rather than traditional learning methods. Everything from online communication channels to mobile devices are now important study tools that can get a more effective outcome from employees than previous teaching styles.

Offering these forms of training also means that employees are able to reach 2-3 times the audience than they previously were, due to issues such as scheduling and travel which can make in-house corporate training difficult to achieve. So not only is eLearning more effective, but it’s also more cost-effective for the organization as well.

Online training is offered by 77% of US companies

These figures show that most workplaces are seeing the value of online training, with at least 77% of American companies now offering some form to their employees. The current rate of growth for online learning sits at 13% per year and it’s expected to continue at this level until at least 2017. It’s clear as more and more companies make the switch from traditional corporate training to a more flexible and effective online environment, this growth is only going to get higher.

65% of the population are visual learners

When you think about traditional corporate training, you’re often reminded of being seated in a room for hours and listening to someone speak about skills and practices. Although the advice may be sound, it’s extremely difficult to retain. Studies have shown that over half of the population are visual learners and respond far better to visual aids such as videos, images, and graphs, all of which are commonplace in eLearning modules.

Over 18% of training is delivered via mobile learning today

As more and more workplace learning gears towards an online approach, there’s an even smaller but expanding pocket of companies that deliver their training through mobile devices. Although it may not be a possibility for all workplaces currently, the 18% of training delivered with this method signals a huge shift in how employees learn. With mobile learning, they’re able to schedule the lessons around their own needs for a flexible approach to study.

Traditional corporate training is ineffective

Despite these rising figures indicating companies spending more on corporate training, those who fail to move into the future with its delivery aren’t seeing the same results. McKinsey and Co found during a study in 2010, that only 25% of managers found positive results from their employees and workplaces after corporate training. Considering how much money and time is spent on these events, the results should be better than that.

Training works better in smaller pieces

When you talk about corporate training, many people are reminded of gruelling day or week long sessions they were forced to participate in. At the end of these training sessions, almost everything you learned had left your head already. According to Peter Brown, the author of Make It Stick, learning should be divided into small doses and then followed up with a quiz. This allows the brain to develop circuits and help the student to recall information more effectively.

Learning management systems (LMS) are the way of the future

The market for LMS is now over $2 billion, and it’s signaled to be one of the fastest growing areas of HR software. These systems comprise of software applications that can deliver and assess online training for employees so that they can learn at their own pace and schedule and the market is expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2018, as more and more companies are utilizing these modern forms of training for their employees.

Statistics of the future

In just 5 years, the landscape of workplace learning will likely be very different from what it is today. Future trends indicated in corporate training show that there will be a lot more interactive and online learning methods used and far less of the traditional boardroom training.

The mobile learning market in particular is set for huge growth, with an expected $37.6 billion to be spent in 2020 alone. This is among the other forms of elearning which are all set to grow exponentially and change the way that corporate training is delivered forever.

Whether you’re a skeptic about corporate training or just looking for some facts to back up your ideas on the effectiveness of online learning possibilities, these stats just don’t lie. At the end of the day, the workplaces that harness the power of eLearning are sure to put themselves ahead of their competitors in producing the most educated employees within their field and offering their staff an education that is far superior to what most companies can give.


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