• Towards Maturity benchmark shows just how much we’ve got stuck

    Posted by Admin in Artist News on January 21, 2018

    Last week I attended a preview of this year’s Towards Maturity benchmark results, due for public release on November 5th (you can register for the launch webinar on this page).
    In case you don’t know Towards Maturity, they were established in 2003 as a government-funded body to promote the use of learning technologies in workplace learning across the UK. Their main focus from that day on has been the provision of a benchmarking service which allows organisations to compare their progress in renewing the L&D offerings against 100s of others. Over 4000 organisations and 18000 learners have contributed to the reports.
    Since TM became independent of government in 2010, they have broadened their focus considerably to offer a truly  international service across 50 countries worldwide and to move beyond the confines of learning technology to promote a whole new approach to workplace learning. I share the values of TM and believe they have played their part admirably. You will find their 2015 report is full of valuable insights and enthusiastic calls to action.
    And therein lies the problem, for the call seems only to be heard by the already converted. What TM calls the ‘Top Deck’ (those organisations that are showing the best results from their L&D efforts) are shooting ahead, overcoming barriers and exploring all the possibilities for workplace learning in all its contexts, formal and informal. The rest have been stuck for years.
    I do feel for Laura Overton, TM’s CEO. I’m sure she would love to report huge progress year on year but it just isn’t happening. This is all the more remarkable when you consider the huge changes taking place in our use of technologies for learning outside the workplace.
    People are empowered as never before, through their ever-present mobile devices, to explore, share, learn and develop. Learners are doing it for themselves: 88% learn by finding things out for themselves; 74% know how to access what they want; 74% want to do their job better and 87% know what they need. Some 42% are prepared to learn at evenings and weekends, 42% at the point of need and 29% while travelling to and from work.
    Those employers who can re-shape themselves to take advantage of this opportunity will find themselves pushing against an open door.
    As ever, the problem is with L&D professionals, with some 56% of organisations citing a lack of L&D skills as a major barrier to progress. We have to wonder why organisations are not doing more in terms of CPD for learning professionals.
    One reason, it pains me to say, is that, for too many people, their only encounter with learning technologies at work has been through mind-numbing compliance e-learning. Compliance has so damaged e-learning that I fear its reputation is now damaged beyond repair. Learning professionals do not want to be associated with damaged goods.
    We need a new push based on a simple premise – bringing what is working in our personal lives into the workplace. People do not go home to engage with instructional e-learning programmes, they want how-to-videos, animated explainers, thriving communities of practice, thought-provoking podcasts, blog posts and interviews, gamified apps that encourage spaced practice, compelling dramas, challenging quizzes and the rest.
    I reckon any learning professional would want to get behind media like these, blended intelligently with activities such as coaching, practical workshops and action learning. The future is not single-hit e-learning any more than it is single-hit classroom. The future is already with us – we just need to bring it to work.
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