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Towards Maturity study reveals how businesses are increasingly investing in learning technologies to become more agile in new economic climate

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The UK’s largest learning technology benchmark study reveals 77% of companies believe that learning technologies will help them respond faster to changing business conditions.

LONDON, November 10 2011 - The UK's largest learning technology benchmark study has revealed how organisations are increasing their investment in learning technologies to help them respond faster to changing business conditions and build talent.

The in-depth Towards Maturity Benchmark Study is in its eighth year and includes the data of 1800 organisations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. A record 600 organisations participated in this year's study. The study findings were revealed this morning in a joint Towards Maturity and Learning and Skills Group webinar.

The research findings revealed a staggering 77% of companies believe that learning technologies will help them respond faster to changing business conditions, an increase of 11% from 2010. Learning technologies are helping organisations reduce proven competency time by 35%, roll-out new IT systems faster by 33% and improve product and processes changes by 33%.

With 64% of participants expected to allocate a greater proportion of their overall training budget to learning technologies in the next two years. Towards Maturity's research findings revealed how L&D professionals are looking at learning technologies to increase access to learning 89%, increase flexibility 85%, improve quality of learning 84%, reduce training costs 83% and extend the reach of training 82%.

Craig McCoy, HR Director, Bupa Health and Wellbeing who participated in the Benchmark Study said, "It is time to move learning technologies up the value curve. If HR is looking to establish a credible relationship with the business, we can't afford to ignore the tangible business benefits illustrated by this report. Investment in innovative learning approaches facilitates business agility and can support business generation, improve customer service and increase organisational efficiency."

Organisations are using learning technologies to improve induction 79%, employee engagement 78% and talent management 68%. In contrast, 60% of managers are not giving employees' time to learn.

The study also highlights how 55% of organisations agree that face-to-face classroom courses are no longer the only option for improving skills and performance in the workplace. In the current fast changing environment 78% of organisations are now using technology to improve the sharing of effective learning methods between staff, using a variety of platforms including social networks, video and mobile phones.

Laura Overton, Managing Director of Towards Maturity said, "Despite the growing investment in learning technologies, a shocking percentage of organisations are not using their learning technologies to their full potential. I urge the learning industry to download our free report and learn from their peers. Our research study has highlighted those organisations that are mature users of learning technologies are twice as likely to be more agile, efficient and have significantly better talent management processes."

The 600 organisations that participated in the study received a complimentary personalised benchmark report. Within the report is a Towards Maturity Index (TMI) figure that provides organisations with a benchmark measurement of how well they have implemented their learning technologies, across six work streams of good practice. Towards Maturity has identified companies in the top quartile of the scale are twice as likely to report improvements in agility, influencing business impact and improving opportunities for talent management than the average company.

The Towards Maturity 2011 Benchmark Study 60 page report is available to download for free at thanks to Towards Maturity's Ambassadors, 16 leading learning organisations. They work together as Ambassadors for change, identifying and improving good practice, raising awareness and driving the whole learning industry forward.

The Towards Maturity Ambassador Programme includes the following founding ambassadors Brightwave, Epic, GlobalEnglish, LINE Communications, LMMatters, SuccessFactors, REDTRAY and The Charity Learning Consortium, plus CERTPOINT Systems, Speex, SkillSoft, Fusion-Universal, Information Transfer, learndirect, e2train and Toolwire.

Notes to editors:
The 2011 Benchmark Study research was conducted online from June 6th to August 16th 2011 by 600 organisations.

Other research findings include:

• Participant demographics - 600 organisations participated from private (57%), public (30%) and not for profit (13%) sectors
• 66% UK of participants are from the UK
• Employers are investing 18% of budgets in learning technologies
• The e-learning course is no longer the only technology learning offering, technologies now in use within learning include:
o mobile learning (39%)
o Virtual meeting/classroom (77%)
o Social media (41%)
o Video (61%)
o Cloud technology (20%)
o Skills diagnostics (41%)
• 26% of all formal learning programmes are now e-enabled in some way