News story

Towards Maturity research reveals business impact of technology-enabled learning

London, UKLearning NewsTowards Maturity

Published today, the annual Towards Maturity benchmark study carried out across over 500 organisations including BT, BA, NHS Direct, Toyota Motor Europe and Bupa, reveals that technology enabled learning has helped business’ reduce staff churn by nine percent, speed up new product roll-out by 24 percent and reduce learning delivery time by 22 percent.

* Technology helps L&D deliver 14% improvement in productivity and 17% reduction in training costs

The 2013 benchmark study, now in its tenth year is unique - it is the only annual longitudinal research to study how organisations use technology to deliver effective learning that directly impacts commercial growth. Data was gathered from learning and development leaders across 44 countries from June to August 2013.
Laura Overton, MD at Towards Maturity says, “Over the last 10 years the study has clearly shown that learning innovation, done well, delivers bottom line business results. The goal is to help organisations review their current approach, compare progress against their peers in order to take positive action and achieve their full potential”.
All participating organisations are provided with personalized feedback to help them improve bottom line results year on year. Widely considered the bell weather of the learning and development industry, the benchmark study is consulted by influencers for future learning and development trends.
BT PLC has participated in the Towards Maturity Benchmark since it began in 2003. Tom Pape, Head of Learning Innovation, at BT PLC says, “Our key aim is not only to develop our people and drive their performance and health within their roles, but also to be a critical enabler for all to collaborate share and build on skillsets and capability in the future. It’s important we listen to our people on how they want to learn but also learn from outside the company by comparing our data findings with other large organisations”.

He continued, “These are the principles that BT uses to ensure we are aligned to the needs of the business and that we can bring solutions to scale and address needs faster. The Towards Maturity Benchmark is one of the tools that helps us to do just that”.

Key findings for learning and development:
The biggest increase is with mobile learning. 71 percent of participants are actively considering how to use mobile devices to support learning in 2013 compared to 45 percent in 2012.

The longitudinal nature of this study provides the opportunity to look at longer term trends over five years or more. E-learning content remains the most commonly used tool to support online learning (used by 90 percent of participants in 2013) followed by learning management systems (88 percent) and virtual meeting tools (78 percent).

However, in 2013, learning and development professionals have more technology options to choose from and are using 57% more technologies to support learning than in 2008. For example in 2013 over 50% of the sample are using enterprise wide systems such as Sharepoint, mobile learning and rapid development tools to supplement their core offering.

Laura Overton reflects, “ What has really excited me this year is the enthusiasm within L&D leaders for technology to deliver real bottom line results that go beyond measuring completion rates or training hours. What is also important is that learners are keen to see the benefits of technology in learning with 88% of learners in our study saying that they want to be able to learn at their own pace. By using learning technology appropriately, L&D leaders have a real opportunity to help improve staff engagement and ultimately customer satisfaction and to help their organisations respond faster to economic change”.

The report also looks at the perspective of over 2000 learners across a wide range of job roles who had participated in the Towards Maturity Learning Landscape study to provide a learner perspective on how staff are learning what they need for their job.

86 percent of learners reported that they found out what they needed to learn to do their job by working in collaboration with others, 70% through Google or other search engines, 70% via a supportive manager, 64% via classroom courses, 55% via job aids and checklists.

88% of learners said that they preferred to learn at their own pace. 50% report uninspiring content as the top barrier to their engagement with online learning.

Laura Overton says, “These are exciting times for learning professionals. They can add real value back to the business with access to more tools to innovate and inspire learning and more insights into effective practices. However, moving forward it is clear that L&D teams still need to be equipped with skills to use tools effectively in order for full learning and business potential to be realised”.

The report can be downloaded at


Notes to editors – key facts from the 2013 Towards Maturity Benchmark study

Technology is helping L&D deliver value and efficiency:

  1. 14% improvement in organisational productivity
  2. 24% improvement in speed of new product and process roll-out 
  3. 9% reduction in staff turnover
  4. 22% reduction in learning delivery time 
  5. 17% reduction in training cost
  6. 20% increase in reach and volume 

Four key Learning and development trends were identified:

1. L&D expectations of what technology-enabled learning can deliver have increased:

  • 93% want to respond faster to changing business conditions compared to 47% in 2008
  • 94% are looking to improve staff satisfaction and motivation through technology enabled learning compared with 55% in 2008
  • 89% want technology enabled learning to support the roll out of new products and processes compared with 40% in 2008

2. Reported barriers to adoption overall have decreased in the last 12 months:

  • 34% reported resistance by classroom training staff to adopt new technology in 2013 as a barrier, dropping from 47% in 2012
  •  53% report a lack of skills amongst staff to manage their own learning as a barrier and this has dropped from 63% in 2012.
  •  However, concerns about the cost of set up and maintenance has increased to 72% in 2013 

3. More learning is being created in house but more work needs to be done on  the internal skills of the L&D team to deliver:

  • 69% of organisations are developing learning content in house but only 38% agree that they have the skills to do this.
  • 46% of organisations are delivering learning via virtual classrooms but only 29% agree that they have the skills

4. Many organisations are still failing to achieve the benefits that they seek but Top Learning Companies (as defined by the Towards Maturity Index™) continue to report significantly better results than average. They are:

  • Twice as likely to agree that staff put what they learn into practice
  • Twice as likely to agree that they have noticed positive changes in behaviour

Expectations of L&D leaders show that learning technologies have moved firmly into mainstream learning with traditional and future facing companies:

  • 20% of L&D budget is currently spent on technology 
  • 26% of formal learning is e-enabled
  • 57% of companies use technology to support compliance training  

Moving forward:

  • 82% expect to increase their use of blended learning in the future
  • 75% expect to increase their use of purely online learning in the next 2 years
  • Organisations use 57% more learning technologies than five years ago. Top technologies include:
    • 90% deploy e-learning content
    • 88% have a Learning Management System
    • 78% use virtual meetings
    • 71% use mobile

However only 30% are deliver learning via cloud based learning solutions. Only 15% are investigating MOOCs and Learning Record Scores; 13% Open Badges

Previous Towards Maturity Benchmark Studies can be downloaded at