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Corporate Learning 'Wildly Out of Sync' With How Individuals Learn for Themselves, Research Reveals

London, UKLearning NewsTowards Maturity

Research on more than 2,000 potential workers reveals the gulf between learner aspirations and the experience of learning in the workplace.

A study of more than 2,000 people who paid for their own personal development shows that a vast majority are keen to progress their career and maintain their professionalism. This is a stark contrast to the learner experience at work, with only 21% of organisations supporting employees’ career aspirations or personal job goals.

The new In-Focus report, The Consumer Learner at Work, produced by Towards Maturity in conjunction with learning provider Filtered, shows that 80% of employees who have invested their own time and resources in learning can see how online learning helps them further their career. Furthermore, 70% think online learning has had a positive impact on job performance.

This data is a wake-up call for L&D teams - learners want easy access to relevant and practical learning that will add value to their lives. For example, individuals who are active consumers of learning want to access learning when and where they need it. They are social - with 70% motivated by technologies that allow them to network and connect with each other. 90% of the sample download apps to further their learning – 50% are education-based and 49% are productivity tools.

Currently, 50% of L&D leaders involve communities of practice in their offerings, yet only 11% encourage staff to solve problems socially together and just 12% use curation tools to facilitate access.

Laura Overton, Founder and CEO of Towards Maturity, comments, “This research is with individuals who are investing in their own development - any one of them could be in your extended workforce! What we’ve found is a wake-up call for L&D. When learners say they are keen, curious and want to easily access relevant content, then organisations must listen. Clearly, corporate L&D is not providing what motivated learners want. Think about the impact this will be having on those who are less motivated.”

The research shows that employees want relevant content at the point of need. They also want to learn more from each other and from resources that are easy to find, using technology:

  • 80% say Google or other web search resources are either essential or very useful to learn what they need to do their job

  • 77% rate working in collaboration with others as essential or very useful

  • 66% rate self-paced e-learning courses and 47% rate classroom courses as essential or very useful.

  • 70% use their own smartphone, 52% their own tablet for learning

Even when L&D teams offer relevant content, they are finding it difficult to market it effectively with 61% of L&D leaders not having a clear communications policy and only 3 in 5 saying that staff can access learning at any time.

Paolo Lenotti, Head of Marketing at Filtered, commented: "Plenty is changing in our industry - or at least is on the verge of. At Filtered we are not just passionate about developing the best possible product but are also very keen on making a difference in the wider learning sector. And this is one of the reasons we conducted this research in partnership with Towards Maturity. Whilst we are all busy talking about 70:20:10, online versus face-to-face, social learning or gamification, how often do we ask ourselves why learners learn in the first place? How do they do it? And are their learning behaviours recognised in the workplace or not? This research is full of great insights and I am sure that - as with every Towards Maturity publication - the L&D community in the UK will pay great attention to it and, hopefully, react promptly."

Download the report at





Note to editors


About this Research

In December 2015, Filtered (in collaboration with Towards Maturity) surveyed its database of learners and collected over 3,500 responses through an online questionnaire. Of those, 2,084 people invested their own time and resources in their training; the research ‘The Consumer Learner at Work’ focuses on those individuals. When it comes to supporting a great learning experience, what can these individuals teach L&D leaders?

Input from L&D leaders was taken from 600 participants in the Towards Maturity Benchmark Study gathered from 55 countries around the globe in July/August 2015. Full details of the findings with L&D leaders can be downloaded at


About Filtered

Filtered is an online training platform that personalises learning material for each user. By asking questions at the outset, the platform's algorithms filter out anything a user doesn't need, or already knows. This shortens time-to-performance for learners (significantly reducing the opportunity cost of training) and maximises the impact of time spent learning.

Filtered offers courses in essential business skills (such as communication, leadership and project management), Microsoft Office (Excel, Outlook, etc.) and compliance. Client's own content can also be adapted to the platform. Clients include Asda, EE, New Look, Regus and the ICAEW.

In 2015 Filtered was an EdTech 20 finalist; hosted 'Personalized training: if not now, when?', a conference on learning personalization; and launched the Filtered Foundation. Filtered is a finalist in the Learning Awards 2016 (Learning Technologies and Innovation in Learning categories), and with the ICAEW is shortlisted for Best Training Initiative in the Association Excellence Awards.