Learning is changing. Our latest High-Impact Learning study shows that workforce learning and development (L&D) is in flux. Many learning leaders have visibility only to spending that happens within their L&D organization, even as greater proportions of learning spend occur in the business. This trend has been underway for some time, and the challenge we see organizations attempting to solve is how to strike the right balance of centralized and decentralized learning.
There is also significant variability in how organizations define learners and employees (e.g., whether contingent workers are included), as well as which categories of spend are included in measuring the cost of learning (e.g., indirect costs such as travel to conferences).
With these shifts in mind, it is time to reevaluate what we, as an industry, benchmark. Bersin has historically provided benchmarking data to our members to provide insight on what and how organizations invest in learning. Our members use this data to inform the budgeting, measurement, and comparison discussions frequently involved with designing and optimizing L&D organizations and workstreams.
But if the definitions of learning spend, learners, employees, and hours are shifting, we must similarly evolve the benchmarking data we collect. We should report benchmarking data that reflects the convergence of learning and work, the often-fragmented budgeting process for learning spend, and the ambiguity of who a “learner” is when learning occurs in the flow of work—making this more difficult to track.
This is an opportunity to shape the metrics of our ever-changing industry. To that end, we will solicit input from our members and learning leaders over the next several months to undertake a new benchmarking study in 2019. If you are interested in participating in a discussion regarding this topic, please send Julie Hiipakka an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.