Webinar series round up: What makes a high-impact learning culture?

Carlyn Angus brings us the highlights and discusses the regional differences from our latest webinar series.

Published 16 July 2020
Webinar series round up: What makes a high-impact learning culture?

Why do learning investments keep rising, but impact keeps falling? Why is it smarter to invest in culture over digital? And how do top-performing companies make the most from their learning and development?

These are the questions that we have been discussing in our latest webinar series hosted by Emerald Works’ Senior Researcher, Gent Ahmetaj, and Head of L&D Community Practice, Nahdia Khan.

We’ve now run three sessions based on regional specific insights (U.S./Canada, EMEA/U.K. and ANZ) from our annual research report – Back to the future: why tomorrow’s workforce needs a learning culture. We are delighted to have seen over 1,000 people register for the three sessions.

The data presented from each region has shown a difference in trends and has uncovered some interesting insights.

Today’s L&D pain points

Our report highlights that there has been an increase in reported pain points, with learning leaders reporting similar problems to the past, but on a larger scale.
At the start of each webinar, we asked the attendees “what is your top pain point in L&D today?”

Shifting from classroom learning

The consensus across all regions is that there continues to be a struggle in shifting the mindset of learners away from the classroom, with 27% of voters in the latest EMEA and U.K. webinar identifying this as the top pain point.

If we look at the data collected on the overall shifts in digital learning, the U.K. and EMEA regions showed each still had a 50% focus on classroom learning, compared with 43% in the ANZ and U.S. regions.

The U.S. region saw 31% looking to shift toward a blended approach, with the U.K. at only 24 %.
A shift toward an online or digital approach was flat across all regions, with the U.K., U.S. and EMEA regions saying it made up 26% of their overall approach, whereas the ANZ region reported 31%.

Aligning business goals with learning

The second most common pain point across all webinars was the lack of engagement and buy-in from senior stakeholders.

There seems to be a lack of clarity. We know from our research that organizations thrive when their leaders, consumer learners and learning professionals work together to identify, drive and deliver the critical responsibility goals of the business.

When we look at the data collected from our annual report across all regions, the U.K. region has the strongest understanding of the strategic business goals, with 36% assigning board level accountability for organizational learning, compared with the average of 31%.  

The ANZ region are particularly struggling with this, with only 17% agreeing they have this understanding.

Understanding the consumer learner

Consumer learners partake in self-directed learning at any time, on any device, in the same way that they would learn outside of work.

From our research, we know that organizations that actively seek to create an agile learning culture by guiding behavior, based on the principles of self-directed learning, are more likely to have a deeper understanding of their people.

Having polled the EMEA and U.K. audience on their understanding of how their consumer learners like to learn, the response was mixed. 33% of voters disagreed that they knew how they liked to learn, while 29% were neutral, and 30% agreed that they did understand.

What we do know is that when we empower people to own their own learning journey and see how it adds value to both learner and organization, we see increased levels of motivation.

Out of all the regions, the U.S. are leading the way in focusing on developing a real learning culture within their organization.

They are keen to involve consumers in learning design, with 30% of those surveyed as part of the annual report doing so, compared with an average of 21%. The U.K. region are not doing this well, with only 18% agreeing that this involvement is taking place.

Using data and analytics to drive change

With continual pressure on learning leaders to provide proof of performance impact, we know that using data analytics to improve the learning experience is fundamental, and is being widely adopted by High Impact Learning Cultures.

However, there is a definite disconnect in the way that L&D are using data and analytics to drive forward learning within each of the regions, as the data has highlighted.

When we asked people to agree with the statement, “We use learning analytics to improve the service we offer,” the EMEA region scored highest with 19%. This was followed by the U.S. and U.K. at 13% respectively, and ANZ at only 6%. This would suggest that the ANZ region are not investing in their analytics capabilities to make the most of this valuable resource.

The future of learning

It seems that some organizations are struggling to keep up with the changing working landscape.

Our final question asked how aware L&D are of the priorities and capabilities that their organization needs to tackle to increase impact in the future.

From analyzing the results across all regional webinars, the highest response was “a little,” which suggests there is much work to be done.

There is also a disconnect between the views of L&D and the views of the learner. Our report highlights that only 16% of L&D believe that their people engage in online learning without prompting, but 74% of learners say they are happy to learn online without being prompted.

The ANZ region had the strongest results when it came to developing new capabilities and upskilling the workforce. 24% agreed with the statement, “We’re proactive in understanding how our people learn what they need for their job,” compared with only 19% of the EMEA region.


As we look to the future, we need to start with the end in mind.

Our insights have identified six common habits that are practiced continuously by learning leaders of HILCs.

Some of these habits have been touched upon in this webinar series, and more information on them is available within our report.

It has been extremely interesting to compare the regional data in these webinar sessions. Each region has its own specific pain points and problems that they are solving well. If you’d like to learn more, please see the infographic for more insights.

Finally, we'd like to thank our attendees for their input and helping us to explore this data and research further.

We hope to see you all again soon.

“What an informative webinar leaving me with food for thought on how to develop a high impact learning culture.” Victoria Winter, Senior Learning Strategist, Cerner Corporation

Listen back

Recordings of all these webinars are now available right here on our website:

Find out more

You can download Back to the future: why tomorrow’s workforce needs a learning culture for free on our reports page. It’s packed with insights and data that helped drive this discussion. While you’re there, why not check out more of our insight-led research on the latest L&D trends, and get practical tips to drive performance in your organization?

Join us at other events

Keep up to date with our webinars, events and other company news, here. And find out how our performance solutions can inspire your people to work smarter, improve their well-being and enrich their careers.


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