3 Key Barriers to an Effective Learning Strategy & How to Address Them


Today, effective corporate learningand development (L&D) plays an all important role in engaging existing employees,and attracting and retaining top talent. Future-looking organizations are realizingthe value of developing sustainable learning strategies to boostengagement, productivity and enhance capabilities.

However, according to Towards Maturity’s The Transformation Journey report, the constantly evolving corporatelandscape calls for L&D to leverage a more prolific and evidence-based methodologyto achieve an effective learning strategy. Yet, research suggests thatnearly 29%of learning leaders are more overwhelmed and under skilled to deliverdesired outcomes.  

Laura Overton, Founder of TowardsMaturity says, “The focus this year isthe fact that our community is faced with uncertainty. Our focus is about helpingpeople look at their data and their journey. L&D leaders must focus whatthey can do today that will help them prepare for tomorrow.”

Towards Maturity researched andanalyzed 7500 L&D leaders along with 50,000 employees and leaders across 55countries, to discover three major barriers to an effective learning strategy. Letus explore these key barriers and how L&D can address them.


Our world isbecoming increasingly digital, and in this digital age businesses as well asconsumers are more informed, aware and better connected, becoming a crucialpart of the value chain. Digital technology has transformed theworld that is now more mobile, social, and data-driven. Today, digitaltechnology can deliver more value in terms of creating enhanced customerexperiences, making workplaces more agile and unlocking newer avenues of growthand success. Employees and people as a whole are indispensible for thistransformation, and empowering today’s employees is up to L&D that needs tobe agile, aware of latest digital trends, employees’ changing mindsets andintuitive towards the next disruptors to their business.


Although there isa lot of talk about how fostering a learning culture goes a long way in thedevelopment and retention of employees, creating an effective, sustainable andorganization-wide learning culture is one of the major barriers towards aneffective learning strategy.  The twothings holding L&D back are a lack of effective learning culture and the resistancefrom leaders towards continuous learning, with almost29% of L&D professionals saying managers are averse to learning.

Sarah Lindsell,Global Chief Learning Strategist at PwC says, “It’s really hard when people say managers don’t create time forlearning. The business must provide time for people to gain and practice skillsin a safe environment. It’s also about L&D being willing and able tochallenge the business and say, ‘If you want to shift the culture and getpeople reskilled, you have to create the environment for them to do so.’”


Though businesses are making larger investments to develop their L&D capabilities, over 50% of them say they don’t expect to shift their focus to ELearning, learning technology, content development, analytics etc. So, while more L&D leaders seek to maximize performance and productivity, only 53% of them believe they are enabled by diverse options that go beyond course-based learning. Highlighting this point is Ruth Stuart, research adviser at CIPD, “It’s very interesting how, as L&D professionals, we constantly champion the importance of staying ahead of the game in terms of skills and capabilities, but don’t take our own advice. In this volatile work environment we need to be agile, adaptive and ambidextrous to drive performance and stay relevant, aligning our work to the wider business.”

However, in orderto accomplish this, L&Dneeds to assemble the right capabilities, roles and resources along with aclear vision and purpose to ensure all resources are leveraged effectively.

Towards Maturity’s The Transformation Journey report suggests that, to overcome thesebarriers and to take all those involved on the transformation journey, L&D leadersneed to build an effective learning culture, both internally as well asexternally. For L&D to navigate the digital world, it must ensure theavailability of rightly skilled people to bring about the much-needed pushtowards digital maturity. Furthermore, L&D leaders must also stay abreastwith the latest technology trends and invest wisely.

Learning decisions taken smartlycan open up newer ways to achieve better business outcomes. Innovation incorporate learning can consistently deliver a minimumof 9% improvement in results that lead to growth, productivity and profit. Newerlearning tools and solutions have already led to improved growth (customersatisfaction grew by 21%), productivity (increase in productivity by 14%) andtransformation (ability to be agile improved 28%), and profit (increase in revenueby 11%).


L&D needs to efficiently managelearning, and ensure that it’s implemented and measured effectively in order tobuild an effective learning strategy. Technology is fast-paced, as is the corporatelearning landscape, and L&D needs to be adept in the tech-lingo to be ableto better engage with the workforce.

This is all the more evident whenit comes to choosing a robust learningplatform or an LMS to deliver training, as well as offering more and diverselearning opportunities through online contentlibraries with limitless eLearning courses and videos on a range of topics. 

Today, more than ever, L&D needs to align learning objectives with larger business goals, and to do so they must work in tandem with other business functions to improve training and incorporate those results into their learning strategy.