Top 10 Challenges Faced by Learning and Development Professionals

Guest Post January 27, 2020 Digital Transformation

learning and development

From rapid organizational and technological change to age-old quandaries of how to best engage learners, learning and development professionals face a host of challenges in 2020. Here’s a look at the top 10 challenges for L&D professionals in the new decade:

  1. Organizational Change
  2. Technological Change
  3. Learner Engagement
  4. Meeting Needs of a Multigenerational Workforce
  5. Measuring Effectiveness
  6. The Forgetting Curve
  7. Showing ROI on Learning and Development
  8. Budget Cuts
  9. Developing Soft Skills
  10. Soliciting Feedback

Organizational Change

Whether it’s mergers and acquisitions or restructuring, organizational change presents both problems and opportunities for learning and development professionals. Planning a development program can be difficult when an organization is in flux. Still, these changes frequently underscore the need to train and develop employees who may be assuming new roles as a result of the change. 

Technological Change

Learning and development professionals also must deal with the impacts of technological change. The pace of technical innovation necessitates training employees on new software and digital technologies. In most cases, any technical training employees received as a part of their education is outdated a few years after they’ve graduated. Learning and development teams must plan for how to make sure employees are learning technology on the job. For companies undergoing a digital transformation, it might be worth investing in a Digital Adoption Solution. These platforms provide on-screen guidance and real-time support to make software easier to use. Digital adoption tools can decrease the amount of time it takes to onboard users to new programs. 

Learner Engagement

How can I get people to engage and learn from this training? This is a challenge all learning and development professionals find relatable. From choosing the right delivery method to offering better incentives, L&D professionals are continually experimenting with how to engage their audience in the best way. 

Meeting Needs of a Multigenerational Workforce

Engaging learners becomes more difficult as the generational differences in your workforce become more apparent. More digitally savvy millennial employees are more likely to engage with digital channels, while workers nearing retirement age may prefer more traditional methods. L&D professionals have to prepare content in ways the entire workforce can consume it. 

Measuring Effectiveness

Even if you find the right mix to engage workers, you still need a way to determine if they’re retaining and applying what they’ve learned. Tracking what happens after training is just as important as planning for the training itself. Developing the right assessments and tracking metrics is essential for a successful learning and development program. 

The Forgetting Curve

According to recent studies, students forget 70 percent of what they learn in a training session within 24 hours. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus dubbed this poor retention phenomenon, the Forgetting Curve. L&D professionals must plan for how to reinforce training content for better retention. 

Showing ROI on Learning and Development

As companies continue to look for ways to reduce expenses, learning, and development programs frequently end up on the chopping block. Demonstrating the value of these programs to company executives is often tricky if you lack the tracking and metrics to show an ROI on your training budget. 

Budget Cuts

If you can’t prove your value to executives, you’re likely to face a budget cut. As costs for in-person training increase and L&D budgets decrease, many professionals are looking for innovative and cost-effective digital training methods. This is another area where it could be worth exploring a digital adoption tool that reduces the cost of training employees to use enterprise software. 

Developing Soft Skills

Teaching employees to use technology is one thing. Teaching them how to be good salespeople or how to resolve conflict is another. Developing soft skills is essential for building the next generation of leaders, but it is often one of the most challenging things to teach. 

Soliciting Feedback

How do you know if your training is effective? How can you improve your instruction or delivery? Anyone who’s read the post-training evaluation forms knows that getting constructive and actionable feedback on how to improve your learning and development programs is difficult. You’ll need to go beyond simple surveys to get actionable insights on how to improve your programs. 

Conquering Learning and Development Challenges

These are just a few of the challenges for today’s learning and development professionals. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome? Leave a comment to share your challenges and solutions. 

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