The business case for LEARNING DIGITAL


The importance of internal learning and development of their existing employees, as a vital means of building the digital capabilities that organisations require, appears incontrovertible.


It’s essential given the shortage in the supply of people with the requisite mix of skills. It addresses the widely identified need for all employees to have enhanced digital skills and understanding as a key element of their broader overall skill-set, and to combine digital knowledge with core business knowledge. And it acknowledges the reality of constant digitally-driven change, as technologies continue to advance, and organizations need continuously to update the capabilities at their disposal. Linked to this, a recent report by the UK Government concluded that employers needed to take greater ownership of digital skills development.

Analysis also suggests that people would be more likely to gravitate towards organizations that offer better digital skill development. This shows there is a very powerful business case for investment in learning, not least because of the costs associated with continuous staff turnover.

Despite this, a study undertaken by Founders Group/DEfactoED examining the extent to which and how leading organizations were approaching digital education and training found that more than 70% of respondents had yet to invest in digital training for their workforces. And where digital education programs were in place, these are often ineffective, being described as ‘useless and boring’. Only 31% of respondents said that they were receiving positive feedback regarding the education they were currently providing about digital, and only around a third of survey respondents believed that their existing education offers were adequate to meet the imperatives of digital transformation.

Ultimately, organizations must significantly increase their focus on and investment in education as the key lever in accessing and building the digital capabilities to survive and succeed in the rapidly evolving and uncertain world of digital. To do this at scale, they need to make full use of online education at least as part of this effort, as an efficient, rapid and highly scalable delivery mechanism, which is more in line with the digital age and the learning experiences demanded by a significant proportion of staff than more traditional approaches.

SOME INTERESTING QUOTES FROM THE SURVEY:“We have concerns about digital literacy across the business. At board level the gap is more evident.”“While understanding the scope of knowledge and capability required, precious little is being done in terms of enabling infrastructure.”“Getting a better understanding of the gap: Yes. But closing it? Not yet.”“An innovative approach to digital literacy development is needed across the whole business.”“Education is one of the key pillars of digital transformation.”“IT and the learning team do their part to communicate the information, but whether people take time to read or understand it is another matter.”“There just isn’t a digital education policy.” “Digital education is recognised as a key component of our future leadership and management development strategy.”“We’re receiving outstanding feedback on our digital education, and seeing the behaviour change in our business.”

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