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The adoption of mobile and social learning in UK organisations is falling behind expectations according to the results of the fifth UK Learning Trends Index.

In theory, new ways of working and learning should now be commonplace. The good news – revealed by the GoodPractice survey, completed by 300 respondents – is that:

  • 60% of respondents report an increased reliance on informal learning
  • 54% predict a growth in their use of social media
  • 70% highlight the importance of learning technologies, including mobile solutions

But the research also reveals a significant gap between what organisations want and what is actually happening:

  • Only 24% of respondents actually have an agreed strategy for informal learning
  • Only 21% have trialed any kind of mobile learning initiative

Despite these results, up to 60% confirm a planned increase in spend in these areas in the future.

Nigel Paine, Strategic Advisor on Learning and Talent, commented: “This report confirms a lot of assumptions; the desire to move to mobile, the need for a strategy for informal learning and the impetus around employee engagement. But this confirmation is actually dynamite. It gives a locus and a context for all those involved in L&D and the senior executives that support it.”

Other research conducted by GoodPractice also points to the importance of continuing to invest in informal learning, but from a managerial (rather than a senior L&D) perspective. The Learning Habits of Leaders and Managers research report revealed that when they are faced with a new or difficult challenge at work, leaders and managers demonstrate a strong preference for informal learning and social support.

Martin Baker, founder and MD of Clear Lessons commented: “I think there is a misperception within L&D departments that mobile learning may be both expensive and complex to achieve – which may account for the disparity between those organisations that have actually trialled mobile learning, and those that say they would like to. In fact, there are some great, tried and tested mobile resources available now which are both affordable and effective.”

“What we also know is that mobile performance support is absolutely what the end users really want: usage statistics prove that leaders and managers love having relevant resources in the palms of their hands, which they can turn to when and where they want to.”

The Learning Trends research also shows that improving employee engagement has become the number one driver for learning and development departments. And while leadership development remains the most critical task on the learning professional’s agenda, the focus is broadening. Areas including talent management, employee retention and performance management have all increased in importance.