The world around is modernizing more every day. Cell phones have replaced landlines, pay phones, and car phones. Movies are streamed online rather than rented from the movie store. Our refrigerators can tell us if we’ve had a power outage, and when. 

The workplace has seen many notable modernizations as well. Email has largely replaced the fax machine. Software is hosted on the cloud, no longer requiring a disk (or a disk drive) to install it. Many people can—and do—work from anywhere. 

With these advancements, learning and development has modernized as well. Your team members no longer have to fly to conferences, or be held captive all day in your conference room, to get on-the-job training. Modern learning and development programs are incorporating on-demand, online learning opportunities to meet your team members where they are.

Here are some fascinating online learning statistics you should know.

1. The number one reason people change jobs is “career growth opportunities.”

Millennials, who are the largest generation in the American workforce, say the opportunity to learn and grow is the most important consideration in a job. In addition, 69 percent of non-millennials say it is important to them.

Given this information, it’s no surprise that “career growth opportunities” are the number one reason people change jobs.

2. Only four in 10 employees strongly agree they have opportunities at work to learn and grow

While career growth is important to employees, only 4 in 10 strongly agree they have opportunities to learn and grow at work. Without the opportunity to advance internally, they instead look to external opportunities to progress in their careers.

3. 58 percent of learning and development professionals are focused on upskilling and reskilling

Eighty-five percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. And nearly nine in 10 executives and managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years.

It’s no surprise that upskilling and reskilling is the top priority for learning and development professionals, with 58 percent saying it’s a key focus. That’s a 15 percent increase since June 2020. 

In addition, 53 percent are focused on leadership and management, 50 percent on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and 33 percent on virtual employee onboarding.

4. Nine in 10 employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers

Ninety-three percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. And organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development are twice as likely to retain their employees. 

When the total cost of turnover is estimated at 33 percent of the employee’s base pay, this can result in significant cost savings—while allowing you to hold on to your top performers.

5. Developing people's strengths can lead to an 18 percent increase in performance

Developing people's strengths helps them become more confident, productive and self-aware.

It also leads to:

  • 7 to 23 percent higher employee engagement
  • 8 to 18 percent increase in performance
  • 20 to 73 percent lower attrition
  • 17 percent higher productivity
  • 21 percent higher profitability

6. Seven in 10 say an investment in reskilling has paid off

Around seven in 10 respondents say the business impact from reskilling programs has been greater than or equal to the investment in them. They have improved business performance in the following ways:

  • 73 percent said reskilling has improved employee satisfaction
  • 62 percent said it has improved the customer experience
  • 56 percent said it has improved the number of open positions filled by existing employees
  • 55 percent said it has improved their employer brand
  • 53 percent said it has improved brand perception among customers
  • 50 percent said it has improved employee retention
  • 48 percent said it has improved bottom-line growth

7. 61 percent use e-learning to better serve geographically dispersed learners

The COVID-19 pandemic quickly accelerated the adoption of remote work and, with it, online learning. In fact, 61 percent say the primary factor for using e-learning was to better serve geographically dispersed learners.

Many organizations plan to offer permanent remote work options for their team members, suggesting that online learning will continue to be important. 

8. 87 percent of employees want online learning options

When teams are able to return to the office, nearly nine in 10 expect virtual training to be part of their organization’s learning and development program:

  • 10 percent want more group virtual training
  • 31 want more virtual training, at their own pace
  • 46 percent want to see a blended approach of virtual and in-person training
  • 13 percent want only in-person training

9. 79 percent plan to invest more in online learning

Seventy three percent of learning and development (L&D) professionals expect to spend less on instructor-led training, while 79 percent expect to spend more on online learning, in 2021. This is up from early 2020, when only 38 percent of L&D professionals expected to spend less on instructor-led training, and 57 percent expected to spend more on online learning. 

Final thoughts on online learning

Online learning is a powerful solution to many current business challenges, including skill gaps, remote work transitions, low employee engagement, and high employee turnover. It’s no surprise that it’s growing in popularity—especially as employers begin to see positive returns on their investment. 

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9 Fascinating Online Learning Statistics