Executive Summary:

This position paper is a collaborative effort between KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungs-gesellschaft, Germany (KPMG) and IMD business school, Switzerland (IMD). The aim of the paper is to create awareness about the demands and challenges of digital learning, to present clear and informed opinions on the issues associated with this type of learning, and finally to suggest practical, actionable measures to effectively integrate new technologies into corporate learning and development (L&D).

The insights and opinions presented in the paper are based on information gathered from executives in 68 international clients of KPMG and IMD, all industry leaders in their respective sector. Responses from the surveys and interviews provide an in-depth look into the use of digital learning in corporate L&D . The questions addressed are:

1. What is the unique proposition of digital learning?

2.What is the right digital learning solution for your organization?

3. How do you implement digital learning in your overall L&D strategy?

In an environment in which the global e-learning market has been growing by 900%, our findings indicate that digital learning is currently used 20% or less in most companies. Within the next 18 to 24 months, a shift up to 60% is anticipated, yet investment in new learning technologies accounts for a maximum of 20% of the L&D budget. Since many e-learning courses are developed in-house, this figure could be misleading due to hidden costs.

Many companies use digital learning in a blended learning format, some more successfully than others. Overall, e-learning is greeted unenthusiastically, often with indifference, and could benefit from a boost in didactic effectiveness. The transfer of learning back to the workplace is estimated to be 40% or less. In most cases the impact of learning is measured, if at all, through surveys rather than on-the-job performance or tests. The lack of motivation and impact may be due in part to technical difficulties. A recurring problem is the lack of a learning management system (LMS) or, when it does exist, it is an outdated and incompatible system. Interestingly, none of the companies involve IT in the decision- making process for digital learning.

To make digital learning more effective, we suggest that it is essential to create an up-to-date knowledge map of the targeted learning groups along with a solid understanding of the company’s current technical capabilities. These are baselines for defining a relevant and coherent L&D strategy, which can then also be measured. We also emphasize the need for more enjoyable, high-impact learning through a professional blend of learning methodologies, taking into consideration the various types of knowledge and motivation. Accompanied by an internal marketing and change management process, the right digital learning portfolio will not only enable a company to retain talent but also to increase its future competitiveness.