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Organisations missing digital learning potential, finds CMI

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The CMI finds digital learning is not delivering in management training

Almost eight in 10 (79%) managers feel their organisation is not realising the potential of digital learning, according to a report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The CMI’s Learning to Lead: The Digital Potential report surveyed more than 1,100 managers and found that although 97% said they spend at least one day a year developing skills using digital learning, 37% feel this learning is not aligned with organisational objectives.

When it comes to managers’ perceptions of digital learning, 69% said they believe cost cutting is the major reason for employers choosing to use digital learning. Only a fifth (20%) said they believed such methods were used to improve the quality of teaching.

Younger managers, aged under 35, are least likely to embrace digital management training, with only 11% preferring digital over face-to-face training, compared to 17% of older workers. More than half (58%) of younger managers also said they would like to have better networks embedded into their training.

However, younger managers also expressed a preference for more sophisticated online approaches, such as gamification. Almost half (41%) of those under 35 said they would find using games and apps useful in management training, compared to 16% of those aged over 55.

Three-quarters (73%) of managers said they would like to see digital learning become more personalised, using adaptive learning technologies to take personal learning style into account.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke urged employers to rethink how they train managers. “Just dumping textbooks onto smartphones is a dumb way to upskill managers,” she said. “Managers want personalised bite-size content, to share knowledge and learn from connected peer networks, to ask questions and get feedback in real time. Why? Because it’s now part of how we work and live.”

The report’s lead author William Scott-Jackson, chairman of Oxford Strategic Consulting, said self-directed learning was increasingly impacting on L&D in organisations.

“Successful L&D professionals will respond by providing guidance for self-directed learning, ensuring that high-quality content is easily accessible, building new ways to help ‘do’ leadership as well as learning it and providing accreditation for a wide variety of journeys to leadership capability,” he said.