One in three organisations have undergone learning and development budget cuts in the past two years, while another third saw their budgets flat line, a new survey has found.
The research, carried out by Skillsoft and titled Learning and Development Trends in A/NZ, surveyed 250 learners and decision makers in more than 150 businesses and 20 industry sectors.
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It found that employers are investing in learning and development, with more than half spending upwards of $900 and one in four spending more than $1500 per learner.
But only a small proportion of that spend it allocated to e-learning.
Although 94 per cent of surveyed organisations provide elearning resources, just under half (47 per cent) spend less than 20 per cent of their budget on them; and more than half (53 per cent) aren't actively encouraging learners to use these resources.
Skillsoft A/NZ regioinal director Rosie Cairnes said she was surprised by the results.
"Against a backdrop of tight budgets and employees' demands for flexibility, elearning is something of a missed opportunity for organisations right now".
The survey also found that learners want to be able to learn whenever they can in their busy schedules.
More than half want to undertake some of their learning at home, and one-quarter during their daily commute.
Yet only 41 per cent of organisations provide access to learning via mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, despite the fact that 74 per cent of learners would welcome this mode of access.
Cairnes said organisations were struggling to keep up with demand for anytime-anywhere learning.
"Where it is done well well however, we're seeing high levels of learner engagement and satisfaction -- particularly when organisations mix technology-based approaches with traditional classroom methods, to offer blended learning solutions."
Most participants are enthusiastic overall, with more than three in four respondents saying they've been able to apply the skills they've gained; 61 per cent recognising a direct, positive impact on their job performance; and 77 per cent saying they value learning programs and find the time to take advantage of them.