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Learning and Development in organizations: Reflecting on 20 years of research

For the past 20 years, Mind Tools for Business have been collecting data from learning and development leaders, business leaders and employees, to help us to understand more about organizational learning.
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To mark 20 years of businesses benchmarking their learning strategies with us, this year we’re publishing our Annual L&D Benchmarking report in three parts.

Because we are advocates of reflection, we’re starting with a report that looks back over the journey we’ve shared together as an L&D industry. Where did we excel? How could we have done better? And, importantly, what can the past teach us about the future of organizational learning?

The second and third reports will focus on where L&D is today and where it’s heading, respectively.

This report explores:

  • How learning maturity has evolved over the last 20 years
  • What mature learning organizations look like
  • How organizations have responded to big changes over the years
  • Why L&D hasn’t quite managed to keep up with significant advances in technology
  • Examples of missed opportunities and, importantly, how not to miss them in future.

This report concentrates on lessons to learn, rather than only identifying behaviors to mimic from higher-performing teams. Our aim is to help L&D teams to build stronger, more resilient learning strategies that serve the future of organizational learning.

Meet our researchers

Anna Barnett

Senior Researcher, Mind Tools for Business
With a strong background in academic research, Anna completed her PhD in 2020 and is now a core member of our Impact & Insights team. Anna specializes in producing high-quality, comprehensive, and topical evidence-based reports for the L&D community.

Gent Ahmetaj

Head of Research, Mind Tools for Business
Gent is Head of Research for Mind Tools for Business. He's a mixed-methods specialist focusing on how learning and organizational development can have real positive impact on key business metrics. Gent and his team of qualitative and quantitative researchers are responsible for improving data collection and analysis, writing research reports, and building inter-disciplinary research partnerships.

Stats you can trust

Most of the data in this report is collected online from learning leaders who take part in the Learning Performance Benchmark. The Learning Performance Benchmark is a free resource that helps L&D professionals to reflect on their learning strategies, think about and prepare for the future, and compare their learning maturity against other organizations. Thanks to the many organizations that have taken part in the Benchmark over the last 20 years, today we have a growing dataset of responses from more than 11,000 L&D leaders.

For this report, we have also drawn on the Learning Performance Benchmark data for 2023, which is new for this year. This data has been collected from 912 learning leaders worldwide, across 19 different industries.

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