Towards Maturity Benchmarking: How to realise potential of online learning in 3 easy steps!

This month #ozlearn is discussing the benefits of benchmarking and I am proud to host a blog post by Laura Overton (Managing Director of Towards Maturity) to discuss how we can realise the potential of online learning

Please join us on Tuesday  8 July at 8:00 p.m. (AEST) or 11:00 a.m. (BST) via our Ozlearn tweet chat by following the hash tag #OZlearn.

How to realise potential of online learning in 3 easy steps!

These are exciting times for L&D. We have more expectations from learners and business leaders and more tools at our disposal to meet those needs. It’s now accepted that learning often has to happen fast and does not always have to happen in a course. Technology opens up the opportunity for L&D teams to respond to demand in new ways

But these are also challenging times. In our studies we found that 9 out of 10 Australian L&D Leaders are looking to their technology enabled learning strategy to improve talent management and performance, deliver greater value for money and speed up the application of learning yet fewer than one in 5 are delivering those benefits .[1]  The same study analysing feedback from participants around the globe showed that the top learning companies were reporting more engagement, more productivity and more results than their peers.

3 Easy Steps to realising your potential

It is clear that our learning strategy has the potential to achieve so much more but many L&D professionals have very little time or money to invest in change. So how do we realise the potential of online learning, save resources AND make great decisions? Benchmarking your approach against peers who have already achieved what you are looking to do can really help.

So here are those 3 easy steps you can take to realise potential:

  • Review your current technology enabled learning approach against an established framework of effective practice
  • Compare your results with those of the top performing learning companies
  • Act on what you find out!

It is that simple so why not click here to start benchmarking right now.

Using these 3 simple steps to deliver quick wins – faster!

When it comes to engaging staff with online learning, exploring mobile or performance support strategies we have to focus on the quick WINS – with the emphasis on wins! I appreciate that making mistakes in our decisions and approaches is all part of the learning curve but when resources are tight, a little bit of reflection and preplanning can help you increase your chance of success.

Benchmarking, using the 3 simple steps above, can be a great way to help you realising the potential of online learning. And I don’t mean comparing the number of hours spent training or spend per head – the only action that leads to is to increase the size of the begging bowl!

Effective practice benchmarking means learning from the mistakes and successes of others in order to help you establish more informed decisions and priorities. Events, case studies and even connecting through #Ozlearn are a great way to do this but when the chips are down, we need a more systematic evidence based approach to help support decision making and action planning.

Over the last 10 years Towards Maturity have gathered information from over 3000 companies from the public, private and not for profit sectors around the globe to help investigate what works in a successful e-enabled learning strategy – and what doesn’t!

There are a number of characteristics that define the most successful L&D teams  – their proactive understanding of both the needs of both business and individuals, awareness and influencing the work context, building the L&D team’s skills to design great learning and performance support, managing change and demonstrating value (see figure 1).


TM Model

Funnily enough, the budget and types of technology used does not influence success in the same way. We’ve seen charities and public sector organisations lead the way with very little resources, delivering a massive impact by addressing these 6 simple areas in their strategy.

However we’ve found that whilst successful practices are common sense , they are not common practice!

So I’ll leave you with a few questions!

  1. How does your approach to delivering L&D compare with your peers both in Australia and in the UK?
  2. What can you learn from top performing learning companies to help you plan more effectively and deliver quick wins first time round?
  3. When was the last time you stopped and seriously reflected on the approach and performance of your L&D team?

We invite you to take an hour out to use the Towards Maturity Benchmark to reflect today. The whole process is free, confidential and backed by leading thinkers in the L&D industry around the globe.

What’s more, you will receive a free Personalised Benchmark Report (valued at £300) to provide you with your own data to build your strategy on in September. Plus you will be able to download a new global briefing paper that explores the implementation strengths of the UK and Australia and highlights a number of lessons that we can learn from each other to improve impact and business engagement.

These reports are FREE to all participants of the Towards Maturity Benchmark, and provides a great opportunity to compare your approaches with peers in your own country.

Why not take time out to reflect on your strategy by benchmarking today!

Click here to start


By Laura Overton

MD Towards Maturity

Twitter/Linked IN – Lauraoverton

Follow the benchmark conversation at #GetTheEdge14


[1] From the Towards Maturtiy New Learning Agenda Study

2 thoughts on “Towards Maturity Benchmarking: How to realise potential of online learning in 3 easy steps!

  1. Interesting post from Laura here. I think it’s always intriguing to see how your organisation compares against others. But also critical not to get *too* hung up on comparisons. Because ultimately, every organisation is unique – made up of a different mix of employees, different organisational culture, history, industry, funding models, tech infrastructure, leadership styles etc etc. And this is why I have mixed feelings about benchmarking, and potentially setting goals based on industry benchmarks – what’s ‘effective’ and ‘best practice’ for one organisation may not necessarily be for another. Using it as guideposts for making informed decisions within the context of your own organisational environment, yes. But basing an entire learning strategy and business objectives on industry benchmarks is probably not ideal (not that anyone is suggesting this, but no doubt organisations have done this before!).

    Looking forward to discussing the post, stats and all things benchmarking in the tweet chat!


  2. Hi Tanya

    Great comments, I agree wholeheartedly about not being hung up on comparisons. For me the whole process is about understanding the important foundations for a great learning strategy, the elements that appear to influence success regardless of organisation location, size or sector.

    Once we understand those common factors, benchmarking is about having an opportunity to use that understanding to reflect on our own individual situation and apply any ideas that surface accordingly within the context of our own organisations.

    It’s about using an evidence based approach to learning to drive results through individual actions that are relevant to specific organisations. With all the talk around ‘Big Data’ , benchmarking helps us to think through the ‘Little Data’ that we already have to help us make more informed decisions.

    One thing that our research highlights is that many organisations around the globe clearly know about aspects of great learning strategy: designing great workplace learning, aligning with needs , engaging staff but don’t always put what they know into practice in their own organisation.

    The comparisons that we found between the UK and Australia really showed that UK counterparts could do well looking at some of the great practices and approaches from down under . UK L&D professionals know that we need to facilitate collaborative workplace learning but it appears that very similar organisations in Aus seem to be achieving this much better than we are over here in the UK – there are clearly lessons to learn but we wouldn’t know that if we hadn’t benchmarked!

    Benchmarking is really all about having external evidence to support informed individual action, its about saving time and learning effectively from each other rather than shoe horning learning strategy into a one size fits all.

    Looking forward to seeing the discussions from #Ozlearn



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