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State of External Enterprise Learning 2023: Highlights on the Impact, Technology, and Revenue Goals of Modern Training

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Rachel Rheinhart
June 21, 2023
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Our 5th annual State of External Enterprise Learning 2023 survey has dropped! This year, we surveyed over 200 organizations, with a particular focus on the 82% in the highest revenue tier, meaning those with an annual corporate revenue of at least $100M. This spotlight allowed us to get granular on how external training teams within large businesses are investing. How will they drive exceptional learning experiences? What are the benefits and impact they’re seeing? And, where do their priorities lie for the year ahead?

This years’ results are clear. Training organizations are investing in learning despite an unpredictable economy, and turning external learning into a solid revenue stream through monetization and enhanced learner experience. That’s no surprise, as external enterprise learning continues to prove its worth across the board, moving the needle in areas such as product adoption, cost to acquire, and customer churn. 

Keep reading for your highlights from the report

Teams are investing in learning, and seeing the return

Despite the uncertain macroeconomic environment, external enterprise learning is holding strong. Teams are investing in learning, with 22% expecting to increase their headcount over the next 12 months, and 23% looking to invest in new learning technologies. 

This investment is far from blind. 44% of organizations expect their revenue from training to stay the same this year, (after 39% saw an increase in 2022), and another 43% expect a revenue increase of up to 30%. What’s driving the dollar signs? Mainly pure-play sales and consumption of training, alongside a growing understanding of the business value of external education. 

An increasing number of organizations are monetizing their training

Two years ago, when asked “fee vs free?” about learning content, free content was preferred by 57% of respondents. Today, those ratios have switched, with 61% monetizing their learning, up almost 20% since 2022. Watch this space, as we estimate three-quarters of organizations will monetize their learning in 2024. 

Monetization is not one-size-fits-all, so it’s no surprise to see that the average respondent chose three disparate options for how they gain direct revenues from learning content. While 41% offer training a la carte, around a quarter of organizations also use subscriptions, bulk purchasing and invoicing.

Building high quality learning experiences has never been more urgent

Last year, just 26% of respondents cited engaging learning experiences as a priority, while this year it tops the list for 61%. Other priorities that have more than doubled in importance are developing more specific learning content, and enhancing content delivery. 

To engage learners, technology innovation priorities are ambitious. 50% want to create a customized user experience, 42% plan to build learning in-app, and 40% are looking to offer more personalization. 21% of organizations will increase their technology spend this year to get there. 

Organizations are seeing unprecedented business impact from learning

Year after year, we see organizations gaining understanding of the return on training programs, and this year is no different. Respondents cite a 27% increase in product and feature adoption, a 16% decrease in customer churn, and a 17% reduction in the cost to acquire a new customer. 

However, to draw these connections between learning programs and business impact, analytics are key. Under half of respondents believe they have the analytics and reporting functionalities in place to prove value to the executive board. And, just 45% say they can demonstrate a correlation from learning activities to business KPIs. 

The right technology is a force multiplier

Personalization and customer experience continues to be a differentiator for today’s learning teams. And, great analytics are table stakes for getting buy-in, which means the topic on everyone’s lips is technology

28% of teams say they are currently lacking the right technology to meet their priorities. 29% say they have too many competing technologies without sufficient integrations in place. Respondents mentioned 12 tools across Marketing Automation, Program Support, and Data and Analytics, all outside of their core learning platform. Seamless integrations and extensibility are in the spotlight, and only a modern learning platform can check those boxes. 

As we analyze the state of external enterprise learning in 2023, the demand for innovation, customization and integration without limits is clear. Ask yourself, do you have the technology in place to keep pace? 

Want to see the data for yourself, and measure how your current technology and priorities stack up against your peers? Download your own copy of the State of External Enterprise Learning 2023 here

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