The secret to effective L&D

Adrian Harvey




So, what can L&D do to ensure all their great learning content is continually learned and retained by their employees? The short answer: Artificial Intelligence (AI).

I would argue that few organisations possess the operational capacity to evidence they fully understand the competency level of every employee within their organisation, and how each employee is applying their knowledge to improve (or impair) business performance on a daily basis.

A bold statement, but one that is qualified by the fact that more and more businesses around the globe are recognising this is a major issue and are turning to AI to solve it.

Reports suggest that we collectively spend in excess of £263.7 billion per year to train our employees, yet still fail to see evidential and sustainable return from this mammoth investment.i


This is because the majority of ‘default’ training and delivery methods cannot address the root causation of historical training problems that exist. Behavioural science dictates that we forget as much as 80% of what we are taught within the first 30 days when there is no attempt to retain it.ii And we know that 79% of employee ‘knowledge and skill’ gaps are caused by businesses conducting employee training in an ephemeral fashion.iii

Still, reports show that most businesses were predominately reliant on self-elected employee learning and one-size-fits-all corporate training design in 2021.iv Which – when you really think about it – offers little in the way of evidence to say that training has been learned and retained for future application.

To further compound this issue, we know that the average level of tenured employee competency is just 52%, which means that employees only really know half of what you need them to know to optimally perform their role.v

No employee can be expected to act on training they have received but failed to learn. And no L&D team can confidently show their value without demonstrating how learning theory is translating into improved performance.

This is how AI is changing the game for L&D. In 2021, we undertook a joint case study initiative with Microsoft.vi Using our AI to continually assess and quantify the desired outcomes from their L&D initiatives, they could explicitly link the improvement in individual employee knowledge to targeted customer service KPI improvements.


The results achieved were significant for two reasons. Firstly, they attained their desired KPI improvements; FCR increased by 9%, CSAT increased by 5%, and Average Call Handling Times decreased by 12.5%. Employee knowledge increased by 19%, on average, across specific lines of business.

Crucially though, this study confirmed that employees who engage with micro-assessment learning methods consistently demonstrate greater knowledge and application of required learning content within their role.

Albert Einstein said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” There could well be an argument to suggest that this is applicable within the training design of many organisations currently.

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