Demand for learning content is at an all time high

L&D continues to face many of the same challenges for the last few years. The accelerated pace of change shows no sign of slowing. Shifting customer expectations and digital transformation continue to leave all industries with skills gaps. Record numbers of resignations and difficulty attracting new hires have added to the troubles.

Digital learning has been key to helping employees and businesses respond to these challenges. So, it’s no surprise that demand remains at an all-time high, with 85% of L&D professionals reporting an increase in requests for digital learning. As what organizations need from employees and what people want from their employers continues to change, L&D teams find themselves in an exciting position of influence.

85% increase in requests
Half of organisations think that their L&D approach is critical for employee retention

Over half of the organizations surveyed by Brandon Hall Group highlighted that their approach to L&D was critical to employee retention and becoming a market leader. These increased expectations have led to new responsibilities. L&D has a more strategic, collaborative, and cross-functional role to play in shaping their organization’s future.

As economic pressures increase, L&D is being asked to do more than ever before. In this challenging landscape, we wanted to discover what was happening on the ground.

What do your peers in L&D think?

We surveyed L&D leaders working in businesses across the world to explore the key challenges they’re facing.



What’s the current situation in L&D?

Hear more on the challenges facing L&D from Simon Greany, CLO & Founder at Elucidat

So there’s a dichotomy. L&D teams are facing increased demand and have more opportunities to make a difference, yet around half are feeling blocked from doing so.

Why might this be? Here’s what we found.

What does L&D need to have more impact?

Here’s what top L&D teams are hoping to see more of.

What challenges do L&D face?

Here are the top challenges highlighted by L&D teams.

52%are struggling to manage stakeholders’ expectations


are finding it difficult to respond at speed, while maintaining quality


aren’t able to develop a future-proof vision for L&D


are facing reductions in their already limited resources

What challenges do L&D face?

Here are the most common words related to the challenges highlighted.

A word cloud illustrating the the top challenges highlighted by L&D teams

What’s not working for learners?

L&D professionals highlighted what’s not engaging their learners over the last year.

Time-consuming digital learning

  • Long, stand-alone elearning programs.”

  • Very big learning pathways.”

  • Complicated and elaborate designed modules that consume vast amounts of time to produce.”

  • “Long to develop, but outdated quickly.”

Content overload

  • Giant libraries of elearning.”

  • Too many platforms.”

  • “The amount of information is just too much to process

  • “Documentation resources duplicated as video resources.”

It goes without saying that bite-sized, easy-to-digest learning content appeals to busy employees who need to fit learning around their work. But a number of L&D professionals also highlighted that longer modules take more time to produce and keep up to date.



Having access to everything and anything in huge libraries of learning content isn’t working for learners. Reams of reading duplicated content, and out-of-date information were all highlighted as issues that were adding to the issue.



Hear Lori Niles-Hoffmann discuss the challenges of content overload

Hear Nick Shackleton-Jones discuss the challenges of content overload

*This clip was taken from the Learning at Large Podcast. Hear more from Lori by listening to the full episode.

*This clip was taken from the Learning at Large Podcast. Subscribe now to make sure you catch Nick’s episode on the 15th March!

Missing the learning that matters

  • “We make too much content that’s launched and then forgotten or lost in the shuffle.”

  • “Free range learning isn’t working.”

  • “We have vast amounts of content which dilutes the offer and can make navigation hard. Where do you begin…?

Hear Heather Gilmartin Adams discuss learning that matters

With so much content out there, it becomes harder for L&D to have an impact. Creating more learning content to meet the business’ demand just adds to the noise.

Cutting through this noise and engaging learners is critical to ensure all that effort in creating new learning programs isn’t wasted.

Picture of a dartboard with a target pattern. All the darts have missed the board.

What do the experts think?

We spoke to leading L&D experts to get their perspectives. Here are the top 6 challenges they are seeing across the industries and organizations they work with.

1. Doing more with less

The combination of increased demand and reduced resources means L&D is feeling the pressure. Finding sustainable ways to manage an ever-increasing backlog with fewer resources is critical for L&D’s success in 2023.

Lila Warren headshot

Doing more with less has become a very familiar phrase in the current climate. Not just for L&D, but also for the vast majority of jobs out there. With challenges in recruiting and retaining employees, there’s an urgent need to upskill the existing workforce in areas that were covered by specific roles in the past. The impact is that the demand for rapidly creating training solutions on specialist subjects has increased.”

Lila Warren, Global Head of Retail Academy, Pret a Manger
Zsolt Olah headshot

“We’re very good at finding answers to questions and solutions for problems. The challenge is making sure those are the right questions, and those are the priority problems. L&D does not exist in a vacuum of ‘learning’. While we’re working on our improved performance-focused approach to problem solving, we’re also figuring out how to be efficient and effective at the same time with our business stakeholders. Sometimes, this means saying no to good intentions if they’re not going to make a difference.”

Zsolt Olah, Senior Learning Technologist, Amazon

Hear more from Lila Warren on how to do more with less


*This clip was taken from the Learning at Large Podcast. Hear more from Lila by listening to the full episode.

2. Demonstrating value

With economic pressures due to grow in the new year, how you use your limited resources is even more important. Meeting training demands isn’t enough. L&D needs to deliver effective solutions that demonstrate their value.

Ashley Sinclair headshot

L&D continues to face many of the same challenges it has for the last decade: keeping pace with a hyper-modernized world, evidencing value beyond completions and smile sheets and contending with fractured engagement across the organization. However, these challenges have become even more pressing to resolve due to tightening budgets and L&D being constantly scrutinized by the wider organization.”

Ashley Sinclair, Managing Director, MAAS Marketing
Brandon Carson headshot

It’s a challenge to correlate development to the speed of business and too often we take shortcuts or we prioritize activity over impact and end up wasting the time of our workforce on learning interventions that aren’t designed to bring value.”

Brandon Carson, Vice President, Learning and Leadership Partner, Walmart

Hear more from Nick Shackleton-Jones on the importance of demonstrating value


*This clip was taken from the Learning at Large Podcast. Subscribe now to make sure you catch Nick’s episode on the 15th March!

3. Refocusing on skills

Faced with widening skill gaps, many businesses have refocused their approach. The shift to becoming a skills-based organization requires a gear change across the business, but particularly in L&D.

Lori Niles-Hoffman headshot

“The challenges facing L&D are no different than they were in the past…what is new is the transformation into Skills-Based Organizations. This is a massive shift in how work gets done and in turn, and how individuals are upskilled. Long-form role-based curricula are no longer viable. Likewise, content consumption doesn’t upskill. L&D needs to be heavily involved in the broader HR initiatives, such as Talent Marketplaces, to be in lockstep with people development and internal mobility.”

Lori Niles-Hoffman, Senior Learning EdTech Transformation Strategist, NilesNolen
Brandon Carson headshot

“Focusing relentlessly on closing the massive skills gap that exists [is a top challenge]. We’re in the largest-scale job transformation in human history and we have a capability crisis that’s costing market share for business and leaving too many people behind.”

Brandon Carson, Vice President, Learning and Leadership Partner, Walmart

Hear Lori Niles-Hofmann discuss the importance of the skills transformation


*This clip was taken from the Learning at Large Podcast. Hear more from Lori by listening to the full episode.

4. Developing new capabilities

From strategic consultation to content creation, L&D has always worn many hats. But the move from working in silos to holistic collaboration means L&D needs to develop new capabilities.

Heather Gilmartin Adams headshot

“Research we did in mid-2022 found that L&D teams may not have the skills they need to help their organizations thrive. L&D functions are being asked to tackle big, strategic, org-wide problems, and they’re getting much more visibility at very senior levels of the organization. In this new role, L&D functions must primarily operate as components of the larger organizational ecosystem, not as an L&D silo. To do this, L&D functions need more leadership skills, more collaboration and teamwork skills, and more core business skills. “

Heather Gilmartin Adams, Senior Analyst, RedThread Research
Simon Greany headshot

“On top of the skills shortage at an organization level, there’s a shortage of people with L&D skills. That means that L&D experts are having to train up people who are coming in from different fields/backgrounds. This represents a great opportunity to increase quality and leverage new skills to do better learning, but is an added timesuck.”

Hear Heather Gilmartin Adams discuss the importance of L&D's role

Hear John Kilroy discuss his experiences with L&D developing new capabilities

5. Prioritizing agility

The volatility of the current business environment means that organizations need to prioritize agility. When you can’t predict what’s going to happen, you need to be prepared to adjust quickly.

Patrick Bowl headshot

Organizational change is the biggest challenge. Keeping ahead as much as possible and knowing that new hires coming in will need to flex in the very near future so we have to message and prepare them for that experience.”

Patrick Bowl, Learning and Development Director, Worldpay
Jason Flynn headshot

“As with any large, continually evolving and transforming organization, the challenge is being able to deploy the right resources and learning opportunities across every function and geography as required and to effectively communicate those opportunities and their benefits to all for whom they are available.”

Jason Flynn, Global Head of Learning, GfK

6. Understanding changing employee needs

After years of rapid change following the pandemic, many people have reassessed what work/life balance means. Effective L&D has to focus on what employees want and need to get them engaged in their development.

Ashley Sinclair headshot

“Unfortunately, engagement remains the primary issue. We invest time, energy, budget and resources into our L&D functions and yet our employees still do not engage. Why aren’t they connecting? This is the question we are still struggling to answer in my opinion.”

Ashley Sinclair, Managing Director, MAAS Marketing
Patrick Bowl headshot

“As the recession drives more competition for talent and the need to focus much more on employee retention, skills growth and employee engagement are critical to keep and attract those top candidates. For companies to differentiate and adapt much more quickly, they rely on employee skills, knowledge and individual innovation more than ever.”

Patrick Bowl, Learning and Development Director, Worldpay

Hear Nick Shackleton-Jones discuss how to meet employee needs


*This clip was taken from the Learning at Large Podcast. Subscribe now to make sure you catch Nick’s episode on the 15th March!

As training requests stack up, and new strategic responsibilities take up more time, many L&D teams are struggling to deliver the impact businesses need.

When demand reaches capacity, this results in a backlog of learning which L&D professionals tackle in different ways.

A piechart showing the routes taken by L&D teams with a learning backlog
Cheryl Clemons headshot

“L&D were already feeling overwhelmed in 2022. This sense of overload isn’t going to change anytime soon with many teams having a stake in everything from onboarding to Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion to performance management.”

Cheryl Clemons, CEO, StoryTagger

The more traditional approaches to scaling up will manage the

backlog of learning but can present other issues.


An illustration demonstrating the learning needs of a business using an iceberg analogy


Off-the-shelf content is quick to deploy but often lacks relevance and offers very little ROI. Outsourcing to agencies often produces high-quality results, but can involve a long process to create and maintain, and a higher cost compared to in-house production. That’s why more and more L&D teams are looking for new ways to take control of the backlog and scale up when demand requires.

For 44% of L&D professionals, that means turning to their internal experts to support learning content creation at scale.

Hear Simon Greany discuss why taking control of learning backlog is crucial

Find out how you can meet the learning demands of your organization with Elucidat.

Book demo
Elucidat demo screens