The Barriers to Leadership Learning


When Development Dimensions International asked business leaders across the world what they think are the major barriers to employee learning, they found a surprising pattern: The biggest weaknesses in some types of learning programs are the greatest strengths in others.

In its 2015 Global Leadership Forecast, DDI details how, while most on-the-job learning programs suffer from poor post-learning feedback from managers, this is rarely a barrier in formal learning initiatives. Conversely, the top barrier to formal learning – low relevance to the job and to business challenges – is typically a strength for on-the-job learning programs.

The problem is that, while many companies know how to provide programs that are relevant to learners and how to reinforce learning experiences with manager feedback, they do not necessarily apply those strengths to the right type of learning initiative.

Organizations must connect learning to job and business needs, and reinforce the initiatives’ relevance after the learning occurs. Companies should also work to make on-the-job and formal learning counterparts in an integrated learning journey, instead of distinct events. To accomplish this, they may use formal learning to build structure around on-the-job learning and reinforce it. This will help learners better convert informal learning experiences into sustained changes.

This is where TMC and the Cultural Navigator come in. TMC offers numerous formal learning and development programs that can be customized to the needs and goals of any organization. In addition, the Cultural Navigator learning platform hosts a plethora of activities on a number of subjects relevant to adult learning, which can be taken as part of a formal course, or while the employee is on the job. As an online resource that is optimized for different devices, the Cultural Navigator can be accessed from any location, on computers, tablets or smartphones. 

By viewing on-the-job learning more like formal learning and formal learning more like on-the-job, organizations will be better able to leverage the distinct strengths of both forms, thus generating stronger development outcomes for leaders and value for their business.