Blog Post

The No. 1 Organizational Education Challenge, According to Data

Robyn Hazelton
September 28, 2022
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As companies brace for an economic downturn, proving the business impact of your customer, partner and employee education programs will be more critical than ever. After all, your education initiative can either be a cost center or a profit center. And when budgets are shrinking, you need to be driving positive business results. 

Unfortunately, nearly 1 in 3 companies say they struggle with learner drop off. 

The No. 1 organizational education challenge is that learners abandon training.

We recently surveyed 500+ education leaders to measure the ROI of organizational education, and to see what practices are driving positive business outcomes. 

Our researchers asked, “What are your biggest challenges, if any, when it comes to education?” And 28% told us that “Learners abandon training midway through.”

Reasons why a learner might abandon training, however, a common reason is poor content quality Learners abandon training midway through - 28%, we struggle to deliver high quality training to every learner 22%, we are manually maintaining course & certification competition records - 22% , employees leave and knowledge leaves with them 21%, we're not set up to educate multiple audiences, 15%, we don;'t have enough content, 13%, we don't have the resources to invest in a high quality platform, 13%, we don't have a system for organizing our content well 11%

Why is this happening?

Typically, learners don’t complete courses because of poor content, poor delivery, or both. 

Problem One: Poor Content Efficacy

Learners abandoning training midway through could reflect content efficacy; in other words, learners don’t find the content valuable. By definition, efficacy is the ability to produce the desired outcome. If learners feel the content isn’t helping them achieve their desired results, they’ll become dissatisfied and won’t return to the platform. Content efficacy and perceived value are tightly connected. 

Interestingly, companies that educate partners are most likely to struggle with abandonment. 

Is content efficacy a problem at your organization?

One way to assess whether content efficacy is causing abandonment is to test your ability to bring learners back into the platform using product bumpers or push notifications. If the content was valuable but learners simply got busy, they’ll come back. If they don’t come back, you might assume they don’t want to come back because the content isn’t valuable. 

There are many incentives you can offer to get customers to complete training (social certificates, badges, gamification, rewards, continuing education credits, etc.). But good content quality is the ultimate incentive.

Problem Two: Poor Content Delivery

Another cause behind learner abandonment is poor content delivery. In other words, learners don’t like how you deliver educational content. 

Remember, employees have to complete training. Customers don’t have to do anything they don’t want to. So if they find your learning platform (or slides, or docs) difficult to access or use, they’re more likely to ditch the lesson. 

Is content delivery a problem at your organization?

Take a serious look at your current delivery method and its capabilities. Are load times slow? Is content disorganized so that learners can’t find the information they want?

Is your content available on-demand so learners can access content on their terms? As McKinsey notes, demand for online learning is growing. If you aren’t meeting modern learner needs, learners will let you know — by abandoning midway through. 

And of course, you can always survey learners with a simple one-question form: “Why didn’t you complete the course?”

2022 Report Transform Education into a Profit Center

Solving the Issue of Learner Abandonment Is Worth the Effort

Solving the issue of learner abandonment — through better content, better delivery, or both — must be a priority, not only to avoid safety violations or non-compliance but also to ensure customer retention, employee retention, and partner success. 

And right now, in this economic climate, you need your education initiative to work for you, not against you. 

About the Author

Robyn Hazelton headshot
Robyn Hazelton
Vice President of Marketing and Growth
Robyn is the VP of Marketing and Growth at Intellum and helps to ensure that every interaction an individual has with the brand is as awesome as possible. An experienced and trusted leader with a history of consistently impacting revenue, she's always talking about funnel management and biased toward action.