ATD Blog

ATD 2015 Attendees Rank Their Biggest Training Challenges

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

We asked, and you told us. At the ATD 2015 International Conference & Exposition, Richardson randomly stopped conference participants to ask a single question: “What is the biggest training challenge you are currently facing?”

While this was by no means a valid statistical methodology, we did talk with more than 170 learning and development (L&D) professionals to uncover some of their major challenges. More importantly, many of these general challenges parallel obstacles plaguing those working in sales enablement.  

Among the top issues raised:

  • 17% — training reinforcement
  • 11% — measurement/ROI of training
  • 11% — alignment of learning and business goals
  • 8% — not enough time
  • 7% — lack of mobile platform.

Identifying issues is only half the battle, though. Here are some insights into ways of dealing with them. 
Training Reinforcement

Billions of dollars are spent on training annually, yet the “forgetting curve” is steep, with some researchers reporting that 87 percent of learning is lost within one week. To combat learning loss, it’s necessary to provide the right tools that enable training participants to immediately apply their new skills and knowledge. Such tools prevent skill loss by reinforcing key behaviors associated with the training objectives. 

Products like QStream provide a proven approach to learning reinforcement, while optimizing the return on investment (ROI) in training by improving knowledge retention. QStream supports each live training event in a mobile-delivery format by e-mailing daily, bite-sized knowledge and training to today’s on-the-go professionals. Richardson uses QStream to power its QuickCheck™ application, which uses gamification to create a fun and effective competition among sales professionals. 

Measurement/ROI of Training


There are myriad factors involved in measuring training effectiveness and ROI. It’s important to focus on both learning outcomes (Think: Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation) and the achievement of a more business-centric approach (Think: Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard™ Methodology).

It’s essential that learning leaders work with internal stakeholders to build a company-specific balanced scorecard map that links training metrics to process-improvement metrics, customer-perception metrics, and financial-results metrics. This approach allows a more accurate measurement of how training contributes to overall company success.

Alignment of Learning and Business Goals  

L&D solutions must be focused on driving sustained behavior change and be fully aligned to business outcomes. This takes more than excellent content and facilitation. It requires buy-in from top leaders, customized content to reflect current challenges and company culture, talent and skill evaluation that aligns with the corporate strategy, proactive change-management plans, training for managers on coaching their direct reports through the change, and technology to embed the desired behaviors into the daily workflow.

Not Enough Time


No wonder people constantly feel pressured for time in today’s 24/7, always available, mobile, social, and digital world. The key to time management is to be smart and prioritize the most important aspects of what you need to accomplish. Get those tasks done, and make them great. Once you complete a task, move on to next one. Don’t try to juggle too many balls at once. More importantly,  learn how and when to say “no.”

Lack of Mobile Platform

The biggest, shiniest, most-desired object in training these days is mobile delivery. Companies are struggling with how to develop training that can be responsive across all technology, including various brands of smartphones, tablet, and PCs. There are a few technologies available that allow you to create content and push it to all platforms. One that is worthy of a look is Inkling.

Richardson’s live, on-the-fly survey of ATD participants offered powerful insights into the challenged L&D leaders face on a day-to-day basis as they implement training strategies within their companies. Learning retention and overall ROI of training are clearly related in terms of the importance of providing value to companies and optimizing investments in talent and human capital.

To get a seat at the management table, L&D professionals need to keep refining and developing learning strategies that stick with individuals while helping to drive the desired business outcomes.

Full List of Challenges Cited by L&D Professionals

  • 17% — Training Reinforcement
  • 11% — Measurement/ROI of Training
  • 11% — Alignment of Learning and Business Goals
  • 8% — Not Enough Time
  • 7% — Lack of Mobile Platform
  • 7% — Blended Learning
  • 6% — Learner Engagement
  • 4% — Budget
  • 4% — Incorporating Social Learning 
  • 4% — Dispersed, Global Workforce
  • 4% — Coaching/Management Training
  • 3% — Participant Behavior
  • 2% — Constant Change
  • 2% — Communication of Training
  • 2% — Staying Current with Technology
  • 2% — Trainer Development
  • 2% — Flexibility
  • 1% — Generation Gaps
  • 1% — Measuring Skill Gaps
  • 1% — Resources in Too Many Places
  • 1% — Sales Enablement
  • 1% — Customizing Training
  • 1% — Defined Sales Process
  • 1% — No Learning Culture
About the Author

Jim Brodo is chief marketing officer at Advantexe Learning Solutions. With more than 25 years of experience in marketing, training and development, and business simulation development, Jim is an award-winning marketing executive with a proven background in driving pipeline value, revenue creation, and return on marketing investment through innovative demand generation strategies and tactics across digital and traditional mediums.  Jim has been recognized as top CMO by SmartCEO, Best of Biz Marketing Executive, and his marketing programs have been awarded numerous awards from the Stevie and Killer Content Awards. Jim’s specialties include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), brand development and execution, content-based marketing and syndication, account-based marketing, strategic market planning, marketing automation, and sales enablement. Email: [email protected] LinkedIn - Twitter - @jimbrodo

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.