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New ASTD/IBM Study Examines Executives' Perceptions of the Value of Learning

First Known Study of Its Kind Interviews Business and Learning Executives

ARMONK, NY & ALEXANDRIA, VA - 04 Oct 2005: Learning is becoming an increasingly important function for companies to develop and maintain individual and organizational skills needed to sustain a competitive advantage, increase efficiencies, and improve business results. CEOs recognize that employee development is critical to meeting business goals, and chief learning officers (CLOs) are called upon to play a more strategic role in organizations. But, are C-level and CLO perceptions of the value of learning in sync?

A new study conducted by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and IBM examines the alignment of C-level perceptions around the strategic value of learning. Study highlights can be found in the article, "The C-Level and the Value of Learning," in the October 2005 issue of Training + Development (T+D) magazine published by ASTD.

The ASTD/IBM Strategic Value of Learning Study 2005 included in-depth interviews with C-level executives and CLOs at 26 organizations across 11 industry sectors. At each organization, a C-level executive and CLO were interviewed separately and asked the same questions focusing on the learning function's response to business needs and its performance relative to that response. The questions were based on the assumptions--from IBM's 2004 Global CEO Study--that learning needs to accelerate growth, enable transformation, and increase productivity.

"This is the first study of its kind to examine whether chief learning officers' strategies for maximizing the impact of learning align with what C-level business executives perceive as valuable," said Brenda Sugrue, senior director of research for ASTD. "The study findings suggest that there are significant opportunities for CLOs to align more closely with C-level expectations and aspirations, and for learning to become more strategic and central to the ongoing success of the enterprise," Sugrue noted.

"Results of this groundbreaking study demonstrate that learning can help enable overall business success," said Tony O'Driscoll, research-learning strategist at IBM Almaden Services Research. "For example, according to our findings, learning is seen by senior executives to have a significant impact on a number of business outcomes, including revenue, productivity, turnover, and innovation. Both C-level executives and CLOs discussed the challenges involved in measuring learning's value contribution and return-on-investment (ROI). Survey results suggest that CLOs should balance metrics and ROI data with anecdotal evidence, particularly stakeholder perceptions."

Additional Key Outcomes of the Study:

More information about the ASTD/IBM Strategic Value of Learning Study 2005 may be found in the October T+D magazine article, "The C-Level and the Value of Learning," at http://tdmagazine.astd.org.

Contact(s) information

Amy Hermes
IBM Media Relations
(818) 539-3117
amybach@us.ibm.com

Jennifer Homer
ASTD
(703) 683-8123
jhomer@astd.org

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