Last updated: 28.06.16

Retail sector ‘wedded to formal learning’

It has been revealed that 100 per cent of leaders in the retail industry are looking to increase productivity, improve the application of learning at work and minimise time competency.

In addition to this, some 47 per cent of retail organisations have expanded their training budget in the last two years and predict a further increase in the near future.

However, the report by Towards Maturity, titled ‘Embracing Change in Retail Businesses’, also claimed that at present, the attention of retail leaders is focused on developing capabilities to deliver traditional learning modules, often to the detriment of alternative learning approaches.

It was also highlighted that retailers have yet to introduce a wider range of technology-driven learning techniques. 

Some 13 per cent of retailers are using their finances for blended learning, yet the top learning companies are almost three times more likely to use blends than retail businesses. 

With research highlighting that over half of companies lack in confidence when it comes to introducing new media in learning design, the report states that the use of blended learning is down to a shortage of skills and knowledge. 

Despite this, a mere four per cent of businesses believe their learning and development teams have the skills for facilitating collaboration, and 71 per cent do not think that their employees lack skills to manage their own learning. 

Laura Overton, managing director of Towards Maturity commented: “It’s encouraging to see the retail sector is increasing its investment in learning, but it also needs to invest in new approaches to learning and new skills for the L&D team.

"Our research with employees in this sector shows that staff are more able to learn for themselves than L&D give them credit for. This report gives insight into the new approaches and tools being used by top learning companies to help L&D leaders in the retail sector explore new ways to connect with, support and engage their learners.”

Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. We offer online learning resources and tools that help with workplace training at many levels of retail business. For more information, please visit: