Line ‘Em Up: Linking Learning Strategy to Business Realities

For most companies, there is an eternal struggle to find out if learning is actually improving the business. They examine completion rates, assessment results and smile sheets, then try to somehow tie those to business results so they can demonstrate effectiveness. According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Learning Measurement Survey, 37% of companies say they don’t measure learning’s impact because it is simply too difficult to do so.

Perhaps the reason it is so challenging is because the learning function itself isn’t aligned with the business in the first place. While 79% of companies say that aligning the learning strategy with the business is either important or critical, only 52% of companies are ready to do anything about it. Not only that, 60% of companies say a lack of alignment between learning and outcomes is a big reason outcome are not being achieved.

What you end up with is an environment where only 27% of companies say their learning strategy is effective in helping achieve business goals. If learning isn’t improving the business, why are we doing it? The results from Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Learning Strategy Survey indicate that companies have a long way to go in developing effective strategies to actually help the business become successful.

One problem may be that the learning strategy, once developed, is seen as a static document. Business needs change; a strategy set in stone will fail to keep up with shifting business conditions. Even if the strategy was perfectly aligned at one point, it can soon become obsolete. Strategy must evolve with the business.

This impermanence might make some organizations reluctant to revisit their strategy. They may be hesitant to develop something that will inevitably change.

Our latest learning strategy and learning measurement research, soon to be published, discusses the struggle to align learning with the business, plus practices and key considerations from companies that are doing a better job of it.

For more information on our research visit

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group


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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.