June 6, 2023

5 insights on learning from Section's Annual Outcomes Report

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Every year, Section runs an annual outcomes survey to understand how students are using our platform – and how companies can facilitate learning inside their own walls.

Here are our biggest takeaways from the report.

1. Employees have 13 hours a month to dedicate to learning (so make them count).

The typical work month has 176 hours, and just 13 of those (or 7%) are available for learning, according to our students. Plus, learning hours are often deprioritized, rescheduled, or canceled entirely when employees are given more urgent tasks.

Our advice

Proactively schedule learning hours on your employees’ calendars, and schedule them in teams if possible. Teams will be less likely to reschedule group learning than individual learning. 

Many of our clients schedule time for teams to take workshops together, whether in-person or hybrid. This is a great way to help teams bond and improve their strategic skills at the same time.  

2. Subject matter is the greatest influencer in deciding whether to take a course.

What matters most when employees are weighing whether to prioritize learning? Almost exclusively subject matter.

Subject matter: 75.4%

Outcome: 9%

Instructor: 7.4%

Time investment: 7.4%

Other: 0.8%

Our advice

If you want your employees to prioritize learning, make sure you’re offering the courses they actually want to take. In most cases, that means essential business skills like data analysis, communications, strategic planning, and financial fluency. You can read our research here: What skills do employees want? 

3. The biggest blocker for taking a course is simply time.

This won’t come as a surprise: employees want to learn, but they don’t have enough time in the workday. 

63% of employees said that time management is the biggest blocker for taking a course that interests them, and 33% said their employer should dedicate more time for them to learn.

Our advice

Tie employee learning to an ongoing business initiative. Instead of presenting learning as a “nice to have,” present it as an essential step in solving a business problem. For example, if your company is struggling to meet revenue targets, put your marketing team through Marketing Acquisition Strategy to kick off the brainstorming process.

4. Reimbursement (aka, the company pays) is key.

25% of employees said their employer should reimburse the cost of a program like Section, and 22% said their employer should implement a program like Section as a company.

The bottom line: Your employees don’t expect to shell out their money to get better at their job. 

Our advice

If you don’t have a reimbursement program in place, make it clear to employees that they can reimburse the cost of learning – and then recommend options. Or if you’re interested in an affordable, energizing learning solution for your team, check out Section for Teams – it’s just $500 per person, less than the cost of a conference. 

5. Hybrid learning works best for busy employees.

When we asked which learning format was most valuable, employees said that a combination of formats is key to helping materials stick. Pre-recorded video is the easiest to prioritize in terms of time, but they also want options to apply their learnings in a project and discuss with others. 

Watching pre-recorded video: 38.5%

Applying the learnings in a project: 22.5%

Watching in-person lectures: 18%

Our advice

Start with a base of pre-recorded video to flex around students’ busy schedules, then schedule a short assignment and in-person discussion to help apply the learnings to work. Without those latter two formats, pre-recorded video is easy to forget or click away from. 

Want to hear more about our Annual Outcomes Report or get your team into a Section course?

Schedule a meeting > 

Greg Shove
Section Staff