Fosway Research - COVID-19 L&D Impact Infographic

COVID-19 L&D Research:
First Take

As the response to the COVID-19 pandemic shifts gears across Europe, we have gathered new research into the impact it is having on corporate Learning & Development. We believe it’s important to cut through the noise and understand how the changes to working and learning are affecting L&D budgets and spend – but also what’s working and what’s not in supporting people through this tough time.

There was inevitably going to be a move to more digital learning from face-to-face training of course. But there are deeper shifts happening here and these initial results show that L&D might never be the same again.

Some key headlines

  • Learning priorities and L&D strategy have changed for 94% of organisations in response to the pandemic, with two in three making significant changes to what they do and how they do it.
  • Unsurprisingly, there has been a major swing to digital learning, with spend increasing on almost all areas of digital, led by content. 82% report that demand for digital learning has increased from senior stakeholders, whilst 71% have experienced an increased demand for digital learning content from learners themselves.
  • Traditional e-learning shows signs of waning both in terms of adoption but significantly in terms of perceived success. Video content is the highest rated in supporting organisations throughout the COVID-19 crisis to date, closely followed by curated content. Bespoke e-learning, off-the-shelf courses and blended learning are all reported to be less successful.
  • Meanwhile, as people get used to working remotely and in virtual teams, collaboration is becoming a key priority. 84% of L&D leaders think it is more important to integrate digital learning into other corporate platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Trello for example.
  • So-called learning experience platforms (LXPs) and collaborative learning specialist platforms are rated as the most successful systems after – predictably – virtual classrooms.
“When you are in the middle of a crisis, it’s sometimes difficult to step back and appreciate quite how far you’ve come in a short space of time. Yes, we’ve seen the virtualisation of classroom training as a quick win to cope with the immediate crisis. But what the data is telling us is that the pandemic has been a catalyst for a much deeper adoption of digital learning. One that has accelerated how organisations embrace more collaborative learning, more curated content, microlearning and video-based solutions – which will mean that L&D will never be the same again.”
David Perring, Director of Research


With 94% of L&D professionals reporting they have changed their strategy and 2 in 3 making significant changes to what they do and how they do it, it’s clear there’s lots still to learn for all of us. But early reflections show the following are proving helpful:

  • Digital maturity matters. Organisations with a more mature approach are twice as likely to find coping with this situation easy…
  • …but even though 59% rate their organisation’s approach as immature, this crisis has helped accelerate the digital transformation of learning overall
  • The business is ‘listening to learning’ as one of our respondents put it, which presents a uniquely strategic opportunity for L&D
  • Linking learning to existing platforms within the organisation like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello etc is proving a popular way to encourage collaboration
  • In fact buyers are waking up to the power of collaborative learning across the board with specialist collaborative learning systems and LXPs leading the way in being most successful in supportin organisations through the pandemic

We’ll be unpacking these reflections and more thoughts on immediate priorities in a number of online sessions and other resources in the coming weeks. But if you’d like to talk to a member of our analyst team about your immediate priorities and pressures, contact to arrange a quick call.


  • Fosway Group conducted a rapid research survey of its corporate research network during May 2020 focusing on L&D Directors, managers and learning technology professionals, drawn primarily from enterprise organisations in Europe.
  • These initial results are based on responses from 108 companies and reflect our desire for a rapid turnaround of the research. As such the inisghts should be seen as a catalyst for discussion and reflection as more than a definitive temperature check of the L&D impact of COVID-19 to date.
  • The research remains open and we’re keen to gather as much insight as possible to provide feedback and support to the HR community at this time. You can click here to take part now. 
  • Don’t forget, if you’d like to talk to one of our analysts about your recent experiences and share any insights you’d like to pass on, please contact us via or you can view more of our latest research here.