In a recent study, Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc. uncovered a noteworthy surge in the demand for learning content within the workplace, predominantly fuelled by courses focused on professional skills development.

This research, based on data gathered from over 1 million learners worldwide and anonymised customer data, revealed a remarkable 30 percent increase in active learners compared to the previous year.

More than half of the total learning time was dedicated to enhancing professional skills, with topics like project management, time management, business acumen, emotional intelligence, and effective communication being among the most sought-after.

Cornerstone’s 2023 Talent Health Index indicated that nearly half of employees lack confidence in their employers’ ability to provide them with the necessary skills for the future, emphasising a growing disconnect between employees and employers and triggering anxiety among the current workforce.

Demonstrating the escalating demand for development opportunities, the data from Cornerstone highlighted the following trends:

  1. Increased Consumption of Online Learning Content: Across all topics and skills, there was a notable 38 percent increase in the time spent on training year over year.
  2. Rise in Self-Directed Learning: Self-directed learning continued to gain momentum, with learners spending 72 percent more time actively seeking out content compared to assigned learning.
  3. Proactive Learning Growth: In the first half of 2023, the number of employees proactively consuming learning content increased by 43 percent year on year.
  4. More Time Devoted to Learning: The first half also witnessed a 35 percent year-on-year growth in the time employees dedicated to learning.

Professional skills content emerged as a primary driver in the self-directed learning category, with topics like effective communication consistently ranking high in registrations.

Invest in tech

As the demand for professional development opportunities and relevant learning content continues to rise, companies investing in technology to support learning and development are reaping tangible benefits.

Adriana Viveros, Senior Instructional Designer at County of Orange, expressed her satisfaction with Cornerstone’s content solutions, describing it as a “game-changer” that streamlined content management and creation for her team. Similarly, Libby Becker, Lead Learning Consultant at World Wide Technology, highlighted how Cornerstone’s content solutions had streamlined their L&D program, making content search, discovery, and preview more intuitive, ultimately enhancing their content strategy.

Karthik Suri, Chief Product Officer at Cornerstone, noted:

“Employees today are more motivated than ever to find continuous skills development opportunities inside their organisations. Proven by recent data trends, there is a clear and sustained focus on professional skills development, providing HR leaders with an incredible opportunity to provide increased content that is actively sought out and will result in a sound investment. The right learning content can play an instrumental role in building stronger communicators, strategic thinkers, and higher-functioning teams.”

The increasing demand for self-directed learning and professional skills development underscores the importance of adaptability in the modern workforce, with organisations like Cornerstone OnDemand leading the way in providing the tools and resources for employees to thrive in their roles.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.