Understanding and Overcoming Resistance to Digital Transformation in L&D

Understanding and addressing resistance to digital transformation in L&D for long-term organizational growth and learner satisfaction.
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Trent Draper
Trent Draper
+15 years in Sales within the education industry, Head International Sales at Get More Brain.


Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion in Learn­ing & Devel­op­ment (L&D) means inte­grat­ing dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, like AI, to enhance the learn­ing expe­ri­ence. With the rapid tech­no­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion, there’s a strong push to adopt such plat­forms. Yet, many resist.

A recent call with a com­pa­ny exem­pli­fied this. Despite rec­og­niz­ing issues in their learn­ing process and their cur­rent L&D plat­form gar­ner­ing con­tin­u­ous neg­a­tive feed­back, they hes­i­tat­ed to change due to the per­ceived mag­ni­tude of the task, even with what they admit­ted was a supe­ri­or solu­tion avail­able.

Woman Using a Smartphone While Fronting a Macbook Pro and Black Ipad
Empow­er­ing Minds, One Dig­i­tal Device at a Time — Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion in L&D

Understanding the Resistance

  • Com­fort in Famil­iar­i­ty: Most peo­ple pre­fer to oper­ate with­in their com­fort zones, espe­cial­ly when it comes to tech­nol­o­gy. Tra­di­tion­al L&D sys­tems, though often out­dat­ed, offer a sense of famil­iar­i­ty. This sense of “known ter­ri­to­ry” can give the illu­sion of safe­ty and pre­dictabil­i­ty, mak­ing many reluc­tant to ven­ture into unchart­ed waters of new dig­i­tal plat­forms.
  • Fear of the Unknown: Intro­duc­ing nov­el tech­nolo­gies can be daunt­ing. The uncer­tain­ty isn’t just about the func­tion­al­i­ty of the new tools, but also the poten­tial learn­ing curve involved. Employ­ees might wor­ry about their abil­i­ty to adapt and whether they’ll strug­gle to inte­grate these tools into their dai­ly rou­tines.
  • Con­cerns About Costs: While ini­ti­at­ing dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion requires a finan­cial com­mit­ment; it’s essen­tial to view it as an invest­ment rather than an expense. Many fear the upfront costs, over­look­ing the poten­tial for increased effi­cien­cy and reduced long-term expens­es, espe­cial­ly with sys­tems that require less main­te­nance and man­pow­er.
  • Per­ceived Doubts About Effi­ca­cy: There’s always a lin­ger­ing ques­tion: “Will this new sys­tem be bet­ter than the old one?” While the advan­tages of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion are clear on paper, orga­ni­za­tions need real-life assur­ances. They seek tan­gi­ble proof that mod­ern sys­tems will not only match but also exceed the capa­bil­i­ties of their cur­rent set­up.

Strategies to Overcome Resistance

  • Edu­cate & Inform: Knowl­edge dis­pels fear. Orga­nize work­shops, sem­i­nars, and demo ses­sions to unveil the poten­tial of mod­ern plat­forms. By mak­ing stake­hold­ers aware of the tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits and show­cas­ing real-world suc­cess sto­ries, you can address con­cerns and spark enthu­si­asm. Real-life exam­ples of improve­ments in effi­cien­cy, cost sav­ings, and enhanced user expe­ri­ence can be par­tic­u­lar­ly com­pelling.
  • Pilot Pro­grams: Rolling out a new sys­tem can be a mon­u­men­tal task. Instead of a sweep­ing trans­for­ma­tion, start­ing with a pilot pro­gram allows a seg­ment of the orga­ni­za­tion to expe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits first­hand. Their pos­i­tive feed­back can then serve as organ­ic advo­ca­cy for the broad­er tran­si­tion.
  • Engage Cham­pi­ons: Every orga­ni­za­tion has its tech evan­ge­lists — those who are always eager to explore new tools and solu­tions. Iden­ti­fy these indi­vid­u­als and empow­er them. Their enthu­si­asm can be con­ta­gious, help­ing to inspire oth­ers. They can act as inter­nal train­ers and sup­port for their peers, smooth­ing the tran­si­tion process.
  • Grad­ual Tran­si­tion: A phased approach is less intim­i­dat­ing. Intro­duc­ing changes step by step ensures that each stage is well-inte­grat­ed before mov­ing on to the next. This also offers time for feed­back and adjust­ments, ensur­ing that the trans­for­ma­tion is as seam­less as pos­si­ble.
  • Feed­back Mech­a­nism: Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is vital dur­ing times of change. Cre­at­ing chan­nels for employ­ees to share their insights, appre­hen­sions, and sug­ges­tions not only helps in refin­ing the trans­for­ma­tion process but also fos­ters a sense of own­er­ship among staff. When employ­ees feel they have a voice in the process, they’re more like­ly to engage proac­tive­ly.

Success Stories from the Field

The Chal­lenge of Mul­ti­ple Plat­forms:

A large firm faced the com­plex­i­ties of man­ag­ing sep­a­rate L&D plat­forms. Each sys­tem had its mer­its, but none offered a holis­tic solu­tion, lead­ing to inef­fi­cien­cies and frag­ment­ed learn­ing expe­ri­ences. Rec­og­niz­ing this chal­lenge, they tran­si­tioned to a sin­gle inte­grat­ed plat­form. This shift not only con­sol­i­dat­ed their con­tent but also intro­duced AI-dri­ven learn­ing enhance­ments. The out­come was a sig­nif­i­cant uptick in user engage­ment and pos­i­tive feed­back, con­firm­ing the suc­cess of their deci­sion.

From Traditional to Transformational:

A com­pa­ny entrenched in clas­sic L&D meth­ods start­ed notic­ing the lim­i­ta­tions of their dat­ed approach. The dig­i­tal age demand­ed more. The move to a mod­ern dig­i­tal plat­form was trans­for­ma­tive. With fea­tures like real-time feed­back and tai­lor-made indi­vid­u­al­ized learn­ing, the learn­ing envi­ron­ment evolved from sta­t­ic to dynam­ic. This change was imme­di­ate­ly felt in the enhanced user expe­ri­ence, set­ting a new bench­mark for their L&D ini­tia­tives.

Benefits Realized Post-Transformation

Plat­forms like Get More Brain are rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the L&D sec­tor. Fea­tures such as per­son­al­ized learn­ing paths, tai­lored feed­back, peer-to-peer col­lab­o­ra­tion, and cus­tomiz­able note­books have great­ly enhanced the user expe­ri­ence.

  • Enhanced Engage­ment: Today’s dig­i­tal plat­forms cap­ti­vate users. While gener­ic con­tent can still play a role it is time to wel­come the age of per­son­al­iza­tion. Com­pa­nies should strive to cre­ate con­tent that is tai­lored to the indi­vid­ual user, based on their pref­er­ences, inter­ests, and loca­tion.
  • AI-Dri­ven Per­son­al­iza­tion: AI-dri­ven per­son­al­iza­tion pro­vides tai­lored solu­tions for to the indi­vid­ual learn­er, allow­ing them to learn faster and bet­ter. AI-dri­ven per­son­al­iza­tion also enables teach­ers to pro­vide per­son­al­ized feed­back to learn­ers in real-time, allow­ing learn­ers to make adjust­ments and adjust­ments to their learn­ing strate­gies.
  • Flex­i­bil­i­ty & Acces­si­bil­i­ty: Learn from any­where, at any time, break­ing the chains of tra­di­tion­al learn­ing.

A Deloitte sur­vey con­duct­ed in 2019 found that the top-rat­ed trend for that year was the imper­a­tive need to enhance learn­ing and devel­op­ment (L&D). The sur­vey revealed that 86 per­cent of respon­dents con­sid­ered this issue impor­tant or very impor­tant, yet only 10 per­cent felt ade­quate­ly pre­pared to address it.



The tran­si­tion to dig­i­tal in L&D is an imper­a­tive evo­lu­tion, not a fleet­ing trend. By under­stand­ing the resis­tance and address­ing it method­i­cal­ly, orga­ni­za­tions can reap immense long-term ben­e­fits. In an ever-evolv­ing dig­i­tal era, it’s vital to stay ahead of the curve for both orga­ni­za­tion­al growth and learn­er sat­is­fac­tion.

Every jour­ney is unique, and we’d love to hear about yours. Did your orga­ni­za­tion face chal­lenges dur­ing dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion? Share your expe­ri­ences and con­nect with us on Medi­um and LinkedIn.

We would espe­cial­ly like to hear how your orga­ni­za­tion over­came these chal­lenges and what lessons you learned. Your sto­ry could be inspi­ra­tion for oth­er dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion efforts. Let’s learn from each oth­er and cre­ate a bet­ter future.

This post was first pub­lished on Medi­um.

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