This article originally appeared on on April 25, 2017.

The organizations that diversify their training methods often come out on top. At least, that’s the truth sifted from a recent Human Capital Institute (HCI) and Oxygen research report.

Their new study indicates that when organizations align learning with corporate growth by tapping into the unique learning needs of employees, the results are more favorable for all. Yet, statistically, many corporate learning departments need to seriously modernize things in order to keep up with industry demands, or they risk being outsourced.

Learning and Development diversifying, but still struggling to show value to leaders

The research shows that as many as 61% of learning and development providers are responding by improving the structure and operation of their departments. Unfortunately, both HR and learning and development departments are often viewed by CEOs as ineffectual and lacking strategy.

For years, these areas have been left to the sidelines, considered a cost sink rather than an important strategic part of company development. Today, L&D is still largely considered part of the HR functionality, but this is changing. Higher-performing organizations have created entire teams of specialists.

The study also pointed out that high-performing organizations are “increasing self-learning options; while low-performing organizations are increasing classroom training.”

HR Dive talked with Oxygen CEO Juliana Stancampiano about learning’s growing impact and influence in company planning.

HR Dive: Why do you think that many organizations are maintaining classroom training of employees when the use of on-demand learning is increasing and shown to be more effective/less costly?

Stancampiano: To be specific, the research findings show that LPOs (low-performing organizations) are still using classroom training whereas HPOs (high-performing organizations) are shifting to more blended approaches. We suspect that this is because LPOs have a challenge in making a clear business case for blended learning. The work involved in connecting the dots, learning about the technology options, emphasizing the business outcome, and taking a forward-leaning approach to learning is quite significant, and leaders likely need more data to show the “why” behind their thinking.

What HCI and Oxygen have uncovered is similar to the results of Evaluating Learning: Getting to Measurements That Matter, that shared only one-third of talent development pros say their organizations regularly evaluate the business impact of their L&D programs. Today, there are many more analytics available from surveys to built-in learner behavior resources that can help learning teams design training around business requirements.

HR Dive: How can L&D pros partner with business and HR leaders to overcome the challenges of delivering valuable learning content so that it has real impact? 

Stancampiano: Taking a collaborative approach with business constituents is not only a major part of defining valuable learning content – it’s also the way of working for any service that one part of the business provides to another.

Unfortunately, it’s not up to L&D to decide what someone needs to know and do to be successful in their role; but without a way to engage with leaders on learning priorities, and then with subject matter experts on content, many times there are key requirements that go unfulfilled.

What we’ve seen is that many L&D professionals try to be a jack of all trades, inserting themselves as a SME for business content, which is a recipe for non-relevant material. Savvy L&D organizations will work with their business to clarify roles and responsibilities as to where the content comes from (notably, SMEs) and position themselves as the experts on the learning experience, but never the content.