Performance goals and objectives; Proven ways how an LRS can help
The collaboration between Villeroy & Boch and Learning Pool on the digital development of the manufacturer’s Sales Academy is an inspiring case study in many ways. In particular, it provides a highly instructive example of the ways that learning analytics using xAPI can help an organization meet defined performance goals and objectives.
Villeroy & Boch (V&B) is the world’s leading ceramics provider, employing 8,000 people worldwide. A 270-year-old family business, V&B has retained its innovative and design-led values, by increasing its performance goals and objectives, which have now become part of its DNA and ensured its continued evolution over more than two centuries.
A strategic requirement to develop a new digital learning capability that would increase sales effectiveness within the company’s tableware division led to a partnership with Curatr (now part of the Stream LXP following the acquisition by Learning Pool). From onboarding new starters to providing ongoing product sales training, this was business-critical for the division.
From a learning analytics point of view there were two fortuitous aspects of this project that make it a great case study to look at:
- The project had clear, agreed business objectives right from the start against which the project’s success would be evaluated (analysts Fosway Group say only 15% of orgs even attempt to measure impact).
- In the pilot phase, circumstances made it possible to run an A/B test, with two groups of learners given different types of digital learning, an opportunity to trial whether the business responded better to e-learning-only or a more blended approach.
Results from the pilot showed that both approaches delivered a sales uptick, but the blended approach did best, by a significant margin, on both transaction value and conversion rate.
- “eLearning-only” stores increased ATV by 1% and conversion by +0.55%
- “Blended” stores increased ATV by 6% and conversion by +1.17%
The monetary value of these increases was worth around €2.5 million, a significant boost to V&B’s bottom line.
The data confirmed, in hard currency terms, the team’s initial feeling that a ‘traditional’ e-learning-courses-plus-LMS route was not for them, and that what their staff needed was a range of tailored content types and opportunities for staff to collaborate and share their knowledge.
The pilot also validated the choice of an LXP-style platform as opposed to a traditional LMS and made it entirely logical to use xAPI and an LRS (Learning Locker in this case) to gather the data from multiple content types, interactions and performance data sources for analysis.
It is worth pointing out that a traditional e-learning/LMS route reliant on SCORM data, with its very limited focus on course completions and test scores, would not have been up to the data analytics requirements of this initiative.
The blended learning approach is now rolled out to more than 4,000 staff worldwide combined online social learning, face-to-face workshops, webinars, monthly newsletters, short films, role play, and simulating real-life sales situations. Data from the entire blended learning experience was tracked using xAPI. This learning activity was correlated within Stream Data Cloud against store performance data held in SAP to measure customer conversion and average transaction value (ATV).
More recently, learner data has also been used, via the LRS, to power adaptive and personalized nudges.
The superior tracking with xAPI built into the program has allowed V&B to pinpoint the impact of its L&D initiatives, e.g.:
* ATV of +32% from the rollout of upselling training to the USA & UK
* Product knowledge training in Japan saw a sales uplift of +19% in a particular product category
* Sales up +15% in Iberia
V&B does not only use sales data to assess the impact of training. A key objective of the program was focusing on retail sales development with the aim of turning both staff and customers into brand ambassadors. In order to give a reliable means by which to measure this performance goal, V&B uses external mystery shoppers to assess the impact of retail staff as brand ambassadors. An improvement from 62% to 75% was seen in a specific behavior tracked through these reports.
This program shows a number of ways in which learning analytics can help you meet performance goals and objectives:
- Validating the initial approach and choice of platform through a pilot that closely tracks hard-measure outcomes in an A/B split test
- Tracking activity and results after a global rollout, bringing together data both quantitative and qualitative from multiple data sources, territories and content/interaction types to allow analysis, fine-tuning of the program and further decision-making
- Harnessing data to power personalized content recommendations and adaptive learning
In an innovation profile report on the program, analysts Fosway Group said:
“In our ongoing research, Fosway analysts consistently hear about L&D departments being challenged on what they are achieving; and learner engagement stats or ‘happy sheets’ are frankly, not enough. There is a need to assess the business impact of what learning delivers to an organization. So, it is a refreshing change to find an organization like Villeroy & Boch doing this and doing it well. Its focus on key business metrics and where learning could add value right from the outset make a difference here …
“… Sales might be a simpler metric to track than others, but the principle of understanding the drivers behind why a learning initiative matters, and what potential difference it should make to people’s performance, is one that can be applied to any L&D team in any type of organization …
“… working alongside your chosen vendor and challenging them to supply the data you need to analyze the impact of your learning is becoming more and more important to the long-term success – and possibly even the survival – of L&D.”
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