Increasingly, L&D professionals are becoming aware that data is the fuel that drives organizations forward. Failing to harness it astutely in learning strategies can cause learning departments to fall behind the rest of the business – and the business to fall behind its competitors. But in achieving a state where data is central to learning strategy, the way we measure learning impact becomes a long-standing source of debate.
Learning mature organizations
Our Learning Analytics Maturity Model (LAMM) gave us first-hand information on how learning organizations are applying data in practice. The findings showed that overwhelmingly most organizations are still at the lower levels of data maturity. Most are using data to describe what has happened, a few are analyzing the data to find out why it happened that way.
But with a large swath of the industry included in these stages of the overall maturity model, it’s worth dissecting what they are doing in more detail. That’s where the results of the 2020 Learning State of the Industry survey, ‘The fully mature metrics practice’ snapshot, comes in. Taken by members of the Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligence Board, the research suggests that, for organizations in the sample, the formal learning metrics process is based on the Learning Management System (LMS). This shows that, for many, ideas like how trainees respond to training are still central to their measurement practices. This isn’t a bad thing; good quality qualitative data should be an appropriate part of any measurement strategy. And we work tirelessly to bring new measurement and reporting capabilities to our LMS all the time.
The report uncovers the most adopted ways of demonstrating impact to leadership teams, as well as the top five learning metrics organizations are using successfully. A vast majority of these respondents believe their organizations’ metrics practices are fully aligned with learning strategy. It is these organizations that continue to expand the scope of their measurement and increase analytics capabilities that come out on top.
But as developers of Learning Locker, the world’s most widely installed Learning Record Store (LRS), we’ve seen hundreds of organizations gain significantly enhanced analytics. These organizations move into more advanced areas of data usage, such as predicting outcomes and recommending next learning experiences. This has to be the goal of these ‘metric mature’ organizations; to move on to the next step beyond describing and analyzing, into predicting and prescribing.
Whilst, a significant percentage of what CLO calls ‘learning mature’ organizations are using tools to integrate data from multiple sources, their focus falls to formal ROI. This is somewhat unsurprising as the research is focused on mature metrics. But there is still some way to go to fully exploit the power of data from this point. But such measurements can make for extremely powerful ways of influencing the wider organization (and informing what you do next).
Through building Learning Locker and helping companies (for example, Villeroy & Boch) add it to their existing corporate elearning stacks, we have first-hand experience of taking data from disparate systems (ERP or CRM data, for instance) and combining it with quality training programs. In doing this, we’ve helped demonstrate the effectiveness that the right L&D strategy can have on the wider business. This buys you both insight into L&D practice and credibility within the business. You’ll need both to move up through the Learning Analytics Maturity Model.
Proving the efficacy of existing training programs has long since been held up as the holy grail of L&D practices. It’s not. Using data to proactively influence and take positive action to create better learning outcomes is actually the target we should be aiming for. Action, rather than words.
In 2019, we released our ‘Powering the modern learner experience’ eBook, bringing together original research into the (then) state of the LXP and LRS markets. Our findings demonstrated that 50% of companies reported plans to implement an LXP within the next two years. Within that same time frame, CLO’s research indicates that almost 70% of participants expect to increase their analytics capabilities. In anticipation of this, we’ve already added the Experience API (xAPI) to more of our products. This includes our Adapt Builder, Stream LXP and the Learning Pool LMS. Our aim is to help our customers accurately assess the effectiveness of their L&D efforts and move through the data maturity model.
To gain valuable insights into how you can build out your own measurement strategy, download ‘The fully mature metrics practice’ research snapshot now. You can also assess where you are in your own learning analytics journey with the Learning Analytics Maturity Model. Start the diagnostic today.
Ben serves as CEO for Learning Pool. Previously, Ben served as Chief Product Officer for Learning Pool where he worked to help define and develop Learning Pool’s next generation of workplace digital learning platforms, with a focus on Learning Experience Platforms and the Learning Analytics space.
Before Learning Pool, Ben helped to build HT2 Labs from humble beginnings into a globally recognized innovator in workplace digital learning. Learning Pool completed an acquisition of HT2 Labs in June 2019.
Ben’s expertise is based in research, having previously completed his PhD researching the impact of gamification on adult social learning, Ben has authored and contributed chapters for many books, has two peer-reviewed academic papers and has presented at conferences around the world, including TEDx.