Posted on 16th October, 2017 by Ben Miller
The 18th century home of the Royal Institution in London was the majestic setting for LEO Learning’s workshop on measuring the business impact of learning, bringing dozens of great organisations together to discover the fundamental steps needed to bring about transformation, set a measurement strategy and drive their team’s success through measuring learning.
The day was led by some of the industry’s leading experts supported by LEO Learning, revealing the latest thinking on areas such as benchmarking, setting a measurement strategy, collecting data and taking a big data approach to measurement activity.
Identifying the big benefits of a measurement strategy
With each group organised into roundtables, a variety of pragmatic discussions helped the participants to explore practical ways in which they might strategically align investment in learning with business objectives and KPIs, as well as begin to measure the impact it has on operational performance.
Mike Rustici, CEO of LEO Learning’s partner company Watershed, joined by video call from Nashville and led an entertaining, honest and highly insightful session. As the inventor of the concept of a Learning Record Store and one of the people behind the first draft of xAPI (Tin Can API) analytics, Mike is one of the elearning industry’s guiding lights, and his charismatic take on how L&D can improve performance was the ideal introduction to the power of analytics.
As the founder of the benchmarking guardians for our industry, Towards Maturity, Laura Overton knows more than most about measuring business impact, and now works with more than 6,000 participants on an annual basis to try to work out what organisations do well and could do better.
It was easy to see why Laura has been voted one of the most influential people in corporate elearning worldwide, as she spoke with invigorating passion and forcefulness about the hunger that has been brewing in the industry to measure more effectively and truly reflect the impact learning has across an organisation.
LEO Learning’s Principal Learning Consultant, Gareth Jones (pictured below with Laura), whose expertise in helping organisations improve efficiency and competitiveness began at the BBC, set out a challenge for everyone in the room to identify what data sets would bring the greatest benefits to their business and where those figures were held within each organisation.
An effective measurement strategy benefits every sector
There was an infectious atmosphere around the tables as visitors representing a real breadth of organisations, from charities and high street retailers to governmental bodies and healthcare providers, shared and critiqued their current strategies and their ideas on the future.
Indeed, a spirit of shared wisdom helped to build momentum and inspire the groups throughout the day, including precise peer-to-peer evaluation during Laura’s session, when each guest was asked to suggest an idea for measuring learning which would change the game for their organisation.
These ideas were written down on cards, which were repeatedly swapped and scored between tables, resulting in immediate, constructive feedback, a pooling of ideas and the realisation that the challenges many teams face are reassuringly common and eminently solvable with the right guidance.
With the help of LEO Learning’s expert facilitators, who can call upon decades of experience in helping companies achieve successful transformations through learning, each guest enjoyed a collaborative session of coaching.
By speaking frankly and realistically about their often-ambitious goals, each guest helped to build a comprehensive initial strategy to discuss upon their return to their team following the event.
A big data approach doesn’t need masses of data
One of the key themes to emerge was that organisations and management teams do not need to possess great statistical abilities in order to use data to great effect, although it certainly helps to have a strategy and the right people in place to tease out the key data.
As LEO Learning’s Chief Strategy Officer, Piers Lea (pictured below), pointed out, measuring business impact is a scalable concept which could start with spreadsheets and result in customisable, automated software, driving progress and growth across a business. When we talk about a big data approach, the key to success is in the approach we take, rather than the amount of data available.
It was highly satisfying to see each attendee make a number of important discoveries about just how much potential measuring the business impact of learning could offer their teams, and everyone took away the building blocks of a strategy to suit their specific needs.
We’ve put some of the group thinking into an insight on building your measurement strategy, called ‘Demonstrating an evidence-based measurement approach to business success’.