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Why learner analytics are a long-term investment worth making

Data, data, data – we live in a world increasingly populated by data. For L&D professionals, the challenge is how to harness the wealth of learner analytics now available and correlate it to business goals.

It might sound simple, but the key to getting started with measuring the business impact of learning is: to just get started. It is, we feel, the next step on the path to organisational upskilling and success.

There’s an enormous amount you could potentially analyse and an increasingly powerful range of ways to interrogate the statistics, insights and stories your learner analytics will give you.

A photo of a learning professional looking at learner analytics with the help of LEO Learning

Learner analytics pay off handsomely over time

Really groundbreaking measurement takes time to achieve results – the businesses who are achieving it most successfully have been doing it for years.

In LEO Learning’s latest podcast, Strategic Development Manager, Patrick Thomas, talks about why using learner analytics well is all about rethinking learning programmes and interventions as business processes. It’s also about being ready to take a pragmatic approach when learning programmes identify the failure points in your workforce’s knowledge, which is essential if you want to achieve major improvements.

The podcast offers some potential starting points for businesses. These might include:

  • Considering what you want to measure and why
  • Choosing a learning programme you feel is worthy of greater attention
  • Thinking about how many colleagues will be able to help and getting buy-in from senior stakeholders
  • Observing the performance and urgency of existing programmes

Gathering data is simple, but evaluation is harder. Organisations who have been collecting and investigating their data for years are able to experiment with it, but most L&D departments aren’t far enough down the road to do that.

Repeatedly gathering valuable data, backed by budgets allocated at senior level from people who believe in the process, results in more correlations being made. Ultimately, this leads to predictive learner analytics, which can be extremely useful for the wider organisation.

With these, you might use positive score data from one particular question to accurately predict which learners will pass the entire assessment. This is one way of using data to shorten the learner journey through the programme. Equally, if learners are answering this crucial question incorrectly, it’s clear that a learning intervention with additional learning content might be required.

A photo of a learning professional looking at learner analytics with the help of LEO Learning

Managing and assessing learning progress

In technical roles, says Patrick, practical assessments should be carried out regularly in order for employees to apply their knowledge under the observation of an assessor. The supervisor can then help them to ‘rehearse’ their knowledge and skills, and correct their mistakes in a safe environment.

In turn, an observation tool for managers provides an easy way of tracking which skills and knowledge points they have seen their team members apply.

Scores and completion rates are obvious indicators to monitor, but there’s much more to explore in increasingly creative ways.

Where courses link to related materials and websites, for example, it can be really useful to see how the target learners and the learner group as a whole are engaging with these. This learning is usually more informal. LEO Learning works with organisations to decide which types of learner analytics can be reliably measured for a worthwhile period of time, as well as how to do it.

How will the General Data Protection Regulation affect you?

The EU’s new data protection regulation, also known as the GDPR, is on the minds of many business executives – and not simply because of its impending implementation. After May 2018, companies across Europe could face severe penalties if they fail to comply with the new jurisdiction, which is problematic given the profligacy of ‘data bleeds’ among organisations of all sizes.

LEO Learning’s experts look forward to helping businesses deal with the new laws painlessly, and the podcast offers some common-sense advice to help organisations prepare themselves. We are supporting our clients to work closely with their data protection officers, and understand the data protection standards and protocols around third-party tools.

Essential listening for L&D teams carrying out learner analytics

Used well, the visibility provided by learner analytics allows you to prove the progress and effectiveness of your training programmes.

Even if it feels like you’re delving into the unknown at first, you’ll end up with clear, regular and highly accurate information, and be able to prove the value of L&D spend to senior teams.

Like the sound of that? Listen to the podcast below and read our Top 10 components for measuring the business impact of learning.

Listen to the podcast