Measuring the Business Impact of Learning: Where Are We Now?
It’s been three years since we launched our measuring the business impact of learning survey with our partners at Watershed. The insights from almost a thousand respondents to the surveys, along with the many who have attended our various measuring the business of impact of learning events, have given us a deep understanding of the measurement challenge in L&D.
Add to that our work helping a range of global organizations develop their measurement programs and we now have a team of measurement experts who are armed with real, practical experience of what it takes to successfully measure learning impact.
All of this research and experience has fed into the development of our new three step-program for learning measurement. This service will enable you to design and implement a measurement strategy, as well as develop the capability of your team to use analytics to improve the impact of your learning and development programs.
Understanding the Challenges L&D Teams Face With Learning Measurement
The new service directly addresses the barriers and challenges we now know L&D teams face:
Pressure to Measure from Senior Stakeholders
The three-step program provides senior stakeholders with a clear plan and commitment to action. Additionally, it has been designed to give L&D teams the skills to actively engage wider business stakeholders on measurement efforts.
L&D teams face a range of competing priorities and, often, taking the time to start a measurement program can seem like a significant commitment. But by seeking the help of external partners, the effort required by your own internal team can be reduced. The program has also been designed to be completed at your own pace, giving teams the flexibility to dedicate time to the program when it suits them.
Difficulty Understanding How to Get Started
To design, test and implement a large-scale measurement program that measures the many learning activities that take place in your organization is no small undertaking—so we understand that it can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve broken the program into three clear steps, to give teams an easy-to-understand plan of what needs to be achieved.
Getting to Grips With Data
One of the biggest challenges we hear is that L&D teams struggle to find and collect data that will enable them to demonstrate impact on business goals. But we’ve found that ‘the data is out there’, it’s just a case of taking the right approach to uncover it and then designing the best methodology to collect and then analyse it.
This is exactly what we achieved for one of our recent clients:
Our goal was to move measurement from a ‘one-off project’ to business as usual. The data has always been there. We just had to have a simplified way to identify and collect it.”
– InterContinental Hotels Group
A Practical Way to Accelerate Your Learning Measurement Program
Each step in the program is action-oriented and highly practical. At the end of each stage, your team will have made clear progress in achieving learning measurement goals.
Here’s a snapshot of what the program provides:
Step 1: Visioning and Action Planning
It’s critical that you gain consensus on what your measurement program needs to achieve and document those outcomes. This will enable you to make the business case for securing the investment needed for full-scale roll out.
In this first step, our measurement experts will help you:
Understand Your Starting Point
- Align stakeholders around a shared view of how to use data-driven learning to transform business performance
- Surface the challenges you will face and how to overcome them
Define Your Vision
- Develop your vision and document the strategy to deliver it
- Assess the barriers and opportunities that could help or hinder your goals
Document Your Plan of Action
- Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team and how the gaps can be closed
- Develop the business case
- Document your plan of action and road map
Step 2: Grow Measurement Capabilities and Road Test Your Strategy
In step two, we’re focused on getting to grips with data, as well as giving your team the skills and tools they need to use that data to effectively drive business performance. Then we’ll get you up and running with a pilot measurement project that will road test your strategy ahead of a large-scale roll out.
This involves the following activities:
Designing Processes and Tools
- Develop the processes and tools that work best in your organization
Upskilling your Team
- Develop consulting skills to ensure your team is comfortable having business performance conversations with operational managers
- Build up vital measurement capabilities—such as using data to design effective learning blends
- Enable teams to communicate powerful stories of business impact
Running a Strategy Pilot
- Design a pilot that road tests your measurement strategy
Step 3: Scale Up and Roll out
With the pilot completed, now you’re ready to scale up and embed your strategy within the business. We’ve found that the pilot gives teams a keen understanding of any challenges they need to solve ahead of a full-scale roll out.
In this final step, our consultants will help you:
Conduct a Big Data ‘Deep-Dive’
- Establish how to access, extract, and analyze the key business and learning data
- Put in place the processes and technologies that enable you to collect critical KPIs at scale
Prepare for Roll Out
- Use insights from the pilot to finalize your measurement strategy
- Refine your approach to analysis and reporting
- Develop your standard data dashboards
- Document detailed business and technical requirements to support buy/build decisions
- Support implementation and roll out; review and refine for continuous improvement
Open the Doors to Data-Driven Learning
Not only will the three-step program help your team implement a strategy that delivers powerful insights on the impact learning is having on critical business goals, it also gives them the capabilities to develop a data-driven learning strategy.
Implementing a technical specification, such as xAPI, across your learning technologies provides L&D teams with detailed data on how learners are interacting with learning content. When that data is channeled into a learning analytics platform, such as Watershed’s Learning Record Store (LRS), L&D teams have the visibility and insight to deliver personalized learning that caters to the requirements of their learners.