As learning leaders, the time has come for us to reimagine our strategy and reposition ourselves within our organizations. In order to do this, we must first join our colleagues in becoming data driven. Nothing speaks louder than a well-qualified, meaningful metric. A recent study conducted by LEO Learning, a UK based Learning consulting firm, surveyed nearly 700 organizations asking L&D teams to weigh in on measuring learning impact and if their executives pressure them for this type of analysis.
While this study solely focuses on internal learning teams, the leap is not so great to apply insights from this survey to the need for impact analysis for our audiences as well. The emphasis of the analysis is to measure beyond end-of-course surveys and to correlate with business outcomes. One of the biggest insights was that 60% of those surveyed said they feel pressure from executives to measure learning impact; a 71% increase from the 35% reported in 2017. Another interesting insight: two years in a row, the managers sited their biggest challenge to measuring learning impact was competing priorities. However, the percent of managers who don’t know where to start measuring jumped 6% from 2017 to 18% in 2018. I refer to this report, again, as an indicator that the learning world is changing.
Our experience tells us, once the C-suite realizes this is the right direction forward, things typically move quickly. We cannot not know how to get started. It is no accident we watch keynotes at CEdMA conferences on maintaining relevancy in the era of Customer Success. Consider the presentation from our friend and colleague, Sarah Sedgman, at the Spring conference, and the countless articles from the learning and training industry think tanks filling our inboxes daily on the requirement to measure learning impact with a new lens, not just smile sheets, revenue, and bums in seats.
The opportunity is now.
We must institutionalize the programs that truly measure learning impact using analytics relevant for our executives which demonstrates learning’s vital contribution to our company and to our customers. We have teams and platforms that can mine for big data; and cross correlate sales, support tickets, learning consumption, and engagement. It is imperative, and I think very exciting, to make tracking and sharing analytics a priority, hire talent to do so, build integrations and tooling to make insights more apparent, and ensure if you don’t already report into a C-level executive, that you have regular calendared meetings with them.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, start with that calendared meeting and ask questions. Mike Rustici, Founder and CEO of Watershed authored a three-part series on the importance of learning analytics. In article three, Getting Started with Learning Data and Analytics, he offers ways to get started. The business of learning is valuable. It’s more than a revenue number or a smile sheet score. Just as Marketing went through a huge transformation in recent years, it’s happening to Learning now.
Christine Souza is a veteran tech start up entrepreneur, having built and led learning, enablement and services teams, company communities and loyalty programs. She is an advocate for learning leaders, managing the most important resource to a company, it’s talent. Christine is a former CEdMA Board member and now sits on the CEdMA Executive Council, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.