Measuring Success: How Data Analytics Can Drastically Improve Your Training Program
According to Forbes, spending on corporate training has grown to over $70 billion in the US and a whopping $130 billion worldwide. Why? High-performing organizations are quickly realizing that
their success depends on how capable their people are. As a result, many are investing in training programs to help equip their employees with the skills they need to thrive in the workplace.
But how do you know if the training program you’ve chosen is improving the skill set of your people and giving you the best return on your training investment?
Why is measurement so important?
The saying, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is so relevant to training programs! If you don’t measure the effectiveness of your training program, you can’t know if it’s helping your employees to develop the skills they need to succeed in their role or not. You will have no idea if the type and delivery of the training your employees are taking is suitable for them, how engaged your employees are with the training, or if they can apply their new skills and knowledge successfully in their day-to-day work.
What do I need to measure?
According to Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model, there are 5 aspects you need to analyse in order to successfully measure the effectiveness of your training programs:
Did the trainees enjoy and understand the content? Knowing how your employees felt about the training will help you to measure their engagement level.
Has the training filled a knowledge gap i.e. do they have more knowledge on a particular area, a new skill set, or a change in attitude? This information will help your organization determine if your employees are learning or not, and if not, decide on what needs to improve.
Have your employees used their new learning in their day-to-day activities? This information will help you decide if the training material is relevant to the role of the person taking the training.
Have you achieved outcomes that are good for business, good for your employees, or good for the bottom line? These can include but are not limited to: increased employee retention and engagement, increased productivity, higher customer satisfaction/retention, decreased errors and rework, increased sales/deepening of customer relationships, and fewer customer complaints.
5. Return on Investment
Did the training investment provide your organization with a positive return on its investment? Once you have established all of the above it will be easier for your L&D professionals to understand how successful the training has been and to suggest appropriate actions to help maximize ROI in the long run.
Historically, however, it’s been difficult to measure the last three aspects (impact, results and ROI) of the model for many training initiatives as they’ve not been designed with measurement in mind. All too often, learning objectives are poorly aligned with business goals, making it difficult to measure meaningful key performance indicators.
So, how do you go about measuring the effectiveness of your training programs? The answer is to use learning analytics.
What is learning analytics?
The term “learning analytics” refers to the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for the purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.
In other words, learning analytics provide organizations with a comprehensive look at how a learner is performing so that they can analyze the value and assess the impact of their employee training programs. It captures essential data that help organizations determine which learning materials are appropriate, useful or irrelevant for their employees, and how the training is helping the organization achieve its business goals.
What insights can learning analytics give you?
Today, comprehensive new learning analytics technology is helping organizations realize the full value of the Kirkpatrick model beyond level 1 and 2 (satisfaction and learning).
Danny O’Neill, SureSkills Learning Strategist explains, “By leveraging data analytics, organisations can now increasingly measure real-time performance and behavior change. For the first time, organizations can now measure the Kirkpatrick Model levels 3, 4 and 5 - Impact, Results and ROI. This is an absolute game changer for L&D functions who want to show the value and impact of their programs as well as make data driven recommendations to the business”.
He also pointed out that having the ability to make data driven decisions would move the L&D function from a provider of training to a strategic business partner within an organisation. “L&D functions will not only focus on training and developing the required skills for their organisations, but will in effect become performance consultants that use behavior and performance data to more accurately target future training investments,” he continued. And in a rapidly transforming digital workplace the ability to use data to prioritize and redirect efforts to maximize business impact will be of critical importance.
At SureSkills, we believe that measurement, reporting and analytics should be a key business tool every learning leader uses – enabling them to create more responsive learning strategies that are more closely aligned with business goals.
“We want to provide business leaders with a real-time view of organizational skills and capabilities,” says Danny O’Neill. “We want to help highlight critical skill gaps so managers can make quicker and better informed decisions about their training investments. We are the link between training and real performance improvement.”
If you’re ready to help your L&D managers make quicker, better informed decisions about your training investments and maximize business impact, be sure to download our exclusive eBook below for more information, or check out our website to see how SureSkills can help you and your organization achieve your training goals efficiently and effectively.