Article: Why do you need to integrate data into L&D context

Learning & Development

Why do you need to integrate data into L&D context

As an L&D specialist, what you need to know when it comes to using data to drive value of learning and development in your organization.
Why do you need to integrate data into L&D context

An organization’s health is directly proportional to its internal L&D climate. Without a strong L&D ecosystem, overall organizational financial performance is bound to take a hit. Leaders who believe strongly in this philosophy are always much ahead in the curve. This mindset further helps to build in huge credibility not only for their independent business verticals but also its penetration can have a greater organization-wide effect?     

So why do organizations and leaders hold back themselves from brining in L&D experts or trainers or subject matter specialists to help create an authentic learning environment? Also when it comes to L&D, why the budgets are always seen as one of the prominent areas of concern by the leaders. To add to the woes, the growing skill-will challenge is yet another reason wherein the L&D experts are not able to bring in the much-needed change.  What is holding people back from seeing L&D’s real value? How could people not see the benefits that are brought in through a constant learning culture, that’s proven to be a harbinger of organizational success in every respect? 

In fact, every function in today’s organization face challenges when it boils down to deriving the right value and the ROI related to the initiatives undertaken. How can the L&D function be left untouched? The Learning & Development community is clearly seen facing the same struggle. Hence, if you as a leader are still not responding to the changes in your approach to measurement and evaluation metrics when it comes to your L&D function, it’s high time for you to wake up now. There is an urgent need to integrate data in regard to your L&D context. Your unused learning data offers insights into what skills your people lack, where they need to up-skill, and where they really excel at. Due to lack of awareness or monotonous routine work or not being able to get the right leadership support, the functional experts many times undermine the value that data offers if integrated in the L&D system rightfully.

Let us take quick notes of these suggestive factors that are a must to know for all leaders and L&D specialists for helping driving the value of learning and development in your organization by the use of data and analytics.

• Most of the data are presented in spreadsheets or tables. Some use data that are present in LMS. In their raw form, most data does not give you what you might be looking for until you map the abstract data into charts, graphs, and other visual forms. Enable your L&D teams and managers themselves to understand what these data are communicating. Many times the lack of analytics support in current L&D tools prevents organizations from being more efficient. Hence, if need be, get experts from outside to help you attain your lost glory.

• Use variables like how many learners start watching a training video versus how many complete it. Check data on whether more learners complete a game based review or listen to a podcast presenting the same information. This will help to check the efficacy of the medium used to create engagement among learners. Also, observe through comparable variables on the data related to what training an employee has completed, when it was undertaken and what was its duration. Then map it against the data on the available job results that can indicate whether the training has been effective or not.

• Apart from quantitative data, use qualitative data for fetching the right inference. Some qualitative data examples in an eLearning context may be ‘percentage of learners who indicate that the workshop or course they have just completed was relevant to their job duties’; or ‘whether client satisfaction ratings are higher for employees who have completed training versus those who have not’; or ‘measuring a team’s sales revenue before and after training’.

• Develop a complete picture of an employee’s learning journey throughout his/her tenure at your organization and look at the relationships in the data over various time frames ranging from months to multiple years. Though you will need a skilled person in analytics to do it but if possible get an expert from outside who can help connect this single source of data truth to track the ratio of high-performers versus non-high performers who do training. Further drilling will provide answers to the effectiveness of the training programs and their impact on the financial performance of the organization.

Though a lot of awareness sessions are being conducted by various organizations to switch to data-driven decision making, however, the actual implementation still is lagging behind. The irony in boardroom discussion tables versus real-time usage is a growing concern. Hopefully, experts and leaders will gradually move ahead in the curve as the value of such data-driven insights will help L&D function to run more efficiently. Business leaders and L&D professionals together must try to tie learning outcomes directly to business results through the help of data analytics and hence it will become much easier to create effective learning strategies for the organization as a whole.

(Know more about the latest trends in the learning & development landscape at the People Matters L&D Conference 2019 scheduled for 6th November in Mumbai. Click here to register.)

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Topics: Learning & Development, #PMLnD

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