With so much of the business and employment landscape in a state of flux, corporate training programs have become increasingly important. These programs are linked to attracting and keeping the most coveted talent, which means their role in the overall financial well-being of organizations has grown over time.
Running effective programs is crucial, and the key to being effective is being flexible when it comes to what training content is offered and how it is offered. And just as important is visibility into how corporate training is benefitting every aspect of the business.
Training teams want to be able to adapt training programs quickly to stay in front of the rapid pace of workplace change, and accounting departments want to see how investments in training are helping the company’s bottom line.
But unfortunately, both of these goals have remained elusive for many companies.
Training departments often lack deeply integrated decision-support tools. These barriers to technology lead to manual processes. Training teams are then overburdened with the grunt work of data analysis on their own, which means that changes to programs cannot be implemented quickly.
At the same time, many businesses are not effectively measuring the impact of training on the overall organization. While capturing learner activity metrics has become standard practice, linking these metrics to organizational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or business outcomes has often been challenging and may not result in a direct one-to-one report output. For many companies, the ROI of training programs is unclear.
But the emergence of innovative software is changing this scenario, enabling more efficient connections between training metrics and organizational goals.
Learning analytics help businesses make rapid, accurate decisions about training effectiveness, something that has become necessary in today’s fast-changing landscape. These analytics can underpin a system of business intelligence.
Business intelligence can answer the fundamental question of whether the metrics an organization is capturing align strategically with the company’s crucial business objectives — both for the current operations and its future growth.
Learning analytics also convey how a training program profoundly influences the entire organization’s success. The best programs offer a clear and compelling narrative about the program’s impact on various aspects of the business.
Finding the Right System
In upgrading their training programs to make them more flexible—and make their ROI to the full organization more visible—businesses will likely look at various learning analytics programs before they decide on one.
And while every business will have its own unique set of needs, there are several key attributes that every company should insist upon in their learning analytics as they build their own systems of business intelligence. And this is especially true if they aim to bring AI into their training operations. Learning analytics should be:
Measurable – Businesses don’t have to limit their understanding of “numbers” to quantitative data. The qualitative impact is another important metric, and it doesn’t have to come at the sacrifice of quantitative data. Business leaders should be able to look for trends wherever they can be found and ask questions against those trends, once identified.
Repeatable – Trends are repeated, and so is the way in which businesses capture data about them. Focus data capture tools on identifying the trends that will be real levers for change. The greatest indicator of employee and customer engagement, alike, is often how people interact with training. Businesses must leverage the repeatable insight that’s actionable.
Actionable – A company should be able to take data–whether it’s qualitative or quantitative–and use it to take an insightful action that is driven by understanding what that data means to your company. As a learning professional, actionable data can inform decision-making across teams and help to define continued growth for an organization.
Reportable – How easy is it for company leaders to report on the data they capture? Ask yourself: Have I taken the time to create reports that are architected to provide insights about what the data means? Many programs fail to report deeply because it’s too difficult to report on data from multiple sources. Business intelligence is only effective when data can easily be shared.
Relatable – Training intelligence can be a force for good in driving a business forward. How does the reporting being sent to key stakeholders within an organization relate to other growth initiatives, or tell a story about what it means for learners to engage in a certain way? Businesses must align training program measurements with the organization’s strategic plan for optimal results.
Oriented to ROI – It is time for learning and development to move out of the cost center and into the profit center mindset. Training is more than just a function of the business that must be served. It plays a vital role in how a company will approach change, new markets, and longevity. When businesses connect training to profitability, they will achieve the impact they set out to make.
“Garbage in, garbage out’ is an adage that has been ringing true for enterprises in the era of Big Data. And it makes even more sense as AI makes its presence felt in the business world.
If a training team is considering deploying an AI-powered tool to help them improve training operations, curate or suggest learning content to niche audiences, or otherwise improve their workflows, it can’t be overstated just how important it is to have strong foundational data.
Learning analytics are the key to this strong foundational data. If yours are measurable, actionable, repeatable, reportable, relatable and geared toward ROI, then you have analytics that ensures your training programs are not just as valuable as they can be today but will be far into the future.