Benefits of Applying Data Analytics to Learning & Development

Author: Preeta Chandran

There is immense body of knowledge around Kirkpatrick's levels of evaluation of training effectiveness. Nevertheless, the single biggest challenge faced by learning organizations and learning leaders is to evaluate the effectiveness of their learning interventions.

Measuring effectiveness of learning programs ˗ Challenges faced by CLOs and their teams

L&D professionals understand that learning is crucial to business performance. However, proving the value of L&D to other parts of the organization, including business leaders and decision makers, is an uphill task. Why do CLOs and their teams struggle in this area? The answer lies in the practical challenges they face in measuring the effectiveness of learning programs, and hence, the challenge in showing impact to business imperatives or performance.

There are frameworks to enable measuring learning effectiveness, the most notable being the Kirkpatrick's Model. However, where organizations run into obstacles in leveraging these frameworks is the lack of real tools to put the framework to use. At each level of the Kirkpatrick Model, the first step would be to collect data, which in itself is a difficult task for beyond Level 2 for several organizations. As per a State of the ROI of Learning survey report by Udemy, most companies still rely on metrics at Level 1 of the Kirkpatrick Model. The majority of companies were measuring training satisfaction and completion rates.

Also, even with the availability of data, how does one go about analyzing the mass of information and generating valuable insights and enabling decisions? That is the bigger challenge.

This is where Data Mining and Analytics come into picture. The key objective is to start a thought process on how to address an age-old challenge faced by learning organizations, by leveraging cutting-edge, new-age technology.

Data mining, sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, and Artificial Intelligence-based Learning Management Systems can bring in a whole lot of order into the chaos and generate meaning, actionable insights for immediate and continuous improvement.

Benefits of leveraging data mining and analytics in L&D

The benefits of continuous improvement powered by learning analytics can have positive effects at all levels of the organization.

Right measurement and accurate insights into learning effectiveness will help drive continuous improvement and performance enhancement. L&D, through these tangible contributions to the business, can establish that it is not just a cost center but a key business partner.

Insights on skill levels, alignment of employee skills to business needs, and the impact of learning on key organizational metrics can enable informed decisions not just on what courses are to be designed or how are they to be designed and delivered, but also larger decisions on hiring, staffing, and competency development.

Personalized, adaptive learning is likely to make learners more engaged and more empowered to apply learning at work.

For L&D teams, basing recommendations and budget requests on learning analytics adds a degree of professionalism and credibility and also enables them to better align with business goals.

Finally, business stakeholders benefit from being able to see the results of their investment of money and time. They can see how the learning organization is addressing and impacting key business imperatives, including operational efficiency, employee performance, and ultimately business results.

Tags: measurement, analytics, learning, digital, eLearning, digital learning, learning effectiveness, learning analytics, data analytics