Why measuring training effectiveness is more important than ever

July 14, 2022

In today’s climate, organisations must meet the needs of their employees or risk losing them. Employees are changing jobs with unprecedented frequency – 10% of the workforce switching jobs in 2021. While remuneration remains a motivator, other factors for many include;

  • Hybrid working and the ability of the workplace to support work-life balance
  • New career opportunities and further recognition
  • Cultural and support considerations

Another important factor lies in employees looking for learning and development opportunities. In a recent public sector survey, 46% of respondents said that L&D was their biggest consideration when looking for a new role.

Organisations are relying more heavily on learning and development to ensure they can compete and stay relevant in digital and knowledge-based economies.With increased importance and focus, there is a greater need to ensure learners are engaged and getting the most out of the L&D offering.

This article looks at the importance of measuring learning effectiveness, how different industries measure effectiveness and the lessons we can apply to an effective learning measurement strategy. 

Why commonly used metrics only tell a small part of the story?

Typically, the metrics used to measure and gauge effectiveness of learning are quite limited. The most popular approach is using course completions as the main indicator. This measures a record of completion along with other data points such as:

  • date completed
  • number of attempts
  • score achieved in a quiz or assessment
  • and duration required to complete.

The problem with these metrics is that they only show a small part of the picture and are mostly based on mandatory learning requirements. A completion of a single learning event, usually measured by the completion of a quiz, may give a snapshot of a learner’s understanding at a point in time, but doesn’t provide insight into:

  • the level of understanding
  • the ability to adopt the learning in their workplace
  • the perception of the learner over a period of time
  • if the learner has retained the information
  • behaviour change
  • or sentiment towards the learning and ultimately, the organisation.

In order to gain a deeper understanding on what is required to deliver true learning analysis,  we can look at how other industries utilise technology.

The journey provides higher levels of insight

A boom in reliance on digital technologies has seen an evolution in the way metrics are incorporated. Organisations that are seen as leaders are embracing more advanced metrics as key methods to gain deeper insights from their people and customers.

Customer Experience (CX)

Customer Experience is now being measured far more deeply than ever before. Businesses want to ensure they are consistently delivering a great customer experience (CX) over the entire customer journey. Traditional methods rely on a range of survey-based metrics like simple customer satisfaction scores or the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which only indicate how likely customers are to recommend the brand or business to a friend or colleague.

Leaders in CX are now moving past these traditional metrics, considered as being too broad or too narrow, not timely enough, and difficult to correlate with business goals. Research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. has predicted that more than 75% of organisations will abandon NPS as a measure for success. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other modern technologies will replace these and allow businesses to enable:

  • Digitised workflows and interactions to provide customer information throughout the entire journey
  • Continuously generated event data that looks objectively at a customer experience, not based on a survey response
  • Timely information that unlocks understanding of key moments where a customer’s loyalty was won or lost

Organisational Culture 

Recent data showed that 80% of workers want to work remotely and that organisations will need to adopt virtual or hybrid approaches to work.

With employees working in distributed environments more often, executive leaders worry their organisation’s culture will become fragmented and weaker, leading to lower levels of engagement, performance, and innovation. Some key concerns include:

  • Leaders facing challenges to keep their workforce engaged and productive without the traditional face-to-face interaction taken for granted prior to the pandemic
  • Working face-to-face promoted a rapport and trust that can be difficult to replicate remotely
  • Non-verbal cues are an important way that relationships are built 
  • People working wholly alone tend to become less productive over time, although they may work longer hours than they did in the office, they lose their frame of reference and task orientation.

With the workplace changing, it becomes necessary to change how culture is measured and reflected. 

  • Move past the thinking that an environment is the driver of culture and connectedness
  • Culture being the ways that we behave and work together
  • Activate the right behaviours in planning, irrespective of geographic location
  • Translate culture into what people do every day
  • Smaller tangible and measurable elements that are factored into a daily workflow
  • Provide multiple data points and opportunities to measure

What learning and development can learn from these examples

Customer experience and cultural health are considered vital components of any business. A business is likely to struggle without a deep knowledge of how they perform in these areas. To ensure learner engagement, participation and satisfaction, organisations need to adopt these same philosophies when undertaking measurement of learning effectiveness.

Much like how a black box provides a recording of what happened in a plane crash, a completion result is a record of what has happened historically and doesn’t give true credence to the journey a learner has undertaken.

Digital technologies have advanced to the point that a learning experience can be personalised and the level of data collected is virtually unlimited. This helps to gauge learning effectiveness and increase engagement by:

  • Designing a learning journey instead of a single interaction, allowing for multiple data points and chances to gauge true participation
  • Using a machine learning algorithm to compare events such as previous accomplishments, peer participation, interests and ambitions to create a unique and personalised learning pathway
  • By measuring an individual’s sentiment throughout a learning journey, it is possible to provide timely intervention or offer an alternative learning opportunity that suits them better
  • Using AI to analyse data and identify trends, patterns and highlight areas for action
  • Aligning digital records to business goals. Using traditional metrics along with more advanced user-generated records such as social posts, KPIs and performance data, survey responses, user feedback and gamification scores

Gauging learning effectiveness by using the more advanced methods mentioned in this article gives organisations a competitive advantage and helps future-proof them. By understanding what is working for their organisation’s learners, learning and development teams can ensure they are providing best practice resources and get tangible results. It is more important than ever to be able to demonstrate the impact learning is having on employees and business performance.

Connect with us today to learn more about the technologies that can support superior visibility and effectiveness in your learning journey.

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