Historically, L&D have struggled to measure the ROI of their learning solutions. We’ve tried all sorts of methods in an attempt to measure the direct impact of learning, as well as the financial returns it provides for the business.
But data is absolutely crucial. In a recent industry report, ‘data analytics’ was rated as the top learning tech priority for 2019, especially for large organisations.
So it’s time to move away from the outdated ways of measuring learning – namely, how many people complete training and what ratings learners give courses.
Measurement for L&D is now all about collecting reliable, quantifiable data that clearly demonstrates the impact of learning and the value it adds to the business. If we want the board to sign off the investment in a piece of learning, then we need to show them why they can’t afford to say no. We need to provide clear, evidence-based data that spells out exactly why learning needs to happen and how the business will benefit.
This might sound easier said than done, but the time has come where we cannot ignore ROI any more. So, how can we overcome the challenge?
Identify the metrics that matter
Think about what the learning needs to achieve. It often requires behaviour change – perhaps performing a task in a new way or managing employees more effectively, for example – and always requires a performance impact.
These metrics have to focus on outputs. Concentrate on the desired outputs when designing learning and keep reviewing them throughout the process to see if they are being met. If not, there’s an opportunity to improve your learning solutions.
Top tip: Collect and analyse the data that will give meaningful insights into why learning is necessary, where it’s working, where it’s not, and why.
Use your managers
Managers have a critical role to play in creating good learning metrics. They are ideally placed to observe employees’ day-to-day performance, so they can identify key performance improvement areas for L&D. This can inform your data collection, ensuring you’re collecting impactful data that will be valued by managers. They will then be able to use these insights to support, enable and reinforce performance improvements.
L&D need to have managers on board if they are to get the metrics they need.
Top tip: Get your managers on board at an early stage in your data journey. They are well placed to identify the skills gaps that learning metrics will need to target – so you’ll be equipped to gather the right data.
Shout about successes
We know that business leaders want clear, evidence-based data showing the impact of learning. This means L&D needs to be savvier about giving senior stakeholders what they want. Identify who needs what data and present it in an easily digestible way.
Everyone loves success stories, so why not share learning success stories? This is an opportunity for L&D to really show how learning has an impact. Gather the necessary data and evidence by having good conversations with people in the business, by running focus groups and questionnaires. When you have all of this data, analyse it and share it.
Top tip: Spread the word and increase buy-in and engagement by tackling ROI and engagement problems together. You can also encourage learners to tell their story in a bid to spread your wins even further.
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The new learning landscape and learning metrics are here and will keep evolving. L&D needs to be part of this landscape and keep evolving with it. We need to stop feeling daunted by data and start harnessing it – using those key analytical skills. These new learning metrics are very exciting and not only offer real benefit to L&D and the business but enables us to keep up with the times.
If you’re interested in finding out more about measuring ROI in learning, why not take a look at our whitepaper ‘Learning metrics that matter’ which explores this topic further.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.