Why to measure learning effectiveness?
May 3, 2012 1 Comment
There is a famous management adage that “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”. Unless you can measure something, you don’t know how you are doing and if you are getting better or worse. Same is true for training organizations also when we need to measure learning effectiveness.
Organizations maturity in terms of training their workforce and customers varies from being having a leading cutting edge training organization to someone who is struggling to meet the basic training needs of their partners and customers. Whatever the organization’s training maturity level may be, knowing where they stand and being able to measure if their training delivery is meeting their end goals requires different level of maturity. The key is having a vision and knowing what the business goal is and what we need to measure to be effective. It is a well-established principle that “What you measure is what you get!” Whatever we measure will inevitably drive the kind of intervention we design. It helps to better align learning with business results upfront, not just to measure learning effectiveness after the fact.
Businesses and organizations use various resources to design an effective measurement and intervention model. This includes solid and stable foundation with infrastructure and tools along with well-defined business processes. Primary tool used for measuring training effectiveness is business reporting and analytics covering training consumptions, surveys & evaluations results and number of learners certified. When measuring learning effectiveness, businesses look at both quantitative and qualitative aspects. It is measured at all levels, but the primary focus is always business results and impact. It is about studying the impact of learning to the target audience and if it is returning or going to return the business results expected. Learning analytics helps the organization’s management (including CLO) to manage and monitor the effectiveness and impact of their initiatives.
So the question is that why we need analytics when we have systems like LMS, LCMS, etc. Even though these systems are data rich and may act as good source for operational data needs, it doesn’t help with information needs which fuel the business decisions. Management team needs information which shows them what they did, what they’re doing now and where they’re heading. It also helps them to introduce right kind of adjustments and interventions, if things are not heading the right way. Measuring effectiveness using the analytics is about measuring the effectiveness of the training content and effectiveness of the organization delivering it to target audience. The ability to maximize learning effectiveness and operational excellence indicates that goals are being met.
It is both science and art to be effectively design your analytics solution and what an organization wants to get out of it. As you design your solution, don’t just think of what you want to see or show, but also the decisions you want to help with or want to influence. Make sure all the key performance indicators are well represented and expressed. Executives want quick, at-a-glance indicators that tell them in the blink of an eye whether they are hitting the mark or not. The most successful balanced scorecards have multiple measures linked to objectives and they incorporate cause-and-effect relationships between the measures and their movement.Analytics solution should also highlight established thresholds for KPI’s which helps in taking the actions that influence those KPI’s. This helps not only in managing the results and goals of organization well, but also leads to meeting both the analytics goals of operational effectiveness and well trained and educated workforce.
Author: Praveen Khurana
Praveen Khurana is a learning technology specialist and specializes in learning management and human capital systems. He has 12+ years of experience in this industry and has consulted with and has implemented LMS and LCMS systems for many fortune 500 companies.