3 reasons why your company should care about learning analytics

Cydnie Smith
Smiling woman with long dark hair in a black shirt.
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It’s basically a manager’s nightmare…

You’re drinking your morning coffee and plugging away at your to-do list when your boss pings you on MS TEAMS and asks you to organize a corporate online training program for your fully-remote team.  At first, you think: No big deal! I can set up a couple of training sessions and call it a day!

But then you come across The LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report which found that 94% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer who invested in their skills and professional development. Okay, there’s a lot more riding on this than you initially thought. 

With that in mind, naturally, you put all your effort into acing this task.

Step One: Source a custom eLearning program focused on upskilling your employees – check.
Step Two: Coordinate the training sessions with your team – check. 

Sounds simple enough, right? Now on the surface, everything seems to be going well. Your team is fully engaged with the learning material – and, dare I say, actually enjoying it.

In your mind, you’re nailing it – the whole session goes off without a hitch! Until, of course…

Your C-Suite team asks for visible training ROI (Return On Investment)!

Research does show that only 40% of companies believe their learning strategy is aligned with their organizational needs – so it makes sense that they’re looking for some form of valuation. Perhaps, as a company, part of your role in developing your employees comes in the form of an education stipend, and you join other leading employers supporting professional development of their workforce.

Two overlapping charts, one bar chart and one donut chart. The bar chart (left, ovelapping the left side of the donut chart) has two bars. One bar is unlabelled and significantly smaller than the one to its right, which is labelled with a callout that reads, "94% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer who invests in their professional development." The donut chart is divided into two sections. The smaller section is coloured with a solid gradient, and it has a callout that reads, "40% of companies believe that their learning strategy aligns with organizational needs." The larger part of the donut is transparent with a dotted outline, with a callout which says, "60% have no connection to the company’s strategic objectives." (Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/the-essential-components-of-a-successful-l-and-d-strategy)

But what can you say to show the value of corporate training? Sure, it looks like your team is utilizing their new skills. The only issue is you have no idea how to translate their experience into something tangible. It’s like you know their learning and development training was a success, at least in the short term, but you just can’t figure out how to turn it into measurable (or useful) metrics that your leaders will appreciate.

You want it to be a bad dream – something that you could just wake up from. But for many organizations, the struggle to show the quantifiable results of eLearning is very much a reality.

So, that begs the question: How can you take corporate learning beyond basic skills development and use it to meet your business goals?

Two words: Learning Analytics

Using learning data allows you to leverage the eLearning experience to enhance the quality of employee training, boost performance, drive knowledge retention, and of course, the icing on the cake. Increase your bottom line.

But, before I can really dive into the positive impact learning analytics can have in your workplace, let’s get on the same page about what it is first.

What is learning analytics?

Learning analytics involves collecting, measuring, and analyzing data from all aspects of training to understand and optimize training experiences and their organizational impact. The lifecycle of your learning data looks like this:

  1. Capture data
  2. Structure and aggregate
  3. Analyze
  4. Display and visualize
  5. Action
  6. Refine
A circular chart which shows the continuous lifecycle of learning analytics. It has 6 sections. From the very top and moving clowise: Capture data, structure and aggregate, analyze, display and visualize, action, refine.

I know, I know. Collecting and analyzing such large amounts of information can seem daunting at first, especially when you don’t know where to start – but this data can actually be broken down into three levels:

Learner analytics

Your learner analytics data focuses on the behaviors of the individual or group of learners. Think about who is engaging positively with the learning material. Which content areas have they successfully completed? Who in the group needs extra support?

Experience analytics

With experience analytics, you'll assess the actual learning experience, including content and how it’s structured and delivered. Ask your team for feedback – is there anything about the training they liked or didn’t like?

Program analytics

Your program analytics helps evaluate the overall program and its effectiveness in achieving business goals. Are there any metrics you can qualify or quantify? Are there any KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that the training experience can help improve? Did the learning program succeed in meeting a particular business goal?

But how do I find this training data?

You may be able to find a lot of this data in your own corporate Learning Management System (LMS) or gather information from employee feedback surveys, your Human Resources Information System (HRIS), or your Association Management Software (AMS).

So, why should your organization care about learning analytics?

I get it – without context, training data can feel like a bunch of unrelated feedback and stats. But the thing is, once you consolidate this information using easy-to-understand data visualizations and custom dashboards, it can actually become a valuable and essential component in your organization.

The role of learning analytics is really to:

Prioritize organizational learning objectives

As we shift further into a digital-first society, there is definitely no shortage of information. But it’s how you use that information that determines how impactful it will be. This is where a well-defined strategy for your training data comes into play. By identifying and analyzing data like learner engagement, knowledge gaps, training progress, and course completions, you can create more comprehensive strategies for meeting your organization’s needs and goals.

Personalize training to positively impact employees

Statistics show that 1 in 3 employees believe their organization’s training is out-of-date, and 33% say their current company-provided training doesn’t meet their expectations. Sobering, I know. But there’s good news! Training analytics offer insightful details about your employee’s learning wants and needs, which allows you to optimize your training programs to promote success.

An image split into three, small infographics. The first one, furthest on the left, shows three icons of people and one is shaded. It reads, "1 in 3 employees believe their organization’s training is out-of-date." The one furthest to the right has a chart with two lines. Both are trending up and to the left, but the line on top shows a higher, steeper incline. The text reads, "Up to a 25% increase in profits when your workforce is happier and more productive." Between those two sections is a slightly larger infographic, soley text-based. The text reads, "Better quality training programs have a significant impact on employee happiness and productivity."

Better quality training programs can significantly impact your organization leading to happier and more productive employees, according to LinkedIn Learning’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report. With your happier, more productive workforce, your organization could see up to a 25% increase in profits.

Drive organizational growth

Learning analytics allows you to assess the effectiveness of your professional training and development programs and identify what’s working and not working within your organization. When you identify areas that need improvement or gaps in skills or knowledge, it’s much easier to address them and mitigate potential risks for the future. Similarly, you can tailor your workflow to optimize productivity and output by evaluating your employee's strengths. At the end of the day, it’s all about helping you develop plans that address unique strategic learning needs and build solutions that maximize success.

Ultimately, you can use learning analytics to assess training efficiency, optimize costs, improve employee performance, and support strategic objectives. Incorporating training data into your organizational strategy will allow you to ensure your employees’ training needs are met. This leads to better overall performance and measurable value that can be demonstrated to your C-suite and leaders – making it a win-win for everyone!

Now that you believe in the power of learning analytics, take the next step in your analytics journey by calculating your online training ROI and ROTI. Not ready for a math lesson? Head back to the learning hub to check out our guide to learning analytics and training ROI.

Smiling woman with long dark hair in a black shirt.
Cydnie Smith

Cydnie is an experienced writer, editor, and blogger who believes that accessibility plus a dash of creative storytelling is essential to cultivating a memorable learning experience.

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