Each week, we take a MATCH Challenge and put it to our community to find the answer. This week’s MATCH solution comes from the founder of Coorpacademy, Jean-Marc Tassetto who discusses how a new breed of training analytics tool can help bring L&D and the business together.
MATCH Challenge: Creating learning opportunities for employees to thrive in an age of AI disruption
It’s a message that seems to be landing: according to PwC, 80% of CEOs it recently polled say securing the right skills for this new digital age is their biggest challenge. At the same time, training is a must-have to keep you relevant and attractive to talent. As a result, there is pressure on HR from the business to provide L&D (Learning and Development) opportunity to support future skills. At the same time we live in a time of data-driven business, so there is pressure on training budgets: the C-Suite quite rightly wants to know how effective every L&D dollar and euro spend is in fostering genuine uptake of the new knowledge and skills.
This is where having the right metrics and guidance to demonstrate proof of ROI back to stakeholders becomes critical. The good news is that a powerful new KPI has finally become available to help you in the shape of Learning Analytics.
This is welcome news because the analytics available to date has been limited. Preliminary results from independent HR analyst firm Fosway annual ‘Digital Learning Realities 2019’ survey shows that the L&D industry is faring very badly at measuring learning impact, for example, revealing that only 14% of respondents are “effectively” doing so, while around half are “ineffectively” doing so – and a third admit they are doing nothing.
The welcome rise of the LEP
Until recently the primary technology HR uses to track L&D impact was the Learning Management Systems, which is set up to capture ‘traditional’ data, i.e. tracking participation of learners, providing information on content downloads, task completions and modules completed. Given the methodology underpinning this kind of way of measuring workplace learning, it can’t be a surprise that any insights and conclusions derived on the basis of this data were not very new or exciting. The good news is that those days are over – and much more flexible ways of working with corporate learning have started to deliver much richer datasets.
These are emerging in the shape of new-style Learning Experience Platforms (LEPs or sometimes LXPs), as recently formalised into a whole new market category by IT leadership group Gartner. In sharp contrast to their LMS predecessors, LEPs are highly user-centric in their delivery model and usability. But another less well-known benefit is how they are starting to revolutionise the analytical possibilities for L&D professionals. That’s because the most advanced LEPs track behaviour traces and use them to test what works and what doesn’t, based in many cases on a new way of collecting data, the xAPI. As a direct result, HR managers are able to access new types of insight – not only about what someone successfully learnt, but how the learner got there and which learning approach they chose. This opens up tremendous diagnostic value, and even the possibility for new performance indicators.
We need to learn from the LMS model – but we still need to move on
Take curiosity –identified as an “important variable for the prediction and explanation of work-related behaviour” (Mussel, 2013). An important effect of curious workers is that they contribute to a company’s innovation potential, particularly in the light of the “death of top-down management” (cf. John Bell, 2013). Perseverance is a second example; when you next need to decide who to recruit to lead an ambitious project, or who to develop through training, expect to soon start looking for not just the most qualified but also the most resilient candidate available (cf. Amy Ahearn, 2017).
These things may not come to pass – but the point is that HR and training professionals are finally being enabled to use multiple data sources to properly consider the full potential of their people for specific roles and business outcomes – not only in terms of their knowledge and skills, but also their behavioural qualities. An additional aspect to this is that Learning Experience Platform technology will support far higher levels of user engagement and success than older classroom techniques and the first waves of e-learning.
The demands of not just tomorrow’s but today’s marketplace mean we need to learn from what the LMS taught us, but quickly move to a much more learner-driven model, where classroom training gets supported by a virtual environment in which all lessons and material are digital and available, 24×7 and increasingly via mobile and consumable in short bursts. In addition, incorporating gamification and collaboration features will increase staff engagement by activating the joy of competition.
Such learner-centric approaches and leading-edge xAPI-enabled technology really work – and secure high user engagement levels, as well as yielding this new ‘Behavioural Learning Analytics’ that puts learning and training firmly into the centre of your organisation’s preparation for the future.
The author is co-founder of learning experience and upskilling platform Coorpacademy, and a former head of Google France