How to Improve Business Outcomes with Broader Learning Metrics

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Home > Articles > How to Improve Business Outcomes with Broader Learning Metrics

 How to Improve Business Outcomes with Broader Learning Metrics

by Rhys Hughes | General
June 10, 2021

The author discusses why using metrics is the best means to measure the outcomes from training programmes.

​The only way to measure if employee training programmes function effectively in an organisation is to use metrics. Only by tracking, collecting, and analysing employee data will an organisation truly understand whether employees are learning in the most efficient and effective way for them. 

Many organisations spend considerable time and money putting together specialised training programmes, however the employees and the business may not be taking full advantage of those investments. To truly understand and then improve 
learning efficiency, and how learning positively impacts revenue and employee retention, your organisation needs to expand its use of metrics.

Learning
 effectively is a win for both learners and employers 
Skillsoft’s Mind the Gap research found 55 per cent of employees in Australia and New Zealand are concerned about not receiving enough learning, training, and development from their organisation to remain employable and skilled in the future. In addition, 63 per cent of respondents believe learning, development, and training opportunities are important when considering a new job role.

Organisat
ions need to invest in their employees to train them for their current roles and reskill, and upskill staff for future responsibilities. Providing more learning opportunities benefits both individual employees and the organisation as a whole.

Change how you measure learner engagement
Many organisations find it difficult to measure effectiveness of their training programmes, and there is no industry standard for determining learner engagement. To measure efficiency and engagement, learning and development (L&D) professionals tend to use a mix of quantitative and qualitative data. For example, the number of courses learners complete, employee feedback in learning surveys, time employees spend learning per month etc. However, many L&D professionals do not yet measure learner engagement based on online usage data.

With the increasing variety of 
metrics now available to L&D professionals, many may be confused as to how much they could be tracking to understand their employees’ learning efficiency better. It may help organisations to look at metrics across four different categories—compliance, efficacy, emerging learning technologies, and business impact: 

1. Measuring complianc
e
For organisations that operate in highly-regulated environments, including financial services, healthcare, or pharmaceuticals, much of the learning provided to employees is compulsory.

With this in mind, measuring and tracking course completion status, the total amount of time employees spent taking the course, and their course scores all play a vital role in the organisation’s ability to demonstrate regulatory compliance. To continue performing their current jobs, employees must pass compulsory courses and gain the required course certifications.

2. Understanding course efficacy and improvement
Courses that are aligned with newer E-learning standards like xAPI provide a wider and more nuanced set of metrics, as they focus on tracking experiences across different learning environments. This includes mobile, gamified, collaborative, offline, and simulated learning.


By measuring more 
learning data, organisations can gain more understanding into how effective that course is as well as if employees are interacting well with it. Using these details, it is easier for organisations to understand how their employees learn and how L&D can create better training materials going forward so they are more engaged.

3. Measure the use of emerging learning methods
Training now rarely takes place in a traditional, in-person classroom setting. Many organisations are now making the most of different methods to deliver more engaging training programmes not just using E-learning, and micro-learning via laptops and mobile devices, but also virtual reality (VR).

By using VR, employees can practice a process in the virtual world immediately before performing those actions in the real world so that the time from 
learning a new skill to becoming productive can reduce. Analysing the metrics provided through VR learning can be really useful to the organisation by improving training as well as increasing employee efficiency and overall performance in typical work situations. 

4. Understand how employee training imp
acts the organisation
For organisations to truly make the most of their employee training programmes, they need to understand how it impacts the business. This means L&D professionals must analyse broader metrics and work closely with their colleagues across the organisation. For example, to prove that a specific sales training initiative directly led to the sales teams closing more deals, L&D needs to be able to combine the learning metrics with sales metrics held in the company’s CRM system.

For maximum impact, before introducing new training programmes to employees, L&D must invest time working in collaboration with other departments to truly understand the 
learning objectives. The output here is creating a comprehensive list of goals for a new training program, from both a learning and an overall business perspective. Learning investment can help organisations improve talent attraction, employee retention, customer satisfaction, as well as help grow revenue—but key to success is focussed, measurable investment. By creating these goals, L&D professionals can then choose which metrics they’ll need to track employees’ progress towards realising those targets.

It’s important to understand how 
learning and talent metrics must function in combination with other business metrics. After all, organisations must prioritise both learning and business needs. Working closely with other departments will help L&D develop both the best learning content, as well as the most targeted audience for that training. Then, by taking a metrics-driven approach, L&D can clearly demonstrate how investment in learning is meeting the business objectives of the wider organisation.  


Rhys Hughes is the Regional Vice President at the helm of the SumTotal Systems Asia Pacific business. A local in Singapore, he has over 15 years’ experience in the regional and international technology industry. His depth of industry knowledge and insights are a result of years working with multinational organisations and their business leaders to understand their challenges and work collaboratively to enable them to drive successful outcomes. He thrives in the competitive and diverse emerging markets.

​IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK
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Copyright © 2021 Singapore Institute of Management

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