The Business of Learning

Learning & Development Research Reveals Need for More Extensive Use of Data and Analytics

Analytics is all the buzz in L&D right now, yet many organizations still struggle to apply the data they’ve collected to achieve measurable results. When used effectively, analytics make it possible to problem solve, choose between learning investments and maximize the impact of L&D on the business and bottom line. Last week, on behalf of Raytheon Professional Services (RPS), I co-hosted a webinar on this topic with Sarah Kimmel, vice president, research and advisory services, Human Capital Media. During the course of the webinar, titled “Unleashing the Power of Analytics: Driving Performance at the Intersection of Learning and Business,” we revealed findings from our recent joint survey of learning leaders from more than 450 small, medium and large organizations. The results made it clear that learning professionals, who are not in the top “Analytics Vanguard” organizations, still struggle to use data and analytics to improve business performance.

For the purposes of our research, we define Analytics Vanguard organizations as the top 32 percent of learning and development respondents, those who felt they were successful or moderately successful in leveraging analytics. This group is ahead of the pack when it comes to effective use of analytics and is paving the way for expanding analytics beyond simple internal reporting protocols.

How successful does L&D think it is at analytics

Learning analytics can be used to optimize how organizations manage and deploy L&D to support their business strategy through internal reporting, workforce segmentation, external benchmarking and predictive modeling. According to the survey we conducted, half of all organizations are using HR and business data in their learning analytics. However, most of the baseline organizations are using only internal data related to learning, such as information from the LMS on course completions or certifications, to drive their analytics. This is an area where a more extensive use of analytics is needed. When it is compared to the other data sources mentioned, internal reports actually have the lowest success rate.

Analytics Vanguard more likely to have an analytics function

On the other hand, Vanguard organizations, which experience higher effectiveness rates surrounding data, are more strategic in terms of their use and support of analytics. Here is what sets them apart. They:

  • Have an analytics function that is attached to corporate strategy
  • Pull more sources of data and ensure they are tightly aligned with business motives
  • Report metrics more often
  • Prioritize the hiring of analytics professionals
  • Use analytics for multiple strategic use cases, not just one
  • Implement integrated systems, rather than a manual process

By focusing on strategic outcomes, and the desire to create business impact through measurement, these Vanguard organizations demonstrate the value derived when more extensive learning analytics programs are in place. In the end, the Vanguard organizations are moving analytics from Learning Analytics to Performance Analytics.

Want to learn how your company can reach Vanguard status by unleashing the power of analytics? Contact us for a copy of the research report or our white paper on the topic.

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