What are the learning metrics that really matter to your CEO? It wasn’t too long ago that the only measure of effectiveness for a corporate learning program was a count of bums in seats. However, today, thanks to sophisticated learning management systems, there is more data available than ever before to learning professionals – information that can help organizations monitor learning activity and engagement on demand, measure effectiveness and “stickiness” of content, and plan and strategize for maximum effectiveness. Presented in meaningful dashboard terms, key metrics that provide learning professionals with both a macro and micro view into learning activity can help guide decision making and help organizations shape (or reshape) learning strategies to reach the widest audience of learners and achieve the greatest return on learning investment.
According to LinkedIn, there are six key metrics CEOs truly care about when it comes to learning and development. These are:
- Usage of the learning and development program – How many people are participating? Is the company getting a good return on its learning investment?
- The productivity of new hires – How effective is the learning program in getting new hires up to speed and productive? The sooner new hires can serve customers or drive sales and revenue, the better for the business.
- Learning retention rates – Are learners sticking with the learning program? Is your new hire cohort excited and responding to that initial wave of learning? What content are learners accessing with a high frequency? Your CEO wants to know – in detail – whether employees are motivated and engaged in learning. With the right data, presented in meaningful ways, you can give him or her those answers.
- Internal promotion rates – When it comes to filling vacant managerial positions, internal candidates are cheaper to recruit, tend to come up to speed much faster and are ultimately better performers because of their familiarity with the organization. When learning and development is focused on upskilling, one should be able to use data to correlate an employee’s participation in learning programs to their pathway and upward progress in the organization.
- Use of outside consultants – If your learning and development is doing its job, your employees should be proficiently skilled to handle all the work a business hands them. So, in theory, the better your learning strategy, the less reliance there should be on external consultants.
- Calls to the support desk – When employees have and know how to use the tools they require for the job, functions of the business move with efficiency. Part of the mandate of learning and development is to ensure employees are fully trained and comfortable with those tools. If learning strategies are working, then calls and requests for support from employees should go down in number, removing a big burden from the IT organization. Employees should also be more productive.
While LMS platforms have typically captured oodles of data, it has not always been presented back to the learning team in meaningful and actionable terms. Busy learning and development pros shouldn’t have to be experts on Excel formulas and pivot tables. However, they should be able to see patterns and trends at a glance and effortlessly go one level deeper to identify root causes and issues. Fortunately, recent advancements in learning dashboards, such as the new Brightspace Adoption dashboard, are now making it much easier for learning professionals to quickly gain insight into the effectiveness of their learning strategies and programming.
Let’s use a typical day-in-the-life scenario to illustrate how the new Brightspace Adoption dashboard can help you use data for better decision making:
Karen is a learning and development professional in a large financial services company. She is responsible for multiple swim lanes of programming, including new-hire onboarding. Karen has never really had a clear picture of the effectiveness of her learning programs. She has relied on staff surveys for feedback after the learning is delivered but was never fully convinced that people were being truthful. Are they as engaged as they say they are?
The Adoption dashboard makes it extremely easy for Karen to see at a glance the login data into the Brightspace platform and monitor that trend over time. She can see spikes and trends associated with logins and content access within the platform. For instance, here, Karen can see there is a huge spike in logins to Brightspace and access to specific content. This spike correlates to the start date of her new hire cohort, so Karen knows that these eager new hires are jumping into the onboarding processes she set up for them in Brightspace with great enthusiasm.
Now, Karen can see that activity is starting to trend down a bit. She knows, based on the timetable, that her new hires should be just about finished up with their initial flight of learning. So, it is now time for her to start thinking about introducing the next learning program for these employees.
Karen now opens the brand new Brightspace Engagement dashboard. It provides her with a ton of valuable information about how people are engaging with the learning activities and content made available to them. Again, at a glance, Karen can see the amount of time people are spending engaged in learning. Using the distribution graph, she can see that most employees are deeply engaged in learning programming. When she sees a few individuals are showing only marginal engagement, Karen can use the drill down feature to identify those people and reach out to them personally to get them re-engaged.
Better data, made quickly and easily accessible and presented in meaningful terms, is invaluable to learning and development professionals and to the business. Data helps drive the right business decisions and the right investments. It helps position and articulate the value of learning and development investments in hard-number terms to leadership, so they can see strong evidence of return on investment. It helps to avoid pitfalls, waste and foolish expenditures. And it builds rock-solid evidence to justify further learning and development investments in the future.