Why Measuring Learning Outcomes is the Key to Success
With corporate training, it’s not just the journey that counts—it’s the destination. And in this case, the destination is an objective business goal. Employee development must address some business challenge to have any real meaning for the organization. However, drawing a clear connection between learning experiences and business outcomes is an area in which the training industry has notable shortcomings. To show the impact of training, you have to measure it.
Evaluation theories, such as the Kirkpatrick Model, suggest that meaningful evaluation is more than the reaction of learners. Rather, training measurement should deep-dive into learning outcomes, behavioral changes, and business outcomes. Figuring out how to align training with measurable results is an industry-wide challenge. Research by Brandon Hall even found that 43% of respondents couldn’t show a clear relationship between training and their desired business outcomes. But by designing training with measurement in mind – and the use of some innovative training technology – you can gather the right data to determine training impact and training ROI.
Performance Measurement Platforms
There are many types of learning platforms, most of which have some capacity to measure performance. So, let’s quickly cover a snapshot of this training technology landscape.
Traditional learning management systems (LMS) are platforms that host eLearning and digital training assets. With a traditional LMS, you can author and publish training content, manage user profiles, and track basic data.
Learning experience platforms (LXPs) provide a way for users to interact with a wide range of formal and informal learning experiences and assets.
Learning portals, on the other hand, are more of a personalized gateway to eLearning assets. Customization in the user interface, functions, and integrations enables users to align the platform with their organization’s unique processes and technologies.
Be sure to choose a learning platform with the capabilities to measure and analyze your learners’ progress. After all, the more detailed performance data you have, the better you can gauge the effectiveness of your courses.
Granted, there are a few design strategies that will make it easier to measure the impact of training without much tech-support. For instance, quiz your learners at the start of a course to identify gaps in knowledge. Assess their understanding of key subjects with sporadic critical thinking activities in which to apply their knowledge and skills. A capstone activity at the end of the course can also be used to determine whether your learners can apply their training. Additionally, by creating a post-test with content similar to the initial assessments, you can more accurately measure knowledge acquisition.
Tech-Enabled Collecting Data
As your learners progress through their eLearning course, make use of any data-tracking and analytic functions to generate standard reports. Most learning technology can track information like:
- Course completion rates
- Standardized assessment scores
- Time spent within individual sections
However, you will want to use this data to draw conclusions on things like user preferences for course content and activities, what content is more or less difficult to learn, and other factors that may help improve the learning experience.
That being said, data-tracking for custom eLearning activities can be tricky. You may want to consider whether your learning technology platform enables custom data tracking. With immersive eLearning activities, like realistic simulations or interactive videos, it can be difficult to accurately measure learner behaviors as those behaviors become more complex. So, your platform needs to be able to capture and interpret that data in a meaningful way. Aligning data with analysis and reporting features will be invaluable as you work toward measuring training impact and ROI. And much of that work can be done by working closely with a training consultant to customize a platform to your needs.
Though the goal of corporate training may be to further business goals, learning and development teams often fail to show a clear relationship between the learning experience and business outcomes. Learning platforms can help collect, measure, and analyze data about performance throughout the learning experience. But there’s also quite a bit you can accomplish with the careful design of eLearning assets. So why not measure more? Then, you can really show the impact of your efforts.