We’re never that curious about how well our car is operating until the check engine light goes on. But had we been a little more inquisitive, maybe even proactive, we could have noticed we were running low on oil, observed a frayed fan belt, or added a bit of air to a tire—all before the warning light flashed.
That same curiosity should apply to monitoring learning in your organization. Data logs from your intranet, learning management system, and social media—even brief classroom surveys—hold many secrets about your learners. You can determine what training they prefer, whether existing demand is being served, and the extent of their capacity for learning consumption.
Depending on the size and budget of your training organization, data might be represented in a sophisticated dashboard that is used to drive program change. Analytics also might be used in less sophisticated but still telling ways, such as monitoring student volumes and program satisfaction and managing continuing education licensing or other compliance requirements. The point is, data can identify challenges and opportunities and inspire change in the learning organization and beyond.
Aligning Analytics by Audience
How Are We Doing?
Data analysis can indicate whether and how training contributes to the performance of an organization. By understanding the high and low ranges for each piece of data, an organization can determine whether it is operating within acceptable limits. However, with learning analytics, a company is often challenged by a lack of parameters that help interpret how its results map to those in the rest of the industry. By knowing industry standards, however, an insurer can understand its performance within a larger context. That is where benchmarking comes into play.
Now that we have discussed learning analytics and the importance of benchmarking, it is time to put this knowledge to work. Following are a few broad recommendations for learning organizations and training departments, as well as for those operating a learning management system (an online system for learning that can include courses, knowledge databases and forums, collaboration, and other computer-supported learning tools).