Data-Driven Approach to Learning


5 Steps to a Data-Driven Approach to Learning

February 13, 2017

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Data-Driven Approach to Learning

“A data driven approach is used to optimize how your organization manages and deploys learning and development to support the execution of your business strategy” (Chief Learning Officer 2015). In our experience, most organizations understand the value of data, and are trying to use data to tune their operations. The challenge is rooted in a simple question: Where do you start?

When it comes to data and analytics capabilities, the feedback we have gotten from our audience has been consistent - the reporting capabilities that users get from their learning management systems (LMS) do not allow them to truly understand the effectiveness of their learning and training programs. Without the ability to extract the right data, and use that data to understand the impact of learning, a data-driven approach is near impossible.

Barriers of Implementing Data-driven Approaches

Here are some of the typical barriers that you might face when trying to implement data-driven approaches:

  • Limited access to data: you’re looking for specific outcomes, but your LMS doesn’t provide adequate access to that information
  • Limited in capabilities to analyze data: you might be able to build the reports you need from your LMS, but you can’t slice up the pie and look at each piece individually  
  • Limited options: Your LMS has limited options to present and share data in the most effective ways
  • Limited time: Time is often the biggest barrier. You can run a survey, but analyzing the results is time consuming. With the wrong solution, it can take hours.

Another big barrier, is that many learning and development teams lack the analytic skills necessary to work with the data available. They can get the data out and build the reports, but this doesn’t give them any insight into the effectiveness of the learning or training.

Steps to Overcoming the Barriers

So how do you overcome these barriers, and successfully implement a data-driven approach? Here are the five steps:

1. Embrace a Data-Driven Mindset

Make analytics part of the fabric of daily operations. Leaders should be focussing on reactions and outcomes, and always asking for the data that can prove these outcomes. Learning and development teams need to see data as a central component to solving problems and identifying opportunities.

2. Provide Access to the Right Tools

The right tools, means learning solutions with robust reporting and analytics capabilities. This could be a LMS that has the right reporting capabilities, or a LMS without reporting capabilities but has the option of integrating a solution.

3. Establish Shared Goals

Shared goals need to be aligned from the top to the bottom — Everybody in the department, from the CLO to the instructional designer, should share a common goal. Align their goals, and motivate them with data.

4. Offer Continuous Training and Coaching

On average, 50% of L&D organizations lack the analytic skills necessary to use the data available, so it is crucial that they’re given the right support to get the most out of their data. If you follow steps 1 through 3, you will have users motivated, you have the software, and you’re asking the right questions. Then, you’ve got to push them and coach them by figuring out how they can work better, helping them ask the right questions, and making sure they have the motivation and support they need to dig deep!

5. Making Data-driven Decisions!

Now you can begin your data-driven strategy - dig for gold! Start tracking the right metrics, and gain actionable insights from that information.


Want more details on how to implement a data-driven approach to learning?
Watch our recorded webinar, 5 Steps to Data-Driven Learning!

Watch the Webinar 


Sell, market, manage, and scale your eLearning all in one place with the brand new Lambda Suite!!

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