How We Measure: Utilizing Learning Technology to Measure Performance Impact

Instilled’s first ebook, Learn Like You Live: Ensuring Learner Engagement by Harnessing the Power of the Everyday contains a wealth of insights into the technologies and habits that shape our lives and our commitment to learning and training. Read this extract from the final chapter, focussed on measurement strategies that will help your organization deliver on learning inspired by how you live.

Even the best learning programs can end up falling flat if L&D professionals don’t pay attention to how the learner is using the content. Measuring performance consistently can help us discover gaps in our learning process and identify where learners are meeting challenges, missing key information, or feeling inspired.

Identifying the right tools to measure the success of your learning program should work in tandem with the proper learning technology. In doing so, we can align these principles with how eLearning is evolving and the methods HR leaders and executives should deploy to do so.

For a visual look at measurement best practice see our infographic.

Going Beyond Completion Metrics and Getting at Engagement

In the tech world and beyond, data scientists throw around the phrase ‘make your data talk’—typically when discussing how to convert information into actionable behaviors rather than quantitative data sitting in a database somewhere. With these technologies, we have a greater insight into where and why people are engaging the most. As L&D professionals, we have to get comfortable with the analytics tools we have access to and use them for more than just user completions.

If you consider these analytics and this converted data as ‘knowledge,’ it can then be acted on to add value to your overall learning goals and business outcomes. The following are valuable criteria to include in your metrics and go beyond tracking more than just completions:

1. Time on Page

Diving into which pages your learners spend the most time on can help us understand the business impact of specific learning material. Additionally, with a Learning Analytics Platform, this can be tied into HR systems by relating it to performance reviews or career progression. 

Perhaps learners are asking questions or leaving more comments on one page versus another, increasing their ‘time on page’. This can be indicative of a few things, such as:

Whichever the case may be, learning professionals must consider these factors in an effort to develop more engaging content.

2. Return Trips

Similar to time spent on a certain page, knowing which pages your learners are repeatedly returning to is key. Understanding these behaviors and why users choose to return to specific content can help learning professionals recreate the same behaviors via different learning experiences. The latter translates to consistency throughout your organization, whether it’s a learning experience meant to drive higher performance in sales or employee retention.

3. How to Define Engagement

In trying to create learning programs that engage users, it’s important to ask how we can even define engagement. For some organizations, engagement is seen as a cultural shift. In others, it’s simply about course completions. Earlier, we discussed what criteria is key to going beyond these completion metrics and driving down the details of higher performance. 

What may be engaging for one person may not be for the next. So, how can we truly define engagement? The answer is a two-prong approach: through the use of tracking components and by blending content types together, which you can read more about below.

4. Tracking Components

By using heat maps within your video content, you can look at your analytics to identify areas of interest within longer content. This data can then be used to develop content that is similar to the well-performing materials.

5. Blend Content Types Together

Mixing different modalities and content types together can help reach different learner types—for example, using a 15-second video to introduce a longer piece of content. Within the short intro video, you can include why the upcoming content is important to the organization as well as the learner’s new role. We’ve talked a lot about making a human connection, and that stands true here as well. By putting faces on video, it helps create a connection between the learner and the organization. 

Additionally, enabling employees to create content provides an ‘implied trust’ that the learner will create something good. Setting this cultural value early in the employee journey will increase confidence that you believe your learners will continue to develop great content

Using Data to Reimagine Learning Programs

There’s a deep knowledge of user data present in LMSs and LXPs. Compiling SCORM interactions, xAPI, and even your anecdotal evidence from mentors or managers, is absolutely necessary. Using these tools to extract meaningful information within the results lets you identify learning gaps in your programs. The next few points cover a few ways to use this meaningful data to reimagine your learning program for better engagement.

1. Highlight Successful Content

If you’ve seen specific content pieces which drive more engagement and elicit better business outcomes, these should be considered your ‘successful content.’ Whether they’re microlearning pieces or longer content with the blended content types from above, take note. These elements with high engagement can be enriched or repackaged for new users.

2. Create More of a Certain Type of Resource

Once these elements with high engagements have been identified, L&D professionals can work to create more of these types of resources. For instance, if you’re seeing an uptick in users visiting pages with SMEs, develop more content like this. If your SME is a leader in the company, even better. While employees may not have a direct line to the CEO, you can have the CEO ‘meet’ them where they are by including a custom message. Again, this fosters a connection and makes engagements and sharing more likely to occur.

3. Emulate the Delivery of Successful Content

This goes back to the beginning of our discussion on why Netflix has become a leader in the mass media and entertainment industry. Although an LMS can be a great place to start compiling data, it isn’t the most user-friendly platform out there. Learners don’t typically seek out an LMS for materials unless it’s asked of them. Essentially, there should be a dedicated platform to deliver content that emulates the experience users get from places like YouTube or Netflix. 

An LXP does the heavy lifting here by creating a welcoming and accessible place to find content. Users should be able to find relevant content seamlessly, share and comment as easily as they would on social media, and find the overall platform to be casually approachable. This is one of the core elements to ensure we meet employees at the crossroads of ‘learning like we live’.

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While it’s uncertain whether or not executives are ready to start the process, the pressure felt by L&D professionals and HR leaders to measure the impact of learning programs continues to grow. 

In our full Learn Like You Live ebook, we examine both the wider context of learner expectations and offer some practical advice for meeting their expectations. Read the following chapters for more:

Download the ebook today.

Download the Instilled Learn Like You Live ebook

For more insights from the ebook, see also our new infographics exploring key stats and statements about how we live and learn and how we train.

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