Deep Thoughts

Data and L&D – understanding your people and what they want

Is your L&D department missing out on the opportunity to understand the impact of learning? If you’re not embracing the use of data than the answer is Yes.

Let’s talk about data, it’s the big buzzword in the last few years and for good reason. In my eyes data is king, it’s my best friend and gives me everything I need and much more – why you ask? Well data can tell me a story, it can tell me how many times you interact with a platform, which articles you read, how many times you visit and how long you stay – sound’s a bit creepy right? But also as I hope to reveal to you, it’s very a powerful insight tool.

In order for us to understand how a community of people behave and what resonates with them, we need to know their habits, we need to know the trends of their behaviour so that we can best position our product to them.

Just look at Amazon as an example, they are a king in this arena with their customer analytics, they know everything about us. The analytics teams at Amazon know what I like to buy, how often I make a purchase and even the most popular minute of the day I’ll make a purchase. That kind of insight is powerful in allowing them to promote products to me that have a high chance of a conversion to purchase and this should be no different for us in the L&D world when we promote our content to our people.

So how does this all relate to L&D? Well historically HR and L&D departments have been slow to adapt to new technologies and methods to measure engagement. You’re more than likely in a business right now where you’re marketing, buying and technology teams are using data analytics and they are building a picture of what their customer wants – so why aren’t you.

As L&D professionals, the customers are our learners and in order for us to engage learners with our content, we need to understand who they are. How many times have you released new L&D content only to be met with the feedback that less than 10% of your learners saw or heard of it’s existence, it stings right? But through the power of data and setting the right metrics you can understand how best to engage your audience so they actually see that amazing content you’ve created. 

Now we’ve set the context, let’s get to the good stuff – what can data do for your L&D function?

Well, it can do anything you want it too, you have hundreds of metrics available for you to measure. You’ll need to define your basic needs and adopt a data analysis strategy that will give you the numbers that show how effective your learning campaigns are in your target audiences. If you have no historical data on your people right now, your first move might be to conduct a simple survey and focus groups to collate some basic data on this audience.

Data is useful for showing us trends and allowing us to make predictive analytics too, here’s a few example of what you could track to measure engagement:

  • Who and how many people are logging onto your LMS, looking at your new training content or booking onto to existing content?
  • What are your people looking at, what are they seeking, what’s most popular, how long are they onsite, where do they drop off, how do they enter the LMS….. the list can go on and on.

Your options for the use of data are limitless and I could talk about this all day, however this is a basic intro to why you should be using data in your L&D setup. The key point here is that data can reshape how effective your learning offering is and you can utilise a wealth of insight to make data driven decisions with learner habits at the forefront.

Think how powerful it would be to walk into your next meeting and tell a story through data about the impact of your learning content and what it’s doing for the capability of your people.

  Use data and insight to make an impact, create a new culture of learning through better understanding of your people.

Please leave me your comments and thoughts below, I’d love to hear what you have to add to this topic.

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