Data-Driven Learning: Fab or Fad in L&D?

March 4, 2024 hr-observer-learning-development-ld

A data-driven learning strategy creates an alignment between the business objectives, outcomes, and learning goals. Various organisations have chosen to move to a data-driven Learning and Development strategy.

I believe using analytics is about leveraging data to make better business decisions and ensure that training initiatives result in positive organisational changes. Data provides insight into employees’ learning needs and preferences, which yields more effective decisions regarding training resource selection, allocation, and prioritization.

Therefore, I argue that using data helps us, Learning and Development professionals to understand the learners’ profile and learning style to ensure more engaging training sessions. Those engaged learners have a better chance of applying their knowledge in the workplace, which leads to enhanced performance and positive organisational changes.

Firms must examine their business goals and identify the critical skills required. They have to understand their goals to measure their current performance. 

Some of the questions they need to ask themselves include:

  • Where does the business want to reach?
  • What is the business status quo?
  • What are the gaps in their business?
  • What actions can the business take?

By asking these questions, organisations can leverage various data types to address specific business challenges. Moreover, they can fulfill the evolving development needs of their employees. They must also measure the effectiveness of training programs such as satisfaction, participation, and no-show rates.

Businesses should use data whenever a decision needs to be made regarding training resource allocation, skills development, and creating the organisation’s learning strategy.

How can organisations identify the most effective data sources and tools? 

Businesses can tap into diverse data sources including, the Learning Management Systems (LMS), post-training program surveys, Performance Management Systems, and other satisfaction surveys.

Such analytics help businesses understand their employees’ learning preferences by identifying the skills required to enhance their performance. “Additionally, understanding how these analytics link to the business objectives.

You need to know what the organisation is looking for when considering using data analytics. Moreover how these analytics link to the business objectives, types of data, data governance process, and what is the allocated budget. 

Data analytics play a crucial role in e-learning courses. It captures the enrollment, completion percentage, and post-course satisfaction levels. Collecting this data can help L&D professionals improve the design and the content of the e-learning course to deliver a better learning experience.

It is important to mention that a data-driven learning approach requires the buy-in and engagement of the stakeholders. These include: the leaders, the employees, and L&D professionals. There must be open discussions on the importance of this approach in closing skills gaps. 

For business leaders, a data-driven learning approach improves their trust in the training approach to achieve the business goals. Organisational leaders must learn the latest developments in L&D. By seeking methods to address the expanding requirements of a changing workforce and organisation.

For the L&D professionals, the approach provides a learner-centric framework for people development. It provides direction on development activities prioritisation; thus, improving decisions regarding training investments within the organisation. This involves pinpointing the most crucial skills requiring development and determining the types of training programs to prioritise.

The Learning and Development department equips employees with the skills needed to adapt to the future of work. In the past two years, L&D has experienced groundbreaking changes as it introduced new trends, especially adopting analytics. Therefore, the learning and development department helped personalise the learning experience that is value-driven, impactful, and meets their development needs to improve performance.

L&D is a human capital development department that balances the needs of the workforce and the strategic objectives and business goals. Therefore, harnessing a data-driven learning strategy in the organisation ensures that training initiatives are valuable and impactful. Nonetheless, such efforts contribute positively to the goals of the firm.

Learning analytics stands as a foremost tool with a substantial impact on unleashing organizational potential. Through understanding the current skill set, to provide learning solutions. 

By using data analytics, L&D leaders encourage employees to develop. These analytics help maximize the company’s investments in human capital by pinpointing the skills gaps.

Therefore, I believe organisations must utilise analytics to guide their training and development programs and help develop their employees.

Dr. Rania AlGhamdi

Director of Talent Learning & Potential, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH)

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