One of the key enablers of a successful learning program is its effectiveness. This is where data analytics plays a key role in modern workplace learning. When L&D teams propose their training plans for the year during budget planning; they need to answer three important questions:
- How will these programs benefit the employees?
- How will it help the organization?
- How will management measure the effectiveness of the programs?
Though one can answer the first two questions with generic and ‘feel-good’ statements; the third question needs a scientific and quantifiable answer. To put it bluntly, every expense must be accounted for and when one embarks on a big budget training program, it is but natural for those manning the purse-strings to expect clear answers regarding ‘Return on Investment’ or ‘RoI’.
According to David Wentworth at Brandon Hall Group:
“The pressure to defend L&D’s decisions and actions appears to be coming from the L&D function itself (44%), rather than other areas of the business (36%).”
Thankfully modern eLearning solutions offer several features and functionalities, which allow L&D teams to extract relevant data and metrics to answer all questions. In this blog post, we will look at the importance of ‘data analytics’ in modern workplace learning, xAPI
Patti Phillips and Rebecca Ray make an interesting observation in their article – “Human Capital Analytics @ Work”.
“Aspirational organizations use analytics to justify actions. Experienced organizations build on what they learned at the aspirational level and use analytics to guide actions.”
Table of Contents
Tools to Measure the Effectiveness of eLearning
Assessments are used to measure the effectiveness of eLearning programs. This usually means that the learner must complete any one or a combination of the following:
- Task-Based Simulations
- Problem-Solving Scenarios
- Multiple Choice Answers Questionnaire
- Match the Following Exercise
- True or False Questions
- Survey Form
- Online Interview
Honest answers to these assessments allow organizations to get a fair idea of the quality of the eLearning program. All learning management systems come with an in-built tracking system to monitor learning within the LMS. If the learners are within the LMS, administrators will be able to monitor user-progress with ease.
Learning & Forgetting
eLearning training programs usually end with an assessment section that test the learner. The ‘Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve’ is an interesting theory that postulates how learners forget things over time. Research shows that most learners forget up to 40% of what they learnt within a few weeks of completing the learning program. The basis of using these assessments to gauge if a learner has acquired learning is deeply flawed. What matters is the ability of the learner to put into practice and demonstrate the skills/knowledge acquired in the learning program.
Learner Data from the LMS
The Learning Management Systems that run eLearning content are designed to store user-data and allow the LMS Administrator to extract relevant data. Organizations that link their ERP and LMS together as an integrated Talent Management System link all information together to help set employee objectives and verify if these objectives have been met. This data is collected and analyzed during the performance appraisal and helps the management to weigh-in the work done by the employee and offer a proportionate monetary benefit.
Mobile Learning and xAPI
A traditional LMS is not able to track the activity of the learner outside the core LMS. Modern learners rely not just on the core course running on the LMS; but also search for related content on social media channels and other online learning resources. In the context of user analytics, it is important to track this data. Additionally, the smartphone has turned into the number one choice of learners to access learning on the go. xAPI is a standard created as the fore-runner to SCORM. xAPI allows for learning to be tracked outside the core LMS and enables mobile learning and app-based learning with ease by storing data in the LRS or ‘Learning Record Store’. It is safe to say that xAPI is redefining the way we look at data analytics in modern workplace learning.
xAPI can be used for:
- Generating Refined Learner Analytics Data
- Creating Better Blended Learning
- Designing Adaptive Pathways
- Deploying Just-in-Time Performance Support Learning
- Mentoring New Employees in an Organization
- Fostering Team Learning
- Propagating BYOD and Multi-Device Learning
- Filtering and Enhancing LRS-to-LRS communication
- Setting Up Open Badges
Tracking Learner Progress
xAPI is designed to track learner progress across different scenarios. So, whether you choose to integrate blended learning, simulations, puzzling assessments, or interesting games within your eLearning program, xAPI will help you track learner progress with ease. To add on, all this will happen in real-time. So, as and when a learner completes any specific task, the data will get added to the LRS and the learning administrator will have valuable data. This will help provide information to build course recommendation engines, which will recommend new programs to learners. We have examined xAPI in detail in an earlier blog post with several industry case studies.
The LXP Boom
Organizations seek to find an easier way to train their employees with newer, less expensive, and agile platforms to train their employees. One phrase that’s being used a lot in the past two years is – ‘LXP’ or Learning Experience Platform. It was eLearning industry guru Josh Bersin who predicted that LXPs would rule the roost and slowly and steadily we have been seeing organizations jumping onto the LXP bandwagon. LXPs also integrate xAPI within them to track learner data. LXPs seek to offer greater flexibility in terms of what the learner chooses to learn and empowers the learner to choose their own learning path.
Though learning management systems are not going to turn redundant anytime soon; what could happen is a gradual shift towards one integrated platform. A solution that manages employee learning, communication, compensation documentation, etc, as an all-in-all ‘Talent Management System’. In a way, it does make sense, right? Why would you choose to invest in three different products from three different companies and then waste time in writing code to integrate data from all these platforms? Origin Learning now offers a robust, mobile-first, agile LXP for extended enterprise and customer education. Visit www.originfractal.com to learn more and sign up for a demo.
Let’s look at a scenario: Paul works for an insurance company and in his role, he needs to call people from a list and convince them to buy insurance or renew their existing insurance policies. Before joining this job, Paul used to work in sales and used to sell vacuum cleaners as a door-to-door salesman. In his new role as a tele-calling insurance seller, Paul is just six months into the job. Based on Paul’s knowledge and experience his manager has nominated him to take up courses in ‘Negotiation’, ‘Telephone Etiquette’, and ‘Insurance Laws’.
Paul signs up for the courses recommended by his manager and completes them in the stipulated time specified in the company LMS. Now Paul negotiates his job with greater confidence and replies to customer queries with appropriate answers. All this data is fed into the internal data matrix that analyzes employee performance data. After a few months of this training, Paul’s manager has the confidence to allow Paul to mentor a bunch of college-interns who help in cold-calling. Paul’s manager quantifies the improvement in Paul’s performance at work with the courses he completed. Now he can recommend these courses to other employees with the same skill-set as Paul. When the annual appraisal arrives, Paul’s manager will have a clear picture of Paul’s progress at work. This will allow him to determine Paul’s salary package for the next financial year.
Origin’s xAPI-Based Project
Origin was tasked by a leading food and beverage giant with a global presence to come up with a solution that would help track employee learning and progress across all their offices. The project had multiple layers to it; involving content creation, design, deployment, and the all-important tracking and analytics function. A large repository of content is managed and hosted outside the client LMS. The successful completion of the project helped the F&B giant cut down its global training times and costs by up to 50% and reported faster onboarding and training completion times. This translated into huge savings for the L&D and Recruitment teams of the F&B giant.
Industry Case Studies
AT&T’s Tryst with xAPI Saves 670,000 Production Hours
AT&T the telecommunications giant employs roughly about 254,000 employees in about 4,000 unique job functions. Deploying training and collecting learner information from the training system was a complex task. Analyzing all the data collected and deriving value of it was another monumental task, which was becoming difficult by the day as more employees joined the organization. AT&T partnered with Watershed to implement an xAPI-LRS-based system to track employee learning.
AT&T released the data on how xAPI adoption and course adjustments optimized the time spend for employees training. Updates to the Employee Code Course saved over 670,000 production hours and 160,380 hours of education/training time length.
MedStar Health – Saving Lives with xAPI
MedStar Health is a healthcare provider based out of Washington DC. Their primary task involves providing emergency support and healthcare services to people reporting cardiac arrests. With a growing pool of medics who must respond at the first call and ensure that the patient makes it to the operating theatre before life-saving surgery can be done. Staff should be adequately trained to care for the patients at each stage of the recovery process. MedStar chose to create a simulation-based training that would help doctors and medics get a clear understanding to use the defibrillator and save lives. By deploying xAPI-based learning, the company was able to get a valuable pool of data on the training and preparedness of the doctors and medical staff. With improved training, MedStar Health was able to save more lives.
Visit this page for further examples of success stories of xAPI-based training.
Why Data Analytics Matters in Modern Workplace Learning ?
- L&D teams have a clear idea of learner progress
- Courses that do not help employees improve their performance can be archived
- L&D teams can place budget requests for new training with quantifiable numbers
- HR teams co-relate internal training and employee improvement
- Annual compensation/salary structures can be backed by employee learning and performance data
- Data is used to build course recommendation engines within the learning system
Are you looking for a way to collect refined learner analytics data from your employee training programs? Keen to deploy an xAPI-based learning system? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a powerful data-driven xAPI-based learning solution today.