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January 2019
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TD Magazine

What Have We Learned?

Research shows learning analytics need to improve.

Learning analytics projects are critical to understanding and maximizing the impact of learning on an organization's performance. The field involves gathering, analyzing, and making recommendations based on learning data. A new Corporate Learning Network report—What's Trending in Corporate Learning Analytics for 2019?—provides a snapshot of the learning analytics landscape. The authors surveyed more than 100 global L&D leaders from a wide range of industries.

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The report reveals that there is much room for improvement; 45 percent of survey participants said they are still limited in their abilities to gather, aggregate, and analyze information, frequently making decisions based on intuition rather than rigorous analysis. Only 10 percent said that they are using learning analytics to suggest actions rather than justify them and have the ability to not just capture and analyze data but also share it.

The largest barriers preventing widespread adoption of more robust learning analytics are that there simply aren't enough hours in the day and a lack of skills among learning staff. Examples of skills that are in short supply are data analysis and visualization skills and technology skills. According to the report, about half of respondents have an annual learning analytics budget of less than $10,000, and 68 percent have an annual budget of less than $50,000. Just under half of organizations see their budgets increasing in the next year.

The Association for Talent Development's research on learning analytics shows similar results. Evaluating Learning: Getting to Measurements That Matter reveals that only 36 percent of companies find their evaluation efforts are helping meet organizational business goals. ATD Research confirms that there is a shortage of learning staff with analytics skills: Only 40 percent of organizations find it easy to attract staff with these skills, and only 12 percent find it easy to retain them.

About the Author

Maria Ho is the manager of ATD research services. She serves as ATD's senior research program strategist and designer and provides oversight and direction for all of ATD's internal and external, industry specific, and market research services. Prior to joining ATD, Maria was a public policy researcher, data analyst, and writer at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C.

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