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Measuring the Business Impact of L&D: Turn Insights Into Action

This is the final part of a four-part series on how L&D teams can effectively demonstrate the business impact of their learning programs. For a comprehensive view, you can also read parts one, two, and three.

Essential Metrics Every L&D Team Should Be Tracking
If you only track the bare minimum metrics for your learning programs, you won’t be able to truly measure the overall business impact. For example, looking only at how many people completed a course will not help you determine if the completion and compliance rates are causing performance issues. There might be a specific skill lacking proficiency or other factors causing them.

Which leads us to more advanced metrics, some of which can be captured in your LMS and others that require working with other parts of the business to tell the full story.

Content-Focused Metrics
If you dig deeper into the content, you can start to understand metrics that can help shape your learning design so you can adapt and adjust the course content.

For instance, how many attempts does it take someone to pass a course exam? If more than one, perhaps the content is to blame. Maybe you’re testing them on things that weren’t covered. Maybe the content is unclear.

What about the performance on each question? If you knew that 100 percent of the people missed the second question multiple times before they passed, explore what’s tied to that question. Is it worded poorly? Is it unsupported in the content?

Or consider the skill level. Was the course designed to improve a specific skill? If so, what’s the desired change?

You can also explore drop-out rates. How many learners never finish a course? Do they drop at the same place? Is there a correlation between an employee’s geography, job title, or experience level and the drop-off activity? This is important for building training that gets the right information to the right people at the right time in the right format.

Performance-Focused Metrics
Schoox has a feature called Knowledge Fuel, which reflects the level of adequate knowledge within an organization. It combines various performance metrics and reflects knowledge levels of your entire training spectrum down to a specific course.

This feature enables you to understand the impact on the organization when a person leaves. You can see the knowledge deficit the vacancy will create and predict any performance impacts it will have. Even if you hire an expert in the field, the incoming employee won’t have the exact background and skillset as the former employee, so there’s a definite impact you can’t ignore.

Business-Focused Metrics
Now for the elusive ROI. This is where you take the factors valued by your organization relative to learning and correlate them with your overall spend and other business metrics to describe what the ROI is for your training programs.

There are some basic ROI metrics, for example, spending $100K on a course to move it from in-person delivery to self-paced, resulting in saving $650K by eliminating travel and physical materials produced for in-person learning.

Then, there are more advanced ROI metrics. For example, delivering XYZ course and seeing a 15 percent proficiency improvement in one skill, resulting in a long-term ROI of $250K during the next two years relative to, for example, coaching activities.

Segment-Focused Insights
Finally, you should consider segment-focused insights—how your training performs when in specific segments of your business. Are there industry or internal benchmarks you could align with? Is there a specific region that should expect different results?

Proving the business impact of your learning programs is critical to your organization’s future success. Get started by keeping these takeaways in mind:

· Plan to measure table stakes metrics (and aim for more).

· Collaborate and strategize to track more advanced metrics.

· Connect learning data to business impact. Know which KPIs are most important and how your learning can plug in to them.

· Take the collection process seriously. Understand what you can and can’t get out of your LMS and other departments.

· As your L&D activities progress, it’s not enough to just provide the data. You have to turn the insights into action.

Editor’s Note: This is adapted from the Schoox blog.

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Great article with some useful practical examples.
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