5 Ways Measurement Changes the Game for Your Learning Organization

Written by Cristina Hall.

Last week I had the pleasure of joining a panel at the inaugural Learning Leaders conference. The discussion topic was how technology drives behaviour change in a learning context, and our moderators were Dave Vance from the Center for Talent Reporting and Kimo Kippen from Aloha Learning Advisors. Both are former Chief Learning Officers (CLO) of the year inductees, and I’m proud to say that I’ve had the pleasure of working directly with each of them on the topic of measuring learning outcomes at the organizations they led.

While much of the discussion at Learning Leaders focused on behaviour change of learners/employees, the topic also got me thinking about behaviour changes through a different lens; that of the L&D department. At Explorance, our mission is to help organizations gather the right feedback and transform it into action that can drive meaningful impact for their people. We get the unique opportunity to help guide behaviour change in the L&D organizations we partner with as they apply new technology, methodology, and processes to establish measurement and evaluation as a core competency. We also get the privilege of seeing the benefits they reap when the right behaviours are applied consistently and broadly.

While much of the discussion at Learning Leaders focused on behaviour change of learners/employees, the topic also got me thinking about behaviour changes through a different lens; that of the L&D department.

Impact of learning experience on L&D department

A central purpose of adopting rigorous measurement processes is to understand the impact of learning experiences on the behaviour of those who have those experiences, and ultimately on organizational performance. But to get there, the learning department experiences some fundamental behaviour changes, too.

Below are a few of the positive changes we see when L&D starts adopting the behaviours associated with effective learning measurement.

  1. Increased strategic alignment with the business: Explorance’s Portfolio Evaluation model establishes a simple approach for the L&D organization to assess how the current catalog is aligned to the fundamental priorities of the business. This leads to a more focused approach to annual strategic planning with the business; what are their most important priorities? How does the current catalog align? Where are the most critical areas to focus?
  2. A more rigorous training intake process: The business-outcome focus of the Portfolio Evaluation model changes the conversation with the business during the intake process to be more business-focused. This ensures that new training requests are aligned with specific outcomes and are prioritized according to the organizational strategy.
  3. More frequent and effective communication: Clear agreement on success criteria upfront lays the groundwork for regular progress updates within and outside of the L&D department. Consistent, easy to understand metrics provide leading indicators of whether a learning initiative is meeting expectations. This builds trust and strengthens partnerships between L&D and the business leaders they serve.
  4. Support for post-training support: Discussion of metrics related to post-training support is included in regular progress updates to the business. This provides an opportunity for L&D to remind business leaders about the importance of managers supporting their employees as they practice new skills or strengthen competencies.
  5. Increased data literacy: Consistent report and dashboard formats mean that consumers learn what to look for to understand when they need to pay attention to potential issues. Checklists and job aids help those receiving the reports develop a process to review and interpret the information they receive. It can also lead to data parties, where small groups or teams come together to share results and tips, reinforce these skills, and build confidence.

These are just a few of the changes our customers experience as they work with our Customer Success Managers and Consultants to apply the technology, tools, and processes to replace old behaviours and adopt new ones. Achieving these outcomes takes a willingness to embrace change and run the learning organization differently, and the benefits can be transformative.

 


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