How Better Data Builds Better Corporate Training

These days, it seems that data is everywhere. Except in corporate training.

Why is L&D falling behind everyone else when it comes to analytics? As we know and regularly experience, traditional corporate training is often delivered via one of three ways: in-person, through printed manuals and binders, or online.. The former two activities are inherently offline and therefore can only provide a few pieces of data, like learner satisfaction forms and end-of-course exams. Learning and training that happens online, however, has the ability to generate a multitude of data points that could be used to analyze and improve corporate training programs, and therefore, employee performance.

Unfortunately, one of the major problems with many forms of online training is their inability to generate meaningful intra-course learning data. Most LMS systems only offer three data points for each learner: has the course been completed, how long did the learner spend on this course, and what was the percentage of correct answers on the final test? None of these offer a look into how the content itself influenced training and business objectives over time

Considering how widely data collection is applied to other aspects of the business, corporate training is missing the mark when it comes to analytics.  Marketing and advertising alone use thousands of consumer-driven data points to optimize and grow. BlueKai (recently acquired by Oracle), for example, is a data management platform that provides third-party data for use in a company’s intelligent marketing activities, and compiles around 1 billion profiles of potential customers around the world, each with an average of 50 attributes. Yet, most L&D departments struggle to compile more than cursory data on their learners.

But, the future is nigh: the tools for collecting a similar level of data around corporate training are available, and while adoption has historically been slow-moving, things are changing fast. Companies that use mobile-first training programs will increasingly accumulate a wealth of high-precision data about how their staff learn. The next question is, what can they do with it?

How will better data affect learning in enterprise?

What parts of your training program are the most effective? The least effective? When are your employees really engaged, and when are they daydreaming? What training units/ simulations/ assessments/ employee actions are most closely associated with increased performance? How does training influence the success of your employees and your organization?

Organizations that can adapt corporate training programs to collect this information and put it to use are already seeing results.

Discover Financial, a Fortune 1000 company, was honored by Training Magazine in 2014 for its corporate training innovations. It switched 70% of training to interactive, cloud-based content, videos and self-study. Of the people who took these new training programs, compared to standard instructor-lead models, there was 6% higher employee satisfaction scores and, even more interesting, 42% less attrition.

How will this new learning style affect the success of corporate training?

Now that companies have high precision data available, what can they do with it?

#1 Customize Training to Enhance Businesses Performance

Through data, organizations can see what programs and content are most successful on an individual level and customize them for the benefit of that employee’s learning and development, which will, in the end, increase overall business performance. With customized learning content, upper management can understand employees better and lay a more effective pathway for upward mobility and growth.

“Companies must shift the way they view employees and consider focusing on the individual and his or her unique learning needs.” – 5 Trends For The Future of Learning and Development, Training Magazine 

#2 Spot Missing Skills and Capabilities

Data can provide insight into the gaps within your employee training programs. When looking at corporate training results, better data analysis can spotlight areas and skills where employees are lacking. With customizable, cloud-based learning content, you can adapt course materials specifically for your employees who need extra help, faster and more thoroughly than within the traditional model of lectures and training binders.

#3 Focus on ROI

Comprehensive data can determine the return on investment of a training program, tool, and even specific content. Did this content have the desired impact or did employees skip over it? If they didn’t skip it altogether, at what point did they check out? Did they return to the section for reference? If so, how many times? What did they search for? Understanding where the ever-growing investments in corporate training are being well-used and where they need to be axed will allow companies to create efficient, effective programs that best serve staff and budgets.

Incorporating improved data analytics helps corporate trainees to analyze programs and performance on both the macro and micro levels. The same set of data points can discover how the individual is performing, how the content is performing, how the overall program is performing and subsequently how all of these fit into and affect business outcomes.

By opting for cloud-based, mobile-first solutions, organizations are discovering a world of data, adaptability and customization previously unavailable. Now more than ever, we can use data to put the individual first, measure effectiveness, easily customize and adapt, and align corporate training with business goals.