Where to start with Learning Analytics

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Most of the time when I talk about data within the Learning & Development community, people get very confused. They expect numbers and formulas and things they can calculate.

But that’s not where it starts, and that’s not where it ends. That’s just the “show your work” part in the middle. It’s gotta be done right, sure, but…who really cares about that part?

The most important elements of measuring anything are knowing what you’re measuring and why it matters.

L&D folks hate it when I say this, because they usually don’t know. Which is why I keep bringing it up ;)

What is the decision at hand, and what are the factors that have the power to sway that decision? This matters. We measure training to decide how to manage it better.

Yes, of course there are other things we could measure, other things we could know, but again…who really cares about that part? If the answer is just you and your L&D people, then do not pass go and do not collect 200 data points. You are creating waste, not value.

Here are some examples of decisions that data can better inform:
  • Should we cancel this program, or continue it?
  • Will this stand up in an audit or legal review?
  • Can we subtract expenses without affecting the overall outcome?
  • Is it time to automate some part of this process?
  • When is it time to scale up this solution?
  • What successes can I tout to argue for more more resources in the future?

That’s what people really want to know. The important people, anyway.

Start here. Finish here. All the parts in the middle tend to get very esoteric and complicated, but with the decisions in mind we can keep ourselves sane and on track along the way.

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