Businesses want to see the results of training programmes reflected in day-to-day operations. That’s where data comes in, says New Leaf Technologies
JOHANNESBURG, 04 April 2023 – For learning and development (L&D) professionals, it’s no longer enough to simply facilitate upskilling of staff; they actively need to drive performance within a company.
Where in the past the focus fell on learning outcomes, it’s now squarely on performance outcomes. If organisational training has little to no impact, it essentially means a business is wasting time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Of course, it would rather not redirect these resources from training programmes, given skilled staff are crucial to the success of the company.
According to Michael Hanly, MD of South African online learning solutions provider New Leaf Technologies, to get the most out of any investments in training, L&D leaders must embrace a broader role within the organisation and formulate an ambitious vision for the function.
Most importantly, the results of this training must be quantifiable and make a marked difference to business performance.
This is where data is playing such a crucial role, as it allows training professionals to make informed, factual and evidence-based decisions to the benefit of the organisation as a whole.
It’s all about having the right lens to measure value, Hanly says, and New Leaf Technologies’ Training Intelligence System is one of the tools meeting this requirement.
“If you experience administrative burdens and inefficient ways of analysing data effectively, then this system can guide you and allow you to align your training interventions to promote a human capital advantage and achieve your strategic training objectives,” he says.
“You must remember, it’s far easier to drive behaviour than it is to change a belief, and by making use of the Philips or Kirkpatrick model of evaluation you’ll shape a clear lens on training effectiveness. This is all directly measurable through the training intelligence system.”
This enables the user to undertake analysis to better understand learner behaviour and update existing training methods if required. These cues can then be used to create personalised and more effective learning paths that enable learners to learn, practise, and obtain feedback and remediation far more effectively through informed data-led decisions.
Hanly says a common mistake is that businesses tend to view an outcome through a single platform. For example, they might want to find out how many learners logged in, or how many passed a particular module. But this does not consider all the information the organisation has in its operational technology stack in its software ecosystem.
“Why not rather connect the dots of training with your CRM / ERP and HRM system? Doing this will give you the full picture and tell you the right story visually in real time.”
When organisations start to use data at a strategic level, it can lead to more informed decisions being made. It might be aware of data lying in different systems and steps are taken to integrate these platforms to arrive at a more holistic view of what’s going on.
At the highest level of analytics, a business can start looking at past trends and start modelling future behaviour predictively. “Suddenly you have contextual and impactful training that will enhance your organisation’s capability and give you the edge you need against your competition,” Hanly says.
An essential component of this effort is a comprehensive, co-ordinated strategy that engages with departments, SMEs and the business holistically.
Reactively executing demands from other departments or heads of department is a negative strategy, and L&D professionals should rather position themselves as the drivers of performance.
“To achieve this, you need to have a very clear lens on business goals and objectives. This is why data within the L&D space has become so critical.
“At the end of the day, the goal of learning and development is to develop or change the behaviour of individuals or groups for the better, sharing knowledge and insights that enable them to do their work and improve their performance. The effective use of data will cultivate the type of culture that can help them perform better.”