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Beyond Compliance: To Track Or Not To Track, That Is The Question!

The answer to this question is easy if the training is compliance related. You track! It is a no brainer! The training is in a Learning Management System (LMS); if it is e-learning it is SCORM compliant, which means no matter who developed it, it will track in the LMS. When asked for, reports can be pulled off the system, to prove your company has provided sufficient training for your employees.

Depending on your industry, the regulatory bodies requiring this information could include:
•    Care Quality Commission (CQC)
•    Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
•    Financial Services Authority (FSA)
•    Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
•    Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

They are all powerful and could close a company down if they are not satisfied, therefore compliance training should be tracked. As most employees, if not all, must complete this training and so no one drops through the net, automatic assignment of the content to the learner is preferable. It is therefore ideal for compliance content to be launched and managed from a LMS.

However, what do you do if the training is not mandatory? What if it is for your sales teams, who could be selling cars, holidays, medicines, insurance, banking products, phones, TV’s, the list is endless. How do you get your sales teams educated and updated on the new products? What training, resources, information or communications are being used and where are they held? How is this made available to your dealerships, brokers or affiliates who might prefer the information in different formats or languages depending on their size and culture?

You might be using face-to-face sales meetings for product training with subject matter experts or developers delivering great insights to help understanding and answer questions. But what about those learners who miss this one-off event? If the audience is big enough and the economies of scale kick in, it might be justified to go to the expense of creating elearning however there can be a significant lead time before it becomes available. We could put games, simulations and virtual reality in this category too, being expensive and requiring time to create. Recording the face-to-face event could be an option; creating videos, webinars, pdfs, PowerPoint or even ebooks could also satisfy some learners.

Do you need to track usage of these resources? In some respects, probably not. If your sales people are doing well selling your products or services for an acceptable profit, then questions may not be asked. However, when things get tight and every expense must be justified, it would be great to know what resources are the most useful and what is the most cost effective way of distributing them. That professionally created hour-long video, did the learner watch it all the way through? Was it paused, rewound or exited after only the first two minutes?

That kind of knowledge would be invaluable. So how do we get that sort of information into one place and then analyse it? Do we want it all in the LMS? If much of the content is already there and the LMS has great analytics and reporting tools, then it might be the right place. However, chances are, your organisation has more than one LMS and many of the resources are held on your website or intranet. So, should you move them all into the LMS?

An LMS using SCORM can track whether something is complete or not, what it will not tell you is how far through it the learner progressed. If set up correctly the LMS might tell you if a document was opened, the video or webinar was launched but little else.

If you want to know more information about how far someone got, how often it was used and referred to, information which would help the developers of the resources understand the areas to improve and which products were the most popular, then consider tracking the content using the Experience API (xAPI).

The xAPI Learning Record Stores (LRS’s) are databases where all data from various places can be stored, analysed and reported on. If you have more than one LMS, an intranet where people access resources, a sales system recording who sold what, then all this data can be fed into an LRS.

If the learning usage is tracked in conjunction with the sales results it will help your decision making on the most effective and efficient way of providing what each employee needs, to be successful in your business.

This article, written by senior analyst, Fiona Leteney, first appeared in E-learning Age magazine.

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