Not measuring and not reporting your value add/ business contribution is going to damn your learning organisation to ever decreasing budgets. So what can you do asks our director of research, David Perring?

The more radical side of me would suggest relegating your learning evaluation programmes to the background and start implementing learning impact programmes that measure:

  • Strategic business success
  • Business unit performance
  • Development in personal capability – for your learning initiatives

This involves benchmarking where you are today and then measuring where people are after they have participated in their learning opportunities. Both in terms of their confidence and competence, but more importantly through demonstrable impact. And this means using a wider set of measures than those in an end of the course-learning assessment.

It means:

  • Measuring and analysing performance ratings
  • Getting 180 and 360 feedback from peers, managers and customers
  • Pulling in quality assurance process feedback
  • Using real business performance measures
  • Harnessing your learning design to define what outcomes are needed
  • Using multiple sources to show learning has made a difference ideally with an eye to business KPIs

With the advent of Big Data and machine intelligence, this would appear to be easier than ever to achieve as the technology is more ready to support these kinds of initiatives. Interestingly, there are some major changes happening in provider space that go beyond the technology. There is a shift in how some are operating and it’s a change I expect to grow. It’s called ‘Success-as-a-Service’ which is challenging what we buy when we purchase the software. In this model, it’s not about buying a piece of kit or software – you’re buying the outcomes. There is ‘skin in the game’ from the supplier and a clear focus for buyers. It’s a veritable win-win. Although as an approach, it has the potential to be very disruptive and fragment many existing software relationships. The challenge for learning professionals is that if you’re not able to articulate your value add – you will be very low hanging for external providers offering business success proposition.

So, whilst it may be tempting to simply react to the demands of your business and develop that learning programme; if you want to have a stronger chance of survival you’ll need to hold your customer down and agree on some measures of success. Sometimes kicking and screaming!

Because the simple truth is this: if someone offers them success rather than solutions – they will be quick to drop you and start buying. And who would blame them?

Not measuring and not reporting your value add/business contribution is going to damn your learning organisation to ever decreasing budgets. Find out more about how measuring the business impact of learning in our paper. And if you’d like to share any of your success stories, we’d love to hear from you as part of our ongoing corporate research.