September 27, 2021

Using analytics to transform the future of learning

Written by Scott Castle. Sisense

As the amount of information, data, and digital platforms increase at a rapid rate, organisations are in a race to implement appropriate educational tools and courses to make sure their employees are fluent in the various new technologies.

To help this fluency continue, organisations are using AI-infused analytics platforms to enhance and grow the knowledge of their teams. A recent study by Learning Pool revealed 76% of mature metrics practices are enabled by technology that integrates data from multiple sources.

In this article, we’ll dig into the ways organisations’ educational needs have evolved, how AI helps learning and development professionals get more out of their data, and how automation will advance and deepen organisational evolution.

 

Understanding an evolving education landscape with AI

Understanding data on learning habits and preferences is key to optimising learning and development (L&D) outcomes in the evolving workplace. Data from social courses is especially rich and useful for an organisation — not just scores and completion percentages, but real learning-conversation data. Organisations are capturing more data on learning actions using standard formats like Experience API (xAPI) and then storing the data in a Learning Record Store (LRS) for subsequent analysis.

Learning Pool’s white paper Measuring the Modern Learner Experience explains how an LRS specifically stores xAPI statements, which at their most basic level combine an actor, a verb, and an object. These seemingly unrelated learning elements are then unified by a standard that other systems understand.

An AI-infused analytics platform like Sisense helps businesses understand the value that learning/training is providing in the workplace. Analytics models, supercharged with AI, are being leveraged to recommend content to users based on who they are and where they work. The captured data determines how engaged a learner is in a specific topic or how well they understand that topic.

A recent Learning Pool report highlights four ways organisations can use learning data and make it integral for their business analytics:

  • Understand that “things the business cares about” is a moving target: What a business needs to know about in any given year, quarter, or month changes rapidly, with new priorities being shaped by events often out of its control.
  • Don’t focus on information about the past: Historical data is only compelling to the extent that it can help the business grapple with the critical issues it’s facing in the moment and going forward.
  • Show users the bottom line on learning outcomes: If you only measure outcomes, you might know that learning succeeded but not why it succeeded (or didn’t). While that’s really important info for you, the learning professional, the business may only be interested in final outcomes (the ROI or a measurable change in performance or behaviour, etc.).
  • Don’t rely too heavily on dashboard data: Learning data is most useful when it’s analysed, embraced, and acted upon (ideally by being infused into user workflows when and where it’s most relevant).

 

The key to infusing analytics is simplicity

When it comes to infusing analytics in learning platforms, simplicity is key. Collating and analysing complex data is challenging for non-technical users. Some barriers they encounter include inefficiency (analytics platform not delivering insights in a timely fashion), inertia (not wanting to leave their usual workflow tools), training mindset (tools being difficult to use), and manager engagement (not having a management-led analytics culture).

Simply put, organisations shouldn’t need to have a team of data specialists simply to make good use of learning data. They have the skills and knowledge to use the insights from their data — they just need to have the data available in a more accessible, simpler-to-use, and easier-to-understand way.

This is where leveraging tools like Sisense helps remove any barriers to understanding data.

Learning Pool recently announced it is embedding Sisense to combine the power of its leading AI-driven analytics platform with the LRS Learning Locker. With more than a billion data points under management, Learning Pool offers Learning Locker to customers to help them manage their learning records.

This partnership has culminated in a valuable new addition to the Learning Pool suite, “Insights,” which serves up granular learning data combined with Sisense’s AI capabilities to bring personalised and automatic intelligence to every user.

Insights creates AI-powered dashboards built specifically for learning data analysis. By presenting accessible, adaptable, and actionable visualisations that are grouped together in a meaningful way, Insights provides clients with guidance about the past, current, and potential future performance of their learning ecosystem and learners.

A recent Learning Pool study asked learning professionals what aspects of analytics mattered most to them. The respondents noted two key requirements. First, they need to understand the learner and learning performance. They want their analytics to show them how businesses could optimise learning paths to ensure courses and learning campaigns are of the highest possible quality.

Second, they need to uncover actionable insights. Getting insights out of their data is only the beginning — it isn’t actionable. Respondents stated that they want to bring news about learning data that was meaningful, delivered business benefits, and was actionable.

Another way to empower learners that Learning Pool has focused on recently is automation.

 

How automation enhanced learning practice

When properly implemented, automation isn’t about replacing the trainer or learning professional. Rather it’s about leveraging efficiencies in workflows so that these humans can put their expertise and time to best use. Automating tasks allows them to focus on more complex interventions and apply their knowledge and skills at scale, creating learning and communication pathways that optimise learning.

Similar to automation, when analytics are properly utilised, they can strengthen learning and development within an organisation.

 

Villeroy & Boch uses XAPI to improve education

Learning Pool has hundreds of use cases and ideas from learning professionals who have leveraged their learning data better for both analysis and automation.

Villeroy & Boch (V&B) is a ceramics provider, creating both premium tableware and designer bathrooms. V&B wanted to create brand ambassadors: customers who proactively recommend the V&B brand and stores.

A blended learning approach — combining online social learning delivered via Stream LXP, face-to-face workshops, webinars, and monthly newsletters — was conceived to deliver the brand ambassador program.

Using these tools, V&B was able to demonstrate a €2.5 million return on its training investment, using xAPI.

 

Building the future of learning analytics

It’s time for learning and development professionals to build their data literacy and really understand how to educate within the new normal. Those who fail to keep up run a real risk of becoming irrelevant, sidelined, and ultimately losing value in the workplace.

Fortunately, new and innovative ways of leveraging the power of learning analytics give users of all skill levels the ability to decipher data. This opens up new doors for developing unique learning experiences and expands career opportunities for L&D specialists.

Meanwhile, aspiring managers who embrace learning analytics will become more relevant, more valuable, and regarded as integral team members, a win for both the employee and the organisation.

Mastery of data is helping humans overcome their challenges in every field; education and training is no different. Whatever your role and whatever your organisation’s educational focus, analytics will be a vital part of helping you and your team excel in an evolving world.

 

 

About the Author

Scott Castle is VP and GM, Internal Analytics Products at Sisense and served as VP of Product for Periscope Data prior to its merger with Sisense in 2019. At Periscope Data, Scott oversaw product strategy, planning, design and delivery. He brings over 20 years of experience in software development and product management at leading technology companies including Adobe, Electric Cloud, and FileNet. Scott has a B.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a master’s degree from UC Irvine, both in computer science.

 

About Learning Pool

Learning Pool is a full-service online training provider, offering courses, tools, and content creation to over 1100 organizations and 5.1 million learners around the world. Annual revenue growth increased 34% last year and our team has grown to 260 colleagues across our seven global offices.

 

About Sisense

Sisense goes beyond traditional business intelligence by providing organizations with the ability to infuse analytics everywhere, embedded in both customer and employee applications and workflows. Sisense customers are breaking through the barriers of analytics adoption by going beyond the dashboard with Sisense Fusion – the highly customizable, AI-driven analytics cloud platform, that infuses intelligence at the right place and the right time, every time. More than 2,000 global companies such as GitLab, UiPath, Tinder, Nasdaq, GE, Rolls Royce and Philips Healthcare rely on Sisense to innovate, disrupt markets and drive meaningful change in the world. Ranked as the No. 1 Business Intelligence company in terms of customer success, Sisense has also been named one of the Forbes’ Cloud 100, The World’s Best Cloud Companies, five years in a row. Visit us at www.sisense.com and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook