L&D leaders ‘in the dark’ over lack of data

2 Jul 2019 By Elizabeth Howlett

Learning professionals not collecting or making use of insights to inform content, says survey

L&D professionals are not utilising people analytics to make the most of their limited training resources, leaving them “in the dark” about how effective their learning strategies really are, according to a new study.

A survey of L&D leaders found that while the vast majority (90 per cent) viewed high quality data as important to improving learning delivery, only 45 per cent were actually using people analytics to inform learning strategies

And while departments were collecting their own data on their learning programmes – including feedback forms, uptake and participation rates – it was being used in an ad-hoc way, with 55 per cent of respondents also admitting to only sometimes using their own data to inform delivery and content.

Dan Ferrandino, managing director of Knowledgepool, which produced the research, said it was essential L&D departments were able to use data and insights to identify skills gaps and ensure the learning delivered was in line with the business strategy.

“Currently, too many organisations are failing to draw any meaningful insights from their data, meaning they are essentially ‘learning in the dark’, without any real idea of the impact that learning is having and certainly no way of improving,” said Ferrandino.

The survey, which polled 350 L&D leaders, found a number of barriers to more effective use of data. 

Lack of time and the need to focus on other priorities was cited as the main issue by 35 per cent or respondents, while a lack of analytics skills within the team affected 31 per cent.

Other problems included poor quality data (27 per cent), outdated technology (26 per cent) and fragmented workforce and learning data (24 per cent).

Meanwhile, three quarters (75 per cent) said they needed more support from vendors and partners to make better use of data and insights in learning.

The research also found just 35 per cent of respondents said they were very confident they had full visibility of all learning investment across their organisation. 

And while 73 per cent of respondents said their departments were under more pressure than ever from the wider organisation to demonstrate ROI, 27 per cent reported that their organisation suffered from a lack of clarity and consistency in measuring ROI and learning outcomes.

Ferrandino said L&D teams needed a “laser focus” on key data points to provide a more personalised and relevant learning experiences and to measure and optimise the impact of learning interventions.

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