I talked last month in this space about analytics , but the truth is, I’d like to talk about it some more. There is more and more discussion going on around analytics, measuring learning, and determining learning’s ROI. Actually the discussion has shifted slightly to how to measure informal learning. This is definitely important, but my recommendation is to slow down for a second, back up, and take a look at your overall measurement strategy.

learning measurementThe truth of the matter is that few companies have a good handle on measuring the learning they are already doing, let alone new experiences like informal, social and collaborative. In Brandon Hall Group’s recent study on the 70:20:10 learning framework, we found that only 19% of companies say they are really good at measuring formal learning. That’s right. More than four-fifths of organizations don’t think they are all that good at measuring the static, formal learning they’ve been delivering for decades. In fact, nearly 15% say their measurement is “not at all effective.” Ouch.

So now these same organizations are scrambling about, begging for someone to tell them how to measure informal and experiential learning experiences. That’s like being demonstrably terrible at driving a car, but asking to join a NASCAR race. Baby steps.

There’s a great opportunity next week to find out more about learning metrics and analytics. I am participating in a complimentary Brandon Hall Group webinar with A.D Detrick, a senior consultant with Xerox Learning Services, on Tuesday, December 8 at 1pm Eastern. We will walk through the latest research around measurement and look at some examples of how companies are making the most out of analytics.

Those organizations excelling at measurement are a relative rarity. If we used the Kirkpatrick Levels as a model for measurement, many companies are falling short. Kirkpatrick Partners recommends companies measure 100% of their programs at Level 1, learner reaction. According to our research, only half of companies measure more than 75% of their programs at Level 1. So, we are not even taking the simplest measurements of our learning as it is, let alone determining the ROI of an informal learning initiative.

The good news is, once your organization wraps its collective head around an overall measurement strategy, measuring the informal isn’t that much of a stretch. Most of the same principals apply no matter what type of learning you are measuring. There are clearly some functional and technological differences, but those can be ironed out if the strategy is strong.

I hope you can join us for the webinar on Dec. 8. Until then …

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst
Brandon Hall Group

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.