September 01 2021

Top 10 ways L&D pros measure the impact of learning

Brandon Hall Group’s 2020 Learning Measurement Study found that less than 16 percent of organisations are very effectively able to identify and track a series of metrics, including participation, satisfaction, knowledge transfer, behaviour change, and business impact, for any of their learning. 

Why measure? 

Companies measure their learning for many reasons. The most common reason is to improve the effectiveness of the learning programmes. But fewer companies are measuring for more strategic reasons, such as creating a better link between learning and individual or company performance.  

Improving performance is arguably the sole purpose of L&D, but to understand the impact of learning, companies should gather the right data—and a lot of it—and do the analysis that can help them understand and explain what is happening. 

This lack of strategic thinking is reflected in the depth that learning is measured. Using the Kirkpatrick model of learning measurement, it was found that few companies measure much of their learning programmes at Level 3, the degree to which participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job; or Level 4, the degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training event and subsequent reinforcement. In fact, 43 percent of companies said they do no Level 4 measurement at all. 

Hybrid workforces 

If we look at the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report that we mentioned in 3 things you should know about skill building for the future of work, you will see that between 2020 and 2021 there is a surprising 11-point rise in the use of employee engagement survey scores to measure the impact of learning. This is quite a large increase in just 1 year.  

Given that many companies had fully remote workforces or were managing the new world of a hybrid workforce, keeping a close eye on employee sentiment and their needs was possibly more critical in the past year than at any other time in history. Globally, 27% of L&D pros said that they are now using survey tools to measure learning programme effectiveness; in the UK, a huge 43% of respondents are using them to gauge how satisfied employees are with learning programmes. 

Increasing prevalence of employee surveys 

One thing is for sure. Measuring the value that learning brings to your company will be a major factor in L&D pros keeping their highly valuable place at the C-suite table. 

Boosting employee engagement is a key goal for many learning and development (L&D) teams. But how can L&D leaders gauge how well they are doing on learning & development programmes in their companies as it relates to engagement? Regular employee feedback surveys offer a mechanism for L&D leaders to understand how well they are doing. 

2021 truly is the year that employee surveys entered the learning measurement mix. 

We will return to this matter in future articles as it is such a compelling topic that deserves further exploration and it is one that we discuss in-depth with our clients on a regular basis.

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