For more than a year, T+D has been publishing articles about the new workplace analytics, but none has examined in depth the ways to measure the different learning channels that are part of this new workplace. Not until now.
The articles in this months issue delve into how to measure the effectiveness of informal learning methodologies, how to measure value as opposed to learning, and what key metrics one CEO uses to evaluate his learning and development department.
In the cover story on page 32, Jeff Dailey, president and CEO of Farmers Insurance Group, made it clear that analytics and metrics must be linked to business performance. "No matter what the learning metrics are, they dont matter if the business doesnt get better and we dont move forward," he explained. "The metrics for [Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Officer] Annette Thompson and the entire learning team are based on our business results. Are the salespeople more effective? Is our claims organization better at claims? The reason we have a university and the reason we have training and development is to make our people better and to make the business better."
What Dailey said is nothing new, but what is different are the metrics and analytics used to prove value. John R. Mattox II admits in his feature article on page 48 that "the volume of knowledge that can be shared via informal learning methods is vast, but that doesnt mean evaluation is impossible." To measure informal learning, Mattox writes that the learning platform (for example, websites and online communities of practice), accessibility of the audience, and timing must be part of the metrics.
Reuben Tozman, in his feature on page 44, admits that some of the analytics used to measure learning in todays workplace are becoming "irrelevant and misleading." In the new learner-centric "pulling world" where training completion has little meaning, Tozman writes that it is time to rethink learning analytics to focus on value as opposed to learning as a key benchmark. The world is changing at a frantic pacelearning professionals must evolve and grow with that change.
A focus on value means strategically aligning learning initiatives to business goals, and proving that value to company executives. Dailey said the recession didnt affect the companys investment in the University of Farmers because "the only way we win right now is by taking market share away from our competitors. When things like a recession happen, weve just got to get better." Farmers did that by using its investment in the university to make the company better. What better evidence do you need to believe that measuring value is more critical than measuring learning?