Learning happens everywhere—from formal online compliance training to in-person training simulations and observations—and we simply can’t track all of it. That’s why you need to choose the most important blended learning experiences to target first and then tackle them one by one. From there, you can use tools, such as xAPI, to capture and track data from those experiences. And this blog post explains each step in the process so you can optimize your training initiatives and learning programs.
Step 1: Identify Blended Learning Experiences
The first step is to pinpoint the learning programs or areas that you want to explore further. This might be:
Blended Learning Activities
Perhaps you’re creating an L&D program to support the sales team for the launch of a new product line. Where else might the sales team learn about the product outside of your program?
Core Competencies & Skills
Perhaps you already know about a resource learners use to develop core competencies. Alternatively, you may want to track a particular type of experience to see what skills and competencies are being developed.
Organizational Goals & Priorities
Do you want to explore any particular areas that are relevant to your organization's overall strategic priorities?
Regardless of your motivation for wanting to collect data about specific experiences, it’s important to make sure you know what you want to track and why. Otherwise, you may be wasting time and resources.
If necessary, talk to or survey people in your organization about where they think informal training takes place. In addition to developing a list of potential trackable experiences, you'll get a better understanding of where and how these experiences are happening.
Step 2: Track Informal Learning Experiences
Now that you’ve identified what you want to track, it’s time to design and implement that tracking and reporting. Let’s find the most appropriate tracking methods for your high-priority learning activities. First, consider:
- what data needs to be captured,
- how reliable that data needs to be, and
- the approximate cost associated with your preferred tracking method.
Keep in mind, cost and effort increase as you track more types of experiences—but not necessarily the number of the same experience types. For example, if you’re already capturing data about classroom training on one subject, it may be worthwhile to track all classroom work-based learning at the same time.
Equally, if you want to dig into a particular competency, tracking all of the related learning experiences across multiple channels is likely to be a lot of work. Instead, choose one channel and consider looking into a range of relevant competencies.
If you need help determining how to capture your learning data, use this worksheet from our Learning Evaluation blog series to get started.
Step 3: Explore Your Blended Learning Data
You can’t improve learning experiences without first gaining important insights from captured data. In this post, we’ll explain the different questions and potential insights you might gain from various data sources.
Ask Questions, Get Insights
Knowing how to monitor and analyze your learning experiences is key to gaining useful insights from a data source. As you add more data sources, you should find even more insights, which might include discovering unexpected correlations across multiple data sources. Or, you might use data from one source to answer questions that arise from studying data from another source.
Depending on the questions you ask and the data you collect, you might find insights like these:
- People who are more active in one type of learning experience are more/less likely to be active in another.
- Certain competencies are being developed more frequently via informal learning than other competencies.
- Some people are learning about areas that are more relevant to other roles within the organization.
- Certain learning experiences have positive, negative, or neutral effects on job performance.
- Certain learning resources are popular or not used at all.
- More learning experiences are recorded at certain times of the day or year.
Not sure where to start when it comes to capturing and evaluating data from your learning program?
Download our Seven Step Learning Evaluation model, which is our "super method" of effectively evaluating your L&D process from design through implementation. It also combines the best parts of the Kirkpatrick, Kaufman, Anderson, and Brinkerhoff models.
Step 4: Use L&D Metrics to Adjust Learning Programs
Now that you’re on your way to capturing and learning from your data, it’s time to start making adjustments to your L&D programs. The appropriate course of action will depend on your particular situation and the insights you’ve gained. For instance:
- Connect different blended learning experiences to encourage learners to try both types.
Example: Recommend a PDF resource at the end of a video or promote groups of resources together.
- Increase the visibility of certain resources, platforms, and experiences.
Example: This could be sharing a commonly used resource by successful salespeople to all the members of the sales team.
- Investigate and prevent the spread of misinformation and incorrect approaches.
Example: If a team is less successful in one area of work, interview that team to explore reasons for their limited success rates.
- Inform managers to have career-planning discussions with their teams.
Example: Learning data can enable managers to identify their team members who are developing skills required for new roles.
- Remove or improve unpopular learning materials.
Example: If only one division is using a subscription to learning materials, consider canceling the subscription for divisions that aren’t using it.
- Investigate what makes certain learning programs popular.
Example: If the most-watched videos use engaging thumbnail images, whereas the least popular videos use random or dull thumbnails, you can research the relationship between video thumbnails and video popularity. (See how Netflix does this type of research.)
Want to create and grow a learning culture in your organization? Our blog series explains the ins and outs of cultivating an environment of continuous learning, the necessary tools and strategies to make it happen, and how to overcome common barriers that might be standing in your way.
Up Next: How to Capture & Track Social Learning
Now that you know all four steps in the prioritization process, you can repeat this cycle on all of your learning experiences. And in our next post, we’ll explain how to capture and track social learning within your organization.
About the author
As a co-author of xAPI, Andrew has been instrumental in revolutionizing the way we approach data-driven learning design. With his extensive background in instructional design and development, he’s an expert in crafting engaging learning experiences and a master at building robust learning platforms in both corporate and academic environments. Andrew’s journey began with a simple belief: learning should be meaningful, measurable, and, most importantly, enjoyable. This belief has led him to work with some of the industry’s most innovative organizations and thought leaders, helping them unlock the true potential of their learning strategies. Andrew has also shared his insights at conferences and workshops across the globe, empowering others to harness the power of data in their own learning initiatives.
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