Once you’ve collected, measured, and evaluated your learning data—what’s next? How do you use that information to promote L&D and show off the value and impact of your learning programs? Knowing how to craft engaging and interesting stories that directly relate to various areas, teams, and departments across your organization takes careful planning and execution.
Why data storytelling?
Understanding the importance of telling compelling stories with data is key for L&D—whether it's gaining stakeholder buy-in, establishing credibility across the oranization providing product education, or sharing customer success stories. Let's face it, guiding someone through a relatable narrative is way more effective than telling someone, “Hey, look at this pretty graph!”
In other words, effectively telling stories with data is more than sharing a line chart or bar graph and expecting someone to understand, or even care. And simply because something is amazing to you, doesn't mean it's relevant to your audience. One result can have three different stories depending on who it's for.
Long story short…
You need to share a story that builds on the initial concept you pitched—specifically, demonstrate how your program delivers on the organizational goals with which it was first aligned. Start with the answer that aligns with the business priorities or metrics and work your way backward—even if the result wasn't hypothesized, a story that's told through data will be a good one.
Remember, data storytelling is important, but you not only need to know where and how to look for critical details in the data, but also know how to share a meaningful story once you have that information in hand. And, by the time we’re finished with this series, you'll have the confidence and tools to build a narrative around your insights to drive L&D’s strategic impact across your organization.
In this blog series, we’ll:
- Explain the importance of being able to tell good data stories
- Discuss the fundamental concepts of organizational storytelling.
- Show you how to apply those concepts and best practices so you can craft your own data stories.
- Explore real-world examples of stories we’ve told with insights from Watershed.
Up Next: Data Storytelling Basics
Join us for our next post in this series, as we cover the basics of crafting an interesting, compelling story with your facts and figures. And be sure to sign up for Watershed Insights to have posts delivered straight to your inbox.
About the author
As Watershed’s director of learning analytics strategy, Tim Dickinson is skilled in leading organizations through strategic changes, getting positive results through learning analytics, and translating complex ideas and trends into easy-to-understand explanations.
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