Hello AI, Goodbye ROI? What’s on Your 2023 Learning Analytics Wishlist?

We asked a bunch of L&D data enthusiasts, “What’s hyping you up in the world of L&D for 2023?”. For some, looking past the current explosion of ChatGPT interest was difficult. And for others, it was getting back to basics and consolidating your data into a single source of truth.

One central theme that emerged is the importance of L&D embedding data into everyday life, from decision-making to demonstrating the impact of learning. It’s the norm for so many other departments, so we’re encouraged that so many in our network champion the value as we see positive signs of industry adoption!

Alex Crispin, Global Learning & Development - Learning Analytics. PwC

I feel learning data has come into its own and is seen as business as usual for more than just the basics. But we haven't pushed the envelope far enough—2023 can be the year where we truly understand the impact of learning on the business, as well as being a crucial part of the new skills economy. And let's make those insights such a key part of the decision-making process that it becomes "just how we do things around here.”

Piers Lea, Chief Strategy Officer, Learning Technologies Group

My wish for 2023? I wish that everyone suffering from the effects of the growing skills crisis would better understand the benefit of having learning analytics in terms of planning what to do next. 

We have the case studies with proven success in increasing business agility. I just really hope people can benefit from our experience, as we are ready to share it all!

Bonnie Beresford, Sr. Director, Performance & Learning Analytics, GP Strategies

I’m hyped about L&D’s growing interest in real analytics and the tools that are making it easier and easier for non-data scientists to mine data for insights. Here’s to evolving data literacy in 2023!

What would I like to see less of?  Hype (and fear) around “big data.” It doesn’t matter if your data is “big” or “small.” Use what you have and dig into it.

David Ells, Managing Director, Watershed

I’d love to see 2023 be the year of the learning data analyst. With our industry having made such significant progress in terms of new technology, and the evolution of techniques in the broader field of data science, the time is ripe for the rise of the learning data analyst as a key member of the team.

What would I like to see less of? Vendors that seem too big to listen to their own customers!

Karie Willyerd, Chief Customer Strategy Officer, Learning Technologies Group

I admit to being infatuated with AI at the moment. Last night I went to the character.ai website and tried out some conversations with historical figures. My favorite conversation was with Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist and developer of many theories around childhood education. Here is our conversation:

I’m also using Starry.AI for creating artwork for my presentations. ChatGPT is also quite fun at this point, and I’m curious to see how use cases will develop for it.

The topic I’m getting tired of is ROI on learning. Even Kirkpatrick didn’t use that phrase, but somehow we got sucked into it. Impact, now that’s another thing. I’m very interested to understand the effectiveness of learning initiatives and their impact on human performance.

Peter Dobinson, Director of Customer Success, Watershed

With the public release of GPT-3 (an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text) at the end of 2022 it's becoming clear that we are entering an age where neural networks and mature machine learning models become commoditized and available for anyone to use.

While this has some pretty terrifying impacts on the learning industry as a whole (is this the end of assessing understanding using long-form text answers?), there are some massive positives too.

Due to the masses of training data the modern neural networks have been trained with (GTP-3 was trained with 10x the data of any previous model,175 billion parameters), they are capable of understanding and categorizing data they’ve never encountered before (known as zero or few shot learning).

Therefore, rather than with previous models where you’d need a machine learning expert to train it with masses of your data, you can merely now point these models at your data and get great results.

The really quick thing about this that gets me excited is that this allows people to quickly and easily begin to build out knowledge chatbots that can signpost and assist our learners based on the questions they are asking with minimal (to no) human intervention.

Dana Sednek, Chief Consultant & Founder, Live Online Learning Solutions

I’d like to see organizations who are new to learning analytics realize the power of measuring and actioning against learning impact metrics in 2023.

For futurists looking to advance the utilization of their learning metrics beyond data aggregation to a single source and content utilization evaluations, I’m wishing for a chance to measure and test leading indicators on the future of work leadership skills.

Measuring organizational capability and growth in future-of-work skills will be the key talent differentiator as AI impacts how work works in the very near future. Future work competencies like digital leadership will become even more valuable.

Imagine having a pulse on an organization’s talent growth trajectory in future-of-work skill areas like mental agility, digital fluency, entrepreneurial innovation, mobilizing systems and teams, and technical design. That’s my wish.

Brandon Brodkin, Sales Director, Watershed

I am hyped for the ball to continue to progress in what people are able to do with their learning data. While predictive analytics based on VR training is fascinating, not everyone has the tools, tech and time to make it a reality quite yet. A more realistic focus? I'm hoping to see more organizations benefitting from aggregating all their learning data into a central location.

This leads to the next big thing I’m also hyped about, the “and then what?” question. Now that we have everything in one place, what do we actually do to drive actionable insights? And that is where the learning analyst role comes into play—I'm excited to see L&D develop and rely on data analytics just as other areas across the organization have.

I’d like to see organizations show less hesitation around learning analytics. Historically, we’ve seen organizations staying with the status quo and unwilling to take the leap, only to change their minds a few years down the road. I believe as more people share their learning analytics success stories, organizations will have more confidence in moving forward

Ashley Laurence, Marketing Director, Watershed

Learning analytics doesn't sound that sexy, but its impact can be massive. Top of my list for 2023 is to widen the conversation around “Impact Metrics” by sharing the stories behind the KPIs that demonstrate learning's impact, and inspiring others to progress their own measurement maturity. Reporting on productivity and learner satisfaction alone doesn’t tell the C-suite all that much.

What would I like to see less of? Spam emails promising me “hot L&D leads” and throwaway swag at events.

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