The State of Learning Analytics in 2022

At Watershed, we believe in the power of using data to inform both business and learning strategy. We believe this applies to our own messaging, which is why we’ve gathered data from more than 1,000 L&D leaders and professionals to inform our views on the state of learning analytics.

In this blog series, we present the results of two distinct learning analytics and measurement surveys to share a wider industry view on the current state of play. As always, we look to provide our own interpretation while providing inspiration for you to progress your own learning strategy.

As well as presenting the data for you to build your own views, throughout the series we’ll be exploring the themes that emerged from our analysis, such as:

  • The importance of L&D fostering a team-wide data mindset that anticipates the type of insights key stakeholders find valuable, and then promoting this externally
  • The need to challenge established reporting metrics and incorporate key business impact metrics into  learning design
  • How to identify where you are on the Learning Analytics Maturity Scale, and how to progress your organization to the advanced stages

Measuring the Business Impact of Learning Annual Report

Since 2017, Watershed and LEO Learning have hosted an annual Measuring the Business Impact of Learning survey and published a report with the results. The survey explores respondents’ attitudes toward learning analytics and data, plus the challenges and capabilities in regards to measuring business impact.

The last two surveys have included a question about the impact of COVID-19 on learning analytics, and this year’s survey also included questions about budget and staffing for learning analytics. The 2022 report was based on views from more than 600 L&D professionals, and since its launch we’ve had more than 2,300 survey completions, which help us build a picture of trends over time.

Adopting Learning Analytics Whitepaper by CLO

Watershed also partnered with Chief Learning Officer (CLO) magazine this year and asked their readership about learning analytics, with more than 400 L&D leaders sharing their views. This survey was broad in scope and included multiple questions on each of the following topics:

  • The respondents and their organizations
  • Learning analytics preparedness
  • Learning analytics demand
  • Learning analytics technology
  • Types and uses of learning analytics
  • The organizations’ broader learning ecosystem
  • Skills data

Based on this data, CLO published a report outlining a language gap between the expectations of the C-suite and the reports and analytics L&D teams typically provide.

Extra Insights, Deeper Analysis

Both reports published a huge number of valuable insights based on the survey data, but there’s only so much space in a report, and there are still many insights from these surveys that are yet to be published.

While the Measuring Business Impact of Learning report included a complete summary of responses as an appendix to the report, there are a number of CLO survey questions where the results were not included. In addition, we have conducted further analysis of the survey data to see how responses to one question might affect responses to another.

For example, how does having a budget for learning analytics affect how confident respondents are that learning analytics works? This analysis has generated even more insights that we would love to share.

Does having a budget for learning analytics correlate with higher levels of belief that it’s possible to prove learning’s impact? Our findings suggest so.

Multiple Perspectives for a Clearer Picture

There is also value in comparing the results of the two surveys where the themes overlapped. Survey questions were written by different teams and worded differently, and then responded to by different audiences. For example, the MBIL survey asked about having people with learning analytics capability on the L&D team, whereas the CLO survey asked whether organizations have a dedicated learning analytics team, and about future hiring plans for learning analytics.

The two surveys therefore represent views from different vantage points looking at the same topics. Where results point in the same direction (which they actually do in all places these two surveys overlap), this gives us extra confidence that the results of both surveys can be relied upon. The differences in question nuance also help to paint a broader picture that is available from one survey on its own.

Sharing the Results with You

This series shares the results of both surveys, including results from many questions not published in the reports as well as further analysis and comparison between the two surveys. In each post we help to explain what the results mean for you and for learning analytics in your organization.

This series covers:

  1. Demand for learning analytics.
  2. Learning analytics preparedness
  3. Learning analytics teams
  4. Technology for learning analytics
  5. Budget for learning analytics
  6. Types and uses of learning analytics
  7. The importance and use of skills data
  8. Technology platforms used to support learning
  9. Challenges to learning analytics

Up Next: An Inside Perspective on Learning Analytics

As CEO of Watershed, David Ells has years of experience doing learning analytics with organizations. Alongside publishing the survey results, this series also features two posts from David, giving his perspective on the survey findings and considering the key takeaways that can drive your learning strategy.

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