Learning and development professionals not using data effectively

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Professionals involved with learning and development are not collecting or making proper use of insights gained through data, says a recent survey.

Learning and development professionals are not utilising analytics to make the most of their limited training resources, which is leaving them in the dark about how effective learning strategies really are within the workforce.

A recent survey conducted on learning and development leaders discovered that 90% viewed high quality data as crucial to improving learning delivery, however only 45% were using data and analytics to make informed decisions about learning strategies.

Whilst certain departments were collecting and analysing their own data on their learning and development programmes, it was only being used in an ad-hoc manner and not a mainstream process to enhance the strategies, with only 55% of those surveyed stating that they use their own data.

The managing director of Knowledgepool, Dan Ferrandino, who conducted the research, stated that it was essential that learning and development departments had the ability to use data and insights to identify skill gaps within the current workforce and also ensure that the development of employees was in line with the business strategy. “Currently, too many organisations are failing to draw any meaningful insights from their data, meaning they are essentially ‘learning in the dark’, without any real idea of the impact that learning is having and certainly no way of improving,” said Ferrandino.

The research conducted polled 350 learning and development leaders and found a number of barriers to more effective use of data and analysis.

The main factors to why data is not taking a priority in the learning and development strategies were cited as a lack of time and a need to focus on other priorities and additionally other factors were a lack of analytical skills within their team. Other factors that were mentioned included the poor quality of data gathered and outdated technology.

75% of those surveyed stated that they needed more support from vendors and partners in order to make more and better use of data and insights in learning and development. The research also discovered that just 35% of respondents believed that they were very confident they knew about all learning investment across their business.

73% of those who responded to the survey stated that their departments were under more pressure than ever before to demonstrate a return on investment and in turn 27% stated that their business lacked clarity and consistency in how they monitor and measure return on investment and learning throughout the business.

Ferrandino stated that learning and development teams needed a ‘laser focus’ on key data points within the business in order to provide a more relevant learning structure that aligns with business strategy and helps monitor the impact of learning implementations.

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