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The Future of Workplace Learning Analytics is Now| October 4, 2018 Workshop Recap

November 03, 2018 8:54 PM | Olga Polyakova (Administrator)

By Susan Camberis
Editor, Training Today

This past month, ATDChi hosted an all-day workshop at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in Lake Forest with workplace learning analytics expert Trish Uhl.  

Trish is the co-founder of the Talent & Learning Analytics Leadership Forum and a former ATDChi President.  She works with heads of Talent & Learning Development globally on setting and executing strategy for learning transformation and data-enablement projects.  

 “Putting Analytics into Practice in Your Learning Experience Design” was a highly-interactive workshop focused on leading-edge work Trish is currently doing with L&D teams to engineer dynamic learning systems leveraging data science, AI & machine learning, advanced analytics and predictive modeling to promote positive people impact and drive organizational outcomes.  

Here are 7 key take-aways as you consider your organization’s approach to workplace learning analytics:

  1. All analytics projects start with a question.  What are the factors driving behavior?  What are we trying to improve, and why?  How do we start to head off problems?  A change in mindset is really the biggest difference between how we are measuring now and how we will do so in the future.  “We should be curious experts about anything related to people – because this will drive our focus,” according to Uhl.  As you think about a current project you are working on, what’s the data overlay?
  2.  Workplace learning analytics is really about us collectively being able to measure “yardage.”  L&D must be able to provide more value…faster.  Part of our challenge in doing this is that we don’t have a consistent way to measure progress.  “Analytics gives us ‘yardage’…a way to measure short-term progress toward long-term goals,” according to Uhl.  It also gives us a way to improve our measurement efforts whileevolving our evaluation maturity.  If you need a place to get started for standard measurement, Uhl suggests the Center for Talent Reporting (http://www.centerfortalentreporting.org).  ATDChi hosted Dave Vance, Executive Director for the CTR, in September 2017.  To review a related recap, visit:  http://sco.lt/7eA3JB
  3. When it comes to workplace learning analytics, engagement matters.  As discussed during Chief Learning Officer’s Fall symposium in Houston, the number one issue for today’s CLOs is employee engagement.  Measuring it, supporting it, and growing it, are key concerns for today’s L&D leaders. If your current workplace learning analytics approach does not include employee engagement, how might you start to move in this direction?
  4. Applying learning analytics to leadership development programs is important and necessary.  Uhl cited a September 2018 Forbes article discussing the failure of leadership development programs to provide return on investment.  Despite an annual spend of $46 billion annually by companies around the globe, the results are simply not there.  As a result, most companies are now looking to apply workplace learning analytics to leadership development programs.
  5. All aspects of L&D are being affected by digital transformation. According to Uhl, analytics is part of a digital transformation that is changing all aspects of L&D.  Uhl has been working with the Learning & Performance Institute on a new capability map that outlines how each aspect of Learning & Performance is being affected by digital transformation.  The map and a related assessment are free to use.  To review the map and take a self-assessment, visit:  https://www.thelpi.org/resources/capability-map/
  6. The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding exponentially.  According to a recent and very conservative estimate from Gartner, by the end of 2018 there will be an estimated 8.6 billion devices giving off data – including beacons, sensors, and wearables – which is why everyone wants you to download their apps. Gartner estimates this number will grow to over 20 billion by 2020.  What this means for L&D professionals and employees is that the types of data available and how organizations utilize data is changing rapidly.
  7. What’s already possible may be more than you realize.  In the context of understanding how quickly technology is changing, Uhl shared a YouTube video produced by Siemens called “More Than Reality.” The video demonstrates how Siemens is using augmented reality to create training environments.  If you have note seen the video, you can review it here. It’s an amazing example of what’s already possible with VR.  Uhl also shared that VR is now embedded in Adobe Captivate, through partnership with SAP and Microsoft.

Reflecting on the important role that L&D professionals play in helping people get ready for change, Uhl cited Toffler’s famous quote from Future Shock:  “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”

Uhl suggested that participants develop action plans to help prepare their organizations and themselves for the future. Specifically, she recommends thinking through three time horizons:  0 – 12 months (What can you do to become more familiar with that is already out there?);1 – 3 years (What can you and your organization begin/continue to leverage and automate?);4 – 10 years (What scenario planning can you do now to prepare for different alternatives?). 

“The thing about transformation and transcendence is that you get to take the things with you that still serve you,” according to Uhl.  

As you contemplate your future as an L&D professional, what will you take with you?  

To learn more about Trish Uhl, visit:  http://www.owls-ledge.com  You can also follow Trish on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/trishuhl/), Twitter (@trishuhl), and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/OwlsLedge).  

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