Can Learning data offer insights about performance?

This post is a question really, or a rumination. I am keen to gather feedback and ideas about this.

This title refers to Learning data with a higher case L. So data from Learning systems and products. Which, in turn, probably means data gathered from the tools of the L&D teams of organisations. 

Further to recent discussions on LinkedIn and Twitter, this is not learning data, or data that describes progress in learning. It is data that describes the consumption of (some) instructional content or participation in facilitated instructional events. I suppose it also describes the attendances at prescribed events as well. So Learning data.

It’s a genuine question too. I am not intending a provocation or assertion. I am asking: How does, or how can, Learning data offer insights about performance at work?

The bread and butter LMS metrics of attendance, completion and feedback are not helpful as signals of performance. They are poor signals of learning as well.

Having had a brush with completion data again recently, I now believe that it is an insight toxin. It does not tell us anything of use.  It injects a dose of obfuscation into analysis. Is there a valuable behaviour, the presence of which, is measured by completion? Other than the act of completing, that is? (It does indicate the extent to which people are doing what they are told, which is useful in a limited context). 

Another question, whilst I am at it: What is the user value in clicking the ‘mark as complete’ button? What does ‘incomplete’ mean to a punter? (Netflix does not ask if you have finished the movie, it asks if you want to resume it should you select it again). 

Other Learning data is now available through learning experience platform usage. There is value in here about what people are looking for and looking at, what they are interested in, what they are talking about and sharing. So we have richer behaviour data on these platforms and better signals of performance needs and priorities. But not performance itself.

Where do you get your performance data from?

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