Much of my time has been spent in recent months considering useful metrics for learning products and services. What are the handful of measures that tell us how our team/business/department is doing and help us decide what to do next?
A fair share of the debate about metrics in L&D focuses on learning metrics and indications of impact for programmes, content and courses. Quite right too. There is much work to do here to drag us beyond the myopia of completion tracking and offer proper insight. Beyond that, though, what are the measures of audience and business value for the whole product set – the whole experience?
I propose the addition of one, tentatively titled “share of elective visits”. This metric tries to get to the extent to which our products and services as a whole are actively chosen versus compelled in some way. I am thinking of a metric that looks like this: the % of all visits to your products and services which involve compliance. A glass half full view may express this as the % of all visits which are elective, i.e. not involving compliance.
I have seen this expressed as ‘Push vs. Pull’ in some organisations. In these cases, there is a tendency to focus on course attendance and ‘time spent learning’ as the measures. Unsurprising, perhaps. In some sectors, compliance is a weighty regulatory consideration. Beyond those, compliance courses are such an accepted staple of the industry and consequently are assumed as a foundation for learning products that we are in danger of overlooking the shadow they may cast. It is high on all lists of reasons to visit in most organisations, from the data I have seen. Higher than most of us would prefer.
We need to look further than course behaviour alone, to search and browsing, bookings, help desk services, social mentions and beyond only one system to see the extent to which compulsion is part of the conversation with the L&D service overall. It will help understand what audiences think we are for and how far we need to travel if we with to challenge that perception. One route to a vision for a service is to ask what we want to be famous for. A “share of elective visits (or behaviour)” gives some insight to this. Is anyone seeking fame as a compliance course purveyor? If that share is high, the scope to tackle culture and behaviour is greater, if it is low then a reset in perception is needed before those goals can be realistically tackled.
I reckon this is a good metric to understand the mindset of a workforce or population regarding what they see an L&D service is for. It is not enough on its own – other measures are needed, of course. I recommend this to clients as a data set to gather and start to get a sense of what good looks like and where to set a goal.
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