Learning Management Systems

Operationalizing Learning Intelligence

Posted by Colin Stein on Jul 25, 2016

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVdAAAAJDMzNDY1MDE0LTQxOTMtNGU1ZS05MThmLTczOGMxNTdmNzk5ZQ.jpgLast week, we wrote a blog about Understanding Learning Intelligence - what it is, the theory behind it, and how we can begin understanding it better.

But, you may be asking, why do technology providers need to think about Learning Intelligence? Can't they just provide good software and let the customer do the rest?

Closing the Gap Between People and Technology

Fosway Group’s latest report, “The State of Learning Technology Market 2016”, reveals that over 50% of LMS customers don't feel their needs are always or even frequently understood.

If customers were just buying technology, and if the technology served all their needs, this might not matter to either the customer of the provider. However, as we suggested in the previous post on this topic, business needs matter. LMS providers need to be able to understand and account for the business needs of their customers —without abandoning the technology focus — while still providing the usual mix of servers, software, integrations, and user training and support.

That's where Learning Intelligence re-enters the picture, as a data-driven approach to learning that aligns with something greater than ‘just learning’. As Chief Learning Officer Magazine suggested in 2015, a data-driven approach can be used to “optimize how your organization manages and deploys learning and development to support the execution of your business strategy.”

What connects people to technology, elevating online learning software beyond fancy user interfaces, slick marketing and the best swag at a trade show? A data-driven approach to managing an LMS, supporting learning goals, and ultimately supporting business goals.

It’s similar to CRM (Customer Relationship Management); its impact on organizations has always relied on providing users access to data that matters, not just contacts, tasks and birthday reminders. Quality data - specifically reports and executive dashboards that align meaningfully with strategy - can change the behaviour of the people who use it, and thus impact results.

Use Your LMS to Drive Strategic Goals (and Change)

Some people still like to think of LMS as simply pedagogical tools for distance learning, or a way of training remote teams en masse, or simply a repository of training materials and documentation - a content management system, if you like.

But the growth of the LMS market has shown its much more than that (according to Markets and Markets, the LMS market is expected to reach $8 billion by 2018). E-Learning achieves business goals (as if that needs repeating!)

The idea is to define what your business goals are, and how learning (or training) can achieve that. And then, using Learning Intelligence to support behaviour change in anyone who uses it.

One well-used and validated approach is Donald Kirkpatrick's Four-Level Training Evaluation Model, established in 1959, and updated most recently in the mid-1990s.

Kirkpatrick suggested that there are four sequences for evaluating the success of a training system or program:

  • Reaction - Measures how the people being trained, reacted to the training.
  • Learning - Measure what your trainees have learned.
  • Behavior - Evaluate how far your trainees have changed their behavior.
  • Results - Analyze the outcomes that you or your organization have determined to be good for business or the employees.

Easy right? There’s only one thing missing - the tools.

You Closed the People & Process Gap - But What About the Data?

In a whitepaper on analytics released in late 2015, Raytheon suggested that 50% of learning and development organizations lack the analytics skills necessary to use the data available. Moving back a step, LMS users — especially those on open source platforms like Moodle and Totara — will tell you that this data isn’t always easily accessible to begin with.

This is our world, and for those who understand and seek to improve their organization’s commitment to Learning Intelligence, we believe no LMS should lack a fast, flexible and easy-to-use reporting and analytics ‘engine’.

As the providers of Zoola Analytics, our reporting solution for Moodle and Totara LMS, we know it’s a self-serving statement. We also think the theory and application of the principles of Learning Intelligence are too strong for any organization with a commitment to e-learning to ignore.

Let us know what you think Learning Intelligence means, and what you think of our posts on the topic.

For more information about our Zoola Analytics solution, you can read more or request a demo here.

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