Measuring learning impact, justifying your investment in training initiatives
Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and other emerging technologies are changing the types of jobs in the marketplace and with that, the skills needed to do them.
The upshot of this is that there is a huge technical skills gap. Specifically, there is a huge need for people skilled in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).
In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers globally would have to change their jobs or learn new skills by 2030. A recent survey by McKinsey found that 87 percent of executives experience or expect to experience a skills shortage. The greatest need was for data analytics, IT management, and executive management
It’s clear that to remain competitive, organizations must enable employees to reskill and upskill. Company leaders need to invest significantly in learning initiatives to ensure that their workers have the necessary knowledge and skills for a digitized and increasingly automated world.
However, it’s imperative for training programs to bring about measurable change.
Measuring learning impact
After completion of a training program, it’s important to know if the training was effective – did those attending the training learn something useful? Are they applying what they have learned? Were there any observable benefits for the company? If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, the training has achieved its goals and was worth the investment. Put another way: a training program that doesn’t advance any business metrics is not worth the investment.
Measuring training effectiveness can also help organizations determine the ROI of their training program. Measuring training effectiveness will produce data that shows whether a training program has led to increased employee productivity and organizational performance.
How to measure learning impact
Surveys, quizzes, discussions, case studies, and certification exams are ways that companies use to measure training effectiveness. It’s also advisable to know beforehand what you want to measure and how you will measure it.
The Kirkpatrick Model, developed in the 1950s is still widely used to measure training effectiveness. The model measures the value of training using four levels.
Level 1 – Reaction
This level measures learners’ response to the training, whether they found it useful and relevant. This feedback can be gathered through post-training surveys, questionnaires, and discussions. The discussions can focus on the training content – whether it was easy or challenging to follow, whether if provided key learning takeaways that would positively impact the learner’s work in the future.
Level 1 measurement should give you’re a good indication of what the training experience was like for learners. It should also reveal any gaps to be addressed in any future training.
Level 2 – Learning
This level measures what the learners have learned during the training. This can be done by comparing test scores before and after training. Employees can also be asked to implement what they have learned in new projects, and supervisors can evaluate if efficiency has improved. Training should also have an impact on performance KPIs. Course certification is another useful metric.
Level 2 measurement should indicate whether the training has achieved its objectives, what skills have been learned, and whether the new skills obtained are contributing to positive change in the workplace.
Level 3 – Behavior
The impact of learning should be observable in learners’ behavior and attitude when they return to work. If the training had a positive effect, it should translate into a positive outlook, increased confidence, and improved performance.
To evaluate how the training has impacted learners, you can use a combination of self-assessment questionnaires, unofficial feedback from co-workers, focus groups, direct observation, and customer feedback. One clear indication of effective training is an eagerness to share new knowledge and skills.
Level 4 – Results
Level 4 measures the actual results of the training. If the training was effective it would result in measurable metrics like reduced cost, increased productivity, quicker project turnarounds, increased sales, improved employee retention, among other metrics. It would also mean higher morale, which is not easy to measure but easy enough to observe and of immeasurable benefit to an organization.
Justifying your investment in training initiatives
Reskilling and upskilling of the workforce is a survival imperative for all organizations. Keeping up with the pace of technological advancement is not a choice.
Companies that are seeking to harness new and emerging technologies will ‘’reach higher levels of efficiency of production and consumption, expand into new markets, and compete on new products for a global consumer base composed increasingly of digital natives’’, according to the World Economic Forum.
Employers can reap the benefits of new technologies and retain current workers by investing in training that results in new skillsets appropriate for a digitized and automated world.
With the right training partners in place, you will be able to provide your employees with the skills they need most.
Skills Academy for Business
Skills Academy for Business is a learning platform developed by the Leading Learning Partners Association (LLPA) to grow the technological expertise of companies, governments, and non-profit entities.
The LLPA is a global organization with a presence in more than 55 countries. The company specializes in cloud services, providing up-to-date training, learning resources, and services worldwide.
This goal is achieved through working with 33 learning partners that are themselves leading IT companies in their countries. Through this synergy, thousands of workers across the globe and across industries are obtaining the skills necessary for the workplace of tomorrow.
The LLPA has been collaborating with Microsoft since 2013 and also collaborates with many other vendors and institutes including DevOps Institute, PearonVUE, Virsoft, Python Institute, DevOps Artisan, AWS, PeopleCert, Media Interactiva, and others. Together, the LLPA members have trained 450K – 500K students per year.
The Skills Academy portal offers certificate training for AI engineers, business analysts, data analysts, data engineers, data scientists, developers, DevOps engineers, makers, solutions architects, and more.
Skills Academy allows companies to track their team’s learning journey from anywhere. The platform facilitates fast reskill and upskill rates to help organizations and businesses be fully prepared for the demands of a digital and automated future.
Most importantly, Skills Academy provides important business insights that help organizations justify their training investments.
Industry proof of impactful training
In 2020 the LLPA won the Learning 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award. The LLPA was recognized for the impact it made by assisting more than 100,000 individuals per year to improve their Azure skills. This effort has put the power of Microsoft cloud at the disposal of literally hundreds of thousands of professionals and the organizations they work for.
The LLPA was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in learning worldwide.
Upskilling for the digital world has become a priority for governments, and all industries. Organizations have to find a way to close their technical skills gaps so their employees can function optimally in a digital world. Training through the LLPA Skills Academy is already making a significant contribution to the world’s digital transformation.