As I concluded in part 2 of this series, business managers and learning pros are failing to speak the same language. The common language both groups need to speak is metrics. The reason accountability is often ignored is failure to measure outcomes. These measures are the only thing that can tell us if the goals of both groups have been met.
Measurement creates clarity
Without measurement, neither learning professionals nor business unit managers know the state of the student. Without measurement, assumptions begin and blame spreads.
If trainers standardize their design, create clear units of measure (in terms of behavior) then it becomes possible to have a good hand-off between the two groups. This step provides clear roles and accountability. It ensures the progression of learning through the learning, applying, and impacting phases (described in part 1).
When the unit of measure is tied to behavior, the two groups have a common dialog. Expectations are stated and understood at each stage. An aligned “unit of measure” creates clear results.
If the student can’t do the new behavior that was simulated in the learning environment, the trainer can diagnose and repair the learning design or delivery. The learning professional takes the student to the “do” stage and then turns them over to the business unit manager.
Using behavior as the unit of measure the business manager has a pure understanding of what the student can do. He or she can clearly see if the behavior is applied. If the behavior is not happening on the job, then the business unit manager can diagnose and repair environmental barriers to application.
Accountability through measurement creates a bridge
Designing and measuring programs with behavior as the unit of measure bridges the gap between the learning functions and the business units they serve. It supports clarity in accountability at each phase that learning goes through inside an organization. It is a language everyone understands.
Organizations only survive when the various departments, roles, and agendas work in concert toward a common goal. No department survives in a silo.
Could you imagine engineering creating a product without working with marketing? How do they know what the customer needs or wants? How much good would a customer service call center be without access to operations? How would they help the customers that call in?
Learning supports the organization by increasing abilities of the employees. Learning programs cannot do that without knowing what ability is needed (and using that information to design good programs).
In turn, learning means nothing without application. Learning must be applied to build proficiency. Without application, learning is lost and the process is wasted.
Business unit managers and learning professionals need to understand these basic principles of the progression of learning within an organization. Learning progression includes acquiring the ability to DO something new and applying the new behavior to the job. Accountability means clarifying expectations, supporting learning, and measuring success.
Start with a clear behavior as the goal. Track and support that behavior as it is acquired and applied. Only then, with the combined effort of the stakeholders, can learning achieve a positive ROI.
Do you need to create accountability through metrics in your learning programs? Contact us at eParamus. We’d love to help.