Measurement: The Missing Link Between Learning and Identified Outcomes

learning and outcomes are linked by measurement

Learning and business outcomes. One should always lead to the other.

As I said in my last post (Why Is Behavior Change the Key to Learning Measurement?), there is a deep connection between the work we do and business outcomes.

Our goal is to make the business more capable through learning programs. We exist to help a business define and then meet its performance goals.

We connect learning and outcomes through measurement.

Why Is Measurement Often the “Missing” Link

Unfortunately, learning professionals remain unschooled on the means of effective measurement. This lack of skill often results in a missing link. Many in our profession seem unable to connect learning and clear, verifiable outcomes.

Don’t get me wrong. There has been progress in the 10 years that I’ve been spreading this message. When I speak at conferences, there are growing numbers in my audience who understand the concept of how measurement enables clarity of learning outcomes. Slowly, the learning industry is coming to grasp these concepts. Measurement quantifies our work. Yet far too many in our profession fail to understand the basic principles of this connection.

What Do I Measure?

It’s this question that baffles learning pros all the time.

The metrics measured by other departments seem so much easier to pin down. Revenue. Sales. Customer calls. Orders. Shipments.

Yet when learning pros begin a program design, they remain mystified by what to measure.

Let me simplify it for you: Learning changes behavior so measure the metric that shows behavior change.

The metrics you choose to target in learning programs should be operational metrics. What are those?

Usually, operational metrics measure a single work procedure or process. Examples include leads generated, customer calls completed, or orders processed.

This is a narrow focus. With a focus that narrow, you limit the influence of outside forces and focus only on the metrics that are influenced by behavior change. With this choice, you isolate learning from any other influence. This isolation creates a direct connection between learning and impact on the metric.

You only begin learning design when you have this metric in mind. It is this direct connection from metric to design to outcome that business leaders want.

The ROI of Learning and Outcomes

With the right metric chosen, the learning program designer knows exactly how to design the program. The designer makes the metric change the goal of the program. The right design creates the behavior change that leads to the metric change. That’s the ultimate target of the program.

From there, the learning professional can proceed to ROI measures. ROI is a financial calculation. Figure ROI by comparing the cost of developing and running a program to the gain realized when the metric changes.

Businesses now demand quantified outcomes from their learning professionals. When you calculate ROI from a program design that targets a metric, you are able to connect the dots between program design, behavior changes, and metric changes. This connection creates the evidence needed to show the value of your programs.

Do you understand how measurement results from the link of learning and business outcomes? If not, this is something we teach at eParamus. Business Impact 2.0 Measurement software enables you to make this connection. We make it our mission to train learning professionals about proper design. That design leads to measurable programs. This connection delivers quantified results learning professionals can then show their organizations. Contact us to learn more.

Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD to tell me more about your training challenges.

Photo copyright: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo

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