Learning analytics used to help retailers prevent theft from shopliftingTypical training doesn’t work for today’s businesses. Markets move too fast. Just-in-time training is needed more than ever. Training pros must prove value with hard data. They must show results that add to the business bottom line. Learning analytics is the answer to that need.

Learning Analytics Defined

So what are learning analytics? Learning analytics is defined as “the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for the purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.” An article, Employee Training Isn’t What It Used to Be, recently appeared in The Atlantic. It tells the story of Pep Boys and how they changed their training approach. In retail, theft is a huge problem. For Pep Boys, typical training about theft prevention wasn’t working. Traditional methods of learning—posters, meetings, and classes—were ineffective. These methods made little impact. They knew their training approach had to change or theft losses would simply keep rising. Pep Boys saw a problem. They stripped the problem down to its basic parts. Determined the job standards that addressed the problem. Created training around those standards. Then they found ways to measure learning and retention. To increase the training appeal, Pep Boys gamified the training. They created short, simple “chunks” of information. Employees could access the mobile training on their phones in about 3 minutes per day. Training was voluntary but, as an incentive, workers earned points that they could exchange for rewards.

Training Boosts Bottom Line by $20 Million

Employees needed to know more than “theft is bad.” They needed tools and tactics to address the problem. They needed to the steps to prevent theft. The short chunks of knowledge were tied directly to job standards. The new training measured what the employees learned. It also measured how that training was used on the job. The result? In the first year , theft losses dropped by $20 million. Technology makes learning analytics possible. The ability to pinpoint job standards, create training to teach those standards, use technology platforms to distribute that training, and then measure the retention of the learners is revolutionary. It is changing the training profession. Training pros are now moving from “order taker” to “business partner.” The more they can show training impact, the stronger the role of training professional will become. All businesses crave the same training success that Pep Boys has achieved. They want training that impacts the business bottom line. That impact should be measurable and should add substantial value to the business function. Do you need an approach like this to your training programs? Do you need to measure training success? Do you need to show stakeholders the dollar value of your learning programs? Consider the eParamus ROI by Design and Measurable Instructional Design approach to training. For an in-depth discussion, you can read my book ROI by Design to learn how to make these changes in your business. How has your company used learning analytics to improve old training methods? Are there obstacles to these changes? What are they? Please comment. We’d love to know more about the training issues you are facing with learning analytics.