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Best Practices for Training & Development

Jason Diamond Arnold

November 7, 2019

As organizations consider more effective approaches to modern training & development initiatives, here are a few things to consider based on our experience designing and developing training programs for our Inspire Software clients: 

Content is Still King

Before considering ways to measure impact, keep in mind that while technology and learning platforms evolve, content still remains king. You can have a world-class LMS or strategy software, but if you're learning content — whatever the subject — if it’s generic and not backed up with thorough research and proven methodologies, you may be guessing on what actually works and what’s been proven to work within organizations.

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Our advice? Before exploring learning technologies, make sure the content you are serving has been vetted before investing in that technology. Sometimes the most unique approach to T&D can be void and meaningless if you haven't invested in excellent content.

Beyond Survey Data

Most organizations have relied on qualitative data for many years to evaluate the effectiveness of their T&D efforts. The days of using pre and post-training surveys to evaluate the success of a program is no longer a viable solution in and of itself. Surveys are still a meaningful source of data, but often prove to be subjective to the person answering the survey, and may not give greater insights into how the T&D efforts are going on an objective, non-biased level.

In an era of big data and a knowledge-based economy, T&D professionals need to tap into more reliable and ongoing examination of real-time data to evaluate their efforts and the behaviors of those they are training. The evolution of learning management systems to learning record stores is helping to generate more insightful data to see not only what someone has learned, but what they are actually applying to the job. A fully integrated learning record store, using xAPI technology, can track more than just what courses a learner has taken — also how they may have applied that in the software. For example, if an individual takes a course on how to set more effective and meaningful goals, an LRS can also track how that learner is using tools in their goal-setting or performance management software to better evaluate if they are applying lessons learned in the online course, as well as the effect they are having on that individual's performance.

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Applied Learning Leads to Behavior Change 

With access to quantitative behavior data, T&D specialists are now able to partner with other data resources found within broader HR and business intelligence data to analyze how learning interacts with other data trends such as performance, engagement, and retention. With this type of layered data analytics, learning and development professionals are now more able to better assess which learning is actually turned into applied behavior, rather than just survey data on how learners feel about the content or the perception of how it’s being applied. For example, when a manager completes a leadership course — either online or through a traditional workshop — and attempts to apply the theories or practices they learned through a performance or collaboration software, behavior data gives us a much richer insight into what happens to learners, before, during, and after a training initiative. It can help T&D professionals better correlate training and development efforts with bottom-line business results and quantify a true return on investment through these aligned data. It also gives T&D professionals deeper insight into what is working or not working with their training efforts, in order to help them pivot and adjust their training efforts according to the data and insights, rather than just guessing on what should be or needs to be trained within the organization. 

As technology and human development evolve, so does our need to leverage processes and platforms that do more than just deliver content, but actually impact the behavioral changes that engage employees and produce meaningful business results. 

For more information on how to create best practices in training & development, please reach out to us and see how we’re using our platform to create better learning experiences that result in more engaged employees and produce better business results.