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How can L&D measure progress and support struggling learners?

It's true that, as the aphorism goes, "not all things that count can be counted," but there are some things that count that can be counted, especially regarding learning progress. Many managers are metrics obsessed, and sometimes rightfully so. However, for L&D leaders, finding metrics to measure how much someone has "learned" is decidedly difficult.

Traditionally, measuring progress boils down to metrics related to completion events and test scores. That is, you can easily track whether an employee has engaged with a particular section or course, and whether they retained knowledge through a quiz or test. Yet these metrics are crude, unable to provide the granularity L&D leaders need to accurately assess their people.

Content should be adapted based on engagement.

Just like any good marketer, and following the relevance principle from earlier, it's crucial for L&D leaders to personalize content as much as possible based on engagement. While you may not be able to get a recommendation engine like you find in Netflix, you should be able to get a sense of how content is performing. The next step is to deduce what the performance means for your learners. In other words, great metrics can help you answer some tricky questions: Why does this one course have a higher adoption rate than most others? Or why does that course have 95% completion rates while this one has only 35%? 

Further, innovative L&D teams find ways to reward learners based on the skills they're learning and how well they're learning them. This is doubly important depending on the strategic objectives of the organization. Like we mentioned earlier, if the company seeks to become more data-centric, perhaps more rewards should be offered for completing courses in data analysis, data visualization, or even business intelligence and machine learning programs. Like a properly functioning market, the "profit" employees make will increase their usage in those key areas.

In contrast, great L&D leaders find ways to support struggling learners. Suppose a course has a low completion rate, but through surveys and conversations on the discussion board, you see that this course is popular among employees. Perhaps the data tells you that the learning curve is too steep. So, the course may need extra introductory material at the beginning, extra coaching resources throughout, or even more rewards for certain completion events.

The point is that whether employees are doing well or doing poorly with your content, there is plenty that a platform with quality data can tell you about their progress and how to adapt.

How can L&D help? Personalize content from usage scores.

As mentioned, there are several key ways to personalize the content based on your data. You can find individual performance measures that allow you to focus on the engagement of any given learner to see when you can step in and help. There are also general trends to view the trajectory of your course engagement and progress from a comprehensive view. Finally, you can learn what content is the most and least engaging so your organization continually improves its learning outcomes.

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